Christmas is a hugely important time in many English-speaking countries, and while its origins are religious, it is now enjoyed by people from all kinds of backgrounds and religions, as well as people who are not religious. While much of the world is taking at least a small break over the festive period, it doesn’t have to mean a break from your English! Whether you study English online or study English in London, there are many things you can do to keep in touch with the language and the cultures that spawned it.
CHRISTMAS SPECIALS AND FILMS
Many long-running tv shows have special episodes in which the characters celebrate or experience Christmas. In addition, there are countless Christmas movies of all shapes and sizes, from family comedies such as Elf or Home Alone to classic action films like Die Hard. Watching these is a great way to keep improving your listening and vocabulary as well as learning more about Anglo-American Christmas culture! Of course, you should watch them with English audio and English subtitles. If you have classes with TopUp Learning, you can make notes of phrases you’re not sure about and ask your teacher about them in the new year!
WRITE A LETTER TO FATHER CHRISTMAS
Father Christmas, or Santa Claus as he is also known, lives in Lapland, and every year, he receives letters from all over the world requesting specific Christmas presents. You can practise your writing by writing him a letter yourself. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar carefully if you want to be on his nice list and not his naughty list!
LISTEN TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC
There are many, many Christmas songs you can listen to, and some of them are actually good! Listening to songs in English is a great way to improve your listening and pronunciation, and you can easily find playlists of Christmas songs on streaming service. We recommend Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses (https://www.youtube.com/watchv=nud2TQNahaU&ab_channel=scamparoo), an excellent and highly conversational Christmas song with a fantastic bassline.
READ SOME CHRISTMAS POETRY
Christmas has inspired some fantastic poems over the years, many of which are very readable today. One particularly great Christmas poem is King John’s Christmas by A.A. Milne (https://www.thereader.org.uk/featured-poem-king-johns-christmas-by-a-a-milne/), which gives us a glimpse into the famously unpopular King John’s Christmas list. As well as being an excellent poem, it’s a wonderful window into the uncertainty of human want and need.