'Tis the Season!' Meaning and Origin of the Christmas Phrase

Whenever someone tells us “tis the season,” they are telling us it’s the season for Christmas. It's a joyful reminder to share the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ!

Contributing Writer
Updated Oct 31, 2023
'Tis the Season!' Meaning and Origin of the Christmas Phrase

"Tis the season" is a phrase that's often heard during the holiday months, especially around Christmas. It's a phrase that carries a sense of anticipation, joy, and celebration. But have you ever wondered where this expression comes from and its significance in the Christian context? In this article, we'll delve into the origin, history, and uses of "tis the season" in Christianity.

The Origin of "Tis the Season"

The phrase "tis the season" is a shortened form of "it is the season." The exact phrase goes back to a centuries-old Welsh hymn named "Deck the Halls." 

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
'Tis the season to be jolly:
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Troul the ancient Christmas carol.

The saying “tis the season” simply means "it is the season... of Christmas!" It was common in the days gone by to say “tis” instead of it is or it’s. “Tis the Season” first started being seen in magazines and books and being heard on the streets in the 1970s within the modern era. 

The roots of "tis the season" in Christianity can be traced back to the celebration of Christmas. Christmas is observed on December 25th each year to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time when Christians worldwide celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, the Son of God, Who came to Earth to bring salvation to humanity.

Uses of "Tis the Season"

  1. Liturgical Seasons: Within the Christian calendar, there are various liturgical seasons, including Advent and Christmas. "Tis the season" is often used as a reminder to Christians that it's time to prepare their hearts and minds to celebrate Christ's birth during Advent.

  2. Worship and Tradition: The phrase is frequently used in Christmas hymns, carols, and sermons during the Advent season. It helps to set the tone for the season's celebrations and reinforces the spiritual significance of Christ's birth.

  3. Community and Fellowship: In a broader sense, "tis the season" symbolizes a time when Christians come together in their communities and churches to share the joy of Christ's birth. It's a season of unity and fellowship.

  4. Acts of Kindness: The Christmas season encourages acts of kindness and charity, reflecting the love and giving nature of Jesus. Christians often use this time to reach out to those in need and show God's love through their actions.

‘Tis The Season' History

Even though our modern language has evolved and changed over the centuries, “tis the season” is still popular and used because we associate it with the Christmas season.

The phrase “tis the season” became highly popular after the song “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” came on the scene as the lyrics include the phrase “tis the season to be jolly.” Ever since this Christmas song became popular, the phrase grew to be directly associated with the Christmas season.

Therefore, whenever someone tells us “tis the season,” they tell us it’s the season for Christmas. In the same way, we say “tis the season” because we are telling others it is the season for Christmas.

Christmas is a joyful holiday because it is the day we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Christ. Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, which means He is God. Thus, God in the flesh came down from Heaven to save us from our sins.

The Apostle Paul tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are saved because of the Father’s grace given to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Jesus would not have been the Savior if He was never born into the world as an infant, born of the virgin Mary. The Lord had to be born into the world to save us from our sins. God knew there was no other way to salvation except through dying for our sins and repairing the severed relationship Himself.

Through Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection, we are forgiven of our sins, have a repaired relationship with God, and are given eternal life. Ultimately, this could not have happened if Jesus had not been born into the world, which is why we celebrate Christmas.

“Tis the season” is what we say to celebrate the Christmas season. We can celebrate the Christmas season by greeting others with or saying the phrase “tis the season.” Christmas is a special holiday that seems to lift most people’s spirits.

By saying the phrase “tis the season,” we can spread the Christmas spirit in a tangible way. While many individuals don’t enjoy the Christmas season and won’t appreciate the phrase, many would love to hear this festive saying.

It is important to remember that not everyone will be in the Christmas spirit during the holidays, but we can still extend kindness and Jesus’ love to others. Using “tis the season” can be a way actually to open up to the gospel message.

The Reason for the Season

The season is all about Jesus, and saying “tis the season” can help us start spreading the gospel throughout the Christmas season. We can share the truth of Jesus’ humble birth into the world and how He grew up, lived a perfect life, died for the sins of the world, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

We can say “tis the season” because it is the beautiful truth of Jesus’ birth into the dark world. It is truly the season of love, peace, and kindness because the Lord extended all of these qualities to us when He came to die for the sins of the world.

Even though it might be hard at times to feel “jolly” during the holidays, we can always have joy in our hearts knowing that Jesus, who is God in the flesh, came down from heaven to be born as a baby and to grow up and save us from our sins. Jesus truly humbled Himself in order to bring us back to Him.

Paul tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Jesus did all of these things in order to redeem us and bring us into a renewed relationship with the Father. Celebrating Christmas is all about celebrating the anniversary of Jesus’ humble birth.

While “tis the season” does sound rather old or outdated, it is still a beloved saying going back to the 1970s as well, and its familiarity is even older since its roots are found in an old Welsh song. Even though we say “it is” or “its” over “tis” in the modern day, it is still a beloved saying that is fun to say during the holiday season.

Most of us do not associate saying “tis” with any other holiday except for Christmas. It would be odd to say “tis the season” when we were referring to Resurrection Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Since Christmas is a holiday like no other, individuals have crafted unique sayings over the years to celebrate this special time of the year.

Why Does This Matter?

"Tis the season" is more than just a catchy phrase; it's a reminder of the profound Christian significance of the Christmas season. It encapsulates the anticipation, joy, and celebration that comes with the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. As we embrace this time of year, let us remember the true reason for the season and spread the message of love, hope, and salvation that Jesus brought to the world.

Whether you want to use “tis the season” this year or not is ultimately up to you. If you feel as though it would brighten your Christmas spirit or brighten others’ Christmas spirits, go ahead and use it. However, if you do not feel like using it this year, you do not have to.

The Christmas season can be hard on most of us for a myriad of reasons, yet we can still have the peace and joy of remembering Jesus’ birth in the world. Christmas Day and the days leading up to Christmas are magical because we highly anticipate the anniversary of Jesus' birth.

Throughout this holiday season, try to use the saying “tis the season” to help you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas — Jesus’ birth into the world. While we often sing “tis the season” in classical Christmas songs, we often neglect understanding the true meaning of its words.

It is the season because we are remembering the birth of the Messiah and the wonderful things, He did for us in order to bring us back to Himself. 

For further reading:

3 Ways to Keep Jesus at the Center of Your Christmas This Year

Finding Jesus in the Chaos of the Holiday Season

What Can We Learn from Old Christmas Hymns?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Bogdan Kurylo

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.


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