So it wasn't a white Christmas.

But if it had been, four-year-old Ricardo Washington Jr. of Adams Morgan would not have been able to ride his new Schwinn bicycle, a red one specially equipped with a banana seat and training wheels.

And Sam (Corpuscle) Wagner, a 20-year-old Exxon station employe who had dyed his hair red and green for the season, would have been unable to wear his new 10-zipper, black leather coat on Connecticut Avenue without a shirt.

Nor would Leslie Rossen, an FTC lawyer, and Ron Ehrmann, an executive with United Brands Chiquita Banana in New York, have been able to wear T-shirts and window shop in Georgetown while holding hands, without gloves, in celebration of their six-month anniversary of long-distance dating.

Currier and Ives be damned. Washington managed Christmas without snow.

Even though the mercury soared to 70 degrees yesterday, still below 1964's record of 72, presents were exchanged and hearty breakfasts enjoyed. And if it was too hot to roast chestnuts by an open fire, there still were the gathering of families and offerings of gift-wrapped love that traditionally mark this season of St. Nicholas.

The National Weather Service said that yesterday's high came at 3:50 p.m. Today's forecast calls for continued mild weather, with highs in the mid- and upper-60s, and a 60 percent chance of rain.

About 40 people skated determinedly at the Sculpture Garden ice rink on Constitution Avenue yesterday. A brine solution under the rink's cement base maintained about 3/4 of an inch of ice, but because of the unseasonable warmth the ice was covered by about half an inch of water.

"We warned the skaters that if they fell down, they were going to get pretty wet," said the rink's asssistant manager, Ken Bossong.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, meanwhile, scores of people came to the black walls to hang Christmas wreaths and pictures of lost sons, fathers and husbands in solemn remembrance during this season of peace.

The city's streets were unusually quiet yesterday afternoon, despite the balmy feel of the weather, a condition that flower vender Remie Abukocole, 32, at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW, found disappointing.

"I wondered why I was the only vendor out here," said Abukocole, whose spirits appeared as wilted as the poinsettias on his table.

"But I guess you have to figure that Christmas is all about families and tradition, not about single men like me who are trying to make a buck . . . . Are there people working today where you work? Maybe you could send some of them over. I could really use some business."

"Corpuscle" Wagner, who hopes to start a punk band some time in the future, said he rather liked the day as it was.

"You know, it's kind of a punk Christmas," Wagner said. "It's perverse."