“White Christmas,” Irving Berlin’s wistful ode to homesickness, was originally meant to be a parody, according to Jody Rosen, author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song. Inspiration for the song came during the years that Berlin was working in Hollywood. It amused him to watch people celebrating a traditional winter holiday while sunning themselves poolside. So, tongue in cheek, he opened with this:

The sun is shining, 

The grass is green, 

The orange and palm trees sway. 

I’ve never seen such a day 

In Beverly Hills, LA. 

But it’s December the 24th 

And I am longing to be up North.

When Berlin realized that the song had actually turned out to be a sincere expression of the almost universal emotions that are evoked by the Christmas holiday, he had that opening verse suppressed.