For some of us, Christmas is never really Christmas without some snow in the air. For an unreasonable amount of years the British people have wished for a white Christmas, yet for a nation that does a lot of praying, we get little in return. If you’re in the UK, your best bet is Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, which has a 75% probability of receiving snow on the 25th. The further South you travel, the lower the chance you’ve got. Birmingham has an agreeable 15% chance, whereas odds are in the favour of bookies in London, a city with a 6% probability.
The very definition of a white Christmas depends on where you are in the world. According to UK ‘rules’, Christmas day cannot be deemed a white Christmas solely because there is a good cover of snow on the ground – the Met Office stipulates that snow must be observed falling during the day. In the US however, a white Christmas can be called such if there is a minimum of 1 inch of snow on the ground at 7 o’clock in the morning. Interesting, then, that a nation more likely to receive snow on Christmas day (particularly in northern states) has rules not as staunch.
‘White Russian’ has a whole different meaning during Christmastime in St Petersburg. There’s something terribly dreamlike about seeing the Kremlin after a fresh dusting of snow. And what’s better than taking a horse drawn carriage through the city streets after the sun has fallen than a horse drawn sleigh through Kuzminki Park.
Thanks to the effects of global warming, snowfall on Christmas day is not 100% guaranteed in Salzburg, but a half-and-half chance of the city receiving snow puts residents and tourists in some apprehension. Snow cover however is, as the ski season is in full flow and the surrounding Alps see a healthy dose of the white stuff a little earlier on in the year. Visit Salzburg >>
credit: Ari Helminen
The often forgotten but infinitely beautiful Tallinn is almost a stone’s throw from Helsinki, which sits directly opposite the Estonian capital on the other side of the Finnish Gulf. When one mentions Tallinn at Christmastime, it’s a little difficult to not think of its legendary 500 year-old market that sets up in the town centre. It is alleged that Tallinn is the birthplace of marzipan, so when browsing the market expect a lot of marzipan-based delicacies.
Like a lot of places in this part of the world, there’s no guarantee of snow unless you head as north as possible. Helsinki however provides ample shelter from the freezing temperatures, not to mention a wonderful backdrop to the occasion. The Christmas Market takes place during the early part of December and, with over 120 Nordic style kiosks, is not to be missed.
credit: Moyan Brenn
It might be one of the world’s most northernmost cities, and therefore quite a likely recipient of a white Christmas, but there are more than a few people who have cottoned on to this. That said, exploring outside of the city and its visitors is a delight, as there is something very special about witnessing the black volcanic wastelands after a light dusting of snow. Visit Iceland >>