MEDINA, N.D. — My daughters and I were listening to Christmas music as we were driving the other day, and no matter what kind of music we listened to, some version of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” seemed to get played at least once an hour.
If I’m being completely honest, the reason we listened to multiple stations of Christmas music that day was because I looked to change the channel anytime I heard someone crooning about snow. If I’m being even more honest, hearing that wistfulness about snow kind of made me gag.
Now, I understand that, for many, the song induces feelings of nostalgia for Christmases past that won’t be again. Perhaps their memories are held in a kind of perpetual snowglobe, where the twinkle lights shine through lightly falling snow and their families are tucked in cozy houses with sparkly trees and pretty presents.
I do not count myself among the many that feel that way.
I haven’t always disliked snow. I have lovely memories of sledding on Christmas Eve with my cousins, of snow angels and snow forts and snowmen. I still enjoy, for short periods of time, watching my daughters’ delight in flopping around in the drift that forms behind our house.
But the magic of snow certainly is gone for me.
This year and last, we’ve had snowstorms in October. By the time December rolls around, the last thing I’m dreaming of is a white Christmas. The past few winters have killed the joy of snow for me. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is; when the meteorologists say the “s” word, I groan and feel my face fall.
Now when I think of snow, I don’t think of those soft snowflakes. I think of ice on the roads and power lines and of reduced visibility. I think of blizzards and of drifts scraping at the bottom of my car and of cancelling plans. I think of sick calves and of losing feeling in my toes and fingers.
Perhaps it’s just part of growing up and getting more cynical, but I believe that if I moved south and knew I never would see another snowflake, I still wouldn’t be nostalgic about white Christmases.
Some will read this and say something along the lines of, “Quit whining! You live in North Dakota. Bad winters are part of the deal.” And that is true. But whining about the winters — while acknowledging a nearly equal dislike of heat — is a popular pastime for people in this part of the world, and I certainly feel the need to do my part. And as long as we have saturated fields and high sloughs and high rivers that threaten another growing season, I can’t find any joy for snow.
Now, don’t be concerned that I’m smothered in a pile of gloom. I am looking forward to the non-weather-related elements of Christmas. Our girls will be an angel and a shepherd at their church Christmas program, and they’re already planning what kind of cookies they’ll put out for Santa. I can’t wait to see their faces when they see their stockings and tree on Christmas morning. Our days will be “merry and bright,” and barring some strange weather phenomenon, our Christmas certainly will be white. But the snow definitely never is part of my musings on a perfect holiday.
I know “I’m Dreaming of a Brown Christmas” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but that’s certainly what I’m doing. May you have a merry Christmas, no matter the color of the ground.