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Learning Vocabulary - Christmas Confusion

Learning Vocabulary - Christmas Confusion

Jack talks about Christmas traditions that his wife, who is from Indonesia, found difficult to understand.

Transcript

If the listening was difficult, you can listen again and read the transcript at the same time.
Read and listen at the same time.

Hello my name’s Jack and welcome to the Premier Skills English podcast!

In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you with your English.

If you are listening to this podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify you can also visit the Premier Skills English website at britishcouncil.org/premierskillsenglish where you’ll be able to download the podcast.

On the Premier Skills English website, you can read the transcript and join the Premier Skills English community by completing a language task in the comments section. This will really help you remember the new words and phrases from the stories from the Premier League.

The World Cup is won. Congratulations Argentina! I think almost everyone is happy to see Messi with the trophy and France played so well that there’s glory all round. Messi got the golden ball, Mbappe got the golden boot and the world was excited and entertained by the action and drama on the pitch. Even England took home an award; the Fair Play Trophy for the best disciplinary record, with only one booking throughout the tournament. And now that the excitement has subsided, the players are all on their way back to their clubs and their managers will be looking to the festive fixtures because it’s nearly Christmas.

The Premier Skills English podcast has been going now for 7 years and we have nearly had 10 million listens. Over the years, we have published quite a few Christmas podcasts. We’ve talked about the vocabulary related to Christmas and the festive fixtures. Last year, we made a podcast about presents and the present perfect. So this year, I was a little stumped. What could I make this year’s Christmas podcast about? So I asked my wife. You see, my wife is Indonesian. She is from a muslim family and didn’t really celebrate Christmas until we met. But now, we live in the UK and we have two sons and Christmas is a major cultural event. I loved Christmas when I was a kid and I want to share that with my sons and my wife supports this, but there are a few parts of Christmas that she found a little difficult to understand when we first moved to the UK. So I asked her about the things that she found the strangest about Christmas and that’s what I am going to talk about today: the UK’s strangest Christmas traditions and I’ll try to describe the interesting vocabulary as I go.

At the end of the podcast, there will be a language challenge and a task for you to complete and there will be a new football phrase.

But before that, I want to look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week, here’s one more chance to guess now.

Football phrase

Last week, I was looking for an idiom with the word ball in it. The phrase last week meant that it’s your turn to make a decision, to decide what to do next. The phrase was the ___ __ __ ____ _____. So if you are negotiating with someone, perhaps you are buying a house, and the seller suggests a new price, it is now up to you to either accept the price or make a new offer. The ____ __ __ ____ _____.

Congratulations to Nadeem Al-Murshedi from Yemen - I’m really sorry for getting your name wrong last time Nadeem. Congratulations to Vietnguyenngo from Vietnam, Cybersam16 from Bahrain, welcome to Premier Skills English Cybersam16, Congratulations to Hasan from Turkey, I’ve been calling you Hsn for years now, but as you introduced yourself this week, if you don’t mind, I’ll use your name. Congratulations to Hayato from Japan, to GD26 from Russia and to Amal Khalafallah from Egypt.

You all managed to work out that the phrase I was looking for was the ball is in your court. Keep listening till the end of the podcast for a new football phrase. Now it’s time for me to talk about some strange Christmas traditions.

OK, these probably aren’t the strangest traditions. There was a thread on the AskUK Reddit today about strange traditions at Christmas and there really are some weird ones. The traditions that I am talking about today are the ones that my wife found confusing. I have selected five festive traditions. But before I start, I want to talk about the word festive.

Festive is an adjective that is used to describe things that make you feel happy and that are related to a festival or special occasion. So you could use festive to talk about a carnival outfit or a birthday cake, but when I did a search for news stories that contained the word festive, the first page was all about things related to Christmas. So I think that in most cases, the word festive means special and Christmassy, at least in the UK. On the Premier Skills English website, we have spoken about the festive fixtures which are the matches held between Christmas day and the New Year. If you go into any town centre in the UK at the moment, there will be Christmas lights and often Christmas markets and you could say that the town centre looks very festive.

Tradition number 1. Mince pies

The first of the festive traditions that you might find confusing are mince pies. Mince pies are small individual pies that are filled with mincemeat. And this is the first source of confusion. You see, mince is normally meat that has been through a kitchen tool called a mincer. It’s a bit like a grinder, but it has a little nozzle thing that produces worms of partly ground meat. People use mince to make meatballs and in lots of dishes. But mincemeat is not minced meat. In fact, it has no meat in it. In the past, there was meat in mincemeat. It used to be made out of a mixture of meat and dried fruit and spices, but the meat was dropped over 100 years ago and today, mincemeat is a sweet sugary mixture of raisins and bits of apple and orange and lemon peel and spices. This is put into little pies and baked and is a traditional Christmas treat. Lots of people get confused about the name, it’s not just my wife. However there is another slightly confusing thing about mince pies. You see, as Christmas approaches and everyone starts getting excited, people talk about all the things they love about Christmas and people love mince pies. There are pictures of them all over the place on Christmas adverts and all the supermarkets start selling them. Throughout the year, people never really eat sweet pies and they never eat mincemeat, but as Christmas approaches, mince pies are suddenly spoken about as if they are the most delicious thing. And this might make you wonder why, if these treats are so good, they are not eaten at other times or the year. And then, if you try them you will discover ... that most of them are not great. You see, good pastry with a sweet and slightly spicy filling, flavoured with raisins and apple and orange and cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves is delicious if it’s right. But often, unfortunately, if you buy mince pies from the supermarket, the pastry is horrible and turns to sand in your mouth and there’s not enough filling so they are really hard to swallow. I think my wife’s first experience of mince pies was with a bad one. She really couldn’t understand why everyone was so excited. For the last few years, I have made a batch myself as it’s something festive I can do with my kids and that way, they are really good, but it took some time to convince my wife that mince pies were not something weird and the British people are collectively delusional about.

