A Christmas market in an English city
Christmas is the biggest festival in the English year. Once the
two days, today it seems to last almost two months. Christmas Day,
December 25th, is the day when most people in Britain sit
down to a special meal of roast turkey
and Christmas pudding; but Christmas Day is just the high point of the
In the weeks before Christmas, life is
There are parties; there are trips
to the cinema or the pantomime
and of course there's all the shopping.
On Christmas day, Britain closes! For
most people, Christmas is a time to relax at
last after many long and busy weeks. The presents
bought and sent, dozens of cards have been sent and received, the food
is waiting to be eaten. For two days at least (if not three or four,
depending on the year), the shops will be shut, and the postman will
not deliver any letters. For a day or two, even the
trains stop running.
Nowadays, Britain's Christmas shopping
almost four months! The first Christmas catalogues come
through letter-boxes at the start of September!
Lots of busy
shopping online, because it is easy. All they have to do is choose from
the pages of a colourful catalogue, or use the Internet. A few days
to the door..... or at least one hopes they are. Some Internet shops
work 24/24 in the weeks before Christmas, to make sure that everyone
gets their presents on time..
Many Christmas catalogues come from charities
charity has its own specialities – nature and animals from WWF, the RSPCA
"green" products from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth; and
hand-made articles from developing countries from charities like Oxfam
and Save the Children. Big charities like these earn a lot of money
from their Christmas catalogues.
In the streets, Christmas arrives at the
start of November. Santa
and Christmas decorations start appearing in shop
windows soon after "Guy
" (5th November). There are no other
festivities between Guy Fawkes Night and Christmas
In the streets, vendors
Christmas hats, and reindeer
horns! Many shops need extra staff
some shops sell as much in November and December as they do in
the other 10 months of the year. Shops stay open later in the evening,
and on Sundays too.
During December, sometimes even earlier,
the Christmas lights come on in the streets, and the big shops put on
special "Christmas windows", to bring in the shoppers. As Christmas
the shops become more and more crowded
. Nowadays, many shops start
their "New Year Sales
Christmas; some people therefore wait till the last days, in order to
pay less for their presents.
When the shops finally close for the
holiday, most people are happy that the shopping is over
For a day at least, everything is shut... except pubs and restaurants,
which do a lot of business on Christmas day. On Christmas morning, some
people go to church in the morning, others stay at home to open
presents and prepare the Christmas lunch.
In the afternoon, it's time for more presents, or to watch a
good film, or go our for a walk in the country, or in the park.
Christmas, the shopping season starts again, as people spend their Christmas
money and look for bargains
in the New Year sales.
Most people have a week's holiday
between Christmas and the New Year. Some, of course, have to keep
working; but for most, the last week of the year is a time to relax,
enjoy more parties, and do a bit more shopping.
January sometimes seems very flat and empty!
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At Christmas time, Britain ____________! For most people, Christmas is
a time to relax at last after many long and busy
weeks. The presents _____ been ________ and _____, dozens of cards have
_______ ______ and ________, the food ________ to be
________. For two days at least (if not three or four, depending on the
year), the shops ______ ___shut, and the postman _____ not
________ any letters. For a day or two, even the trains _______
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Revised 2016 . Originally published in Horizon, the low-intermediate
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