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As we are in Christmas mode at the moment, I thought it would be a great time to look at some Christmas and Christmas inspired idioms that are in common use. Not all of these are only for use around Christmas time, but some of them can be used all year round. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

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~ Christmas comes but once a year – This is just an excuse to overindulge in food and presents. It basically means that it doesn’t happen often, so let’s have some fun while we can.

~ Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – This means that you should always be grateful to receive a present even if it is not what you wanted or is something that you don’t particularly like.

~ Good things come in small packages – This means that you should not judge the value of something by the size of the wrapping. It can relate to gifts, in that some very small things can be very valuable and worthwhile. However it can also relate to people and in a very Star Wars related way, Yoda said it best “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”

~ It’s the thought that counts – When someone says this it means that no matter how small or insignificant the gift is, the thought behind the gift is the thing that matters the most.


~ Lit up like a Christmas tree – Now, this does have its roots in Christmas, where we decorate the tree with tinsel and flashing lights and make it all nice and sparkly. But, it also has another more sinister meaning whereby when an army attacks a target with everything they have, they are said to be lighting them up like a Christmas tree. It can also be used when someone (usually the police) starting firing at someone with an automatic weapon of some description.

~ The proof of the pudding is in the eating – This means that to fully appreciate something or to rate it, you must experience it yourself. It can often be used with food. Something may look very nice, but ultimately food is made to be eaten and it is the best way to understand how good it really is.

~ Christmas came early this year – This is used when you unexpectedly receive some good news or other good fortune. Most people have to wait for Christmas to get a great present, but every now and again you get that early present that makes you feel like it is Christmas.

~ Cold Turkey – This has nothing to do with eating leftovers from Christmas dinner the next day, but it means that you give up something completely without delay and without tapering off slowly. You just never partake of the thing you have been doing for a while ever again.

As you can see, Christmas has given us many idioms that we can use either during the holiday season or the whole year round. See how many you can recognise this holiday season.

K. Charles

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