Before we move on to the next confusing Christmas tradition, I think I should explain a couple of words: batch and delusional. A batch is a quantity or an amount of things that are made all at the same time. So if you are cooking bread rolls, and you want to cook more than you can fit in your oven at once, then you will have to cook them in batches. Each batch will be the number of rolls that are baked together. You can also make other things in batches, but it’s most commonly used to talk about cooking. The adjective delusional comes from the verb to delude which means to make someone believe something that isn’t true. So if a person is delusional, they believe something that is not true. We usually use the word to describe someone who thinks that they are better at something, for example better at football than they are. You might hear someone say: if you think you’re going to win this match, you’re delusional.

OK. Tradition number 2. Christmas cards

The second of the Christmas traditions that my wife did not understand at first is Christmas cards. In Indonesia, people give birthday cards and Idul Fitri cards, but there’s really not much mail compared to the UK and generally, people prefer to send messages online. So the first year we were in the UK, we were both surprised by the amount of letters and junk that arrived through the letterbox and by the number of Christmas cards we received. There are shops in the UK that just sell greeting cards. And some places sell fancy artistic cards that can be expensive.

It’s wrong to say that my wife doesn’t understand Christmas cards. But I think she finds writing a personalised message quite stressful. You see, you don’t just want to write a meaningless cliche, you have to try to think of something personal, but there are only so many ways you can say merry Christmas. The first year that we sent Christmas cards, I found my wife googling Christmas messages for cards to work out what to write.

These days, it is much easier to send a message online and it’s better for the environment as well. What do you think? Do you send Christmas cards?

There are three words that I want to talk about from this tradition. Stressful, cliche and personal. Stressful is a useful adjective for this time of year as lots of people find the holidays stressful. If something is stressful, it makes you feel stressed or it causes stress. This is a negative feeling that is normally related to having too much work to do. It’s the nervousness and anxiety you feel when you have lots of pressure at work. If you feel like a job is very important and you don’t have the ability to do it well, then you may feel stressed. A cliche is a phrase that is overused. There are lots of football cliches, like they gave 110% or we’re taking it one game at a time. These phrases have been used so many times that if you use them it can seem like you haven’t really thought about what you are saying. Christmas greetings are cliches. The problem with these is when you send a Christmas card to a friend, you don’t want them to think you’re just sharing cliches, you want them to think that you care and that’s why you’re sending a card. You want your message to be personal. You want the message to be special for your friend and not for everyone. That’s what personal means in this situation. If you receive a card with a personal message, that’s a message that was written especially for you and not just sent to everybody.

Tradition number 3: Boxing day

The third Christmas tradition that my wife found ... interesting was Boxing Day. Boxing day in the UK is the day after Christmas day. It’s the 26th of December. When I mentioned Boxing Day to my wife, she asked me why it was called Boxing Day and I had to admit that I didn’t know. When I was a child I thought it had something to do with boxing, the fighting sport. Perhaps everybody got together to watch a boxing match. That’s not very Christmassy, though. I thought, perhaps it was called Boxing Day because everyone was feeling grumpy after Christmas and got into a big fight. Obviously that’s not where the word comes from.

In fact, people do get together to watch sport, but not boxing. Football is the favourite Boxing Day sport and football fans look forward to the Boxing Day fixtures. There is another sport that is popular on Boxing Day and that’s shopping. OK, it’s not really a sport, but there are some people in my family that treat it like a competitive activity. You see, after Christmas, lots of shops have stock that they wanted to sell before Christmas. After Christmas, they have special sales. A sale is an event in a shop where lots of item’s prices are lower. The Boxing Day sales are an important part of Christmas for some people. In fact, some of my relatives don’t give each other Christmas presents till Boxing day and they buy them in the sales so they are cheaper.

The term Boxing Day is not related to the sport of boxing or football or shopping. The term originates from years ago when people would put together a box of gifts, perhaps some food or money for the tradespeople that worked for them throughout the year. Some people still give gifts to their postie and to the bin men or rubbish collectors. In the past, this practice was more common and special boxes were left for people to be collected on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas day.

Before we move on, I want to talk about the word practice. The word practice has more than one meaning. Normally, it means the activity that you do to get better at something. So English practice will help you improve your english. Footballers have to practise and develop their skills at practice sessions. However, there is an advanced meaning of the word practice that describes regular activities and customs and habits. I spoke about the practice of preparing Christmas boxes, which is not a common practice anymore. You might hear someone saying that it’s common practice to leave a tip for a waiter, for example.

Tradition number 4. Lots of presents.

The first Christmas we spent in the UK was just after our first son was born. He was only 2 months old so had no idea, but my niece was three. We were all staying at my dad’s house and on Christmas morning, my niece was very excited to find Santa had been and left an enormous pile of presents. My wife was amazed that there were so many presents. To be honest, she was a bit disgusted by it.

