Will Scotland get a white Christmas in 2019? When we've had snow before – and when it will snow this year

The idea of a “White Christmas” originally comes from Charles Dickens who drew upon his fond childhood memories of snow-covered Christmases when writing many of his tales.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 3:35 pm

The idea has since been continually reinforced through Christmas songs like Bing Crosby's “White Christmas” and Dean Martin's “Let It Snow”.

Years of Christmas movies, TV specials and ad campaigns featuring great heaps of white stuff have also contributed to the idea, to the point where the prospect of a “White Christmas” is now excitedly anticipated each year.

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The Scottish Highlands are no stranger to snow, hence the fluffy coos. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Here are the facts behind the fiction, according to the Met Office.

What qualifies as a “White Christmas”?

While we might think of a “White Christmas” as a day where every surface is covered in six inches of snow, the official measure is a lot more forgiving.

By the Met Office's standards, if a single snowflake is found to fall during the 24 hour period of Christmas Day, it can be termed a “White Christmas.”

Scotland doesn't always get a "White Christmas" but it does better than the rest of the UK. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Originally, the Met Office building in London was the only site used to monitor for snow at Christmas. However, as more and more people have taken to placing bets on the subject, the number of locations used has increased to include places like Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

Data from stations around the UK is also analysed to provide a complete report on everywhere snow fell or lay on Christmas Day.

How often does Scotland get a “White Christmas”?

Most of Scotland's snow actually arrives after Christmas, as this unfortunate April driver found out. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Going by the Met Office's definition, we get them fairly often – some part of Scotland has enjoyed snowfall on Christmas Day 37 times since 1960.

However, our fairytale notion of a “White Christmas” with widespread snow has never been a common occurrence in the UK.

There has only been widespread snow covering the ground across the UK (as in being reported by more than 40% of stations) four times in the last 51 years.

When was the last White Christmas?

The last real, Hallmark Movie-quality “White Christmas” in Scotland came back in 2010 when 83% of the UK's stations reported snow lying on the ground during Christmas Day.

This was the most ever recorded in the UK.

Oddly, this was actually the second “White Christmas” in a row – 2009 saw 57% of stations reporting snow on the ground.

Scotland also holds the honour of having experienced the whitest Christmas in the UK's recorded history when 47cm of snow fell on Christmas Day of 1981.

Technically, 2015 was also one as 10% of UK stations reported snow falling during Christmas Day, but there were no reports at all of it lying.

Will there be one this year?

The Met Office predicts that Scotland will both be without snow on Christmas, with the forecast predicting a cold and cloudy day across the nation, with the chance of rain in some parts.

In truth, the UK is actually miuch more likley to get snow at the beginning of the year than around Christmas time.