Vintage Christmas Terms

There have been some words, terms and phrases used at Christmas time during the decades and even centuries. Some of these may have been used by your ancestors or you might have found them in some writings by your ancestors. Look over the list and see if any might be familiar.

The word ‘Krampus’ referred to a very scary individual, part devil and part ‘goat-man’ hybrid, who was to scare youngsters into be good behavior. The Krampus was found in many European nations and was very effective in keeping children behaving close to Christmas.

In Scotland when it snowed, the residents made a ‘Hogamadog‘ – or what is called today a snowman.

A tradition in Scotland and England from years ago centered on New Year’s Day. Residents of a house hoped that the first person to enter their home on New Year’s Day was a male and they were referred to as a ‘lucky bird‘, so blessing the house. Some families even hired a man, especially with dark hair to be the first to enter their home on New Year’s Day which was very lucky.

Those who followed the 12 days of Christmas know the first day is Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and proceeds 12 days until January 5th. This was referred to as ‘Twelvetide‘.

Men many times needed a ‘Yule Hole‘ which was an extra notch/hole in their belt buckle. This was due to a full stomach after all the special meals before and during Christmas.

A special alcoholic drink for people to enjoy at Christmas time was called ‘Kirsmas‘. It is similar to eggnog.

With some of the best food and meals served at Christmas time, beginning in the 1500s, the term ‘belly-cheer‘ came about referring to good and plentiful food.

When someone gave another person at Christmas money instead of a gift item, it was referred to as ‘present-silver’.

Now the following has happened to many people at Christmas. They were given a cheap, totally useless present. Since the 1940s this is referred to as a ‘toe-cover’.

Photo: An unhappy child at Christmas – ‘toe-cover’.

Related Blogs:

Gifts for Children in 1913

Christmas Cards and Letters

Christmas Customs

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