Christmas Magic Words and Films

The Christmas Blog 2020. 20+ Holiday Words & Phrases & Links to Christmas Movies and Movie Trailers, Old and New-ish ;-). Enjoy!

“Ho ho ho.” The sound of Santa’s laugh. Santa is a jolly fellow, and while you may say “ha ha ha” or “he he he,” he says “ho ho ho.”

Santa Claus. Also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a traditional figure derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas, who brings gifts to good children on Christmas Eve.

Mrs. Claus. Santa’s wife, who lives with him at the North Pole and helps him with his yearly project. She is probably the real brains behind the whole international operation, but he gets all the credit.

Santa’s sleigh. The airborne, magical sled that Santa uses to deliver gifts. It is pulled by reindeer. In modern times, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is the most famous animal on the sled team. Rudolph guides the team with his glowing red nose.

Donder and Blitzen, two more of Santa’s reindeer. (= NL donder and bliksem = ENG thunder and lightning). The hard-working reindeers’ names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen. The names come from the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Clarke Moore. 

Naughty or nice. Santa wants to know if a child has been naughty (badly behaved) or nice (well behaved) in order to decide if he will bring that child gifts.

Grinch. A grouchy, selfish and mean-spirited person. This word was popularized by Dr. Suess in his beloved book, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (1957) and later in the film.

A White Christmas. A Christmas with a lot of snow. “White Christmas” is also the title of a classic American Christmas movie of the same name. (1954)

Christmas Eve. The evening and night before Christmas.

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Roast turkey with all traditional Christmas side dishes and desserts such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and apple pie. (Note: this lineup is pretty American.) The British or Canadian menu may add ham, “pigs in blankets,” Yorkshire pudding and other yummy items.

Bah humbug! A dismissive phrase used to express disdain for Christmas or anything festive. This phrase was popularized by Scrooge, the central character in the classic Charles Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol.” There are several film versions, but I recommend the old ones.

Boxing Day. This is the day after Christmas (which is a public holiday in Britain). Americans do not use this term or observe this day. The origin of the term is in depute, but it may mean a gift or money for someone who has provided the giver with a service during the preceding year.

Good things come in small packages. A small present may be better than a big one. This idiom can also be used as a personal compliment to a short adult or a small child.

It’s the thought that counts. The kindness behind a gift is what’s important, even if the gift itself is disappointing.

The more the merrier. The more people at a party or event, the more fun it will be.

Deck the halls. To festively decorate your home. Also a well-known Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls.”

To trim the tree. To decorate the Christmas tree.

Layaway. To buy a gift with installment payments to the merchant. This was popular in the days before the widespread use of credit cards.

Eggnog. A rich, cold Christmas drink make with milk, cream, eggs, sugar and a liquor, such as rum or bourbon.

Tree topper. The special item you place on top of the Christmas tree. Often a star or angel.

To be “lit up like a Christmas tree.” This means to look so happy that one appears to be glowing or sparkling.

To go caroling. When a group goes door to door singing Christmas carols (songs and hymns). The carolers do not enter the homes and stand on the sidewalk or stairs in front of the homes.

Xmas. (also X-mas) is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Christós (Χριστός), which became Christ in English. The suffix -mas is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass. There is a common misunderstanding that the word Xmas was invented to obscure the religious associations with the holiday. The word Xmas dates back to the 16th century.

Finally, here are the links to a few of our favorite Christmas movies and movie trailers. Enjoy!

White Christmas 1954 full movie

How the Grinch Stole Christmas original animated version clip

Christmas Vacation 1989 trailer

Scrooge 1935 full movie

A Christmas Carol 1951 full movie

A Christmas Story 1983 trailer

Bad Santa 2003 trailer

Home Alone 1990 trailer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 1948 restored HD animated full movie

The Miracle on 34th Street 1947 full movie

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