by Stephen Andrews (単語・表現リスト by Shigeri Nishide)
Looking forward to Christmas? I am! It’s a great excuse for eating loads of yummy food, drinking far too much wine and overindulging* in telly* watching! Usually, in the UK, the whole family gets together on Christmas Day, although this year Covid makes that difficult. So let’s hope everything’s back to normal next year.
Christmas, Xmas, or Crimbo?
The word Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, the Church service that celebrated the birth of Jesus. But Christmas is also sometimes known as Xmas. The "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Christós*. But “Xmas” is pronounced exactly the same as “Christmas” – not “ex-mas”. You’ll also often hear people abbreviate* Christmas to “Crimbo” in conversation.
Most villages, towns and cities in the UK are decorated with Christmas lights and London is one of the best places to see them. From the twinkling Oxford Street lights to the beautiful decorations in Covent Garden and the shimmering* overhead illuminations on Regent Street. Every year they seem to get bigger and better and often a well-known TV personality or pop star like Kylie Minogue will switch them on at the beginning of November.
The Christmas Tree
In the UK, A beautifully decorated tree is at the heart of Christmas. People add lights, baubles*, tinsel*, ornaments* and a ‘topper’ – a star at the very top – to make a magical display. They might also put up Christmas decorations on the walls of their living room and a colourful holly wreath* on their front door. A whopping* 8 million Christmas trees are sold in the UK every year and 6ft* is the most popular height.
At Christmas time you might see small choirs* in the street singing Christmas carols. A carol is a religious song and popular ones include “Ding Dong Merrily On High” or “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. Of course, there are lots of other popular Christmas songs like “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells” and when you’re out and about, you’re bound to hear pop songs like Wham’s “Last Christmas” or Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody!” playing in every shop!
As everyone knows, Santa Claus is real. He spends all year making presents for every person in the world – that’s about 8 billion gifts! Then, when Christmas comes, he loads up his reindeer sleigh* and flies round the planet delivering them. He’s busier than even Amazon or DHL! His actual delivery method is quite unusual since he has to squeeze down the chimney. So it can be a bit tricky* for him if you don’t have one. Rather than hanging stockings above the fireplace, British children hang them at the end of their bed hoping they’ll be filled by Christmas morning. Of course, they always are because Santa – who, as I say, really does exist – wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone, would he?
Most people in Britain have their Christmas dinner at lunchtime or early in the evening. It’s traditionally a big family affair where everyone tucks into* lots of food and drinks lots of wine and beer – and then falls asleep in front of the TV*. A roast turkey or chicken are the most popular choices as the main dish. These are served with stuffing and gravy, sometimes pigs in blankets*, Yorkshire puddings, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, roast potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts. It’s all finished off with Christmas pudding or “pud”, a plum pudding, served with flaming brandy, custard or cream. You might even have a slice of Christmas cake, usually a fruitcake covered in icing. A typical British Christmas dinner contains billions of calories! But if you’re still hungry after all that, you could also have a mince pie*!
Everyone loves a Christmas cracker! The typical British cracker contains a little gift and usually a very bad joke hidden inside. When pulling a cracker, each person crosses their arms, using their right hand to hold their cracker, and pulls their neighbour’s cracker with their left. The cracker will make a bang and then a small gift will spill out* along with* the joke and a paper crown. These come in bright colours and British Dads totally love wearing them, especially when they’re a bit tipsy (see last month’s blog).
The Queen’s Speech
After Christmas lunch, everyone settles down to watch the Queen’s speech on TV at 3pm. The tradition began back in 1932 with George V. The message typically combines a chronicle* of that year's major events with the sovereign's* own personal milestones* and feelings on Christmas. The speech is recorded a few days prior to* Christmas usually at the Queen’s home in Windsor.
The day after Christmas day is a nationally recognised bank holiday in the UK. Starting in the Middle Ages, Boxing Day was the day when church alms boxes – collection boxes for money – were traditionally opened and the contents distributed to poor people. Although originally a very religious day, Boxing Day is now basically a big shopping day in the UK, when shops have special sales.
There’s so much to enjoy in the UK during the festive season*, so, whatever you’re doing, have a great Crimbo!
overindulge : やりたいことを好きなだけする（やり過ぎるくらい）
telly : テレビ
Christós : Christのギリシャ語。ギリシャ文字ではchの部分がｘになるそうです
abbreviate : 短くする（省略する）
shimmering : ゆれて光っている感じ。私の辞書にある例文、The lake shimmered in the moonlight. が分かりやすいと思います
baubles : クリスマスツリー用の丸い飾りもの
tinsel : クリスマス用の長細いキラキラした飾り
ornaments : クリスマスツリーのBaubles以外の飾り
holly wreath : ヒイラギのリース
whopping : 驚くくらい大きな数値などを表す時に使う
6ft : 約182cm
choir : /ˈkwaɪə/聖歌隊
sleigh : そり
tricky : （複雑だったり、問題が沢山あって何かをするのが）難しい
tuck into : intoの後に来る食べ物を「食べる」
ただ食べるのではなく、喜んだり、ワクワクしながら食べる 6月のブログ（Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside）にも出てきた表現です
the TV : the TVはテレビという物体。テレビ（番組）を見たという時はテレビという物ではなく、テレビ番組を見たという意味なので、I watched TVのようにtheはなし
pigs in blankets: ソーセージをベーコンで巻いたもの
mince pie : ドライ・フルーツとスパイスのパイ
spill out : こぼれ出る、あふれ出る感じ
along with : （他の物と）一緒に
chronicle : 出来事を起こった順番に書いたもの
sovereign : a king or queen（王か女王）のフォーマルな言い方
milestones : (人生などの過程で)重要な出来事
prior to : before
festive season: クリスマスシーズン
Crimbo : クリスマス
topper : tree topper=クリスマスツリーのてっぺんにある星の飾り
carol : 聖歌、賛美歌
Christmas pudding, Christmas cake:
tipsy : 酔っ払っている（Blog: Pub talkにも出てきます）
Boxing Day : Boxing Dayの由来は、このブログにある物以外の説もあるようです
alms box : 教会の献金箱