Australia: Hark the Herald angels sing — your complete guide to the festive season Downunder.
Advent: One of the oldest traditions of Christmas, in which the older generation get to vent their frustration at the commercialisation of the festive season, as expressed in the Ads. An event which is renewed by the changing nature of Christmas, Advent now involves parents complaining about how presents used to be made from a better grade of plastic.
Bethlehem: The birthplace of Jesus, who brought peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Located in a disputed area between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, just next door to Iraq.
Boxing Day: Traditionally the day after Christmas, both that in which unwanted gifts are rewrapped to be exchanged and the point in the holiday season in which tired and hungover relatives sharing the same house start punching each other.
Bush Christmas: Surprise bombing of Iran.
Christmas Eve: The unhappily married female colleague at the office party who, as you pause to take out photos of the triplets, asks you to pull out a loose thread from her skirt with your teeth, your hands being full and all.
Traditional Carol: Irritating, bossy relative who insists on digging up some obscure Christmas tradition and imposing it on the entire family, i.e.,This year, as they do in Bratislava, we'll hit the small children with badgers and drink cheese through straws to signify the birth of the Saviour.
Charades: Behaviour relatives display towards each other from December 24-26.
Christmas Cracker: The office-bound relative who harbours ambitions to a career in stand-up comedy and helpfully relieves tension by telling jokes for six days straight.
Epiphany: The 12th day after Christmas, traditionally the moment when you feel a sudden and all-encompassing awareness, such as the recollection that your office has a glass wall (see Christmas Eve; everyone else did).
Hanukkah, Chanuakah, C'hanakkah: A trio of Jewish celebrations held on the same day close to Christmas. A Jewish theologian has this to say about it:It's a very important celebration to do with the temple or something, or maybe it's Egypt. Can I call you back?Orthodox and reformed Jews call it the Festival of the Seventh Night, while Liberal Jews term it Christmas.
Manger: Makeshift accommodation lined with straw and smelling of domestic animals. It is now thought that Mary and Joseph were staying in a friend's son's bedroom.
Kwanzaa: A ceremony of African origin, developed by African-Americans as a Christmas equivalent. However, critics accuse it of having none of the depth and real tradition of the Christmas celebration as rooted in Coca-Cola advertising campaigns of the 1920s.
Nativity Scene: Ugly three-way confrontation that occurs in September (see Christmas Eve).
Prince Albert: The man responsible for popularising much of the Christmas activities which we now regard as traditional; also what your 16-year-old daughter announces she got her boyfriend as a present this year.
Santa's Little Helper: The big fat one you toke out back before diving into the second hour of the conversation about how great Pauline Hanson is.
Season's Greetings: Get out of the way ... That's mine ... Get out of the #%@! way ... I wanted the deluxe model ... Get out of the #%@! way you *&##$@! &!ing $$%! ... Go ##@!$@#! %$%!@#*&;! @$#!
The Turkey: Kim Beazley.
Stuffing: Simon Crean.
The Pudding: Sweet, suety mass set alight and then carved up wi ... Yes, you're way ahead of me, it's Beazley again.
Three Wise Men: Traditional Christmas figures, whose title derives from the fact that they spent the entire holiday season away from home. The wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus, which consisted of:
Gold: Traditional present for an infant in 0th century Judea, although many complained it was a poor substitute for a jewel-encrusted ark of the covenant or the head of Salome (see Advent).
Frankincense: Low-rent Babylonian fragrance, the equivalent of picking up a stick of Brut 33 on Christmas morning and wrapping it in the car.
Myrrh: Actually the third wise man was drunk and this was not a gift, simply the only thing he said all night. Experts believe he may have brought a Black and Decker workbench.
Yuletide Log: That which is passed on December 27, after the ingestion of eight pounds of turkey, stuffing and Kim Beazley.
I'd recommend adding some hard core sun block and your favourite hangover cure to the list.
Wiser men decided that it was time to skip the pudding - The Sydney Morning Herald, 6th December 2003.