My niece had so many presents that she actually got bored opening them. She was only three and lots of the presents were sensible, things like new socks and colouring pencils, but it all seemed so lavish to my wife that I think she thought it was kind of decadent and vulgar. These are two advanced adjectives. Decadent usually means too self-indulgent. To indulge someone means to give them when they want even if it’s not good for them. If you indulge yourself, you usually eat or drink things that you really like, but that are not healthy. You might also buy yourself things that are expensive luxuries, things you don’t really need. We use the adjective decadent to describe events where people are very indulgent. So luxury hotels are sometimes decadent. The adjective vulgar relates to topics that are considered bad taste and associated with people who have bad manners. So swear words are vulgar, especially sexual swear words. If someone shows off their money and wealth, we also describe that as vulgar. It’s a tricky word.

Now, my wife didn’t describe my niece and her mountain of gifts as vulgar or decadent, but she was shocked by the number of presents.

Tradition number 5. Christmas pudding

The last Christmas tradition that confused my wife was Christmas pudding. If you buy a pudding in Indonesia, you get a cold kind of sloppy desert. It’s like a cross between jelly and ice cream, a bit like a set yoghurt. When we first moved back to England, we moved to Manchester. There is a restaurant in Manchester called Sam’s Chop House and they sell quite traditional food. My wife was pregnant at the time and very sensitive to different smells. When I ordered steak and kidney pudding, she almost had to leave the restaurant. It’s really delicious. It’s like a big suet dumpling packed around a rich steak and kidney filling. But the thought of a steak and kidney pudding was a bit much for my wife. So that first Christmas, when my stepmum asked my dad to turn the lights off for the Christmas pudding, my wife had no idea what to expect. Minutes later, my stepmum came from the kitchen with a large plate with a strange round cake on it that was on fire. It was covered with blue flames that leaped in flashes of orange as the Christmas pudding was carefully placed on the table. After about a minute, the fire flickered out and we had the lights back. It turns out that a Christmas pudding is a type of sweet fruit pudding, a kind of boiled cake. Before it is served, it is traditional to pour heated brandy over the pudding which is then burnt. The cake itself doesn’t burn, just the alcohol from the brandy.

In this section, I spoke about the way that Christmas puddings are served and I used the words on fire, flames and flickered.
If something is on fire, it is burning. We use the phrase to say that something is burning that is not normally supposed to be burning. So you might hear someone say that the building is on fire, meaning that it is burning now. Flames are the bright shapes that you see in a fire. So a candle has one flame, a little pointy flame that burns on the wick. If you have a campfire, you will see flames dancing all over the material as it burns. The verb flicker is used to describe how something produces light. So if a light is changing from bright to dark and bright to dark really quickly, it’s flickering. It’s similar to flashing, only flickering is not so bright and it’s not even or regular. So if a light is flashing on and off, but the brightness is different and the pattern is irregular then it is flickering.

Language challenge

Normally, in this part of the podcast, I would challenge you to complete some sentences with the vocabulary I’ve explained in the podcast. But today, I’m going to stick with the Christmas theme and see if you can work out what Christmas tradition I’m describing.

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white?

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint?

Number 4. Before people in the UK start their Christmas dinner, they work together to open small presents which normally contain weird little toys, a joke, a paper hat and a tiny explosive. What are they?

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under?

Number 6. As well as mince pies, a type of meat is traditionally eaten at Christmas that is rarely eaten at other times. What is it?

Number 7. Pigs in blankets are eaten in lots of different countries, but the ingredients are different, especially the blankets. In the UK, what are pigs and what are their blankets?

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting? ______ Christmas.

Leave the answers if you know them on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English.

Task

This week, I would like you to think about the following questions. It would be great if you could share your ideas in the comments section on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I’d love to hear your ideas and about yoru experiences of a similar festival in your country.

  1. What’s the strangest Christmas tradition in your country?
  2. Do you eat any special food at Christmas that you don’t eat at any other time of year?
  3. People say that Christmas is the season for giving. For children, it’s really the season for getting. What do you think is more important?

Now it’s time for this week’s football phrase.

Football phrase

Today’s phrase is a ******* ******. This is an unbroken series of victories. Usually, we use this phrase to say that a team has won every match they have played for as long as ... this lasts. I chose this phrase after reading an article on the Premier League website about Harry Kane who has scored in all 6 of his Boxing Day appearances and wants to keep this ****** going.

Last week's language challenge

If you know what this week’s football phrase is, leave it in the comments section on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English and I’ll give you a shout out in the next podcast if you are correct.

Before I finish, here are the answers to last week’s language challenge.

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be on the ball and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really dropped the ball on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get the ball rolling?

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really picked up the ball and ran with it.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to play ball.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball, even for a moment.

That’s all I have time for today. Before I finish, I just wanted to say that I hope you found this podcast useful, and I hope all of you stay fit and healthy and safe and want to wish all of you who are celebrating a very merry Christmas.
Bye for now and enjoy your football.

The Premier Skills English podcast has been going now for 7 years and we have nearly had 10 million listens. Over the years, we have published quite a few Christmas podcasts. We’ve talked about the vocabulary related to Christmas and the festive fixtures. Last year, we made a podcast about presents and the present perfect. So this year, I was a little stumped.

What could I make this year’s Christmas podcast about?

