The Christmas season has arrived, and before you start roasting your chestnuts on the open fire, you’d better watch out. First of all, an open fire does not meet safety codes, but that’s not what I’m worried about. According to “Deck the Halls,” there’s something called a “BLAZING YULE,” and it’s got me wondering. I’m sorry, but it just sounds like an animal on fire. (“Why did you swerve the car?” “Don’t you see the blazing yule before us?!”) Okay, so it’s really just a Christmas log, but come to think of it, aren’t there a lot of mysterious and funny-sounding Christmas terms?
MISTLETOE. Sounds like you need a podiatrist. (“I’ve got some mistletoe.” “Maybe you need new sneakers.”) Either that or you have superpowers that enable you to shoot a missile by pointing your toe. Imagine how this could speed up those pesky long lines at the mall.
Mistletoe is actually a plant hung at Christmastime to make girls kiss young men. Probably started by some guy in high school who couldn’t get a date. I believe his name was Georgie Porgie.
TROLL THE ANCIENT YULETIDE CAROL.
I thought trolls were the little men who live under bridges. But no, troll is a musical term for singing heartily or gaily. Now I just picture a bunch of dwarfs doing karaoke.
Yuletide (a.k.a. the Christmas season) implies that the Yule comes in, and the Yule goes out, although I’ve never seen a Yuletide chart on a weather forecast. I’d like to be informed when the moon changes and there will be a sudden influx of Yule.
YORE. (as in “golden days of yore”) People have a hard enough time with YOUR vs. YOU’RE. I just don’t know if they can handle ANOTHER one.
Yore refers to a time long past. Please don’t write the following on your Christmas card: I hope yore Christmas is merry. The only correct usage would be: I hope yore Christmases a loooooooooong time ago were merry.
YON. Children are often confused as they picture Mary, the “round yon virgin,” as overweight and yawning. Although she really would not have lost her baby weight yet, and she would have been exhausted from the labor and delivery.
Yon, yond, and yonder all refer to an indicated distance. Over time this has morphed into: Yo, check that out over there (“ova day” for some parts of the country).
EGGNOG. I’m familiar with the egg, but what’s nog? When I look at an egg, I basically see the shell, the whites, and the yolk. If there’s something else in there called “nog,” I’m not drinking it.
Eggnog is actually a drink consisting of milk, eggs, sugar, and alcohol. I have a hard enough time watching Sylvester Stallone drink raw eggs in Rocky. Although it appears that after you drink the stuff, you will be able to climb stairs without being winded.
WASSAIL. Is it part of a boat, like the mainsail and the headsail?
Wassail is a toast to someone’s good health, or it may refer to the drink used in such toasting. Thankfully there are no eggs in this hot mulled cider, and the toast is sure a lot classier than “Down the hatch!”
JACK FROST. Kids everywhere fear this crazy man who bites people’s noses. Strangely, they have a lot in common with him; he leaves marks on all the windows.
Jack Frost is a personification of winter. He is more famous than his distant cousins, John Pollen, Joe Foliage, and Jim Humidity.
CORN-COB PIPE. My kids recently asked me why there is a Corn Cop. It took me a moment to figure out that they were referring to the corn-cob pipe in “Frosty the Snowman.” I could have milked this one for awhile to convince them to eat all of their corn at dinnertime.
In Frosty Returns, Frosty no longer has a corn-cob pipe. It may be to deter kids from smoking, but I think the producers realized that if a snowman struck a match to corn on the cob, it could traumatize small children. And then the Corn Cops would have to get involved.
SUGARPLUMS. Are they actually plums covered in sugar? The fact that the kids in The Night Before Christmas were having visions of sugarplums demonstrates the very dangers of too much sugar. Even the parents were settling down for “a long winter’s nap.” They practically had to hibernate after their sugar crash.
A sugarplum is a piece of candy made with dried fruit and sugar. No wonder the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker can’t stop dancing!