holiday season street sign

Happy Holidays! Let’s Improve Your Fluency: Vocabulary for the Season! Podcast Transcript

Happy Holidays, and welcome to another edition of English Makes No Sense, the podcast where we have fun with the English language, one lesson at a time. My name is SL Rockfish, your happy host, and today we are going to get into the spirit of the holiday season. Get into the what? You may be asking?

Audio for Podcast found here.

We are going to get into the spirit of the holiday season with words and phrases that are associated with this time of year: the time around Christmas and the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. No matter how you celebrate it, it is a time to look back on the past year and reflect and make plans for a fresh start to a new year.

Maybe you will need a notebook or maybe you won’t. Just listen and practice with today’s episode. I will put the transcripts and vocabulary list on my website at

Okay, enough of all that let’s get to the vocabulary, Sarah! I hear you!

Our first phrase of the episode is, “Get into the spirit of”. If you get into the spirit of something it means you are actively participating in the enjoyment and goings on that happen around Christmas, New Years or any other celebration. I love to get into the spirit of Christmas. What about you?

At our school we get into the spirit of the season by having special activities such as: dress like a candy cane where everyone wears red and white. We also have “show your Christmas socks day.” Another day we had wear your ugly Christmas sweater day or dress in your Christmas best day. All were designed to help us get into the spirit of the holidays. Don’t celebrate Christmas, no worries we had, Wear blue and white for Hanukkah.” Another day we had “wear all white”, to have a white out snow day. Everyone wore white. All the activities helped our school to get into the spirit of the holidays. What do you do, to get into the spirit of the holidays?

One way to get into the spirit of things is to listen or sing carols. Carols?

I know what you are thinking, isn’t that a name? Yes it is! In fact I have a sister named Carol, but in this case the word carol is:

A traditional festive song, often sung during the Christmas season. Maybe you know some carols. Frosty the Snowman? Jingle Bells? Oh Holy Night or Feliz Navidad to name a few.

I love Christmas carols. My favorite is “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Here is a fun fact: The word carol comes from the old French word carole, with an “e”. Caroles with an “e” were popular dances that were accompanied by singing. Caroles , way back when, were for all seasons, but now we associate them only with Christmas. Why? I don’t know.

Ever heard of the word FESTIVE?

Festive is an adjective. It is associated with celebration and joy, especially during holidays like Christmas. Festive means to have a joyful celebratory atmosphere. The word festive can be used for any holiday. If you are feeling festive, that means you are in the mood to celebrate. You can be in a festive mood on your birthday, Christmas, New Year’s , the list goes on and on! Do you like to be festive? How festive-looking do you like to make your house for Christmas or New Year’s. Do you enjoy being festive for the New Year? I know I do!

You know what makes me feel festive? Hanging a wreath. Hanging a wreath? WHat’s a wreath? A wreath is a fun word. It is spelled W-r-e-a-t-h. The “w” is silent and the “th” is unvoiced. But what is a wreath? A wreath is a circular arrangement of flowers, leaves, or any other material, used as a decoration, especially during Christmas. Some wreaths are large, some wreaths are small. Many people hang them on the door to their apartments or house to help create a festive atmosphere, or to get into the spirit of the holiday! Oh did you hear that. That was a quick review of the first two things we learned today. Wreaths used to be just green, with evergreen branches, when I was a child, but now wreaths can be made from all sorts of things! Many people make wreaths out of only ornaments! Yes, a wreath of ornaments. They are quite beautiful.

Not exactly sure what an ornament is? Ornaments are decorative items used to adorn the Christmas tree. For example, glass balls, little figurines, stars, are all ornaments for a tree. Children love to make ornaments for Christmas. My favorite ornaments are the ones my children made when they were in preschool and kindergarten. The ornaments are made of paper but they have the kids’ pictures on them. I look forward to hanging them every year. What is your favorite ornament? DO you have one?


Our next vocabulary word is Stockings. Stockings are unique to the Christmas season. Now stockings used to be the name given to the nylons or pantyhose women wore, back in the day. I hated wearing stockings! But for the holiday season, stockings have a different meaning. Stockings are large, often knitted, socks that are hung by the fireplace so Santa Claus or St. Nick can come and put treats in them. The stockings that hung by my fireplace in my youth, were made out of cloth by my Aunt Sally. The stockings that are hung by my fireplace now, are also made out of cloth but one is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for my son and the others were purchased at the store. Stockings were hung by the chimney with care… the famous line from, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

You may be asking, what if you don’t have a fireplace? No worries you can hang your stocking anywhere you desire. Santa will find it!


Our next word is definitely Christmas related. The word is mistletoe. Mistletoe has a silent “t” in the middle. People sometimes pronounce it misTletoe. But that is not how it is pronounced. It is mistletoe. Mistletoe is a plant that has white berries. It was used to decorate for Christmas way back in the day, the leaves stayed green for a very long time. The mistletoe plant is actually a parasitic plant but during Christmas the custom was for people to kiss under the mistletoe. That’s why in the lyrics of the famous song it says “…don’t go under the mistletoe with anyone else but me!” I don’t think in today’s environment mistletoe is used in quite the same way. My parents used to hang a mistletoe over the entryway to our living room, but I don’t know anyone who still does that. Do you?


We use countdown on New Years. A countdown is the act of counting backward to indicate the seconds remaining before a significant event, like the New Year. The countdown usually goes like this: 10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Followed by “Happy New Year!” Do you like to count down to the New Year?

Wait, we’re not done yet! Maybe I should have saved the countdown for last, but let me put these sayings to wrap up this episode. Try and use some of these sayings for the season. Are you ready?

Happy Holidays!

We never say “Happy Christmas.” We only use Merry for Christmas. Why I don’t know! Not sure if someone celebrates Christmas? No worries. Use this saying, “Seasons Greetings” or Happy Holidays. Those two sayings cover all holidays.

I like this saying too, and I wish we used it throughout the year: “May your days be merry and bright!” Isn’t that a great saying? It’s a festive way to say I hope things go well for you!

What a great saying. Maybe I will use that more often: May your days be merry and bright!

Well there you have it my friends. A few new sayings and vocabulary to help you feel more confident in talking about the holiday season. I hope you have your stockings hung, your ornaments on your tree, your not stuck under a mistletoe, unless you want to be, and that all the festive feelings enter your life this holiday season. Go out there and get in the spirit, and practice using these words and sayings in a conversation.

Before I leave, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas and may your days be merry and bright! Have a great day friends, Thanks for taking time out of your busy lives to listen!

To English Makes No Sense, the Podcast. Peace friends! Until next time!