I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Like Bing Crosby in his iconic song “White Christmas”, many people dream of a snowy holiday season – complete with gently drifting snowflakes, frost-dusted evergreens, and the magic of twinkling lights. Snow, it seems, is as inseparable from Christmas as the cherished Christmas tree itself. Its soothing blanket covers everything, slows down the pace of life and makes for an idyllic, contemplative atmosphere.

The question of whether there will be a white Christmas is one that arises every year – even as Basel has seen some 70 green-grey Christmases since 1931. The most recent white Christmas was in 2010. Given the effects of climate change, it is unlikely that snow will become a more frequent feature of the festive season, but the longing remains.

Neither the Bible nor the Koran mentions snow at the birth of Jesus. The popular notion of a white Christmas took shape through poems, songs and postcards. Snow motifs became popular in the mid-19th century. At the same time, there was a trend to travel to the snowy Alps for the Christmas holidays, adding further to the association of yuletide with snow.

In addition to white ornaments from the Christmas decoration collection, numerous porcelain Snowbabies, and historical postcards, the exhibition will feature a selection from the snow collection of Swiss artist Silas Kreienbühl.