So I asked my wife. You see, my wife is Indonesian. She is from a muslim family and didn’t really celebrate Christmas until we met. But now, we live in the UK and we have two sons and Christmas is a major cultural event. I loved Christmas when I was a kid and I want to share that with my sons and my wife supports this, but there are a few parts of Christmas that she found a little difficult to understand when we first moved to the UK. So I asked her about the things that she found the strangest about Christmas and that’s what I am going to talk about today: the UK’s strangest Christmas traditions.

Tradition number 1. Mince pies

The first of the festive traditions that you might find confusing are mince pies. Mince pies are small individual pies that are filled with mincemeat. And this is the first source of confusion. You see, mince is normally meat that has been through a kitchen tool called a mincer. It’s a bit like a grinder, but it has a little nozzle thing that produces worms of partly ground meat. People use mince to make meatballs and in lots of dishes. But mincemeat is not minced meat. In fact, it has no meat in it. In the past, there was meat in mincemeat. It used to be made out of a mixture of meat and dried fruit and spices, but the meat was dropped over 100 years ago and today, mincemeat is a sweet sugary mixture of raisins and bits of apple and orange and lemon peel and spices. This is put into little pies and baked and is a traditional Christmas treat.

Lots of people get confused about the name, it’s not just my wife. However there is another slightly confusing thing about mince pies. You see, as Christmas approaches and everyone starts getting excited, people talk about all the things they love about Christmas and people love mince pies. There are pictures of them all over the place on Christmas adverts and all the supermarkets start selling them. Throughout the year, people never really eat sweet pies and they never eat mincemeat, but as Christmas approaches, mince pies are suddenly spoken about as if they are the most delicious thing. And this might make you wonder why, if these treats are so good, they are not eaten at other times or the year. And then, if you try them you will discover ... that most of them are not great. You see, good pastry with a sweet and slightly spicy filling, flavoured with raisins and apple and orange and cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves is delicious if it’s right. But often, unfortunately, if you buy mince pies from the supermarket, the pastry is horrible and turns to sand in your mouth and there’s not enough filling so they are really hard to swallow. I think my wife’s first experience of mince pies was with a bad one. She really couldn’t understand why everyone was so excited. For the last few years, I have made a batch myself as it’s something festive I can do with my kids and that way, they are really good, but it took some time to convince my wife that mince pies were not something weird and the British people are collectively delusional about.

OK. Tradition number 2. Christmas cards

The second of the Christmas traditions that my wife did not understand at first is Christmas cards. In Indonesia, people give birthday cards and Idul Fitri cards, but there’s really not much mail compared to the UK and generally, people prefer to send messages online. So the first year we were in the UK, we were both surprised by the amount of letters and junk that arrived through the letterbox and by the number of Christmas cards we received. There are shops in the UK that just sell greeting cards. And some places sell fancy artistic cards that can be expensive.

It’s wrong to say that my wife doesn’t understand Christmas cards. But I think she finds writing a personalised message quite stressful. You see, you don’t just want to write a meaningless cliche, you have to try to think of something personal, but there are only so many ways you can say merry Christmas. The first year that we sent Christmas cards, I found my wife googling Christmas messages for cards to work out what to write.

These days, it is much easier to send a message online and it’s better for the environment as well. What do you think? Do you send Christmas cards?

Tradition number 3: Boxing day

The third Christmas tradition that my wife found ... interesting was Boxing Day. Boxing day in the UK is the day after Christmas day. It’s the 26th of December. When I mentioned Boxing Day to my wife, she asked me why it was called Boxing Day and I had to admit that I didn’t know. When I was a child I thought it had something to do with boxing, the fighting sport. Perhaps everybody got together to watch a boxing match. That’s not very Christmassy, though. I thought, perhaps it was called Boxing Day because everyone was feeling grumpy after Christmas and got into a big fight. Obviously that’s not where the word comes from.

In fact, people do get together to watch sport, but not boxing. Football is the favourite Boxing Day sport and football fans look forward to the Boxing Day fixtures. There is another sport that is popular on Boxing Day and that’s shopping. OK, it’s not really a sport, but there are some people in my family that treat it like a competitive activity. You see, after Christmas, lots of shops have stock that they wanted to sell before Christmas. After Christmas, they have special sales. A sale is an event in a shop where lots of item’s prices are lower. The Boxing Day sales are an important part of Christmas for some people. In fact, some of my relatives don’t give each other Christmas presents till Boxing day and they buy them in the sales so they are cheaper.

The term Boxing Day is not related to the sport of boxing or football or shopping. The term originates from years ago when people would put together a box of gifts, perhaps some food or money for the tradespeople that worked for them throughout the year. Some people still give gifts to their postie and to the bin men or rubbish collectors. In the past, this practice was more common and special boxes were left for people to be collected on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas day.

Tradition number 4. Lots of presents.

The first Christmas we spent in the UK was just after our first son was born. He was only 2 months old so had no idea, but my niece was three. We were all staying at my dad’s house and on Christmas morning, my niece was very excited to find Santa had been and left an enormous pile of presents. My wife was amazed that there were so many presents. To be honest, she was a bit disgusted by it.

My niece had so many presents that she actually got bored opening them. She was only three and lots of the presents were sensible, things like new socks and colouring pencils, but it all seemed so lavish to my wife that I think she thought it was kind of decadent and vulgar. These are two advanced adjectives. Decadent usually means too self-indulgent. To indulge someone means to give them when they want even if it’s not good for them. If you indulge yourself, you usually eat or drink things that you really like, but that are not healthy. You might also buy yourself things that are expensive luxuries, things you don’t really need. We use the adjective decadent to describe events where people are very indulgent. So luxury hotels are sometimes decadent. The adjective vulgar relates to topics that are considered bad taste and associated with people who have bad manners. So swear words are vulgar, especially sexual swear words. If someone shows off their money and wealth, we also describe that as vulgar. It’s a tricky word.

