As the song goes, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”! (If you don’t know that song, look it up and have a listen – I love it.)
In the UK, Christmas is a huge festival and most people have a few days holiday when we get together with friends and family to eat, drink and be merry!
So, to celebrate this time of year, here are some Christmas-themed idioms and expressions that you can use with your English-speaking friends…
1. All your Christmases coming at once
We use this expression when something really great happens to us – at any time of year.
For example, we can say, “When I met my husband for the first time, it was like all my Christmases had come at once. He was everything I ever wanted in a man”.
Can you think of an amazing time in your life when it was like ‘all your Christmases coming at once’?
2. A white Christmas
We use this expression when there is snow on Christmas Day.
You may think from TV and films that it always snows in the UK at Christmas time, but I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen snow on Christmas Day!
Of course, every year most people hope for a ‘white Christmas’ to add to the magic of the day, so fingers crossed that it will snow at Christmas time this year…!
3. Be there with bells on
We can use this idiom at any time of year to mean that we are excited or enthusiastic about going somewhere.
For example, Person A: “Are you coming to my concert tonight?”
Person B: “Of course – I’ll be there with bells on!”
(Of course, as this is an idiom Person B will not really be wearing any bells! Just to be clear…!)
4. All the trimmings
We usually use this expression to talk about our Christmas dinner – “roast turkey and all the trimmings”. In this case, the trimmings are all the extra bits of food that we eat with turkey such as roast potatoes, cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, gravy, stuffing, etc…. I don’t know about you, but writing this is making me hungry!
Although it is most commonly used like this, we can also use ‘all the trimmings’ in other situations, for example “We got married with all the trimmings”. This means a wedding with everything included such as a champagne reception, speeches, dancing, decorations, a big 3 course meal, etc…
So would you prefer a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings or something more simple?
5. It’s like turkeys voting for Christmas
If you read my blog last week, you’ll know that I wrote about Brexit. Well, this idiom has actually been used quite a lot in the news recently in relation to Brexit!
This idiom means voting for, or choosing something, that is bad for you or against your interest.
For example, in the North-east of England most people voted to ‘Leave’ the EU. However, it looks like if we do leave the EU the North-east of England is one of the areas which will suffer the most economically/financially.
So, we can say that people in the North-east voting to leave the EU was like turkeys voting for Christmas. If turkeys vote for Christmas, they get eaten for Christmas dinner; if people in the North-east vote for Brexit, they have less money.
6. Secret Santa
This is an expression to mean a Christmas present that we give anonymously or secretly.
For example, in the UK when we have our work Christmas party, we choose a name out of a hat and that person is the recipient of our Secret Santa gift. We then have to go shopping to find a cheap gift (usually for £5) for that person.
They should never find out who gave them the gift!
I really enjoy Secret Santa… do you have anything like this in your country?
7. Don’t be such a Scrooge!
A Scrooge is a person who hates spending money.
The name comes from a famous story called ‘A Christmas Carol’ which was written by Charles Dickens. In the story, the character loves his money more than people and has no friends but then changes his mind by the end of the story and realises that friends and family are more important than money.
Do you know someone who could be called a ‘Scrooge’?
8. Going cold turkey
This idiom is not actually very Christmassy at all! It is talking about someone who is addicted to something like alcohol, smoking or drugs. When this person quits using the substance they can do it gradually – step by step – or they can do it cold turkey.
If you are a smoker for example, you could buy some nicotine patches or e-cigarettes first to help you stop smoking cigarettes. Or you could just stop smoking one day and never use anything else containing nicotine again. This is ‘going cold turkey’.
Have you, or has anyone you know, ever gone cold turkey? Were you, or were they, successful?
I hope you enjoyed learning about these Christmas idioms and expressions! As always, if you have any questions about any of these, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.