English Christmas Phrases

We’re just a few more weeks before one of the biggest holidays in the year. Get ready for it with this list of common English Christmas phrases. These phrases are both cultural and language-related and you can see them in newspaper articles as well as hear them in conversations.

Phrases with “Christmas”

As you’d expect, there are a lot of phrases which include the word “Christmas”. Here are five of them:

Christmas lights = these are the lights you see in streets and in people’s gardens.
Expect to see fairy lights (strings of small lights), reindeers and snowflakes.

Christmas tree = this can be real, fake or ornamental.
Traditionally, the tree is decorated, and you’ll find presents underneath.

Christmas decorations = in homes and shops.
These include lights, tinsel (coloured paper-like plastic decorations) and ornaments

Christmas stocking = the large sock that children leave out on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus to fill

a white Christmas = when there is snow on Christmas day
(Very rare in most of the UK!)

Other Christmas phrases

advent calendar = a cardboard calendar for the days December 1 – December 25
This is often in the shape of a house, with windows to open on each day. Many advent calendars have a small chocolate behind the window of each day.

carol singers = people singing “carols”, which are like hymns.
You can hear carols in church, but carol singers also perform in towns or at concerts.

festive season = a general phrase for the Christmas season

nativity play = a play about the birth of Jesus
Primary schools often have a nativity play for parents. Children play all the parts (including the animals).

mince pie = a traditional sweet pie (like a filled biscuit) that people eat during the festive season
Mince pies are made from sweet pastry. Inside is “mincemeat” which is a paste made from dried fruit. Often the dried fruit is soaked in rum or brandy.

midnight mass = the traditional church service on the evening of December 24th.
Expect lots of carols, a few “readings” and a “blessing” from the vicar / priest.

queen’s speech = the TV speech that the queen gives on Christmas Day
The speech is broadcast in the afternoon (after most people eat their Christmas lunch) and before the afternoon film!


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