Now, my wife didn’t describe my niece and her mountain of gifts as vulgar or decadent, but she was shocked by the number of presents.

Tradition number 5. Christmas pudding

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

The last Christmas tradition that confused my wife was Christmas pudding. If you buy a pudding in Indonesia, you get a cold kind of sloppy desert. It’s like a cross between jelly and ice cream, a bit like a set yoghurt. When we first moved back to England, we moved to Manchester. There is a restaurant in Manchester called Sam’s Chop House and they sell quite traditional food. My wife was pregnant at the time and very sensitive to different smells. When I ordered steak and kidney pudding, she almost had to leave the restaurant. It’s really delicious. It’s like a big suet dumpling packed around a rich steak and kidney filling. But the thought of a steak and kidney pudding was a bit much for my wife. So that first Christmas, when my stepmum asked my dad to turn the lights off for the Christmas pudding, my wife had no idea what to expect. Minutes later, my stepmum came from the kitchen with a large plate with a strange round cake on it that was on fire. It was covered with blue flames that leaped in flashes of orange as the Christmas pudding was carefully placed on the table. After about a minute, the fire flickered out and we had the lights back. It turns out that a Christmas pudding is a type of sweet fruit pudding, a kind of boiled cake. Before it is served, it is traditional to pour heated brandy over the pudding which is then burnt. The cake itself doesn’t burn, just the alcohol from the brandy.

Christmas Challenge

Can you work out the answers to these Christmas quiz questions? If you know the answers, leave them in the commenst section at the bottom of this page.

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white?

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint?

Number 4. Before people in the UK start their Christmas dinner, they work together to open small presents which normally contain weird little toys, a joke, a paper hat and a tiny explosive. What are they?

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under?

Number 6. As well as mince pies, a type of meat is traditionally eaten at Christmas that is rarely eaten at other times. What is it?

Number 7. Pigs in blankets are eaten in lots of different countries, but the ingredients are different, especially the blankets. In the UK, what are pigs and what are their blankets?

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting? ______ Christmas.

Leave the answers if you know them on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English.

Task

This week, I would like you to think about the following questions. It would be great if you could share your ideas in the comments section on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I’d love to hear your ideas and about yoru experiences of a similar festival in your country.

  1. What’s the strangest Christmas tradition in your country?
  2. Do you eat any special food at Christmas that you don’t eat at any other time of year?
  3. People say that Christmas is the season for giving. For children, it’s really the season for getting. What do you think is more important?

Football phrase

Today’s phrase is a ******* ******. This is an unbroken series of victories. Usually, we use this phrase to say that a team has won every match they have played for as long as ... this lasts. I chose this phrase after reading an article on the Premier League website about Harry Kane who has scored in all 6 of his Boxing Day appearances and wants to keep this ****** going.

Leave your answers to the Challenge, the Task and the Football phrase in the comments section below.

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Comments

cezario.abrantes
01/01/2023
BR
36
points

Hi Jack! I'm a newbie in this podcast and I'm enjoying a lot to study english with Premier League, since I'm a huge fan of english football. I really don't know the answer of most of the questions, but let me try some:

3. Santa Claus
5. Christmas Tree
8. Merry

Regarding to Christmas in Brazil:

1. The most strange thing is to put raisins in the rice!! That's get a very bad taste
2. The people here usually eat only in Christmas time: panettone, lentils, turkey meat
3. I think the most important thing is the balance between giving and getting, and we should do this troughout the year, not just in Christmas.

Greetings from Brazil!


cezario.abrantes
01/01/2023 18:51
Brazil
Liverpool
36

Hi Jack! I'm a newbie in this podcast and I'm enjoying a lot to study english with Premier League, since I'm a huge fan of english football. I really don't know the answer of most of the questions, but let me try some:

3. Santa Claus
5. Christmas Tree
8. Merry

Regarding to Christmas in Brazil:

1. The most strange thing is to put raisins in the rice!! That's get a very bad taste
2. The people here usually eat only in Christmas time: panettone, lentils, turkey meat
3. I think the most important thing is the balance between giving and getting, and we should do this troughout the year, not just in Christmas.

Greetings from Brazil!

Hajime
31/12/2022
JP
7
points

Football Phrase of this week is a “unbeaten streak”.

Task

1. What’s the strangest Christmas tradition in your country?=> In Japan, many people eat KFC fried chicken at Christmas. This seems to have become more common in the marketing initiatives developed by KFC in Japan. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161216-why-japan-celebrates-chris...

2. Do you eat any special food at Christmas that you don’t eat at any other time of year?=> Like many Japanese, I eat strawberry sponge cake. It is the most common cake eaten at Christmas and birthdays in Japan.This is another example of successful marketing by Japanese confectioners.

3. People say that Christmas is the season for giving. For children, it’s really the season for getting. What do you think is more important?=> I think it is more important to give. I think that giving something to people in different ways increases happiness more than receiving it.


Hajime
31/12/2022 05:09
Japan
Arsenal
7

Football Phrase of this week is a “unbeaten streak”.

