29/11/16 Christmas vocabulary that doesn’t include the word Christmas
These words and expressions don’t come with the word Christmas, but are all related to the time of year. These are loosely grouped into general themes, so dip in and out as you choose!
Decorations and traditional items/food
- angel: a traditional symbol of the time, angels are particularly featured as decorations on top of Christmas trees.
- tinsel: glittering streamers hung as part of the decorations.
- fairy lights: lines of small electric lights used for decorations.
- wrapping paper: paper used to wrap Christmas gifts, usually with Christmas themes.
- snowman: a figure made from snow, a symbol of the time of year.
- season’s greetings: an expression said to share goodwill with others around Christmas time; the season in this case referring to the Christmas period.
- mistletoe: a seasonal plant that is hung over doors; traditionally, people are supposed to kiss if they meet under a piece of mistletoe.
- Xmas: an abbreviated form of Christmas.
- mince pies: small sweet pies filled with mincemeat.
- gingerbread: special dough made with ginger, often for men or house shaped snacks.
- egg-nog: an alcoholic egg-based drink drunk at the time of year.
- Santa Claus: (also Father Christmas, St Nicholas, St Nick, Chris Crimble and a few others!) the big jolly fat man in a red suit who delivers presents to children
- sleigh: a (usually) wooden cart dragged over snow or ice, the transport Santa Claus uses (his one can fly).
- reindeer: deer from the Arctic circle typically associated with Santa Claus (they pull his sleigh).
- chimney: a flute going from a fireplace to the roof, to let smoke out of a house – where Santa normally sneaks in.
- fireplace: an area in a house for a lit fire, where decorations may be left and stockings hung.
- elves: small magical people who help build presents for Santa to give away
- North Pole: the cold place in the Arctic Circle where Santa is said to live (also Lapland).
- stockings: large red socks hung over the fireplace, which are mysteriously filled with presents on the night of Christmas Eve…
- ho ho ho: the distinctive laughter of Santa Claus.
- secret Santa: a randomized gift-giving tradition, where people give each other one present each chosen by names picked out of a hat.
- nativity scene: the traditional image of Jesus Christ’s birth (in a stable with various visitors!).
- three wise men: the traditional three kings who visited Christ at his birth
- the Star of Bethlehem: the idea of the start that guided the wise men to find Jesus.
- a manger: the crib that Jesus slept in, usually the focal part of the nativity scene.
- midnight mass: a special religious Christmas ceremony held on Christmas Eve, into midnight to start celebration as the day begins.