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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

White Christmas

Idiom/Expression: White Christmas - a Christmas day when there is snow on the ground. 
There are a lot of people in the United States who associate the holiday season and Christmas with snow, even if they live in a place where it never snows.  There are nostalgic, old time pictures and images on Christmas decorations and cards with snowy Christmas scenes. These snowy images make people think of a simpler time in an ideal world where everything seems perfect. Many people hope for and talk about a white Christmas along with other holiday traditions such as hanging stockings by the fire and decorating a Christmas tree.  In some places, people gamble each year on if there will be snow or not on Christmas day. 

Context #1 – Two roommates are talking about what to do at Christmas time.
Jeff: I really miss New York at Christmas time. When I was a kid, we used to have a white Christmas every year!
Maggie: Wow! You are so lucky! I’ve lived in California my whole life and I’ve never actually experienced snow, except at Disneyland and that was fake snow.
Jeff: Really? That’s too bad. It’s so nice waking up on Christmas morning and looking outside to see everything covered in a blanket of snow! It’s like a picture you see on a Christmas card!
Maggie: Well, Big Bear is not so far away. Why don’t we go there on Christmas day so that I can see the snow for myself and you can get the white Christmas you are missing here in LA?
Jeff: You know, that is a great idea! I guess we will have a white Christmas after all!

One of the most famous Christmas songs in the United States is "White Christmas," written in January of 1940. Many well-known artists have recorded this song and it is still widely played on the radio during the holiday season in the U.S.

Context #2 – Following are the lyrics from the song “White Christmas.” Read along while you watch the video.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

 Meaning: In context 1, the two roommates decide they want to go out of town to a place where it is snowy so that they can have a white Christmas. In the lyrics for the song “White Christmas,” the singer is nostalgic for the Christmases of the past filled with sleigh bells, children, and snow.  He wishes everyone a Christmas like the happy ones he remembers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bah! Humbug!

Idiom: Bah! Humbug!    

Meaning: An expression used to show a negative attitude or disgust about the Christmas season. This expression was made famous by the fictional character Ebinizer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol.'

Context: Watch the following video and read along. Donald Duck is trying to wish his uncle, Ebinizer Scrooge, a Merry Christmas. But his uncle really hates Christmas and wants it to be just a regular day.

Scrooge: It’s just another work day and any jackanapes* who thinks else should be boiled in his own pudding!
Donald: Ohhhhh!!
Mickey: But sir, Christmas is a time for giving. A time to be with one’s family.
Scrooge: I say, “Bah! Humbug!”
Donald: I don’t care! I say, “Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!”
Mickey: Well said, Master Fritz! (clapping his hands)
Scrooge: Cratchit (name of Mickey)! What are you doing?
Mickey: Ah, ha ha,  I was just trying to keep my hands warm, sir.
Scrooge: Humph! And what are you doing here, nephew?
Donald: I’ve come to give you a wreath and invite you to Christmas dinner.
Scrooge: Well, I suppose you are going to have plump goose with chestnut dressing? 
Donald: Yep!
Scrooge: And will you have plumb pudding and lemon sauce?
Donald: Yah, by golly!
Scrooge: And candied fruit with spice sugar cakes?
Donald: Yah! Will you come?
Scrooge: Are you daft**, man! You know I can’t eat that stuff! Here’s your wreath back. Now out, out, out!!!
Donald: Ahhhhhh!
Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!
Donald: (opens the door, puts the wreath on the door knob) Merry Christmas!!
Scrooge: And a bah, humbug to you!

*Jacknape: Someone unimportant but disrespectful in manner
**Daft: Silly or Foolish

Explanation: In this scene, Donald Duck is trying to wish his uncle a Merry Christmas, but his uncle response “bah, humbug,” an expression of disgust about the Christmas season. Instead, he rejects his nephew’s Christmas dinner invitation and gift and throws him out of the office. When Donald comes back and tries one more time to say “Merry Christmas,” his uncles responds with bah, humbug, instead of a Christmas greeting.