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Christmas Issue

Exercise I – Test yourself on Christmas in twenty questions

How many of the questions below can you answer?

 

  1. What is the second day of Christmas called?
  2. What do children leave for Santa Claus to put the presents in?
  3. How does Santa Claus get to the house?
  4. Which animals pull Santa Claus’ sleigh?
  5. What is put as a Christmas decoration on the front door of the house?
  6. What plants are used to make it?
  7. What is hung above doorways?
  8. What do people do when they pass underneath?
  9. Which bird symbolises Christmas and often appears on Christmas cards?
  10. What do we call a play about the birth of Jesus performed by children at school at Christmas time?
  11. What is the name of a tube made of brightly coloured paper which contains a small gift and makes an exploding sound when pulled?
  12. Who introduced the custom of Christmas trees in Britain?
  13. When did it happen?
  14. What is ‘the Christmas Panto’?
  15. What is the title of Charles Dickens’ short novel in which Scrooge, a very mean old man, changes into a benevolent elderly gentleman?
  16. Which country sends a fir tree to be put up on Trafalgar Square at Christmas time?
  17. Which place in England is traditionally associated with a carol service led by a choir of boys and broadcast live on television?
  18. What is the most important dish of Christmas dinner?
  19. Who wrote the song White Christmas?
  20. Which day is traditionally the last day of Christmas and the best time to dismantle all Christmas decorations?

 

KEY: 1. Boxing Day; 2. a stocking (in fact a long sock); 3. by climbing down the chimney at night; 4. reindeer; 5. a wreath; 6. holly, ivy and fir; 7. bunches of mistletoe; 8. exchange kisses; 9. the robin; 10. nativity play; 11. a cracker; 12. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband; 13. around 1840; 14. pantomime of a folk tale or fairy tale put on at Christmas by local theatres; 15. Christmas Carol; 16. Norway; 17. King’s College Chapel of Cambridge University; 18. roast turkey; 19. Irving Berlin; 20 Twelfth Night (6th of January)

 

Exercise II – The Worst Possible Present

Stage A

Let’s face it, not all of our Christmas presents are exactly what we’ve been hoping for. And, conversely, what we give other people may also prove to be something of a ‘white elephant’. Imagine the worst possible presents for some of the ‘Christmas characters’ listed below and write what each character gets in the provided spaces.

 

1. Frosty the Snowman

........................................................

2. Three Kings

........................................................

3. Santa Claus

........................................................

4. The Shepherds

........................................................

5. Robin the Redbreast

........................................................

6. Parson Brown

........................................................

7. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

........................................................

8. An ox and an ass

........................................................

 

Stage B

Here are our suggestions. Decide which gift was given to whom, then check your answers in the key.

 

a) a powder compact; b) a pedigree bullterrier; c) three forms of ‘goods to declare’ for completion; d) some sun-tan lotion and a free ticket to the Bahamas; e) the virus of the bird flu; f) Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code; g) a razor and some shaving cream; h) some sliced salami

 

KEY: 1d; 2c; 3g; 4b; 5e; 6f; 7a; 8h

 

Exercise III

The fragments of popular Christmas carols (A) and Christmas songs (B) given below contain mistakes. Find which words in each text are wrong. Do you remember which words are used in the original?

 

A – Christmas carols

 

1. O little town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie

Beside thy deep and dreamless sleep

The roaring cars go by

 

2. Away in a stable, no crib for a bed,

The Little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head

 

3. God help you poor gentlemen,

Let nothing you dismay

For Jesus Christ, Our Saviour,

Was born upon this day

 

4. Oh come, all ye grateful

Joyful and triumphant

Oh come ye, oh come ye, to Bethlehem

 

5. Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let us receive the King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing,

6. Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
Angels, sinners reconciled!

 

B – Christmas songs

 

1. Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you could see how bright it glows.

 

2. I'll be home for Christmas;
You can count on me.
Please have snow and turkey
And presents on the tree.

 

3. Here comes Santa Claus!
Here comes Santa Claus!
His sleigh is in the Lane!
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
are pulling on the reins.

 

4. Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a carrot nose,
And two eyes made out of coal.

5. In the garden we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.

 

6. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree lights glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

 

KEY:

A: 1. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by; 2. away in a manger; 3. God rest you merry, gentlemen (Please note the punctuation); 4. Oh come, all ye faithful; 5. Let earth receive her King; 6. God and sinners reconciled;

B: 1. you would even say it glows; 2. snow and mistletoe; 3. Right down Santa Claus Lane; 4. and a button nose; 5. in the meadow we can build a snowman; 6. the treetops glisten

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