25/11/16 Vocabulary about Christmas
We didn’t make it in time to provide you with vocabulary about Thanksgiving (It was yesterday). So, well in advance, here’s some vocabulary about Christmas!
The names of days and times around Christmas
These names and expressions are used to talk about different times in the Christmas period.
- Christmas Day: in the UK, December 25th, the day when presents are exchanged and feasts are had by all
- Christmas Eve: the day before Christmas
- Boxing Day: the day after Christmas Day
- Advent: the 24 days leading up to Christmas (Dec 1st to 24th); advent is used more generally in English to mean the arrival of something important
- Christmas time: loosely describes the time around Christmas – usually the weeks surrounding the day, sometimes used to mean all of December, or sometimes a few days around (also, even more loosely, the festive period)
Vocabulary using the word Christmas
Many words in English form popularly understood collocations with Christmas: Christmas crackers, Christmas carols, Christmas cards, Christmas trees and many more. At this time of year, even without the word Christmas before them, these words will be understood in a festive context – but all the following words could be seen with Christmas in front of them:
- crackers: colourful card or paper tubes that people pull apart with a loud snap or bang. Usually containing a joke, a gift and a paper crown.
- carols: traditional songs about Christmas, often religious, such as Silent Night. A Christmas Carol is also the name of a popular Charles Dicken story set at Christmas.
- cards: Christmas cards are greetings like birthday cards sent to family and friends to offer seasons greetings.
- presents: the gifts given on Christmas Day (or around the holiday)
- decorations: the various bright and cheerful objects put up around a home at Christmas
- tree: evergreen trees, or artificial ones, are put up in houses around Christmas, often with fancy decorations
- ornaments: decorations put around the house or hung on the Christmas tree
- wreath: a circle of flowers or leaves hung on doors as part of the decorations
The following expressions should be used with the word Christmas, otherwise the meaning will be unclear:
- Christmas pudding: the Christmas pudding, specifically, is a special fruit and alcohol pudding that is only really eaten at Christmas
- Christmas cake: normally a heavy fruit cake covered in white icing
- Christmas spirit: the idea of being kind and generous in joining with the general mood of the time of celebration
- white Christmas: the idea that there will be snow on Christmas Day
- Christmas lights: public light displays that are put up over the period, for instance in town centres
- Merry Christmas: a traditional greeting used to celebrate the day
- Christmas song: songs related to Christmas (or at least popular around the time) – often a large part of Christmas, with music continually played and pop artists releasing themed tunes
Christmas Number One: the song that is top of the charts on Christmas day; the seasonal songs all race for this title!