A ho, ho, whole lot of clichés to avoid this holiday season

You Don’t Say
Today is Halloween, folks. You know what that means: It’ll soon be time to pull out those holiday story clichés, dust them off and — you know — regift them.

Lucky for us, master copy desk chief John McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun has compiled a list of annual “holiday cautions,” because — as he says: “Chestnuts roasting by an open fire are fine, but they should be kept out of copy and headlines.”

Examples:

“’Tis the season”: Not in copy, not in headlines, not at all. Never, never, never, never, never. You cannot make this fresh. Do not attempt it.

“Yes, Virginia” allusions: No.

“Grinch steals”: When someone vandalizes holiday decorations, steals a child’s toys from under the tree, or otherwise dampens holiday cheer, this construction may be almost irresistible. Resist it.

Along with the fun Scrooge-like snark are some things that most of us, sure enough, might not know…

If you must mention Kriss Kringle, remember the double s.

And…

Hanukkah is a holiday more like Independence Day than Christmas, and it is only the coincidence of the calendar dates in a gentile culture that has caused the holiday to mimic Christian and secular elements. The holidays are coincidental; they are not twins.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • Anonymous

    Cliches are cliches because they are phrases that so successfully convey an image, thought, desire, opinion, etc. Over-using them is a no-no, but seasoning the seasonal copy with them seems fine.

  • Anonymous

    Newsday used to have a rule that you could never refer to snow as “the white stuff.” Good rule.