5 Popular English Christmas Phrases with Meanings and Examples


You will hear people using different English sayings to describe the Christmas festivities that you may not understand, especially if you are in the UK during Winter!

Prepare yourself for the holiday season with these seasonal expressions and idioms. An idiom is a group of words whose meaning is different from the meaning of the individual words.

Let’s have a look at 5 English phrases that you can use at Christmas time!

1. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”

Meaning:You only know how good something is when you experience it yourself. The “pudding” is a traditional dessert eaten at Christmas.
Example:A: “Should I go to Cardiff? I heard it’s the best place to study”

B: “Yes, I had a great time there but the proof of the pudding is in the eating”

Christmas Pudding

2. “It’s the thought that counts”

Meaning:This is used when you receive a present which is not suitable, but it’s the kindness behind it which is important
Example:“My neighbour gave me a jumper for Christmas. It isn’t my size but it’s the thought that counts”

Christmas Jumper

3. “Good things come in small packages”

Meaning:The size of something doesn’t determine its value
Example:“Cardiff is the smallest capital city in Europe but good things come in small packages!”

Small Christmas Gift

4. “Bah! Humbug”

Meaning:These words are said in a jokey way by someone who doesn’t enjoy Christmas. They were originally spoken by the mean character Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol”
Example:A: “Do you like Christmas music?”

B: “Bah! Humbug”

Bah! Humbug

5. “The more the merrier”

Meaning:The more people involved in an activity, the more enjoyable it is
Example:A: “Can I invite Greg and Grace to your Christmas party?

B: “Yes, the more the merrier”

Christmas Party

Practice using these sayings with your friends this Christmas.

Have you heard any other festive phrases? Comment below with your Christmas expressions!

Author: Sally

English Teacher at CELT

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