"White Christmas" is a song written in 1940 by Irving Berlin, and released in 1942 by Bing Crosby. It is also the name of a 1954 movie, and an album by Bing Crosby which was originally titled Merry Christmas.
The song was first introduced in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, released August 1942, which was a musical about an inn which was only open on 12 holidays each year. Despite its original August release, Holiday Inn became popular as a Christmas movie, because of the Christmas portion closing the film, and because of the popularity of the song "White Christmas".
"White Christmas" was also recorded by Bing Crosby that same year, and topped the charts in October 1942. In 1947, Bing Crosby re-recorded the song and re-released it. It has re-entered and often topped the charts many years since during the December Christmas season. It is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as having sold more than 50 million copies as a single, making it the best-selling single of all time in the United States.
In 1954, the movie White Christmas was released, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. The movie was a re-make of Holiday Inn, albeit with a specifically Christmas setting and theme (as opposed to the many-holidays-throughout-the-year setting of Holiday Inn), as well as a backstory set during World War II. It featured the Bing Crosby recording of "White Christmas" as well as other Irving Berlin songs, and remains a classic Christmas favorite.
The song "White Christmas" also appeared on the album Merry Christmas by Bing Crosby. This album was originally released in 1945 as a 10-song 78 rpm set of records, and re-released in 1947 with the re-recorded version of "White Christmas". In 1955 a 33-1/3 rpm album of the same name was released, which included the original ten tracks plus four new tracks (easily recognizable by their different, more jazzy and upbeat sound). This album has remained in print to the present and is available on compact disc; in the 1990s the album was re-titled White Christmas, with the same content as the 1955 album. The album is notable for its Christian content (including such hymns as "Faith of Our Fathers", reflecting Bing Crosby's Catholic faith), in contrast to today's mushy attempts at secularizing and multicultularizing the Christmas holiday season.
In popular culture
The term "white Christmas" refers to any weather event which leaves snow on the ground on Christmas Day, especially in areas where snow is generally rare. A notable snowstorm happened on Christmas Eve in 2004, leaving snow on the ground the following Christmas Day in Brownsville, Texas (the first recorded snowfall, other than air flurries, since 1899), Corpus Christi (5.2 inches, more snow than had been recorded at any time in all previous years combined), and Victoria, Texas (a remarkable 13 inches, given that Victoria is only 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico). Houston and New Orleans also had snowfall on the ground.