Celebrate the holiday season with us. Learn about some of the things we do at Christmas and the New Year in the USA, in the UK and in Australia.
In this special holiday video Vicki is joined by two friends to share stories of different holiday traditions and customs around the world. You’ll meet Jennifer of JenniferESL and Emma of MmmEnglish and you’ll learn about Christmas trees in America, English Christmas turkey dinners and Australian New Year’s celebrations.
If you have holidays you celebrate, then we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Click here to see more stories and collaboration videos
Holiday Season Video Script
This lesson is very special.
Today we’re going to travel round the world together and you’re going to learn how we celebratethe holidays, Christmas and the New Year, in the US, in England, where I come from, and in Australia.
You don’t want to miss this!
Today you’re going to meet two of my friends, though I think you might know them already, because they make YouTube videos too!
There’s Jennifer, from Jennifer ESL, who’s American. And there’s Emma from mmmEnglish and Emma’s Australian.
And we thought, if we get together, we can show you how we celebrate the holiday season around the world.
So are you ready to travel with us? Let’s get going.
Christmas just wouldn’t feel the same without a Christmas tree. I live in Massachusetts and here in New England, it’s easy to find a Christmas tree farm.
Many people buy a real evergreen tree every year.
Other families, like mine, have an artificial tree.
My children and I start decorating for the holidays in early December.
We put on music, we put up the tree and then we decorate it with ornaments, lights and candy canes.
The days are short, so we get to enjoy the Christmas tree lights in the evening.
The really magical moment is Christmas morning when we find gifts from Santa Claus under the tree, and in our stockings, that are hanging from the mantel of our fireplace.
Let’s go over some key vocabulary.
Real and artificial are opposites when we’re talking about Christmas trees.
A real tree grows in a forest or on a tree farm.
And artificial tree comes in a box, so you have to assemble it.
‘Put on’ is a phrasal verb. If you put on some music, you cause it to be heard.
Let’s put some music on. Let’s put on some holiday music.
‘Put up’ is another phrasal verb. When you put up a tree, you erect or build it.
When are we going to put the tree up?
Did you put your tree up already?
Stockings, at one point, were regular old socks. But today they’ve become much larger and decorative.
Kids like big Christmas stockings because they can hold more treats from Santa.
When are we going to hang the stockings? Did you hang up your stockings already?
This is the mantel. As you can see, it’s like a shelf above the fireplace.
People often place photos, clocks and knick-knacks on the mantel.
At Christmas time, it’s where the stockings are hung.
Ooo, that’s interesting. In England, we usually hang our stockings on the ends of our beds, so we can start opening our presents the moment we wake up.
But let me tell you about my Christmas Day.
I get up early on Christmas morning to make some stuffing.
I mix up sage, that’s a herb, breadcrumbs, and onions.
And that sticky stuff I’m adding is peanut butter. Our dog loves it.
This mixture is called stuffing because we stuff the turkey with it – put it inside.
Turkey is a very traditional English Christmas dish and it takes a long time to cook.
But that’s good because I have a lot of other stuff to do.
There’s more food to prepare and the family are coming so I need to get everything ready for the meal.
When the turkey is cooked, Jay takes it out of the oven and it looks great, so everyone congratulates him.
Great job Jay, and Vicki, of course.
Do you remember what I put inside the turkey? It was stuffing.
If you stuff something, then you fill it.
So you saw me stuffing the turkey with stuffing – filling it with the mixture.
But stuff has other meanings too.
It’s an informal word that we use a lot in spoken English.
Sometimes it means substance. So, for example, that peanut butter was sticky stuff.
Stuff is a very vague and nonspecific word. WE use it if the name of something isn’t important, or if we don’t know the name.
So if you want to know what a substance is called, you can ask ‘What’s that stuff?’
We also use stuff to talk about actions and jobs, and again, it’s nonspecific.
So when I said I had stuff to do, I meant jobs. But I didn’t say what jobs exactly. It was just a group of different things.
One more stuff word? After we’ve eaten a big British Christmas dinner, we feel stuffed. ‘I’m stuffed!’ is an informal expression and it means full of food.
OK. That’s enough stuff about Christmas. Let’s go to Emma and find our about New Year in Australia.
While Christmas time is about family and food, New year is about letting your hair down and celebrating with friends.
We reflect on the year that’s finished and we wish each other luck and good fortune for the year to come.
Here in Australia it’s summer time, so our New Year’s celebrations are usually outside – at the park, at the beach, on a boat or at someone’s house.
We’re usually drinking champagne or other alcoholic drinks, and everyone is excited and in a festive mood.
Around New Year’s Eve, you’ll hear this question a lot: What are your New Year’s resolutions?
At the start of a new year we make promises about how we’re going to do better for ourselves in the following year.
We promise ourselves that we’ll exercise more, or lose weight, or learn a new language, or any other skill.
But, to be completely honest, most of these resolutions… they get broken within the first month of the year.
Of course, the highlight of New Year’s Eve is the countdown to midnight, when the year officially changes.
During the final ten seconds of the year we count down from ten to one, out loud, at the top of our lungs.
And then we call out, ‘Happy New Year!’ and hug everyone around us, whether you know them or not. And of course, that’s when the fireworks begin.
OK. Let’s take a closer look at the vocabulary that I used.
I said, ‘to let your hair down’. Now this expression is used when you want to relax and enjoy yourself and behave much more freely than usual.
I also said, ‘a festive mood’ and we use this word festive to describe someone’s feelings when they’re happy and excited because they’re celebrating something special, like Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving, or even a birthday.
Ooo, what about a New Year’s resolution? A resolution is a promise to do or not to do something to try and improve yourself.
There are a few collocations that you need to remember when you’re using ‘resolutions’ – verbs that are usually used with this noun, like make, have, keep and break.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? If you do, share them in the comments.
Do you usually make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t keep any of my New Year’s resolutions. I usually break all of my resolutions by the end of January. I’m hopeless!
I also used the noun highlight, which means the best part.
The highlight of the night is the best part of the night.
I mentioned the countdown, but I also used the phrasal verb, to count down, and that means to wait for something to happen.
When you’re watching the clock and you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen, you’re counting down the minutes until something exciting happens.
The countdown is a compound noun and it looks different. The two words are together.
And finally, at the top of our lungs. And this just means… well this is an idiom, and it means as loudly as you can possibly say something.
At the top of your lungs.
Happy Holidays and happy studies everyone.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Happy New Year!
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