Popular English Christmas Idioms and Sayings

Christmas is the most popular holiday celebrated in the UK. There are lots of customs and traditions including nativity plays, decorating our homes, singing carols and having a traditional roast turkey dinner on Christmas day. Here are some popular English Christmas idioms and sayings that can be used during the holiday season.

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8 English Christmas Idioms and Sayings

Christmas comes but once a year

As it only happens once a year we should treat people less fortunate than us a bit better in the Christmas season.

Example: Jane went to the charity shop and made a large donation of cash for the homeless people. After all Christmas only comes once a year.

To cancel someone’s Christmas

When a person threatens to cancel someone’s Christmas, it means he/she wants to kill or destroy someone (not literally, of course!) as the dead person will miss Christmas.

Example: If Sam keeps bugging me, I’m going to cancel his Christmas this year.

All my Christmases have come together

To experience an event of extreme good luck or happiness, something happened that you were dreaming about.

Example:  Last week I received an amazing job offer and yesterday my boyfriend proposed to me! It feels like all my Christmases have come together.

To light up like a Christmas tree

Something had a dramatic effect on someone’s mood. Some event or situation made someone very happy.

Example: Sarah saw a box of chocolates on her desk, and she lit up like a Christmas tree.

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Like turkeys voting for Christmas

Turkeys are the favourite choice of food for the Christmas dinner. When people accept a decision which is not going to work out well for them it is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

Example: The teachers agreed to accept the introduction of larger class numbers without any increase in their pay. It was like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

To ring in the New Year

To have a party on New Year’s Eve (31st December) to welcome the New Year. When the church bells ring everyone wishes each other a happy New Year.

Example: May and Christopher invited their friends to their home for a New Year’s Eve party to help them ring in the New Year.

Christmas has come early

Someone gets a welcome surprise they were not expecting.

Example: Jonathan got a letter from his boss on the 1st December telling him that he had been promoted and was to receive a bonus. Indeed Christmas had come early for him.

Bah, Humbug

Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character of Charles Dickens’ novel “Christmas Carol” used this term quite often. This expression is often used in the context of someone who shows a lack of Christmas spirit and ruins other peoples’ enjoyment.

More Information

For more information on English vocabulary words, English idioms and English phrasal verbs, check out the following links:





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