Vocab To Describe Your First American Winter


Of all the reasons to fall in love with the Centennial State, the winter season steals the hearts of many Colorado tourists and travelers. In much of the United States, the fun stops when the cold weather hits – Colorado couldn’t be more different! Locals welcome the snow by grabbing their ski gear and heading up the mountain for some winter play. It’s the time of year where there are many celebrations to experience with your loved ones (new and old) for some quality time. If you’re visiting the United States during the winter season, chances are you’ll be attending some sort of holiday get together, and if this is your first time around there will be a lot of new lingo bouncing around the dinner table. To prep you for your winter conversations, we’ve got a list of vocabulary terms you’ll need to be able to describe your first American winter experience:

Thanksgiving Terms
Thanksgiving falls on the final Thursday of every November in the United States. Browse these words and you’ll be “talking turkey” in no time:

Cranberry Sauce: Tart, red berries that are harvested in the fall, which are believed to have been eaten at the very first Thanksgiving celebration celebrated by the Native Americans and American pilgrims.

Casserole: Usually filled with green beans on this day, it’s a baked side dish cooked slowly in an oven.

Dress The Turkey: By no means should this be taken literally! Rather than putting pants on our poultry, dressing the turkey means putting pieces of bread and spices inside the turkey while it cooks – and once it’s finished, you’ll have another yummy side dish for your feast. Sometimes people might refer to the “dressing” as “stuffing” – as if it weren’t confusing enough already!

Leftovers: Most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with a huge feast, take a nap and watch the football game. After all of that, you’ll eat all the food that was leftover from the first celebratory meal.

Grateful: It’s a tradition to celebrate all the things you are thankful for on this day – friends, family and food being some of those things. Grateful is another way of saying thankful.

Gravy: Did the turkey turn out a bit too dry this year? No worries – that’s what gravy is for! Gravy is a thick sauce made with juices that are cooked out while the turkey is being cooked.

Indian: When the term Indian is used on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean people who hail from India – it means Native American, the people who held the first Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims.

Pilgrim: This means a traveler on a journey to a Holy place – in Thanksgiving terms, the Pilgrims were ordinary English men and women who came to America on the Mayflower.

Winter Words
The season of snow can be chilly, but it’s the perfect time to take advantage of Colorado’s great outdoors while you practice your new English skills. Prepare yourself for the slopes so that after the first big snowfall, you’ll know how to Ski in English!

Accumulate: This is a word you’ll hear in reference to the amount of snow you’ll be expecting – it means to grow. Colorado will be accumulating lots of snow this winter!

Blizzard: Chances are if you spend some time at one of the many ski resorts Colorado has to offer, you’ll experience a heavy snowstorm! Be careful, windy blizzards can get dangerous – watch these from inside.

Eggnog: A traditional, thick holiday drink – be careful, sometimes a thick drink made of whipped (usually raw) eggs, milk, sugar, and nutmeg or


Fireplace: Although nowadays, it’s common to find a gas equipment under the mantle, the traditional fireplace was made with logs of wood and stoked to perfection to provide a warm, cozy house during the cold season.

Christmas Terms
Christmas falls on December 25th every year, which is widely known as a religious, festive holiday of red and green. Study these words to be able to describe the sights you’ll witness at Denver’s annual Parade of Lights:

Cand Cane:  Traditional peppermint holiday candy, classically striped with red in the shape of a cane. Hang some on the Christmas tree!

Caroling/Carolers: If a group of people ring your doorbell and start singing, don’t be alarmed! Carolers can be found on busy street corners or they may come right up to your door, singing to spread holiday cheer

Garland/Tinsel: Garland comes in many shapes and sizes, as pine, beads or popcorn,  but it is typically strung in the form of a wreath, and hung on front doors or around the Christmas tree for decoration.

Holly: A winter plant with green pointy leaves and red berries. Often used a symbol of Christmas on holiday cards.

Mistletoe: This winter plant grows green leaves with white berries, but is much more romantic than any other! The tradition is that if you’re caught walking under mistletoe (hung from the ceiling, or above a door frame), you must kiss the person standing nearest you!

Santa Claus: An imaginary, plump man dressed in a red suit with a white beard who gives toys to children at Christmas. You may also know him as Santa, Saint Nicholas (Nick), Father Christmas or Kris Kringle. Don’t tell the kiddos he isn’t real – this may be one of the best-kept secrets and American parents enjoy surprising their children with toys and goodies on Christmas morning from “Santa”.

Reindeer: How do you think Santa gets around to all the houses on Christmas? He has magical reindeer who fly his sleigh, of course! Listen to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and read along with the lyrics to get ready for those carolers; you will definitely hear this song during the holiday season.

Need somewhere to practice your new winter words? Contact us or enroll here for our Ski & Study program! With your new vocabulary list, you’ll be ready for a breathtaking, adventurous winter in Denver.