I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Spielzeug Welten Museum
Until February 4

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. Basel has seen some 70 green-grey Christmases since 1931, and 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.

This year’s Spielzeug Welten Museum’s holiday exhibition addresses this yearning for a white Christmas. In addition to white ornaments from the museum’s Christmas decoration collection, numerous porcelain snowbabies, and historical postcards, the exhibition will feature a selection from the snow collection of Swiss artist Silas Kreienbühl.