Blame Bing Crosby. For 70 years now, Canadians have been yearning for a "White Christmas." Yet a snowy Christmas morning is anything but a sure thing in many parts of Canada - and this year's no exception.
Crosby first performed his seasonal icon on Christmas Day 1941, on a network radio show heard across the U.S. and Canada. A year later, his recording of the Irving Berlin composition was topping the hit parade.
And millions have been counting on sleigh bells ringing and tree-tops glistening as part of their family celebrations ever since. But realistically, what are the chances?
Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips warns they're slim in many parts of the country.
"It's one of the things where we're seen united as Canadians, in wanting it to be a white Christmas," he says in his annual Christmas prediction.
"We are known as the Cold White North. But I don't think we're as cold and white as we once were."
Only 65 per cent of Canadians can hope for a white Christmas these days, he points out, compared with 80 per cent as recently as the 1980s. Blame that on global warming.
And if there is snow, Phillips says, it's more likely to be a picturesque "dusting" than a punishing dump.
Though Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary have received their share of snow this fall, Lethbridge - and many other southern communities across Canada - remain basically bare. Despite brief flurries this week, the Lethbridge region isn't likely to see another opportunity until Friday. For Sunday and Christmas Eve, the Environment Canada forecast offers at best a 30 per cent chance of some snowfall.
To count as a "white Christmas," meteorologists look for at least two centimetres on the ground.
At the Weather Network, meanwhile, forecasters see at most a 40 per cent chance of any snowfall on the days leading up to Christmas. If it arrives, they add, expect from one to three cm at the most.
This year's chances may be better than 2013 and years to come, Phillips points out. As the world's climate continues warming, snowfall could keep on diminishing.
So Canadians who actually get a white Christmas may want to take plenty of photos.
"The lesson for this is if you get one, embrace it, enjoy it because it is something that future generations will have to be dreaming a little harder to get," Phillips says.
"We know the future is warmer, with less snow."