It’s getting to be that time of year when children close their eyes and fantasize about an old, fat man breaking into their house while they sleep naïvely in false security in their bedrooms.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” the man says to himself as he places consumer goods under a tree that for some reason has been moved to their living room.
Wait. Perhaps he says “Ho ho ho!” instead. Just how many exclamation points does this slavemaster of reindeer use?
Let’s turn to the authorities. Here’s what Merriam-Webster has to say:
There you have it. Three hos and one exclamation point.
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas (etc.) to you!
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It’s that time of year again. Red and green decorations line the streets and shop windows. Store clerks wrestle with the eternal question of whether to wish you “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” And here in Minnesota, it looks like a real-life snow globe.
Today I’m writing about some common Christmasy misspellings, so you can write your holiday cards and family newsletters with peace of mind (and peace on earth).
- Christmastime is one word.
- Ho! Ho! Ho! has exclamation points after each one.
- Santa Claus has no E at the end.
- Noël, the French word for Christmas, has an diaeresis over the E, if you want to be especially traditional. Though, “Noel” is also an accepted spelling.
- Xmas does not have a hyphen after the X.
And if you want to add some international flair to your season’s greetings, here is how to say “Merry Christmas” in other languages:
- Danish: Glædelig Jul
- French: Joyeux Noël
- German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
- Italian: Buon Natale
- Spanish: Feliz Navidad
- Swedish: God Jul
Take a look at this turkey wearing his fancy suit. Those ruffles work well on his figure, don't you think?
If you’re like me, you’ve been spending the last two weeks in a feverish race to finish end-of-the-year work projects, purchase Christmas presents, and get everything sorted so you can enjoy the most Martha Stewart-worthy holiday. The result: not enough sleep, short tempers, and general humbuggedness.
Perhaps we are like turkeys voting for an early Christmas.
This is my favorite Christmas-related idiom. As the second edition of the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary explains, this idiom is used mostly in Britain and Australia (where the people tend to have a perverse sense of humor more aligned with my own). To explain this idiom: if a person is like a turkey voting for an early Christmas, they accept a situation that will yield very bad results for them. The saying uses turkeys because they are a favorite cooked dish at Christmas dinners. Get it? Like turkeys voting for an early Christmas. Ha!
Since this common pre-holiday rampage so many of us get involved in tends to yield the bad results I mentioned earlier, I think it’s fair to use this idiom.
Here are more turkey-ish examples:
When Zowie signed up to organize the humongous family reunion, she was like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.
The exasperated science teacher signed up to take on two more classes. Boy, he’s like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.
Santa has been too busy drinking spiked eggnog to make his lists and check them twice—just like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.
So, are you feeling like a turkey this time of year? Maybe using this idiom (and perhaps shouting it very loudly in crowded shopping malls) will make you feel better. Otherwise, you can always feel free to vent to me.