Still Hoping for a White Christmas, Texas-Style

FIRST PERSON | I am a resident of Midland, Texas, a small city near the 90-degree corner where Texas and New Mexico meet. Our city thrives on the petroleum industry and is located in the Permian Basin region of the state, gracing it with a horrific lack of anything resembling water or terrain. Most of the year, the flatness of my home town is combined with incinerating temperatures and a decided lack of rainfall.

This year, with the crippling Texas drought, Midland has been dry as a bone.

My goal this holiday season is snow. Lovely snow.

As a kid, all I wanted was a white Christmas like those in my favorite Christmas movies: Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story all featured glorious snow on Christmas mornings. The Polar Express and Miracle on 34th Street all had lots of… you guessed it… snow! Even the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen featured veritable acres of the white stuff.

A Hollywood Christmas, a Norman Rockwell Christmas, a Madison Avenue Christmas, and a Coca Cola Christmas (complete with Santa Claus and polar bears) all look nothing like the dry, snowless, 60-degree Christmas mornings afflicting my hometown.

I am 26 and have never experienced a white Christmas here. But, instead of having sad memories of lacking snow, my hope springs eternal: Perhaps anticipation is better than possession?

As the person with the most holiday cheer in my family, perhaps my desire to help make perfect Christmases stems from the fact that, as a west Texan, I have yet to experience one. And, dadgum it, I’m going to make sure each Christmas is good until the Snow Gods smile upon me and add a white Christmas to whatever holiday goodness I’ve already built.

So I make sure things are decorated, the Christmas lights are resplendent, and holiday refreshments are in easy reach. Someday the snow will come! An arctic blast, timed just right, will hit us the afternoon of Dec. 24 and linger for a bit, wringing every bit of icy moisture from impressive clouds.

My favorite snow memory occurred when, as an eighth grader at Goddard Junior High, I got to watch a December 1998 snowstorm dump about 10 inches of wet snow on Midland. My cul-de-sac, elegantly Christmas-lighted as always, looked beautiful in the falling snow as the lights twinkled. Like something out of a Christmas movie.

The deepening snow made it feel like the entire city had been transported northward, giving the entire experience a somewhat magical aura. This could not be humdrum ol’ Midland, Texas — there was SNOW! And real snow, too, courtesy of El Nino, amounting to almost a foot instead of a measly inch or two (the Midland norm for its semi-annual snowfalls).

Too young was I to fully enjoy the romance and majesty of a snowy December evening, but next time around I will be prepared.

Two years ago, during Christmas 2009, the city of Lubbock, only 115 miles north of Midland, got a white Christmas. I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2011 is Midland’s year. My Christmas lights will be up, my firewood prepared, my wreaths and decorations hung, and cookies and eggnog will be ready for consumption… with the Snow Gods smile upon me?

Only time will tell.

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