The Real Meaning Behind “Let It Snow”

It’s snowing, and so to celebrate this first “walk to school in the snow” moment of the year I broke out my favorite anthem of snow celebration, that classic winter song of joy, “Let it Snow.” And never before today had it occurred to me that I’m using it incorrectly. The song does not mean what I think it means. “Let it Snow,” is actually anti-snow.

The clues were all there, right from the very first line. “Oh the weather outside is frightful.” Frightful! How did I not pick up on that? I guess I thought it meant frightful in the same way that Count Chocula cereal is frightfully delicious. You know, frightfully awesome! But no, the snow is not a good thing in this song. We move on from calling the snowy weather “frightful” to saying “I hate going out in the storm.” According to this song, snow sucks. The only good thing about snow is staying inside to avoid it. There go my happy childhood memories, crushed beyond recognition. I have been singing a lie.

So why does this song sound so joyful and exultant? Well, because thanks to the snow, you might be getting some hot lady action. That’s what this is about. While nowhere near as creepy as the terrifying “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” this song is basically one long pick-up line to someone that can no longer avoid you due to the presence of that most foul white powder that has arrived to wreak havoc in your neighborhood.

He starts with a fire (delightful!) and then starts making popcorn, that most romantic of aphrodisiacs (hopefully with movie theater butter flavor), and then moves in for the kissing. In fact, he asks her (or him, I have no idea who lyricist Sammy Cahn was currently into as gender is not specified in the song) to hold him tight all the way home so that he will be warm. Maybe he’ll freeze to death if you do not snuggle him! And do you want his death on your conscience?! I didn’t think so. Now start canoodling! Although, aren’t you on your way home? Who is driving? Aren’t the roads snowy? I feel an accident coming on…

Honestly, how I can sing this song anymore as I am out playing with my kids? It has always been my go-to opening snow song for throwing snowballs, building snowmen, or sledding down gentle hills of packed powder. And all this time I was basically singing “Snow Sucks But I Hope I Get Lucky Because of It!” I can see why, lyrically, Sammy Cahn did not go with this wording as it does not roll off the tongue like “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” But I had no clue what he really wanted rolling off of his tongue when he wrote the words. Now I do. Gross.

So you have been warned. If you look outside on a snowy morning and are excited about the weather, do not sing “Let It Snow.” That song hates snow. Try “Jingle Bells” instead. The people in that song go out and play in the stuff, laughing all the way. Much more family friendly. And when the Jingle Bells guy tries to get some (from Miss Fanny Bride) the sleigh tips over right as he is about to shyly make his move and they end up in a snowbank. Yes, this is much more realistic, as I recall from my dating years. So no more sarcastic “Let it Snow”s. Instead, let’s jingle all the way. Oh, what fun!

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