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Culture Lesson: Christmas Traditions

Average: 3.3 (17 votes)

Merry Christmas!

Read the following information on Christmas and then answer the questions below:

In the weeks before Christmas, people start sending Christmas cards to their family and friends. Then, people decorate their houses and put up Christmas trees. Mistletoe is hung overhead for people to kiss beneath. Over the Christmas season, people attend Christmas parties organsised by their places of work or schools. Traditionally, young children write Christmas lists to Santa saying what they want for Christmas. These lists are burnt in a fireplace, as it is believed that is the only way that Santa can receive them.

On Christmas Eve, children hang up stockings on the ends of their beds or by the chimney so that when Father Christmas comes he can leave them something. Parents tell children that if they are not well behaved through the year, they will not get any presents from Santa. Food, such as mince pies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, respectively, are left out for when they come delivering presents.

Christmas day is a public holiday and, generally, people take time off work around Christmas. On Christmas morning, people exchange presents. Families with young children usually have to do this very in the morning as the children get very excited.

At lunchtime people eat a big meal. In Britain, people usually eat turkey. After lunch, when people are full of food, they sit down and watch the special Christmas shows on TV. In Britain, the Queen makes a televised speech where she talks about what happened in the country over the last 12 months and her hopes for the future. Often, in the afternoon, people go and visit their neighbours and friends.

Some people feel that Christmas has become too commercialised: these days, it is all about expensive gifts and eating too much; the original meaning of Christmas has been lost.

Link: Reading for information practice

  • What is miseltoe used for?

  • What do children do with their Christmas lists?

  • Who are the carrots for?

  • A 'public holiday' means:

  • Who makes a speech?

  • Which word means 'just to make money'?