Although the snow on our website is great we are hoping for a real white Christmas. The problem is, statistically we are more likely to have a white Easter than a white Christmas in this country! December is the start of the UK snow window, and it takes just one snowflake to fall on London on the 25th December to get the bookmakers to pay out on bets. Yet wintry weather is actually more common between January and March. But how did we become so obsessed with snow at Christmas, and what are the chances of it actually happening?
The excitement concerning snow at Christmas is probably due to its rarity over the festive period, but white Christmases were once a common occurrence during a colder period of history known as the Little Ice Age. A mini ice age is believed to have existed from around 1350-1750 throughout the Northern Hemisphere. During the 17th Century a period of solar inactivity coincided with bitterly cold winters across Europe causing the English Channel, the Baltic Sea and the River Thames to freeze over, allowing Londoners to enjoy regular frost fairs on the river.
The changing of the old Roman Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752 hasn’t improved our chances of snow either. Although this was done to properly reflect the time it takes Earth to circle once around the Sun, it effectively brought Christmas day back by 11 days, moving it further away from the optimum window for snow in Britain.
It wasn’t until the Victorian era that Britain’s obsession with snow at Christmas began to take hold and snow scenes appeared on Christmas cards. The first card in 1834 featured people caring for the poor and a family enjoying a Christmas dinner but by late Victorian time’s robins and snow-scenes were popular, reflecting the bad winters of the time.
Other notable winters include 1947 when February was the coldest on record for many parts of the UK with persistent snowfall and low temperatures. In 1963 much of England was under snow continuously – up to 6m deep in places – for nearly three months.
Between late December and January 1981 there were large snow drifts right across the south-west and up into north-east England. We’ve had a few good winters since then but December 2010 became the coldest one for over 100 years with widespread snow lasting throughout the festive period.
Here at Jammy Toast, we would love for it to be a white Christmas – as long as it is all gone in January just in time to go back to work!
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