There are so many opportunities to greet people with joy and happiness during the Christmas season. If someone celebrates the same holiday as you, you can honor them with sentiments of the holiday. If they don't celebrate Christmas, you can still embrace the generosity of the season.
Here are seven classic Christmas sayings and their origin stories.
For such a common saying, it’s easy to forget just how old it is. 'Tis is a contraction for “it is,” and was popular in everyday speech in the 1700s. So, if you want to make the holiday season a little more genteel and old fashioned, this phrase would definitely work.
This salutation is more modern. As Americans have become more inclusive and understanding that not everyone celebrates Christmas, phrases like “season’s greetings” have become popular. When you’re in an environment where people might be celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, this is a welcome acknowledgment. Although it doesn’t have a storied past, it holds an important place for the holiday seasons of the present and the future.
Like many recognizable holiday sayings, this comes from a carol. In the 1500s, when this classic song came about, deck meant to decorate. Original Christmas decorating wasn’t done with lights or tinsel, but with literal branches of pine and holly. Hence the lyric, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
If you want to focus on the religious aspects of Christmas, this is the greeting for you. The phrase “peace on earth, goodwill to men” comes the Bible when a group of angels tells some shepherds about the birth of Jesus. The saying can still be used as an inclusive well wish for the season, but it’s the most righteous phrase on this list.
We’re not looking at English here, but most people still have a general sense of this turn of phrase. It was written in a Scots-language poem by Robert Burns in 1788. It means something like days gone by, or for the sake of old times. It’s most often sung on New Year’s Eve when you’re saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new. It’s bittersweet, exactly how you tend to feel at the passage of time.
This line comes from the famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” written by Clark Clement Moore in the early 1820s. The poem details a visit from Saint Nicholas, telling how he arrives by flying sleigh and comes down the chimney to deliver presents to children. As he flies away he proclaims, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” The poem remains extremely popular, and the phrase has sunk into the cultural consciousness.
Here’s a poetic expression for, “It’s extremely cold outside!” The name Jack Frost actually comes from "Jokul Frosti," who was a frost giant out of the Norse tradition and was the personification of ice and snow. The actual phrase, “Jack Frost nipping at your nose,” is taken from “The Christmas Song” (commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”), made popular by Nat King Cole.
There you have it! This year instead of wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas,” try out a few more colorful holiday options.
Feature photo credit: freestocks.org/ Unsplash