The lack of snow makes Southern California an unconventional place to celebrate the holidays. The music on the radio this time of year focuses on snowmen and sleigh rides, not sun and the Santa Anas. But there are still a few holiday songs out there with Los Angeles in mind.
One of them is the classic "White Christmas."
The sun is shining, the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There’s never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L. A.
But it’s December the 24th
And I am longing to be up north….
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…
It's often ignored, but the beginning of the track makes it clear. "White Christmas" is a song about Los Angeles.
"White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin when he was working in Los Angeles," Mitchell Kezin said. He's the creator of "Jingle Bell Rocks," a documentary about underground Christmas music.
Kezin believes that to remove that line from "White Christmas" is to deprive it of its intended meaning.
"That first verse, which is seldom sung, was dropped from the most famous recording, that Bing Crosby made, of the song," Kezin said. "But it's the whole context in which Irving Berlin wrote the song. The whole point of it was that he was longing for a different kind of holiday himself."
Why so little mainstream holiday music acknowledges Southern California
"Generally speaking, sunny skies and palm trees don't conjure up that old-fashioned, warm, white holiday that we all seem to long for. It's expressed in countless movies, made in Hollywood. But they conjure up and celebrate a Christmas that not too many people have anymore. I suppose we all want escapism at Christmastime.
"You certainly don't need fluffy white snow to have a good Christmas and to celebrate what's important about the holidays, which is togetherness, love, sharing, compassion. All those things are part of a holiday no matter where you are in the world.
"Sitting on the sunny, warm deck drinking a Mai Thai and listening to Christmas music. That's my idea of a great holiday."