How Americans Wish Each Other Happy Holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.)

Over 70% of the American population identifies itself as Christian. Therefore, there is a strong cultural tradition in the U.S. of Christians (and even some non-Christians) saying “Merry Christmas” to others during and around Christmas time (December 25). This may extend even into the New Year holiday, and some people may say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

Image result for happy holidays

However, over the years the United States has become more diverse, with citizens and residents practicing all the world’s religions. Also, there have been non-Christian communities in the US for a long time, such as Jews from Europe, and Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians from China.

Image result for christmas merry santa    Image result for hanukkah

Usually some time in December, there is a Jewish holiday called “Hanukkah” which arguably started over 2,100 years ago. There is also an increasingly popular American holiday celebrated by some African-Americans called “Kwanzaa” from December 26 – January 1. It celebrates different moral principles from African cultures and religions.

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Because of the great diversity of religions and cultures we can find in America today, as well as the various holidays different Americans celebrate, some Americans today choose not to say “Merry Christmas.” In order to include everyone, they might just say, “Happy Holidays!” It is good to be respectful of people’s unique backgrounds but it is probably also true that when people say “Merry Christmas,” they are really just trying to be friendly and because they are excited about the holiday and special time of year.

Whatever you celebrate (or maybe you celebrate none of these holidays!), we hope you have a great winter and hope you’ll come learn more about American culture at our school!

What Does “Don’t Give Up the Day Job” Mean?

Sometimes someone wants to show off a certain new skill or joke. But what if that skill is not very impressive, or the joke is not very good? Or what if it is a little impressive, but not enough for that person to really boast about? We might say to that person: “Well, don’t give up your day job.” It means, whatever you just said or did, it wasn’t good enough to be a professional!

It may sound like it is a rude comment, but actually most Americans just think it’s a slightly funny comment.

In the case of this cartoon, this spider’s joke isn’t funny enough to make the man laugh. He even says, “Don’t quit your day job.” It means, just keep being a spider. Don’t try to be a comedian because you’re not that funny!!

“‘TIS THE SEASON”: CHRISTMAS IDIOMS JUST IN TIME!

The following list contains numerous English idioms and expressions relating to Christmas and holiday traditions. Some of them are specifically used during the holidays and some can be used any time. More info below!

Bah! Humbug!
= first used by Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, this is sometimes said by people who aren’t fans of Christmas when confronted with holiday well-wishers.

I’m tired of all these Christmas carolers singing at my door! Bah humbug I say!!

Christmas comes but once a year = used as an excuse for over indulgence, whether on food or on gifts, on the basis that it doesn’t happen often. 

Go ahead and have another plate of food! Christmas comes but once a year.

Deck the halls
 = decking (or decorating) one’s hall with branches from a holly tree is an old tradition; the popular carol of the same name began as a Welsh tune dating back to the 16th century

Christmas is in five days and we haven’t put up any decorations yet! It’s time to deck the halls!

It’s the thought that counts = it’s the kindness behind an act that matters, however imperfect or insignificant it may be.(Expression can be used any time of year)

Lit up like a Christmas tree = nothing to do with decorations but used to describe an intense military attack on enemy positions (Expression not actually used for Christmas)

The more the merrier = the more people or things there are, the better a given situation will be (Expression used any time of year)

There’s no time like the present = a reminder that there are things in our lives we can do and accomplish RIGHT NOW with a little hard work (Expression used any time of year)

‘Tis the season to be jolly 
= taken from a Christmas carol, this phrase serves as a reminder to put on a happy face over the festive period (‘Tis is an old method of contracting it and is, but is rarely used these days) (Expression used near and around Christmas time)

Trim the tree
 = nothing to do with cutting, this is an old reference to decorating a pine tree with ornaments, lights and other glittery bits (Expression used during Christmas time)

White Christmas = when it snows at Christmas time (something which happens sometimes in Atlanta but not often)