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.

Image result for kwanzaa

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 “the lion’s share” mean?

“The lion’s share” is an expression that means most of or the majority (but not all).

It is a somewhat formal expression suitable for workplace and academic writings and presentations.

Examples:

“The eldest son received the lion’s share of the inheritance.”

“Without a doubt, Kathleen, who has served as my advisor over these past five years, deserves the lion’s share of my gratitude.”

lion

USING FLASHCARDS FOR VOCABULARY ACQUISITION

Do you need to learn new words in English, maybe for a test (like TOEFL, GRE, GMAT) or because you just want to improve your vocabulary?

One effective way is to self-study using flashcards as a starting point. (Eventually you want to try writing these words in sentences and even use them in real life.)

What is great about flashcards is that you can decide what information you want. It could simply be a word (on side 1) and a simple definition (on side 2), either in English and/or your native language. Often, pictures work better than definitions. Look at Google Images to give you ideas. Other types of info you may want to include are: pronunciation; part of speech (e.g. verb, noun, adjective, etc,); synonyms & antonyms; example sentences; and more.

Try starting with ten new words. Look at the word and the information several times for a few days. Then look at the definition. Can you guess the word? Or try looking at the word and see if you can provide the definition. Constantly review old words and keep adding new ones.

Again, you can do this alone, or even with a partner who can motivate you, help you, or correct you.

Want more advice from us? Just ask!!