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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Christmas Mysteries
My understanding had always been that the British were more likely to say "Merry Christmas" than "Happy Christmas", but that it was the other way around in the States, and that under American influence the H word was gaining currency here too. However, an Ngram of British written usage suggests that Merry is not only maintaining but increasing its ascendancy, at least in published sources:

Screenshot 2015-11-07 14.32.34

More than that, Merry is even more dominant in the States, and always has been.

Screenshot 2015-11-07 14.32.21

So there you go. Live and learn.

However, now I'm intrigued by the 20-year decline in American festive greetings from the early '40s to the early '60s - an era I think of as the epitome of the chestnuts-on-an-open-fire, ultra-wholesome American Christmas, with Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Stewart, 34th St and all. Yet the number of Christmas greetings (at least in print) more or less halved in that period. Perhaps the association between Christmas trees and the Red Flag brought the festival under suspicion with the McCarthyites?

Probably about as surprised as I was to hear Americans singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" to the tune of the British national anthem!

When we were doing enforced patriotic songs in grammar school, that song (its official title is "America", which is rather indistinct) was one of the most popular after "The Star-Spangled Banner", along with "America the Beautiful" (which is the one that goes, "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain ...")

I think knowledge that the tune of "America" coincides with that of "God Save the Queen" is not tremendously widespread in the US either, though we certainly encounter the British national anthem over here a tremendously lot more often than we hear socialists singing "The Red Flag", that's for sure.

What's almost as obscure here as "The Red Flag", though not quite so much, because cheeky buggers like me like to sing it in place of "The Star-Spangled Banner", is "To Anacreon in Heaven".

Edited at 2015-11-07 04:53 pm (UTC)