Task

1. What’s the strangest Christmas tradition in your country?=> In Japan, many people eat KFC fried chicken at Christmas. This seems to have become more common in the marketing initiatives developed by KFC in Japan. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161216-why-japan-celebrates-chris...

2. Do you eat any special food at Christmas that you don’t eat at any other time of year?=> Like many Japanese, I eat strawberry sponge cake. It is the most common cake eaten at Christmas and birthdays in Japan.This is another example of successful marketing by Japanese confectioners.

3. People say that Christmas is the season for giving. For children, it’s really the season for getting. What do you think is more important?=> I think it is more important to give. I think that giving something to people in different ways increases happiness more than receiving it.

Chen Meng Tso
30/12/2022
TW
9
points

I think the phrase is streak
But I don't know you want "scoring streak" or "wining streak"

or in WWE Undertaker's series use "The streak"


Chen Meng Tso
30/12/2022 18:30
Taiwan
Manchester City
9

I think the phrase is streak
But I don't know you want "scoring streak" or "wining streak"

or in WWE Undertaker's series use "The streak"

Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022
EG
43
points

Football phrase is an unbeaten streak


Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022 15:46
Egypt
Liverpool
43

Football phrase is an unbeaten streak

Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022
EG
43
points

We in Egypt mainly celebrate Eid Al -fetr and Eid AL-adha which come in definite dates in Muslim's Hijri calendar but in different dates in Gregorian calendar. The festival lasts for 3-4 days. Traditions related are : sacrificing a sheep, a goat, or a cow and give out its meat to relatives, friends and the poor. Eating meat is a must you can say especially for breakfast of the first day. Fattah is our traditional dish for breakfast and maybe lunch at that day. It's so delicious even our new generations raised on burger and pizza seem to not craving it . It's made of roasted Arabic bread dipped in lamb hot soup with chunks of meat lamb spread over and decorated with some nuts and tomato sauce. It's yummy and worth trying when you come to Egypt Jack. It is also severed in many other religious celebrations. Other tradition is Edeia which is the most important for children. That is the money they receive from elder people in their family to buy sweets or whatever they want to celebrate- presents of Christmas but in a Muslim style. An important tradition is that interchanging of visits among relatives, neighbors and friends to share cheerful moments of the feast.


Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022 12:25
Egypt
Liverpool
43

We in Egypt mainly celebrate Eid Al -fetr and Eid AL-adha which come in definite dates in Muslim's Hijri calendar but in different dates in Gregorian calendar. The festival lasts for 3-4 days. Traditions related are : sacrificing a sheep, a goat, or a cow and give out its meat to relatives, friends and the poor. Eating meat is a must you can say especially for breakfast of the first day. Fattah is our traditional dish for breakfast and maybe lunch at that day. It's so delicious even our new generations raised on burger and pizza seem to not craving it . It's made of roasted Arabic bread dipped in lamb hot soup with chunks of meat lamb spread over and decorated with some nuts and tomato sauce. It's yummy and worth trying when you come to Egypt Jack. It is also severed in many other religious celebrations. Other tradition is Edeia which is the most important for children. That is the money they receive from elder people in their family to buy sweets or whatever they want to celebrate- presents of Christmas but in a Muslim style. An important tradition is that interchanging of visits among relatives, neighbors and friends to share cheerful moments of the feast.

Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022
EG
43
points

Hi Jack
Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope all the best for you all. Christmas has obviously celebrated in big cities in Egypt since nearly the last ten years. It seems to be strange as Egypt is a Muslim country!! We already have Egyptians who are Christians, but most of them are Orthodox and celebrate the birth of Jesus on 7th January not Christmas on 26th December. Considering the issue, I noticed that people in Egypt don't celebrate Christmas itself but celebrate the beginning of the new year with Christmas trees teeming with lights and stars!! Celebration begins at the last half of December till 31st which witnesses the biggest celebration events in coherence with the beginning of the new year. Not ordinary people who celebrate Christmas for sure, but mostly shops, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants to attract customers especially of high class. Looks funny, Isn't it?? Both of my sons, university students, told me yesterday that they are going to stay out late next Saturday to celebrate Christmas!! "Honey, Christmas was on 26th and already passed and we don't celebrate Christmas!!". "Mum, you know it isn't really Christmas, but that's what people here call it. "Don't be upset mum! We will celebrate the beginning of the new year, is it okay now? I was really fighting a losing battle to keep them at home- Egyptian maternity style of overprotection even in their twenties.


Amal Khalafallah
29/12/2022 11:08
Egypt
Liverpool
43

Hi Jack
Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope all the best for you all. Christmas has obviously celebrated in big cities in Egypt since nearly the last ten years. It seems to be strange as Egypt is a Muslim country!! We already have Egyptians who are Christians, but most of them are Orthodox and celebrate the birth of Jesus on 7th January not Christmas on 26th December. Considering the issue, I noticed that people in Egypt don't celebrate Christmas itself but celebrate the beginning of the new year with Christmas trees teeming with lights and stars!! Celebration begins at the last half of December till 31st which witnesses the biggest celebration events in coherence with the beginning of the new year. Not ordinary people who celebrate Christmas for sure, but mostly shops, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants to attract customers especially of high class. Looks funny, Isn't it?? Both of my sons, university students, told me yesterday that they are going to stay out late next Saturday to celebrate Christmas!! "Honey, Christmas was on 26th and already passed and we don't celebrate Christmas!!". "Mum, you know it isn't really Christmas, but that's what people here call it. "Don't be upset mum! We will celebrate the beginning of the new year, is it okay now? I was really fighting a losing battle to keep them at home- Egyptian maternity style of overprotection even in their twenties.

