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Christmas Traditions

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Handout for "Christmas traditions" activity (Pearson Webinar), teacher's notes and student worksheet

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Christmas Traditions

  1. 1. 'Twas the class before Christmas… Pearson Webinars for English Teachers December 2016 1 CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS TEACHER’S NOTES OBJECTIVE: To get to know some of the most relevant and best known traditions / symbols in both the UK and USA. AGE GROUP AND LEVEL: teenagers / adults, any level. 1. British / American Christmas: Start by explaining the main differences between American and British traditions / concepts / names, etc. Happy Christmas & Father Christmas (Br) / Merry Christmas & Santa (Claus) (Am) In the UK they say ‘Happy Christmas’ whereas in America people would say “Merry Christmas”). Also, sometimes in the UK they have a shortening of Christmas: “Chrimbo”, which is almost universally unknown in the United States. Ask: Do you know any songs that include these terms? How many songs do your students know? Which terms are more popular worldwide? Lapland (Br) / The North Pole (Am) It is widely held in the U.S. that Santa resides—along with his reindeer, his helpers and, of course Mrs. Claus—in the North Pole. In the UK, however, Father Xmas lives in Lapland. Ask: If you could pay a visit to Santa / Father Christmas in the North Pole / Lapland, what would you ask him? What would your students ask Santa? (A chance to be creative) Then, they can interview each other (in pairs, speed dating, etc.). What were the most creative answers? Roast Turkey & Mince Pies (Br) / Roast Turkey / Ham / Beef & Christmas Cookies (Am) Americans reserve turkey for Thanksgiving, and often opt for ham or roast beef on Christmas Day. In the UK, though, obviously, they don’t have Thanksgiving so they eat turkey (duck sometimes too). In America, they eat Christmas cookies, which are cut into various shapes related to Xmas. One of the most popular Christmas cookies is gingerbread. In the UK, they eat mince pies (fruit-based mincemeat) and you will be offered some in every house you go to throughout December. In both countries, children leave a tray of cookies / pies for Santa.
  2. 2. 'Twas the class before Christmas… Pearson Webinars for English Teachers December 2016 2 Suggestion: Find the recipe, make a tutorial (how to make….), explain the ingredients, explain what you eat on Christmas day, etc. 2. Divide the class into groups. Each group will take care of one line. They will need to search information about the following Christmas items / traditions and decide whether it’s Br or Am. a. Christmas pudding (Br) Mince Pie (Br) Fruit Cake (Amer) b. Eggnog (Amer) Brandy (Br) Wassail (Br) c. The Yule Log (Amer) The Royal Christmas Message (Br) Best Christmas Ads (Br) d. Christmas Crackers (Br) Boxing Day (Br) Tree Lightning (Amer) *Wassail (Apple cider, from the Southwest of England) 3. Cooperative learning: Students talk to the rest of the groups and learn from each other. Depending on the students’ level, they might take notes. After, you can do a quiz in class to check the students’ knowledge (most relevant information about each tradition or item). Quiz You can create a more interactive quiz with Kahoot or Quizizz (just copy and paste the questions and answers). Kahoot: https://getkahoot.com/ Quizizz: https://quizizz.com/ 1. Traditionally, they contain a paper crown, a joke written on a slip of paper and a small gift. 1) Boxing Day 2) Christmas Crackers 3) The Royal Message 2. You might find a coin in it. a) Fruit Cake b) Eggnog c) Christmas pudding 3. It’s broadcast at 3 pm on Christmas Day a) The Yule Log b) The Royal Christmas Message c) Competition for Best Christmas ads 4. It’s a traditionally American drink, often garnished with a sprinkling or ground cinnamon or nutmeg. a) Brandy b) Wassail c) Eggnog 5. Which TV advert usually wins in the “Best Christmas ad” competition in the UK? a) John Lewis b) The Lottery c) Marks and Spencer 6. This tradition began on the radio in 1932. a) Best Christmas Ads Competition b) Tree Lightning c) The Royal Christmas Message
  3. 3. 'Twas the class before Christmas… Pearson Webinars for English Teachers December 2016 3 7. Traditionally, tradesmen used to get their Christmas baskets from the employers on this day. a) Boxing Day b) Christmas Eve c) Christmas Day 8. This is burnt during the Twelve Days of Christmas and people like to sit around it and tell ghost stories, card- playing, etc. a) Christmas Crackers b) The Yule Log c) The Christmas tree
  4. 4. 'Twas the class before Christmas… Pearson Webinars for English Teachers December 2016 4 STUDENT WORKSHEET 1. What are the main differences between Christmas American and British traditions / concepts / names, etc.? Happy Christmas & Father Christmas (Br) / Merry Christmas & Santa (Claus) (Am) Do you know any songs that include these terms? Lapland (Br) / The North Pole (Am) If you could pay a visit to Santa / Father Christmas in the North Pole / Lapland, what would you ask him? Roast Turkey & Mince Pies (Br) / Roast Turkey / Ham / Beef & Christmas Cookies (Am) Find the recipe, make a tutorial (how to make….), explain the ingredients, explain what you eat on Christmas day, etc. 2. In groups. Each group will take care of one line and search information about the following Christmas items / traditions and decide whether it’s Br or Am. a. Christmas pudding (Br) Mince Pie (Br) Fruit Cake (Amer) b. Eggnog (Amer) Brandy (Br) Wassail (Br) c. The Yule Log (Amer) The Royal Christmas Message (Br) Best Christmas Ads (Br) d. Christmas Crackers (Br) Boxing Day (Br) Tree Lightning (Amer) 3. Cooperative learning: Speak with the rest of the groups and learn from what the rest of your classmates found out. You might take notes. After that, take the following quiz and test your knowledge about Christmas traditions. Quiz 1. Traditionally, they contain a paper crown, a joke written on a slip of paper and a small gift. 4) Boxing Day 5) Christmas Crackers 6) The Royal Message 2. You might find a coin in it. d) Fruit Cake e) Eggnog f) Christmas pudding 3. It’s broadcast at 3 pm on Christmas Day d) The Yule Log e) The Royal Christmas Message f) Competition for Best Christmas ads 4. It’s a traditionally American drink, often garnished with a sprinkling or ground cinnamon or nutmeg. d) Brandy
  5. 5. 'Twas the class before Christmas… Pearson Webinars for English Teachers December 2016 5 e) Wassail f) Eggnog 5. Which TV advert usually wins in the “Best Christmas ad” competition in the UK? d) John Lewis e) The Lottery f) Marks and Spencer 6. This tradition began on the radio in 1932. d) Best Christmas Ads Competition e) Tree Lightning f) The Royal Christmas Message 7. Traditionally, tradesmen used to get their Christmas baskets from the employers on this day. d) Boxing Day e) Christmas Eve f) Christmas Day 8. This is burnt during the Twelve Days of Christmas and people like to sit around it and tell ghost stories, card- playing, etc. d) Christmas Crackers e) The Yule Log f) The Christmas tree

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