How many White Christmases has your city had? See holiday snow history.

WEATHER NEWS: How many White Christmases has your city had? See holiday snow history.


When we depict winter holidays, often they’re accompanied by a blanket of snow. How often does reality match that expectation? Depending on where you grew up, the answer could be often, never, or that one year when you were a kid that you’ll never forget.

The map below shows which areas have been the most snowy on Christmas, between 1940 and 2021. “Snowy” means that either there was measured snowfall on the day, or there was already snow on the ground.

Enter any U.S. city or town (except those in Hawaii) for a more detailed breakdown of how snowy it has been over the past eight decades. You can also select other winter holidays like the first night of Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve.

Share of Christmases with snowfall or snow on the ground since 1940

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100%

If you are looking for a (nearly) guaranteed snowy Christmas, it is hard to go wrong celebrating in Alaska, within sight of Canadian-U.S. border, or near mountain peaks.

If you did not grow up in these particularly snowy spots, you probably had different expectations. Even in cities far to the North, holiday snow can vary a lot from year to year.

Enter your year of birth for a look at which childhood holidays were met with frosty fluff.

There are probably some snowy days you remember better than others — the surprise blizzard that had you stuck on the highway, or the 20-inch drop that shut down school for a day of snowball fights and sledding.

In places where snow is rare, perhaps you lived through the one flurry that did take place. If you are in a city that has not seen holiday snow since 1940, maybe this is the year you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Daily snow records were downloaded from NOAA’s Global Historical Climatology Network daily (GHCNd) database. Each record comes from individual weather station on the given holiday date. For any given area, the records from the closest weather station were used. For cities whose boundaries included multiple records, the city was considered “snowy” as long as at least 35 percent of the city’s area had snowfall or recorded snow depth.

Hawaii excluded from searchable cities, as the proximity of weather stations on the higher elevations skewed the results towards “snowy” for multiple years.

Stations reporting no data for either snowfall or snow depth were left in the data set, meaning some areas may have been ‘snowy’ but the station did not record it. In the case where a station reported neither snowfall or depth, but was surrounded by neighboring stations that registered either, the station was also considered “snowy.” The analysis only includes weather stations with at least 30 years’ worth of data and at least 182 days of recordings within each year, the standard used by NOAA.

The date of Hanukkah in each year is the first evening where the holiday is celebrated.

City boundaries from the U.S. Census Bureau. Shaded relief data was downloaded from Natural Earth.

Editing by Reuben Fischer-Baum. Additional development by Luis Melgar and Harry Stevens.



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