Since Christmas is just a week away, I decided to write a post in which I will go through some Christmas related things. Let’s begin with some grammar and then we’ll go on to some useful Christmas vocabulary.
It is conventional to use capital letters with the names of holidays. Therefore, we write Christmas with the first capital letter.
We also use capital letters with personal names, for example:
Santa Clause, Father Christmas, Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary
When writing “Wishing you a merry Christmas!”, only Christmas should be capitalized. The word merry should only be capitalized if it is at the begging, as in “Merry Christmas!”.
The use of articles with Christmas
Normally, we do not use an article with Christmas.
I really like Christmas.
But, we do use an article when we talk about a specific Christmas. For example:
It was a Christmas I’ll never forget.
We also do not use articles with compound nouns containing the word Christmas.
We usually go to church on Christmas Eve.
Christmas as a noun premodifier
First, let me explain what is a premodifier. A premodifier is a word that somehow modifies the meaning of the word that comes after it.
For example, ice hockey. In this example, ice modifies the noun hockey and changes its meaning. If you say hockey, it can mean both field hockey and ice hockey. But if you use a premodifier, in this case ice, and say ice hockey, you specify what type of hockey you are talking about.
The word Christmas is a very common premodifier, so we have combinations like:
Christmas cake, Christmas carol, Christmas card, Christmas Eve, Christmas decorations, Christmas tree, Christmas presents, and many others.
Here is a story for you, in which plenty of Christmas related vocabulary is used.
Every Christmas, Santa Clause (or, in Britain, Father Christmas), a fat, cheerful old man with a long white beard gathers his helpers, the elves, and they make gifts which he then distributes to children all over the world. The night before Christmas, on Christmas Eve, Santa leaves the North Pole with a sleigh (=a kind of carriage) pulled by reindeer (=a kind of deer) called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. That night, children hang stockings (=long socks) at the end of their beds and leave some cookies (=sweet biscuits in special shapes) and a glass of milk for Santa near the fireplace. Santa slides down the chimney and leaves small presents in the stockings and the big ones under the Christmas tree.