Discover Some Christmas Idioms While We Learn English Speaking Ep 285

An out of focus photograph of a modern living room with lots of bokeh from Christmas tree lights, used to help explain English Christmas idioms.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

🎈 Updated On:

💬 1958 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 10 min

📥 Download 6.5 Mb

Learn English Speaking

It’s nearly Christmas, and the UK is in full on shopping frenzy, it seems the commercial side of Christmas is bigger than ever. As we come to a close of 2019, we thought some English Christmas idioms might interest you while you learn English speaking.

Note: Just in case you've not heard of frenzy, it means "A temporary madness".

We’ve kept the list of idioms nice and short, just 3, there are so many more, but as usual to give you maximum value we’ve only picked the most common, and the most useful. Something you might use in an everyday English conversation.

As always, you will benefit most from this lesson if you listen to it several times. Repeat listening, spaced repeat listening, is important for getting new English vocabulary and pronunciation to stick in your long-term memory.

We’ve had some requests recently for podcast ideas, and just to let you know we are always listening, if you have any ideas that might appeal to English language learners please send us an email or comment on Facebook or YouTube Channel.

Most Unusual Words:


Most common 2 word phrases:

A Christmas10
Like A10
The Merrier10
Lit Up8
Lights On7

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Discover Some Christmas Idioms While We Learn English Speaking

Hi and welcome to the latest podcast from Adept English. If you want to learn English speaking and improve your spoken English then we are here to help you. We don’t really provide English lessons for beginners, but if you have a basic level of English understanding, then you can improve massively with Adept English.

Three Christmas Idioms

Well, I promised that once it was December, we’d do some more slightly fun podcasts – ones which aren’t full of difficult grammar at least. Though of course, English language learners need to learn grammar too! So how about today we have a look at three idioms which have a Christmas theme? So we are on theme for the season, but also learning some useful English language too. And they’re not just idioms which you’d use at Christmas time – you might hear these at any time of the year.

So our three idioms for today are:-

  • Lit up like a Christmas tree
  • Like turkeys voting for Christmas
  • The more the merrier

Before I talk about these idioms, just a reminder of our podcast download service. You want to learn English speaking and you want to be fluent in English conversation? So how do you do this? How to learn English speaking? Well, the number one rule is that you need to listen to lots of spoken English language.

Buy an Adept English Podcast Bundle

So podcasts are really useful for this – and you can buy 50 of our podcasts at a time and have hours and hours of wonderful Adept English listening on your mobile phone, so that wherever you go, when you’ve a spare minute, you can practice your English. What could be better than that? Go to our website at and have a look at our podcast downloads page. You can see that there’s a choice of bundles, there’s a choice of podcast sets for you to download.


Lit up like a Christmas tree

So what about our first idiom today, ‘Lit up like a Christmas tree’? Well, this is a descriptive phrase and it’s something you might hear as part of spoken English conversation any time of year. The word ‘lit’, L-I-T is the past participle of the verb ‘to light’. So a Christmas tree will usually be decorated with lots of things but probably there will be some lights on the Christmas tree. So if the Christmas tree lights were on, you might say that the Christmas tree was ‘lit’ or ‘lit up’. You might also say of a fire or of a lamp ‘it was lit’ or that ‘someone had lit it’. So ‘Lit up like a Christmas tree’. When you use the word ‘like’ in this way, you’re using it as a preposition, not as a verb. There is a verb ‘to like’ of course, but here the preposition ‘like’, L-I-K-E means ‘similar to’.

So you might say ‘Oh, isn’t that boy like his dad’ or ‘Doesn’t that carrot look like a finger!’ - meaning that they look similar. So here ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’ means that you’re describing something which has lights on it and you’re saying there are so many lights on it that it is like, similar to a lit Christmas tree. So what this phrase really means that there are so many lights on this thing, that you’re describing, more than you would expect – so much so that it looks like a Christmas tree. You might say of a lorry on the motorway in the dark with lots of lights on it, that it was ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’. Or if you were climbing a hill in the snow and there was a house in the distance with its lights on, it was ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’. You could see it for miles around. So really it means something that’s lit, which stands out, which you can’t fail to notice. Something which has more lights on it that you might expect.

