Why is it on Christmas Day but at Christmas time

Ask the wise old owl

Wise Old Owl

Why do we say “On Christmas Day” but “at Christmas”?

Question: I learned that for days of the week, we use “on” – on Thursday etc. Why then do we have to say “at Christmas time”?

Those annoying prepositions!

When we’re talking about days, we use on:
on Thursday
on 23rd April
on Christmas Day
on Good Friday
On my birthday

However, if it’s a more general time, we use at:
at the beginning of August
at Christmas/at Christmas time
at Easter

If it’s a season or a month, we use in:
In June
In winter

If you say “I like to be with my family at Christmas time”, you’re talking about the holiday around Christmas, and not one specific date such as Christmas Day.
I like to eat mince pies at Christmas – this means the time around Christmas.

More articles in this series

If you want to read the rest of the articles in this series, go to the wise old owl’s main page.

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If your question is more specific and you would like one-to-one help, have a look at my lessons page.



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