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.

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Author: Kirsty Wolf

I am an English teacher and a language enthusiast who also speaks German and Romanian. I help motivated professionals to improve their English so that they can communicate confidently and authentically.

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