English phrases for the holidays!

The Holidays 

The end of December in the U.S. is known as "the Holidays".

The word "holiday" can mean any holiday, from religious holidays to national holidays. However, "The Holidays" means the time around the end of the year. 

One reason that English speakers call this time of year "The Holidays" is to avoid simply calling it "Christmas". "The Holidays" also include holidays from different religions. Christmas is the main holiday celebrated in the U.S., but New Year's Day and the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah also fall around this time of year. There's also an African-American holiday called "Kwanzaa" that only a few people celebrate but sometimes gets included in "The Holidays".

Here are some phrases that are closely associated with the word "holiday":

  • Say "Happy Holidays!" when saying goodbye to someone in late December.
  • You can call this time of year "the holiday season".
  • You can also call it "the Christmas holidays".
  • If a holiday happens on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, that weekend is called the "holiday weekend".
  • If you're giving a gift but you don't want to associate it with the Christian holiday of Christmas, you can call it a "holiday gift".
  • Buying Christmas gifts is called "doing your holiday shopping".
  • A lot of retail stores have holiday sales.
  • People do lots of different things to "get into the holiday spirit", from listening to holiday music to putting up holiday decorations.
  • Some people send out holiday cards to friends, family, and coworkers.
  • A lot of people go "home for the holidays", meaning to the place where they grew up. There's a popular song that made this phrase famous.
  • In general, people like to spend the holidays with people that they love.
  • Families each have their own holiday traditions. For example, some families go to church on Christmas Eve. Some have a big meal with their extended family. Some sing Christmas carols together.
  • You might get invited to a holiday party or two. You might also have a "holiday gathering", which is when closer friends or family get together.
  • Christmas is a religious holiday, while New Year's is a secular holiday for most Americans.
  • The feeling of happiness that you get around this time is called "holiday cheer".

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