Fabs17
27/12/2022
IT
324
points

I don't think there's any strange Christmas tradition here in Italy. It's the most liked period in the year, everybody starts talking about it since the 1st November (that is, the day after Halloween), but we like to keep it traditional.

I always celebrate it with my family and everyone brings some typical Italian food to eat at lunch or at dinner. The only special meal I eat at Christmas is the female turkey (I don't know if there's a more specific name for that), even though it isn't much popular in Italy.

Last but not least, I believe that Christmas is the season for both giving and getting. It's a period that makes you reflect a lot about the people who sorround you and about the things you've done for each other during the whole year. Giving is certainly one of the most precious things to do for someone we really care about, but, if it were up to me, I would be glad to get something in return. Maybe it's a cynical point of view, but everyone deserves a reason to be happy during these festive days (and sometimes the affection from our loved ones can do great things).


Fabs17
27/12/2022 14:19
Italy
Leicester City
324

I don't think there's any strange Christmas tradition here in Italy. It's the most liked period in the year, everybody starts talking about it since the 1st November (that is, the day after Halloween), but we like to keep it traditional.

I always celebrate it with my family and everyone brings some typical Italian food to eat at lunch or at dinner. The only special meal I eat at Christmas is the female turkey (I don't know if there's a more specific name for that), even though it isn't much popular in Italy.

Last but not least, I believe that Christmas is the season for both giving and getting. It's a period that makes you reflect a lot about the people who sorround you and about the things you've done for each other during the whole year. Giving is certainly one of the most precious things to do for someone we really care about, but, if it were up to me, I would be glad to get something in return. Maybe it's a cynical point of view, but everyone deserves a reason to be happy during these festive days (and sometimes the affection from our loved ones can do great things).

Fabs17
27/12/2022
IT
324
points

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called? Christmas Carols.

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white? Snow.

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint? Saint Nicholas.

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under? The Christmas Tree.

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting? Merry Christmas.

Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to the other questions.


Fabs17
27/12/2022 13:55
Italy
Leicester City
324

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called? Christmas Carols.

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white? Snow.

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint? Saint Nicholas.

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under? The Christmas Tree.

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting? Merry Christmas.

Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to the other questions.

Fabs17
27/12/2022
IT
324
points

I think today's football phrase is winning streak


Fabs17
27/12/2022 13:51
Italy
Leicester City
324

I think today's football phrase is winning streak

hsn's picture
hsn
26/12/2022
TR
5325
points

Language challenge
1. Christmas Carols 2.Snow 3. St. Thomas. 4.Funny Christmas Gifts 5.Christmas Tree 6.turkey 7.Bacon and chipolata 8.Merry Christmas.

Task
We don't celebrate Christmas. We have two religious festival. I've lots of funny and nice memories from my childhood. We were walk round to our neighborhood to collect sweeties from houses.In the "Eid al-Adha" people do special foods in the homes that contained meat of sacrificed animal. This is a banquet for kids every year.All the festivals in the world are for children. It is better to give than to receive.

Football phrase--- Winning streak

Sentences
• There’s glory all round, billion of people saved from virus. medicine and face cover producers made profit.
• A volcano had blew up last week after thousands of years but it has subsided now. It was stumping.
• It was a very festive carnival with colourful outfits of the parade.
• He was delusional about marrying her.
• Indulging kids very much cause plenty of regret.
• Before falling, the moral values of civilizations that wiped out from scene of history were in decadent.

Notes
• I like movies for kids about Christmas. Full of emotions.
• As far as I see, Christmas is a cultural event in U.K. rather than to be religious.
• If I had lived in the U.K. mince pies would be my favourite sweet but homemade.
• We've been living in digital age so celebrating our friends at the special days by messages rather than cards is better and environmentally friendly way.


hsn's picture
hsn
26/12/2022 18:08
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5325

Language challenge
1. Christmas Carols 2.Snow 3. St. Thomas. 4.Funny Christmas Gifts 5.Christmas Tree 6.turkey 7.Bacon and chipolata 8.Merry Christmas.

Task
We don't celebrate Christmas. We have two religious festival. I've lots of funny and nice memories from my childhood. We were walk round to our neighborhood to collect sweeties from houses.In the "Eid al-Adha" people do special foods in the homes that contained meat of sacrificed animal. This is a banquet for kids every year.All the festivals in the world are for children. It is better to give than to receive.

Football phrase--- Winning streak

Sentences
• There’s glory all round, billion of people saved from virus. medicine and face cover producers made profit.
• A volcano had blew up last week after thousands of years but it has subsided now. It was stumping.
• It was a very festive carnival with colourful outfits of the parade.
• He was delusional about marrying her.
• Indulging kids very much cause plenty of regret.
• Before falling, the moral values of civilizations that wiped out from scene of history were in decadent.

Notes
• I like movies for kids about Christmas. Full of emotions.
• As far as I see, Christmas is a cultural event in U.K. rather than to be religious.
• If I had lived in the U.K. mince pies would be my favourite sweet but homemade.
• We've been living in digital age so celebrating our friends at the special days by messages rather than cards is better and environmentally friendly way.

Goku
26/12/2022
JP
17
points

The phrase is "winning streak". Merry Christmas.


