Write the words under the pictures.
Eating and Drinking
At Christmas, we eat and drink a lot. Christmas food in England is theoretically traditional, but a lot of the traditions are quite new. There were no turkeys on British tables before 1800. Even in the 19th century, the traditional meat at Christmas was goose. If you want to know what the components of a twentieth-century British Christmas dinner are – rearrange the letters to make the names of different food and drink:
Sausages and bacon are often served, too. And – of course – the Christmas Pudding.
* Christmas _____ is eaten at tea-time, not at dinner.
A Christmas Nursery Rhyme
Listen to the rhyme and decide which sentences are true and which are false.
1. Little James Horner sat in a corner.
2. He put his thumb and pulled out a cherry.
3. And said, “Merry Christmas!”
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Eating a Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
I. Do you know that:
– Christmas trees existed in a recognizable form in Strasbourg, Germany in 1605.
– The first English example of which we have a precise record, was arranged by a German member of Queen Caroline’s household for a children’s party in 1821. This – although the giver called it a tree – was actually a branch of evergreen fixed on a board, decorated with oranges and almonds, and having a model farm, complete with animals, round its base.
– Actually Englishmen used to think of 1841 as the year in which the Christmas tree was officially accepted in England. It was just in 1841 that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a lighted tree at Windsor Castle.
In the next few years, accounts and pictures of successive royal trees in the Castle appeared in newspapers and journals. It doubtless helped to make the custom better known and the Christmas tree fashionable.
– The Christmas tree reached America, carried there by German settlers and by the Hessian soldiers in George the Third’s army, who are said to have set them up in their camps during the American War of Independence.
– The first Christmas tree in the White House was put up in 1899 during the Administration of Benjamin Harrison.
II. Answer the question:
Where did the Christmas tree appear earlier – in England or in the USA?
Round the World
I. Listen to the text.
In Sweden, festivities still begin on Saint Lucia’s day, December 13th. This is traditionally the longest and darkest night of the Swedish winter. Little girls dress in long white dresses, with a crown of lighted candles in their hair as a symbol of light. They serve the rest of the family with coffee and cinnamon buns while they sing Christmas carols.
Candles are an important symbol in the Jewish festival of Chanukah*, too. Every home has a special candlestick for eight candles, one for each of the eight days of the festival. (…) The festival celebrates the rebellion of the Maccabees against the Assyrian Greeks in the second century B.C. In the temple of Jerusalem after the victory, a lamp which only had enough oil for one day burned miraculously for eight days. During Chanukah, families hold parties and give each other gifts.
In Mexico, during the nine days before Christmas, people visit their friends’ houses in the evening carrying candles. They sing carols and knock at the door. At first they are not allowed in. This is one of the customs of Posada! Then they explain they are Mary and Joseph, parents of the Christ Child, who were turned away from the inn in Bethlehem before He was born. They are welcomed warmly. The celebrations often end with fireworks and “pinata” for children. Each child is blindfolded, and given a stick with which to break open the “pinata”, a clay bowl sealed with rice paper and decorated. The bowl is full of sweets, nuts, fruits and small toys.
In the Netherlands, St. Nicholas arrives by boat. He arrives on December 6th, together with his servant, Black Peter, who carries a sack to take away any children who have been naughty. He brings presents for the good children.
* Chanukah or Hanukkah is an 8-day Jewish festival beginning on the 25th Kislev** and commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by Antiochus of Syria.
** Kislev – the third month of the civil year or the 9th month of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar (March in the Gregorian calendar).
II. Correct false statements.
1. Little girls in Sweden serve the rest of the family with coffee and cinnamon.
2. A lamp is an important symbol in the Jewish festival, Chanukah.
3. During Chanukah, parties are held and presents given to the members of the family.
4. A “posada” is a clay bowl sealed with rice paper and decorated.
5. St. Nicholas brings presents for naughty children.
6. St. Nicholas arrives in Amsterdam with his servant, Black Peter.
III. Complete this fragment of the text. Do refer to the original text before you finish.
In _____, festivities still _____ _____ Saint Lucia’s day, _____. This is traditionally the _____ and ______ night of the Swedish ______. Little ______ dress in _____ white dresses, with a ______ of lighted _____ in their ______ as a symbol of light. They serve the _______ of the _______ with coffee and cinnamon ______ while they sing ______ ______.
I. Read the text.
Christmas carols are very old songs which are sung only in December. Most of the songs tell about the birth of Christ but not all carols have a religious motif. Some carols like “Good King Wenceslas” tell the story of famous people who were kind to other people. These songs were sung at Christmas time before many ordinary people could read or write, so it is not surprising that the song is like a story. The music is very beautiful and easy to remember.
In England each night before Christmas Day, from about December 17, carol singers go from house to house, singing Christmas songs. Carol singing outside houses at Christmas time is an old tradition. In the week before Christmas there are special concerts in church halls, concert halls and on the radio.
II. Decide which sentences are true and which are false:
1. Carols are very old songs sung only in December.
2. All carols have a religious motif.
3. The music of carols is easy to remember.
4. Song singing outside houses is an old English tradition.
5. Special carol concerts in churches and concert halls take place from about December 17.
O Come, All Ye Faithful
This hymn is supposed to have been written during the 13th century. It is one of the most popular of the old Latin Hymns and is used in all Christian Churches, especially at Christmas. The author of the words is unknown. It was translated from Latin by F. Oakley, in 1841. The music is supposed to have been written by John Reading, an English organist of the 18th century.
The First Department Store Santa
I. Read the text.
Roly-Poly James Edgar of Brockton, Massachusetts, was America’s first department store Father Christmas. A native of Scotland who came to the United States as a child, he was the man who made American youngsters more aware of Santa Claus than they had ever been before.
