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Pre-Listening Question

What does Christmas mean to you or to those who celebrate this holiday?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

grinch (noun): a person who is unfriendly or grumpy
– James is a real grinch. He doesn’t like being around anyone this time of year.

bruch (noun): a late-morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch
– Who is coming over for brunch on Christmas day?

designated (adjective): chosen or assigned for a specific purpose or person
– This money has already been designated for the Christmas party, so we have to use other funds to buy gifts.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: Ho, ho, ho! Aubrey. I know I’m not a very good Santa, but, Aubrey [No!], when you think about Christmas here in the United States, or at least in our family, uh, but what are your general thoughts about Christmas?

Aubrey: Yeah. So I guess you could say I’m a little bit of a Grinch. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I think it’s too commercial. Yeah, in theory. You’re really supposed to be getting together with your family, um, show love and the spirit of giving, but a lot of times it, you know, ends up being really stressful and having to go to the store and get presents. And, um, then we have the tradition in the United States called Black Friday, where it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s crazy. Um [Yeah] It’s not done as much in person anymore, but I know for a while, like people were getting hurt at Black Friday.

Randall: Yeah. And when you mentioned about gift giving, it seems like Christmas, at least the season in stores is pushed further and further back to like October or September or whenever.

Aubrey: I think that’s my biggest problem with Christmas, is that it doesn’t stay in its designated space.

Randall: Right. And so in our particular family, what do you remember about Christmas?

Aubrey: You don’t get the parents up ’cause they don’t like that.

Randall: Well. [Um] Let’s step back for a minute. Usually, when does our Christmas tree go up?

Aubrey: Usually December, right?

Randall: Right. Right. Usually at the beginning of December. And we decorate it, or I decorate it. We put things . . . Do you notice presents going immediately under the tree?

Aubrey: No, not usually. You know, not until a little bit later. Yeah, but like on Christmas Day, you know, as far as presents, um, anything from Santa Claus was on the couch, um . . . and anything from [Unwrapped.] Unwrapped. Exactly. That’s very . . . . that’s key because Santa is, you know, he has too much to do to wrap everyone’s present. Um, and then, you know, anything from anyone else is wrapped under the tree.

Randall: Right? And I remember that each one of us opens a single gift and the person . . . The next person has an opportunity to open a gift. And then after usually Christmas morning, we might have a brunch or something like that.

Aubrey: When we lived in Japan, uh, you would usually get us like cereal from the import store, so it would be something like Froot Loops, something exciting and sugary for Christmas.

Randall: Yeah, and it was a little bit different. We were in Japan for eight years, and so Christmas was celebrated a little bit differently. Of course, in Japan, when they think about Christmas, they think of Kentucky Fried chicken, cake, and romance between, you know, couples and things like that. It’s quite different. Well, thank you, Aubrey, for sharing some thoughts on Christmas, recognizing that people celebrate this time of year quite differently. And I think it’s important for people to learn about the other cultural traditions of other countries.

Conversation Questions

What are some end-of-year activities that people celebrate in your country? What is the meaning of any of these particular holidays? How are these days celebrated?

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with related topics to give you additional language practice.

Try More Free Listening at