Trying to draft a memorable festive message for this year’s Christmas cards to clients or friends? We’ve got you covered with our A–Z list of obscure and underused Christmas-related words we’d like to see make a comeback.
Aromatous: Having a pleasant aroma.
Example: The aromatous mix of gingerbread, peppermint and pine was so strong in the Christmas shop that I wondered if Santa’s elves were moonlighting as perfumers.
Bellycheer: The feeling of satisfaction that comes from holiday feasting.
Example: Having demolished Grandma’s Christmas spread in record time, the family reclined in a state of bellycheer, surreptitiously loosening their belts before the pavlova was served.
Crapulence: The feeling of being overly full or queasy after excessive eating or drinking.
Example: After indulging in one too many serves of plum pudding and brandy butter, Uncle Bob succumbed to crapulence and spent the remainder of Christmas Day on the sofa.
Doniferous: Bearing gifts.
Example: Lucy, doniferous, didn’t see her nephew Jack before she ran into him, scattering her presents onto the floor.
Effulgence: The state of being bright and radiant.
Example: The Christmas lights’ effulgence was so brilliant that even the neighbor’s bad tempered cat paused before launching herself at the angel on top of the tree.
Fuddled: Confused as a result of being drunk.
Example: At the office Christmas party, a fuddled Gary enthusiastically thanked the water cooler for the Secret Santa gift he’d received.
Grinch: A mean-spirited grouch who doesn’t enjoy Christmas.
Example: The office Grinch suggested that we should skip our annual Christmas party and instead attend a seminar on the tax implications of personal superannuation contributions.
Hogamadog: The gradually enlarging ball of snow used to build a snowman.
Example: Watching The Wizard of Oz every Christmas night as a child sparked my love of red shoes, which grew like a hogamadog as I got older.
Ivy-mantled: Covered or adorned with ivy, a traditional Christmas decoration associated with immortality and fidelity.
Example: The home’s brick facade was ivy-mantled, as if mother nature had decided to dress it in a green cloak for the festive season.
Julebukking: a Scandinavian tradition involving dressing in disguise and going from house to house with a group of friends to collect treats (sometimes alcohol).
Example: For their annual julebukking escapade, Brett and his mates from soccer decided to dress up as the band Kiss.
Kedge-gutted: Feeling sick from over-indulgencing in food.
Example: Following Christmas lunch at his parents’ house with dinner at his in-laws always made Steve feel kedge-gutted, but neither set of parents wanted to miss out on seeing their grandkids on Christmas Day.
Lollygagging: To fool around and waste time.
Example: Santa was fed up with the elves’ lollygagging in the toy workshop so he threatened to cancel their annual post-Christmas trip to Phuket.
Mulligrubs: Feelings of melancholy, sullenness or depression, often associated with the holiday season.
Example: When no one wanted to leave the Christmas party to go to a karaoke bar, Yasmin got the mulligrubs for the rest of the night.
Noggin: A small mug or cup, often used to serve eggnog at Christmas; a small quantity of alcohol; a person’s head.
Example: As Helen handed out noggins to the club’s directors, she wondered if doubling the brandy in the eggnog had been a mistake.
Overquat: To eat too much.
Example: Mitch passed on the green salad to ensure he didn’t overquat at lunch.
Present-silver: Money given in place of a gift.
Example: After receiving self-help books from his mum for the past few years, Pablo was really hoping for present-silver this year.
Quaaltagh: The first person to enter your home on New Year’s Day, bringing luck for the year ahead.
Example: My dad likes to be the qualtaagh every year, but I’ve warned him we won’t open the front door before 8am this year.
Ramracket: To run and jump around playfully during Christmas.
Example: Elena’s hopes of getting eight hours’ sleep were dashed when the kids started to ramracket around the house at 5 am, shouting that Santa had been.
Scurryfunge: To hastily tidy the house when you discover unexpected guests are on their way.
Example: I had to scurryfunge when my mother-in-law suddenly announced she was stopping by for a cup of tea after her Christmas shopping.
Toe-cover: Slang for a cheap or useless present.
Example: Gus’s habit of giving everyone toe-covers for Christmas had become a family joke.
Ugly sweater: Colorful and gaudy sweaters often worn during Christmas parties.
Example: It was going to be too hot on Christmas Day to wear our ugly sweaters, so we opted for matching gingerbread men Hawaiian shirts instead.
Vigil: A period of staying awake during the night, often associated with Christmas Eve services.
Example: While some of the adults went to midnight mass, the kids kept their own vigil for Santa.
Wassail: To drink a toast to someone; an alcoholic drink consumed at Christmas time; spreading good cheer by visiting neighbours and singing carols.
Example: The neighbours decided to spice up their wassailing by recreating Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ outfit.
Xenium: A gift, usually food, given to a guest or stranger.
Example: Vasiliki wanted to give her guests a xenium but couldn’t decide between baklava or her Yaya’s famous almond shortbread.
Yule-hole: The last hole in your belt you have to use after indulging at Christmas dinner.
Example: Even when using his yule-hole, Keith’s waistband felt uncomfortably tight.
Zealously: To do something with great energy or enthusiasm.
Example: Determined to win the neighborhood Christmas light competition, Matteo zealously adorned his house with so many twinkling bulbs that he shorted the circuit.