What Does Christmas Comes But Once a Year Mean?

Christmas Comes But Once a Year Meaning

Definition: Since Christmas only comes once a year, people should put aside their differences and be good to one another.

The proverb Christmas comes but once a year refers to the spirit of generosity and goodwill that characterizes the Christmas season. The implication of the proverb is that people should spend this special time of year focusing more on giving rather than receiving.

Origin of Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Define Christmas comes once a year The proverb may have originated from an animated short film with the same title that came out in 1936. The setting of the film is at an orphanage on Christmas day. The orphans are excited to play with their new toys, only to find they are broken and damaged.

Professor Grampy, seeing their distress, decides to make some new toys out of various household items. He dresses up as Santa Claus and rushes to give the orphans their new presents. He also makes a Christmas tree out of a few old green umbrellas. The orphans are delighted at the surprise.

The overall message of the film is that it doesn’t take much to help those less fortunate during the holidays. All it takes is a little effort and some compassion.

Examples of Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Meaning of Christmas comes once a yearThis example conversation between two friends shows how the proverb is used in context.

Riley: Are you going to volunteer at the soup kitchen with us on Christmas Day?

Jody: I don’t know. I wanted to stay home with my family and open presents.

Riley: You can do both, but I think giving is more important. After all, Christmas comes but once a year.

More Examples

  • Christmas comes but once a year, which is one of Candace Jordan’s greatest regrets in life. It’s not the gifts…or the food…or the festivities that she longs for off-season, but rather the warmth and intimacy that the occasion sparks. – Chicago Tribune


The English proverb Christmas comes but once a year means that people should use the Christmas holidays as an opportunity to help their fellow man.