LESSON: A Christmas Carol (B2-C1)

Vocabulary for attitudes to money. Question formation. Continuing a short drama sketch.

1. Match up the words on the left with the phrases on the right.

1. goodwilla. A person who has a lot of money but won’t spend any of it
2. a miserb. a focus on buying and selling
3. make a donationc. completely cover the costs of a charitable project
4. humbugd. willing to do things for other people without receiving any benefit
5. fund a programmee. “Peace and _____ to all” is a greeting you’ll often see on Christmas cards.
6. altruisticf. to give money to a good cause
7. jollyg. another word for hypocrisy or ‘virtue-signalling’
8. commercialismh. merry
If you’re not sure of a word, there are example sentences here.

To check your answers, click here.

2. Here’s a trailer for a popular Christmas movie story. What do you know about the story?

An alternative (more scary) movie trailer about this same story is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVObHkzoFPg

3. You will need a partner for this next activity. One of you should open the document A Christmas Carol Person A and one of you should open the document A Christmas Carol Person B. Ask questions to your partner to find the missing information from your sheet.

4. Discuss these statements with your partner. Do you agree?
——a. There is far too much commercialism at Christmas.
——b. It is better to give presents than to receive.
——c. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
——d. Spending money on other people’s behalf is simply an inefficient way to spend your hard-earned cash.
——e. Don’t listen to people who tell you to “think of all the starving children” when you’re having your Christmas lunch: they just want to ruin your enjoyment.
——f. It’s time to stop wasting the Earth’s resources on Christmas trees, decorations, lights and overeating.

5. Sentence d. above comes from a thought-provoking article by Tabitha Whiting, The commercialism of Christmas: gift-giving, John Lewis ads, and eating turkey’. Below are some sentences from the article. Can you think of suitable words or short phrases that would fit in the gaps?

Of course, Christmas isn’t all about [_____]. It’s also about putting up a real tree that could otherwise be contributing to [_____], or a fake tree that is contributing to our [____] of plastic pollution. It’s about buying expensive advent calendars to get 24 ‘presents’ that you didn’t really need [_____]. And it’s about decorating your house with cheap and [_____] fairy lights, baubles, window stickers, tinsel and so on — most of which is also made from plastic, and will probably make its way to [_____] after one Christmas (because who wants the same decorations two years in a row?)

Tabitha Whiting, writing on medium.com

(Answers to part 5 are here)

6. Read the whole article (or share it with your class so everyone reads a small part of it). To what extent do you agree with the ideas expressed here?

7. Watch this clip from a British comedy series.

Two questions to think about while you watch:
——a. What do you think is the relationship between the three people in the clip?
——b. What Christmas present is mentioned?

For answers to the questions in this part, click here.

8. Tell your classmates: Have you ever received a present of this type? If not, how would you react if someone bought you this for your Christmas or birthday present?

  • How does the girl react to the present?

9. Here are two unfinished conversations from the video clip. Working with a partner, take one of these conversations and finish it.


Background photos in stage 9: monicore on Pixabay. Cover photo: Pezibear from Pixabay.

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