Christmas and New Year’s holiday celebrations around the world

This lesson is very special. Today we’re going to travel round the world
together and you’re going to learn how we celebrate the holidays, Christmas and 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. An artificial tree comes in a box, so you
have to assemble it. ‘Put on’ is a phrasal verb. If you put on 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’s Eve 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 just 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! Make sure you subscribe to all our channels,
so you don’t miss any of our videos.

About the author


  1. Hello Vicky, Jennifer and Emma, It's good to see you together as I used to learn English from all of you. I loved it very much and if I have time I listen to your lessons until now.
    I wish you and Jay also Merry Christmas and Happy New Years.
    Our Christmas is very similar without stockings. We put the presents wrapped into beautiful Christmas paper under the tree on 24th Evening of Christmas. On the 24th Evening, we eat fish preparing in different ways. On 25th for lunch, we make several kinds of meals, but which is required the stuffed cabbage and the cakes are walnut rolls and poppy seed rolls.

    With New Year resolutions I am like than Emma. I could break them in January. Now I bought an "Agenda 2018," and I plan to write sentences collocations, idioms, phrasal verbs, and phrases – in it – every day.


  2. Happy New year Vicki and Jay, also Emma and Jennifer. I hope the next year that is coming, be full of new great videos like yours.
    Merry Christmas from Brazil.

  3. Hi Vicki! What a great idea… three inspired women gathered in a festiv video !
    Thank you to you three!
    Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you, Jay, your nice grandson and the loyal Carter.

  4. "Did you put your tree up already?" (2:54) I guess Americans don't use the present perfect… "Have you put your tree up already?"

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