Special Combinations (some of which occur in general English in different senses):
Christmas bee or Christmas beetle, any of several species of cicada (family Cicadidae), the males of which produce a shrill mating song during summer;
Christmas box [extension of British English Christmas box a gratuity given at Christmas time to delivery men, servants and roundsmen, for services rendered], Any special gift, usually given at Christmas time; also figurative;
Christmas bush, the shrub Pavetta lanceolata of the Rubiaceae, which bears masses of white flowers at Christmas time;
Christmas flower or Christmas rose, any of several species of flowering shrub of the genus Hydrangea of the Saxifragaceae, with pink, white or blue flower-clusters which bloom in December;
Christmas Tree, (a)the klapperbos (see klappernoun2 sense 2), Nymania capensis;(b)Christmas bush, see above;(c)the name given to a party held at Christmas time, especially one for (underprivileged) children which is organized by a school, company, or welfare organization;
Christmas worm [translation of Afrikaans Krismiswurm,]a nickname for the concertina.
1912E. London Dispatch 16 Feb. 7 (Pettman)The Christmas bee or cicada is another familiar insect of which only the male has the power of ‘song’; and it must be confessed he is exceedingly persistent in the exhibition of his accomplishment, for a noisier insect it would be hard to find.
1920R.Y. StormbergMrs Pieter de Bruyn 93At night, the Christmas bees made the longest winded chorus I’ve ever heard.
1968K. McMaghDinner of Herbs 153The steep narrow valley where the Christmas bees shrilled in the blue gum trees.
1882Meteor 27 Nov. 4Christmas Beetles commenced their monotonous song on Tuesday, November 12.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 121Christmas bee or beetle, The various Cicadae, which fill the air with deafening shrillness about Christmas time, are so called in some localities.
1937M. AlstonWanderings 158At last the ‘Christmas beetles’ (cicadas) had competitors in the field..and what with the Christmas beetles and frogs I was glad to retreat.
1950D. ReedSomewhere S. of Suez 147The lights of Port Elizabeth sprang out, the Christmas beetle began to harp on its one shrill note, darkness came down, and still I sat.
1966‘Raymond’ inK.M. DurhamNew VoicesI recalled..The electric buzz of Christmas beetles.
1971J. McClureSteam Pig (1973) 70Under the blue gums by a slow brown river, with Christmas beetles shrilling in the bush beyond.
1981Sunday Times 22 Feb.I too have been suffering from a loud singing noise in my ears — like the sound made by a cicada or a Christmas beetle — for the past five years.
1993P. Leeman inNatal Mercury 30 Dec. 7He has also — through electronics — replicated the sounds of the tropics and sub-tropics such as those of cicadas or Christmas beetles.
1897J.P. FitzpatrickOutspan 221Why, you are a Christmas-box yourself. Remember, I have taken possession of you, and mean to present you to father to-morrow morning as my Christmas-box.
1963L.F. FreedCrime in S. Afr. 125On Christmas morning..the streets swarm with merrymakers...The girls..with scarlet on their cheeks shout ‘Happy’ to the sex-hungry men; and the meanest of men may ask for a Christmas box and get kissed.
1972F.G. ButlerInformant, Grahamstown‘C.M.R. Beetle.’ I’ve just heard that this is from ‘Cape Mounted Rifles’, whose colours were also yellow and black (?). My Xmas box for the Dictionary.
1980Daily Dispatch 21 Apr. 9Mr Nujoma said his forces were fighting to ‘liberate’ every inch of SWA and that included Walvis Bay, which was ‘given to the Boers as a Christmas box by the British’.
1989‘Hogarth’ inSunday Times 3 Dec. 26Christmas box...Let’s hope he (sc. F.W. de Klerk) doesn’t forget about the media regulations. Removing them would be a worthy present for all South Africans this Christmas.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 121Christmas bush, Pavetta caffra is known by this name.
1951N.L. KingTree-Planting 69Pavetta lanceolata (Christmas bush), A beautiful shrub which occurs in open forests and along the edge of forests in eastern Cape, Natal and Zululand...Makes an excellent hedge.
1913H. TuckerOur Beautiful Peninsula 33A delightful garden..leads on to terraces of red and yellow cannas and slopes of blue hydrangeas. ‘Christmas flowers,’ some call the latter.
1924D. FairbridgeGardens of S. Afr. 193Hydrangea hortensis, The Christmas Flower of the Cape.
1951S. EliovsonFlowering Shrubs & Trees 88Hydrangeas are probably the most popular shrubs in South Africa, where they are also called Christmas flowers...They come from Asia and grow into well-rounded bushes up to six feet in height.
1954U. Van der SpuyOrnamental Shrubs & Trees 139Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea or Christmas Flower...Bears large flattish rounded heads of tiny florets. Flowers are white, pink or blue but are apt to change colour according to the nature of the soil in which they grow.
1977I. Margo inQuarry ’77 153The garden is long, lawns on two different levels, one terrace of pink and blue Christmas flowers and geraniums with leaves of soft fur.
1993Weekend Post 18 Dec. (Leisure) 7Most commonly known as Christmas flowers, hydrangeas will grow and flower happily in the same container for many years.
1906B. StonemanPlants & their Ways 117In the ‘Christmas rose,’ leaves and leaflets take the place of ovaries and ovules.
1992S. Afr. Garden & Home Dec. 92Hydrangeas, or Christmas Roses as many gardeners call them, will grow under the most unlikely conditions.
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