Broadcast: December 25, 2004
This is Steve Ember with a VOA Special English holiday program.
Music fills the air. Colorful lights shine brightly in windows. Children and adults open gifts from loved ones and friends. These are all Christmas traditions.
Another tradition is snow, at least in the northern part of the world where Christmas comes a few days after the start of winter. In many places, a blanket of clean white snow covers the ground on Christmas Day. This is what is meant by a "White Christmas."
Of course, many places do not get snow at Christmas. In fact, they may be very warm this time of year. People who like snow, but live where it is warm, can only dream of having a white Christmas.
American songwriter Irving Berlin captured these feelings in his song, "White Christmas." It is one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time.
Over the years, hundreds of singers and musicians have recorded "White Christmas." But the version most people still know best was sung by Bing Crosby.
Songwriter Irving Berlin was born in Russia in eighteen-eighty-eight. He did not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. He was Jewish.
But his song celebrates an idea of peace and happiness that anyone, anywhere -- snowy or not -- can enjoy. To all of you, best wishes this holiday season from all of us in VOA Special English. This is Steve Ember.