James Edgar (who died in 1910) was a tall, well-rounded person with a ruddy complexion and a loud and hearty laugh. He had a rich, warm voice and wore a snow-white beard.
The owner of turn-of-the-century Brockton’s department store, he loved children. On Saturday mornings, he would stand on the roof of his store and shower pennies down on them.
Every year on the Fourth of July, he hired all the trolley cars available so he could take every youngster in town on picnic in the neighboring community of Avon.
If he heard of a child who was seriously ill, the best medical care available was dispatched immediately to the youngster’s home. If there was a youngster who needed extra money to help out at home, Edgar was quick to hire him, even if there was no real need for a new employee.
“My life in Scotland was a poor one,” Edgar once told an associate. “When I came to this country, I had to scratch to get by. I never really had a childhood. I was always out working. I think that is why I enjoy children so much. I’m trying to make up for the childhood I never had.”
Edgar opened the Boston Store in Brockton in 1878. He was a showman of sorts and loved to dress in costumes to delight his children at the annual Fourth of July picnics. One year he came dressed up as Uncle Sam. Another time, he appeared as George Washington. He also appeared as an Army general, in an Indian costume and in a Scottish outfit complete with kilt.
One year, his appearance as a clown brought such a great response that he decided to wear the costume in his store the following Christmas. Every day, he wandered through the store dressed as the clown and selected the girl with the prettiest ribbon in her hair; she received a Christmas doll.
This went on for three or four years. Then, in 1890, Edgar decided to try a new costume at Christmas. He had a Santa suit made and the following week wore it in the store. The rest is history.
“I can still remember seeing Santa Claus for the first time,” declared Edward Pearson, who was there that first day. “As long as I live – and I’ve lived quite a few years – I’ll never forget that.”
Mr. Pearson, in his 90s when interviewed, still had vivid memories of James Edgar, and of the day his parents brought him to the Boston Store to shop for a gift.
“Nowadays, Santa Claus is everywhere,” said Mr. Pearson. “Back in 1890, we saw drawings of him in the newspapers and magazines. But we never thought we’d ever have a chance to see him in person, unless we sat up all night on Christmas Eve.
“You just can’t imagine what it was like. I remember walking down an aisle of the store and all of a sudden, right in front of me, I saw Santa Claus. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And then Santa came up and talked to me. It was a dream come true.”
The following day, the department store was crowded with children and their parents. A week after Santa made his debut there were long lines outside the store every day.
Originally, Edgar planned to appear for only a couple of hours each day in the Santa costume. This was supposed to be during the late afternoon after school got out. But his idea proved so popular he had to order a second Santa outfit. This costume was worn by “Jim Grant,” a big floorwalker.
Soon the children were arriving by train from Boston and other surrounding communities. Some came from Providence, R. I. A few sophisticated New York youngsters showed up. Just about every child who could persuade mom and dad to make a trip to Brockton visited the Boston Store that Christmas.
During the years that followed, word of Edgar’s great success spread across the nation. Thus in 1891, Santa made his appearance at a number of major stores. By the turn of the century he had a throne in department stores in just about every large city.
Today, there are elaborate parades heralding Santa’s arrival in important cities. In smaller communities, he arrives at shopping plazas in helicopters.
In 1890, when James Edgar first had his idea, only a few thousand children had an opportunity to shake Santa’s hand. He once said: “I have never been able to understand why the great gentleman lives at the North Pole. He is so far away. He is only able to see children one day a year. He should live closer to them.”
Even so, 86 years later, millions of eager young children will whisper their Christmas secret into Santa’s ear.
II. Answer the questions:
1. Who was James Edgar?
2. What did he look like?
3. What would he do on Saturday morning?
4. What did he do on the fourth of July?
5. What did he do to help a) the ill children; b) the poor children?
6. Why did he do all these things?
7. He liked to dress in costumes on the fourth of July. What else did he decide to do in 1890?
8. What did he do every day during Christmas that year?
9. What was the result of his action?
10. What happened in 1891 in a number of major shops?
11. What can you say about the custom of department store Santas at present?
III. Complete these statements.
1. James Edgar was born __________.
2. He came to the US as __________.
3. He loved __________ because __________.
4. In 1878 he __________.
5. He loved to dress __________.
6. He dressed up as __________.
7. One year he decided to wear costumes at Christmas time.
8. For three or four years he used to dress up as __________.
9. Then in 1890 __________.
10. In 1891 Santa __________.
11. By the turn of the century Santa __________.
Kate’s Christmas Diary
Look at the pictures and say what Kate was doing during Christmas week. On 20 December, Kate was...
Christmas Wishes for Greeting Cards
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
Good luck in the New Year!
Merry Christmas and many gifts from Santa Claus!
May the Blessing of Christmas be yours and Happiness fill each day of the New Year!
May the peace and happiness of Christmas be with you throughout the New Year!
1) Which of these cards would you send to your
a) grandmother; b) little cousin; c) teacher; d) friend.
2) Choose from the Christmas wishes given above the ones which you find most suitable to send to those persons. Explain your choice(s).
Christmas Eve Salad
(Ensalada de Noche Buena)
If you want to prepare something extraordinary to surprise your Christmas Eve guests, you can serve delicious Christmas Eve Salad. It is a traditional Mexican dish. To prepare this excellent salad you will need some ingredients hard to buy in Russia, but this fact makes Mexican Christmas Salad the more attractive treat.
Here are the ingredients:
1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
2 large oranges
2 medium bananas
1 large apple
3 medium beets, cooked, peeled and sliced or 1 16-ounce can sliced beets, drained
1 jicama, peeled and sliced (optional)
1 stick sugar cane, peeled and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts
mayonnaise or salad dressing
Compiled by Galina Goumovskaya