Talking about Christmas and new year

Talking about Christmas and new yearA short post today to help with conversations you may have over the Christmas and new year period. Look out for the words in BLUE – tap or click them to see a definition!

Tip 1: Using ‘Happy’ and ‘Merry’

In English, we only use ‘Merry’ when talking about Christmas – everything else uses ‘Happy’. Happy new year, happy birthday, happy anniversary etc., but ‘Merry Christmas’.

Tip 2: The Christmas period v Christmas day

Often when talking about Christmas, you need to be clear whether you are referring to Christmas day (December 25th) or the Christmas season. For example ‘What are you doing this Christmas?’ can mean just for a day or for the period around Christmas as well. For many working people, any time from about the 23rd of December to the beginning of the new year can be referred to as ‘Christmas’ as it relates to the period they are not at work. For example: ‘Will you be going away this Christmas?’ – ‘Yes, I’m going to visit some relatives on the 24th and stay with them for a few days, then I’m going to see a friend for a about 4 days’. [simple_tooltip content=’This is often used to refer to something that is correct, but not actually always done. For example… Technically, you should unplug your television at night, but most people do not do so.’] Technically, [/simple_tooltip]the Christmas period extends from December 25th to January 6th.

Tip 3: New year traditions

Many countries have their own traditions for new year (and of course some cultures celebrate new year on a different date entirely), but in most English speaking countries, the new year is focused mostly on December 31st – new years eve. It is common for people to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year. It is common for their to be fireworks, and many English speaking people will sing an old song called ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (see next section).

Tip 4: Auld Lang Syne

This is an old folk song commonly believed to have been written by a Scottish poet named Robert Burns. In fact, Burns [simple_tooltip content=’to COMPILE (verb) – to put something together from a other sources’]compiled[/simple_tooltip] the poem from a number of different sources and set it the music of an old folk song. With the lines ‘Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon’, many people sing this song for friends or family unable to attend or no longer with us.