Bing Crosby’s 'White Christmas:' The Story Behind America's Most Beloved Christmas Song

“May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white!” Bing Crosby’s rendition of “White Christmas” is still not only the most popular Christmas song of all time (judged by its 50 million copies sold) but it is the most popular song of all time.  What is it that makes this song so special?

“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, and became so popular the 1954 movie White Christmas was named for the song.  Both movies starred the singer who debuted the song, Bing Crosby.  But “White Christmas” is so much more than a hit movie tune—it has come to be an integral part of Christmas for millions of Americans, from the 1940s up until our own day.

Irving Berlin seems at first glance an unlikely candidate for writing the most beloved Christmas song ever.  He was a Russian-born Jew, but his wife was Catholic and he probably learned some love for the holiday from her.  

As he sat by a hotel pool, Berlin suddenly had an inspiration.  He is famously recorded as exclaiming to his secretary Helmy Kresa, “Grab your pen and take down this song. It’s the best song I ever wrote. Hell, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote!”  

Some people have noted that “White Christmas” has a wistful, almost sad undertone.  To a certain extent that’s true; but the whole magic of “White Christmas” is that is takes people’s sadness and turns it into something both comforting and bitter-sweet.  Irving Berlin’s baby son had died on Christmas.  As said above, Bing Crosby’s first performance of the song was on his radio show the Kraft Music Hall (sponsored by the famous cheese company) on December 25, 1941–only a few weeks after the devastating attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which launched America into the bloody World War II.  Crosby, whose wild popularity and constant tours to entertain troops during the war caused him to be dubbed the “Voice of America”, later said that he sometimes hesitated about performing “White Christmas” to troops, fearing it would make them sad.  The troops didn’t agree.

The truth was, the very pathos of the song made it more charming.  I think we can say that the song helped Irving Berlin deal with the grief of his son’s loss (his comment that it was the best song he ever wrote indicates that truth), and the song helped America cope with the horrors of WWII.  The song reminded soldiers and family at home of loved ones far away, of a better time and place, and blended the longing and sorrow of the present with hope for the future.  The song starts with regret but ends with a wish for and belief in future joy. “White Christmas” was the song America needed.

This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!



Posted by CatSalgado32

Catherine Salgado is a columnist for The Rogue Review, a Writer for MRC Free Speech America, and writes her own Substack, Pro Deo et Libertate. She received the Andrew Breitbart MVP award for August 2021 from The Rogue Review for her journalism.

Homeland Security? What’s That? DHS Neglected to Collect THOUSANDS of Security Cards From Former Employees

What did Biden just say? (Video)