As a child, Wendy Pratt vividly remembers looking out her bedroom window every Christmas Eve with a wish for snow to fall during the night.
Born in Nanaimo in 1947, Pratt's dream came true for the first time when she was 17.
Since 1947, when weather records began being kept for the area, snow has actually fallen on Dec. 25 only five times, says David Wray, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
In the past 65 years, it has snowed on Christmas Day in 1964, 1965, 1971, 1983 and 1990. Records show Dec. 25, 1964 as first white Christmas recorded in Nanaimo with 28 centimetres on the ground by Christmas Day. The white powder also blanketed Nanaimo over Christmas in 1968, 1971, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2008.
Inclement weather hit Nanaimo hard in 2008, with a record-setting 118.4-centimetre snowfall in December, which broke the 111-centimetre record of 1964.
The record snowfall four years ago was also part of the second countrywide white Christmas since 1971.
Although 6.4 C might seem a bit balmy for this time of year, it's only slightly above average. The warmest Christmas on record for Nanaimo was 15.3 C (1980), and the coldest was -12.2 C (1948).
Snow in Nanaimo usually occurs when there is a cold outflow from the Interior, followed by a fairly moist system coming in from the West.
It's still too soon to tell, but statistically speaking the chance this year to celebrate a white Christmas in the Harbour City is 13 per cent, Wray said.
Pratt, now 65, cherishes her winter childhood memories of skating outdoors on the small, shallow lakes of the Nanaimo Golf Course, which used to be at the corner of Second Street and Wakesiah Avenue, or the "hours and days" she spent sleigh riding on Elizabeth Street with dozens of the neighbourhood kids.
She remembers Long Lake being the most popular natural outdoor arena in the 1950s and 1960s, "but that was way out in the boonies so we never got out there," said Pratt of the distance to the lake from her Harewood home.
Even though there were plenty of snow days throughout Pratt's childhood, she always dreamed of "the perfect white Christmas." "Snow was part of the magic of Christmas," said Pratt of the story books and Christmas pictures she read and saw as a child. "Snow was always a part of the whole dream, vision, and mystical part of Christmas and Santa. Snow was the ideal."
But over the years the "magic" of snow has vanished for Pratt.
"I've grown not to like snow over the past 15 to 20 years," she said citing treacherous driving conditions as her main reason.
With her grown children now travelling over the holidays to visit, "I don't want it to snow. Your priorities change."
"But as a kid, I don't think there is a kid out there that doesn't dream of a white Christmas and being thrilled to death when it does snow."
Environment Canada is calling for wet snow Monday morning, "but it's nothing that will stick around," said Wray.
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