Christmas in the UK: Vocabulary

It is that time of year in the UK where everyone starts to get into the spirit of Christmas. And what better way to learn more about Christmas in the UK than learn some vocabulary and some other cultural facts. So what do English people think when they hear the word ‘Christmas’? Let’s look at ten different words associated with Christmas.


  1. The first thing people think of when they hear the word ‘Christmas’ is Father Christmas. He is also known as Santa Claus or just Santa. He is a jolly old man with lots of white hair and a long white beard. He rides a bright red sledge in the air and delivers presents to all the good children around the world. So if you want a present for Christmas, you have to be a good boy or girl.

  1. Another image associated with Christmas is Rudolph. Rudolph is a reindeer who has a very bright red nose and drives Santa’s sleigh. There is also a very popular song about Rudolph and his famous red nose. Have a listen. Do you know the words?

  1. Another very well known thing associated with this time of year is the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree is usually decorated by various things to nibble (small things to eat), colourful decorations or lights. We will look at some of these other things and what they are called a bit later.

  1. Tinsel is a very sparkly piece of decoration which is wrapped around a Christmas Tree when being decorated. You never see these at any other times of year and most families keep them in a box and bring them out when it is Christmas. If you live a family in the UK, you could possibly experience decorating a Christmas Tree with tinsel.

  1. Another thing associated with Christmas are Christmas Baubles. These are round and shiny ornaments which are also hung on a Christmas tree. Baubles are sold in many different colours and can be found made from glass, plastic or metal. Much like tinsel, you will not see baubles at any other time apart from Christmas.

  1. A place associated with Christmas is the North Pole. This is because Santa Claus is said to live in the North Pole with his wife, the reindeer and all the Elves (who help Santa make all the toys). If you want to see Santa in the North Pole, it is best you go to Finland and ask around there.

  1. Another thing associated with Christmas is snow. Most families in the UK hope for snow during Christmas (also known as a White Christmas) as it very traditional and most adults remember their favourite Christmas with snow. There have been numerous songs about snow and Christmas with the most famous one called “White Christmas” – check the song out below.

  1. A very popular activity for family during Christmas is to eat all together. There is very specific things eaten during Christmas such as turkey, brussel sprouts, potato and many other things. What do you eat during Christmas? Can you name any of the things above?

  1. Christmas is always a popular time of year when family and friends meet and spend time together. When family and friends meet, they usually exchange Christmas Cards in December. Christmas Cards are a great way to practice your writing in English, so try writing a Christmas Card in English and giving it to a friend.

  1. Christmas presents are gifts wrapped up in Christmas paper (which is very festive and has lots of pictures associated with Christmas) and are then given to families and children to unwrap. Children unwrap them and the contents of the presents are usually a surprise. Some children expect a present from Father Christmas and he leaves any presents under the Christmas tree.

So what do you normally do for Christmas? Do you give presents or gifts to friends and family? What things do you associate with Christmas?

Posted in The LTC Blog, English Vocabulary |