The ‘White Christmas’ Game

Bah, humbug! It’s that time of year again!

The time of year where the shops are full of Christmas displays, some of them works of absolute genius, some of them not quite so good. The time of year where we get bombarded with so much commercialism, adverts and just general Christmas tripe; by the time it’s all over, many people are sick of it! 🙂 But still, the kids love it and despite all the trappings of the commercial Christmas, still somehow the magic of it has not quite disappeared, at least not for the young. And it’s always great to remember the greatest Gift of all, the Gift of Jesus. So, bring it on!

When I was about 14 years old, I had got so tired of hearing non-stop Christmas music in the stores that my cynical mind decided to make a game of it all. To me, at the time, the song that epitomised the whole Christmas selling-things-at-you environment was the song ‘White Christmas’, which was first performed by the legendary Bing Crosby on Christmas Day, 1941.

So I decided to make a game of it.

I decided to see how close I could get to Christmas Day without hearing the song ‘White Christmas’ in a commercial environment. For me, that would mean hearing it in pubs, shops, malls, Christmas fayres or on TV/radio adverts of any kind. Basically, anywhere where the song was being played in order to try and make people feel ‘Christmassy’ and therefore buy more stuff. Maybe it’s because I am a tight-assed Yorkshireman who keeps a solid fist wrapped around his dosh; I don’t know. And my family play it too.

But that’s the game: how close can you get to Christmas Day without hearing White Christmas?

Last year for me it was a paltry 2nd December; I was well gutted. I think the closest I have ever come to ‘winning’ was 23rd December, and that was in 1994. Bah, humbug, indeed!

You can make up your own rules as to what counts as a proper ‘hearing’ of the song. For example, what arrangement counts as having ‘heard’ the song? Does it have to be the Bing Crosby version, or would it still count if you heard the Michael Bolton version? What about if you just decide you want to listen to it on your iPod? What if someone learns that you are playing the game and just hums it at you ‘for a laugh’? And what about the starting time for the game; what if you hear in in mid-July?

For me, I count any hearing of any version, in a commercial environment (including TV/radio ads), after 5th November – what we in the UK call ‘Bonfire Night’. For me, that’s the point at which I personally consider it fair game for the shops to put up their Christmas stuff (rather than late August as some idiots do) – so that’s when my White Christmas game begins!

Of course, it will probably be impossible for someone working in a pub or shop to play this game. All Christmas CDs have this song on them in one iteration or other. Sorry about that!

Don’t get me wrong, the song – in the original Bing arrangement – is absolutely gorgeous, full of incredible chord sequences and lovely dynamics. I love it to bits. I also understand that this year they are re-publishing the original Bing version to try to get it to the Christmas Number One slot.

But still the game is just a bit of fun; in my family, we always confess to each other when/if we hear the song, and cheer on those who haven’t heard it yet. It’s interesting in that for me, I find it quite funny to see my reaction each time I hear the song for the first time each Christmas season. You know, when it’s ‘Game Over’. Sometimes I just grin wryly, sometimes I think, ‘Oh if only that queue had moved just a little quicker!’ But whatever, my first thought is usually like ‘Ah well, that’s it for another year! Never mind….’

So then, are you in? Get to it! Good luck!

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7 thoughts on “The ‘White Christmas’ Game

  1. I don’t have any objection to ‘White Christmas’, but I don’t relate to it personally. I live in Florida and we never have a white Christmas. I remember in elementary school when all of us were let out to the playground because it was snowing; I doubt the snow even reached the ground. Before that I never had seen it snow before, and I have only seen it in Florida once more in a slight dusting that quickly melted away.

    1. My childhood was quite the opposite, I’m afraid. In Yorkshire, where I used to live, it’s quite a bit colder, on average, than down here in (warm) Devon where I live now. We used to get snow, on the ground, in June….. but funnily enough, rarely a White Christmas. Snow is great and people should be much more relaxed about it; instead they just moan. And here in Devon they don’t know how to cope with it, unlike ‘us Northerners’, and the traffic grinds to a halt after just a slight dusting!

    2. Where did you live in Florida? I lived in Rockledge, near Cocoa Beach. My dad worked for NASA. I live in Tucson, AZ now. We had lift snow last New Years Day–a rarity : ) Tomy I can’t imagine having snow in June… BRRR! but Yellowstone Natl Park in Wyoming can have it in June also. Hard to beat Tucson winters. But I do prefer Florida beaches to California ones. Even South Carolina has some beautiful beaches–I really like Hilton Head. Our Contrmporary Christian music stations play Bing’s White Christmas so it’s hard to avoid hearing it : ) I did spend last Christmas in the Hollywood area–the temp went down into the upper 30s which doesn’t happen often. The high was In the mid 50s. LA is not as warm as it portrays itself : )

  2. I personally do not put Christmas music on until the day after Thanksgiving. (I’m from the US, obviously…) In a perfect world, everyone else would refrain too. 🙂

    I do make the exception of digging out my Messiah and Nutcracker music and practicing prior to our concerts, though.

    There is a certain irony in White Christmas, as it was written by the Jewish Irving Berlin. In his case, he could be nostalgic for the New York winters he knew, but did not have after he moved to Southern California. The song is also fun because the first half of the melody is chromatic – a bit unusual for a pop song.

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