Like turkeys voting for Christmas

What about the next in our three Christmas idioms? “Like turkeys voting for Christmas” So what do we mean by this phrase? Well, a turkey, T-U-R-K-E-Y is a bird, a large bird which we eat. It’s like a big chicken and in the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is the bird, the meat that is eaten. And in the UK, lots of people eat turkey for their Christmas dinner. We do have duck or goose or chicken, but turkey is the most popular meat for Christmas Day. And there’s a big thing about cooking the turkey. Turkeys are big and you’d better check that it fits inside your oven so that you can cook it. If you ‘vote for something’ - so the verb ‘to vote for’, V-O-T-E - then that means that you choose something, you wish for it to happen. The idea gets your support.


A close up photograph of a beautiful wild turkey, used to help explain the Christmas idiom, like turkeys voting for Christmas.

©️ Adept English 2019

There’s an election like in the UK this week, so of course you would vote in the election to decide who governs the country. Now just imagine you’re a turkey in the UK – are you likely to want Christmas to come quickly? Well, if you knew that you were probably going to be eaten, then no, you wouldn’t wish for Christmas. So if we say ‘Like turkeys voting for Christmas’ we’re talking about when people choose to bring on situation that can only end badly for them. So that really, what they’re choosing is going to be really, really bad for them, but people choose it, or vote for it anyway.

The more the merrier

And the last of our three Christmas idioms this week, ‘the more the merrier’. This is something that we might say all year round, but the adjective ‘merry’, M-E-R-R-Y which the word ‘merrier’ comes from tends to be associated with Christmas. People say ‘Merry Christmas’ to each other. The meaning… the other meaning of ‘merry’, that’s ‘merry’, M-E-R-R-Y, can be ‘a little bit inebriated’. If you’re ‘merry’ it means you’re having fun, and you’ve just had one or two alcoholic drinks, so you’re having a good time, you’re ‘merry’. So if you take the adjective ‘merry’ and instead you say ‘merrier’, then that is what’s known as a comparative adjective.

You can do this with many English adjectives and the -E-R on the end makes it mean ‘more merry’. So ‘fast’ becomes ‘faster’, which means ‘more fast’, ‘tall’ becomes ‘taller’ which means ‘more tall’. So that’s comparative adjectives. So ‘merrier’ means ‘more merry’. Now ‘the more the merrier’ is really short for something like ‘the more people we have here, the merrier it will be’. So ‘the more the merrier’ means ‘Let’s have everyone join in. Let’s invite everyone to our party! Great, let’s have them. The more the merrier’.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

You want to join our party? Or you want to join our club or our society? Great, we’ll have you, ‘the more the merrier’. So it can refer to people having drinks and getting merry, but ‘the more the merrier’ can also be used in very sober situations, no alcohol situations and it just means ‘Great, let’s have as many people as possible because that will make it better’. So that’s ‘the more the merrier’.

So there you have it. Three idioms associated with Christmas, but which are used all year round. Learn English speaking with Adept English idioms! If you want the answer to how to speak English fluently and confidently, then Adept English is here to answer that question for you! Perfectly spoken English for you to listen to!


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

PS: Its Vote 2019 Yay…Not!

I particularly like the turkey idiom, it seems most pertinent, as we all queue up to vote for another UK government today. It seems, yet again, we have to make the best of a terrible set of options, and we really are voting for people who say just about anything today to get into power only to do whatever they please once they are in power.

"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." author: Joseph Stalin

The UK has been without legislative direction, no new policies, laws or just about any decisions made for nearly 3 years now, just a caretaker government tackling just one issue, Brexit. Nothing is getting done here, so maybe a decisive government which has a governing majority will be our national Christmas present.

For fun (not that I gamble much!) I will guess the outcome of the election. I think it will be a hung-parliament again, with no overall control for either of the biggest parties, Labour or the Conservatives.



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
🔺Top of page

TAWK is Disabled

Created with the help of Zola and Bulma