It's the most wonderful time of the year. And while Christmas is a time of celebration, it's also a time for Brits and Americans to show their differences once more. Here are five British words and phrases not used in the United States.
1. "Happy Christmas!"
While it is common in Britain to wish someone a merry Christmas, Brits are also known to substitute this phrase for happy Christmas!, which - to the majority of Americans - is inordinately odd.
2. Father Christmas
Once again, it is by no means uncommon for the British to refer to that old jolly bringer-of-gifts as Santa or Santa Claus. However, evidently wishing to underline Santa's inherent paternal qualities, the title of Father Christmas is in widespread use in Britain.
Let it be said that the British are big fans of abbreviating words. Moreover, they have a propensity toward adding an O-sound to the end of said abbreviations; Jonathan becomes Johnno; right you are becomes righto etc. The word Christmas is no exception; some Brits will informally call it Chrimbo.
4. Boxing Day
In Britain (and several Commonwealth countries), Boxing Day is the day following Christmas which serves nowadays as a bank/public holiday. It is named for the boxes that servants and tradesmen would receive from their employers at Christmas. In the United States, not only is December 26 typically just another workday, but the phrase Boxing Day is either unheard of among Americans, or misunderstood.
To Americans, Santa Claus lives--along with his helpers and Mrs. Claus--in the North Pole. If you insist that he resides in a place called Lapland, Americans will probably think you are delving into the world of fairy tales, possibly unaware that Lapland is a region of Finland.
Sometimes, it's better hearing me in a British accent. Click the red button below.