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A simple intermediate level English resource on  British life 

Shopping for Christmas

holly

What word goes best with Christmas in modern English? 

For some people it is eating, for others it is presents, for some it is Jesus... but for a lot of people, Christmas means shopping, more than anything else.
christmas shopping
Christmas shopping
            Christmas will soon be here again. For Britain's shops, specially shops in cities, November and December are the busiest months of the year. In fact, some big shops do half their year's business in those two months.  
   Yet in 2021, with Covid-19 still with us, Christmas shopping will not be the same! Many people do not want to go into cities, or into big shopping centers. They are afraid of catching Covid.  More and more people are now shopping on the Internet !  Internet shops are safe for  shoppers, and they never shut... not even on Christmas Day !  

   Most people, however, spend their money before Christmas. "Christmas shopping" is different from ordinary shopping, and people like to do it differently. They go to different shops, or different online stores, more expensive shops very often. They don't just buy food from their supermarket and clothes from big department stores. They look round, they take time (if they can), they browse and they choose.
    City shops do their best to attract them with exciting windows, and special offers. In the West End of London, shops spend thousands of pounds on lights, decorations, and special window displays. Some visitors come to London, just to see the lights and shop windows; but others come to shop in famous shops like Harrod's or Hamley's, Europe's biggest toy shop.
    For shop assistants, it is a frantic season . There is not much time to rest. Just time for a cup of coffee or tea perhaps, then back to work. It's a good season for pay! As Christmas gets nearer, shops stay open longer, sometimes until 10 p.m. That means more pay for the staff. It also means extra staff. Some people find a job, for a few weeks at least.
Christmas shopping
More Christmas shopping
    Then, at about 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, it all stops. The shops are suddenly empty - just a few people running round, looking for last minute presents. In many shops, there is a small party, a bottle of wine and mince pies or something like that. And then it's over. The shop doors close, but the lights stay on. Out in the streets, which were so busy a few hours before, there is hardly anyone. Just a few people going home, or singing in the street.
    Christmas shopping is over again.... until next October or November.
    But for some shops, the doors will only stay closed for a day. After Christmas shopping, there is New Year shopping! The New Year sales used to start after January 1st. Now in some shops they start on the day after Christmas, and the crowds rush back for a few more days. Lots of things are cheaper now.


Word guide
WORD GUIDE
busy:
active - display: show - extra: more, supplementary - staff: employees - Christmas Eve: 24th December - mince pies: special Christmas tarts - shutters: shutters protect windows - hurry: go fast - sale: when shops sell things cheaper than usual
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Student Worksheet

Christmas shopping in England

Interactive exercise : Prepositions :  Choose the correct prepositions in this extract from the article :
 
   Most people, however, spend their money   Christmas. "Christmas shopping" is different  ordinary shopping, and people like to do it differently. They go  different shops, or different online stores, more expensive shops very often. They don't just buy food  their supermarket and clothes  big department stores. They look  , they take time (if they can), and they choose.
    City shops do their best to attract them  exciting windows, and special offers.     the West End of London, shops spend thousands  pounds  lights, decorations, and special window displays. ......
     shop assistants, it is a frantic season . There is not much time  rest. Just time  a cup of coffee or tea perhaps, then back  work. It's a good season  pay! As Christmas gets nearer, shops stay open longer, sometimes  10 p.m. That means more pay  the staff. .....,    a few weeks at least.


Question forming : make up questions to which these are the answer

    1.    November and December
    2.    Yes, if you shop on the Internet.
    3.    They do so with exciting windows.
    4.    Thousands of pounds
    5.    Hamley's.
    6.    Sometimes not until 10 p.m.
    7.    Some just close for one day.
    8.    Because things are suddenly cheaper.


This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress 2000 - 2021.
Originally published in Horizon, the low-intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised  

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Readability - Fairly easy. Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 4 
Reading ease level:  83.5
CEF LEVEL :  B1 - intermediate
IELTS Level :  5
Christmas pudding
The traditional Christmas pudding is
set alight with brandy before serving

You can buy a traditional English Christmas Pudding online from the British Corner Store, for worldwide delivery


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Originally published in Horizon magazine.




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