Goku
26/12/2022 07:07
Japan
Liverpool
17

The phrase is "winning streak". Merry Christmas.

hsn's picture
hsn
24/12/2022
TR
5325
points

Hi Dear Jack, Merry Christmas.You can call me whatever you want whether "Hsn" or "Hasan". No matter:-) In my business life I generally prefer "Low profile":-)


hsn's picture
hsn
24/12/2022 11:48
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5325

Hi Dear Jack, Merry Christmas.You can call me whatever you want whether "Hsn" or "Hasan". No matter:-) In my business life I generally prefer "Low profile":-)

sisman74
24/12/2022
TR
14
points

I guess this one is exactly correct. The phrase is winning streak.


sisman74
24/12/2022 07:38
Turkey
Arsenal
14

I guess this one is exactly correct. The phrase is winning streak.

wsanta's picture
wsanta
24/12/2022
AR
5086
points

We're the champions!!!


wsanta's picture
wsanta
24/12/2022 01:53
Argentina
Leeds United
5086

We're the champions!!!

sisman74
23/12/2022
TR
14
points

Hello Jack. I have forgotten my password for Mehmet SISMAN account. So I have made a new account which is sisman.2023. I think the phrase is scoring ******.


sisman74
23/12/2022 10:10
Turkey
Arsenal
14

Hello Jack. I have forgotten my password for Mehmet SISMAN account. So I have made a new account which is sisman.2023. I think the phrase is scoring ******.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Today’s phrase is a ******* ******.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:46
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Today’s phrase is a ******* ******.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 1. (second try) Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Christmas CAROLS :-)


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:42
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 1. (second try) Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Christmas CAROLS :-)

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting?

Merry Christmas!


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:39
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 8. What adjective is collocated with Christmas in the most common Christmas greeting?

Merry Christmas!

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 6. As well as mince pies, a type of meat is traditionally eaten at Christmas that is rarely eaten at other times. What is it?

TURKEY


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:38
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 6. As well as mince pies, a type of meat is traditionally eaten at Christmas that is rarely eaten at other times. What is it?

TURKEY

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under?

Christmas tree


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:35
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 5. What do people decorate with lights, tinsel and baubles and put presents under?

Christmas tree

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 4. Before people in the UK start their Christmas dinner, they work together to open small presents which normally contain weird little toys, a joke, a paper hat and a tiny explosive. What are they?

SWATTERS


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:34
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 4. Before people in the UK start their Christmas dinner, they work together to open small presents which normally contain weird little toys, a joke, a paper hat and a tiny explosive. What are they?

SWATTERS

Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
23/12/2022
GB
10
points

Hi Alex, that's not quite right. Well done for getting the traditional Christmas song one!


Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
23/12/2022 12:29
United Kingdom
Arsenal
10

Hi Alex, that's not quite right. Well done for getting the traditional Christmas song one!

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Then Christmas crackers


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 15:18
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Then Christmas crackers

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Merry Christmas, Jack. Btw, the singer is Tony Iomi's daughter. He was the leading guitar of the great Black Sabbath rock group.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 15:15
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Merry Christmas, Jack. Btw, the singer is Tony Iomi's daughter. He was the leading guitar of the great Black Sabbath rock group.

Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
04/01/2023
GB
10
points

Hi Alex - I spotted that. I had to look her up when I saw her name.


Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
04/01/2023 12:09
United Kingdom
Arsenal
10

Hi Alex - I spotted that. I had to look her up when I saw her name.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint?

Saint Nicholas


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:31
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 3. Santa is an abbreviated form of which Christian saint?

Saint Nicholas

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white?

Definitely SNOW during Christmas.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:30
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 2. Children in the UK always wish for a white Christmas, but what is it that makes a Christmas white?

Definitely SNOW during Christmas.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Merry - Mary ?


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
23/12/2022 06:29
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Number 1. Traditional Christmas songs share part of their name with lots of girls. What are they called?

Merry - Mary ?

CyberSam16's picture
CyberSam16
23/12/2022
BH
2
points

Phrase of the week :- ******* ******


CyberSam16's picture
CyberSam16
23/12/2022 06:08
Bahrain
Manchester City
2

Phrase of the week :- ******* ******

vietnguyenngo
23/12/2022
VN
50
points

The Phrase is: SCORING ******


vietnguyenngo
23/12/2022 02:02
Vietnam
Manchester City
50

The Phrase is: SCORING ******

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
22/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Just must leave it here, folks.....Merry Christmas!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfYEBIj8PUc


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
22/12/2022 16:45
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Just must leave it here, folks.....Merry Christmas!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfYEBIj8PUc

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1mobeckham6473
2Alex_from_Ukraine6220
3hsn5325
4wsanta5086
5kwesimanifest4768
6Liubomyr4408
7elghoul3988
8assemjuve3705
9aragorn19863557
10Gergő Nagy3396
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia69152
2Ukraine34372
3Serbia27170
4Spain26696
5Brazil21297
6Albania20578
7Vietnam19085
8Macedonia19074
9Turkey17935
10Bosnia and Herzegovina16333
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United136566
2Liverpool104582
3Chelsea85640
4Arsenal79008
5Manchester City51734
6Tottenham Hotspur17910
7Leicester City13747
8Newcastle United10182
9Leeds United7899
10West Ham United6998

Level

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Goals

Skills: Listening

Vocabulary: Language related to Christmas traditions