THE festive season is in full swing, but how many of us are dreaming of a white Christmas?

Every year, the soothing vocals of Bing Crosby fill our minds and hearts with the idyllic vision of sleigh bells in the snow.

Christmas cards offer glittery scenes of snow-carpeted streets, featuring robins, snowmen, and Santa going about his annual business.

But what are the chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Met Office has sourced data per region over the past 25 years, to determine what conditions we are most likely to experience on December 25.

And compared to the rest of the UK, our chances of throwing snowballs in the Tyne Valley on Christmas Day is better than most other areas.

The Met Office Research, in conjunction with Barratt Homes, has concluded that snow is most likely in Scotland, which has a 44 per cent chance of a white Yuletide.

The North-East is the second on the list, with a 32 per cent chance.

The researchers have not only looked at how many Christmases have been white over the past quarter century, they have also taken into account the depth of snowfall throughout the festive period.

A Met Office spokesman said: “To work out the likelihood of a white Christmas, the analysis considered how many times snow fell on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and whether any snow was still settled on Christmas Day.

“Analysed this way, if there was snow on the ground but no snowfall on either December 24 or 25, then this still counted as a white Christmas.”

Most Tynedale residents, however, can vividly remember the big freeze in the period leading up to Christmas 2010.

Snow caused chaos for motorists, and as it melted away over the New Year period, the roads were treacherous.

At the time of writing, the weather forecast for a cold, but dry Christmas Day, with a few drops of rain on Christmas Eve.

Rev. John Harrison, who operates a weather station at his home at Plunderheath, near Haydon Bridge, said he had heard nothing from professional meteorologists suggesting a white Christmas this time around.

He added: “I haven’t received any of the warnings I would usually expect if snow was on the way for Christmas.

“This year, the cold spell was early which suggests an easier winter, but this is about as reliable as tossing a coin, so I’m not staking my reputation on prediction.”

Rev. Harrison questioned whether a white Christmas would be as ideal in bygone years, for practical reasons.

He added: “We’re not all just around the houses at Christmas these days. Some people travel long distances to be with relatives, and we need the roads to be clear and safe for driving.”

There remains, however, a hankering for an idyllic, carefree Christmas day, with family walks and opportunities for sledging and building snowmen.

But why have generations of us longed for white Christmases?

Author Charles Dickens wrote prolifically about a snow-smothered Britain, and was probably influenced by his childhood, when several of his early 19th century Christmases were white.

Tynedale last experienced snow in March of this year. According to the Met Office, the UK gets approximately 33 days of snowfall each year and on average it falls 3.9 days each year in December, compared to 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.