THChristmas idioms

The English language is full of idioms which often confuses and fascinates learners of the language.

Some of the things that we associate with Christmas in the UK, like Christmas trees and eating turkey for our Christmas lunch are often used in idiomatic language. As it’s Christmas, I thought it would be fun to look at some of these.

One of my favourites is;

His face lit up like a Christmas tree.

Christmas trees are often decorated with bright and exciting colours which make you happy when you see it.

If your face lights up like a Christmas tree you look happy and excited.

Christmas comes once a year

With all the lovely food on offer at Christmas, people often overindulge.

When we say Christmas comes once a year, it means that we can enjoy all these things enthusiastically

It also means that we should treat this as a special time and be good to others

Christmas has come early

My research shows that this expression originated in New Mexico.

I’ll let you check out that meaning!

But in the UK, we often use it to say that something good has happened earlier than expected or surprisingly.

We’ve won a very good contract. Christmas has come early this year!

Two of our favourite foods to eat at Christmas, turkey and goose, are used in idiomatic expressions

It’s like turkeys voting for Christmas

This is used to suggest that what you do will have a bad result only for you.

If we accept this proposal, it will be like turkeys voting for Christmas

He’s cooked his own goose, or your goose is cooked

This is attributed to the death of Jan Hus, a Czech priest in the 14 th century. His name is similar to the Czech word husa and he was burnt for his religious beliefs. Hence the expression his goose was cooked.

In modern times it is used to suggest that your own actions cause you problems.

As soon as he told his boss what he thought of him, his goose was cooked

If you have some special idioms for this time of the year, why don’t you share them with us.


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