Improve Your English Fluency Listening About How Britain Celebrates Christmas Ep 600

Christmas stockings hung over a traditional fireplace. Improve your spoken English by listening to our Christmas podcast which will give you insight into how Christmas is celebrated in Britain.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 3011 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 16 min

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Get into the Christmas spirit and up your English language learning game with this special holiday podcast!

Today we improve your spoken English and get into the holiday mood with our English language learning podcast on the build-up to Christmas day in Britain! Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and gain real-life insight into how Christmas is celebrated in the United Kingdom. In this English lesson, you will hear native English speakers use the language in everyday conversational manner and pick up on the nuances of the language. So listen to our podcast and improve your spoken English while you get into the holiday spirit!

Listening to a native English speaker talking in an everyday conversational manner is one of the best ways to improve your spoken English. By hearing native English speakers use the language in everyday life, you will learn how to use correct grammar, sentence structure, and pronunciation.

✔Lesson transcript:

The more you listen to native English speakers, the easier it will become to understand their conversations and join in. You will also be able to pick up on the nuances of the language, such as idioms, slang, and cultural references. Listening and repeating what you hear is a great way to practice your English and learn new words and phrases.

Listening to a native English speaker talking in an everyday conversational manner will also help you become more confident when [speaking]( ) English, as you will become more familiar with the language.

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.
⭐ Larry Wilde

Most Unusual Words:

  • Besides: In addition to, or also.
  • Cultural: Related to the ideas, customs, and social habits of a group of people.
  • Wrap: To cover something with paper, cloth, or plastic.
  • Nuances: Small differences that may be hard to notice.
  • Immerse: To put fully into something, like water or an activity.
  • Decorations: Things you add to make something look better or festive.
  • Preparations: Things you do to get ready for something.
  • Duty: Something you must do because it's right or because the law says so.
  • Artificial: Made by humans, not natural.

Most common 2 word phrases:

Merry Christmas 😀100,000
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Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Improve Your English Fluency Listening About How Britain Celebrates Christmas

Hi there. Welcome to this 600th podcast from Adept English. 600 podcasts! I bet you didn't realise it was as many as that!

So this podcast is going out on the 19th of December 2022. It's just before Christmas. Let's do a relaxed podcast today with a Christmas theme. We're looking forward to the first non-lockdown Christmas in a few years. That's gonna be good!

Before I start today, don't forget that there are quite a few previous podcasts to listen to on the subject of Christmas. Really good for your Christmas English language practice, Christmas vocabulary practice.

So if you'd like more on Christmas and in particular a British Christmas, then those previous podcast numbers are as follows. You can find them on our website at on Lessons, click on Lessons and then use the Search function at the top of the screen. You can just type in the word 'Christmas'.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Previous Christmas podcasts - still good!

So in podcast 497, I run through common English words and phrases to do with Christmas. That's useful! In podcast 285, 285, I did some Christmas idioms for you, and in podcast 390, I looked at what our favourite Christmas songs are. What music do you hear constantly on the radio in the run up to Christmas in the UK?

In another podcast number 289, 289, I did a Maths challenge, all based around the traditional song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. You know, the one that ends 'And a partridge in a pear tree'? You might not know that one. But if you want a 'mathematical Christmas challenge', that's a good podcast to listen to.

And there's always podcast bundles

Another good way to access our previous podcasts is to buy our podcast bundles. There are Christmas podcasts, but there is much, much more besides. Many, many more topics. Literally hundreds of interesting topics. And in fact, I can say today, no less than 600 previous interesting podcast topics. So go to our website at and our Courses page this time, to buy our podcast bundles. They're excellent English language learning for you.

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Let's talk about a typical Christmas in the UK

So today, let's just talk through some of the preparations for Christmas and necessarily we're talking here about how Christmas is celebrated in the UK. You may have different traditions if you celebrate Christmas at all.

Christmas comes too early!

What I notice about myself is that I'm 'Christmas-resistant' before the start of December. I've made that word up, but what I mean by that is that before the start of December, I don't really want to be celebrating Christmas. I'm resistant to it.

But I noticed that in the UK there is quite a lot of 'pre-December Christmas' around. Usually that's coming from shops and businesses that of course want to sell us things for Christmas. But there are also some people who start Christmas rather too early, in my opinion.

There are people who put up their Christmas lights or their Christmas trees before the start of December. I suspect my elder daughter is one of these!

Christmas shopping

I'm a December girl. The only thing that I do to do with Christmas before December is the Christmas shopping. And I do like to get that done in November. Often there are offers on, so it's a little bit cheaper. There might be the Black Friday deals or the Cyber Monday deals, and generally things are more available in November. I have quite a lot of Christmas shopping to do, so it's good to get it done early, I find.

And Christmas shopping is much more of a pleasure now than it used to be. I used to find it really just too much. And what I've found in recent years is I've been able to cut down and it's happened naturally because I think other people don't want to have as much of an extravagant Christmas. They don't want to have to buy so many Christmas presents, so that's a good thing.

The other thing that's made it easier, I do about 95% of my Christmas shopping online. Uh, that's so much better!

I collect ideas from people, they tell me what they want, and I just click a button and it arrives at the front door. Wonderful! All I have to do then is wrap. That's W R A P. Wrap it up in paper and give it. Much better!

Much easier than doing actual Christmas shopping in actual shops.

But sometimes that's nice to do with friends nearer the time. Perhaps there's more of an emphasis on going to get coffee in between a bit of light shopping rather than trying to get the whole lot done on a shopping trip. That's hassle, as we say, H A S S L E. Too much, don't want to do it!

Christmas season from 1st December

So from the 1st of December onwards for me, it's allowed to be Christmas. So Christmas songs play on the radio, and people tend to get together for a few drinks or a meal.

They also put up their Christmas decorations. Where I live in the UK, lots of people put up Christmas lights on the fronts of their houses. I've noticed this year, it's mid-December and there are not quite as many lights up on the front of people's houses as usual. I'm sure there will be, but I did wonder if people are saving a little bit on electricity because it's so expensive this year and putting up their Christmas lights a little bit later.

The Christmas tree - and the environment

The other big thing is the Christmas tree. I found out recently that I'm one of only 17% of people in the UK who have a real Christmas tree.

I was surprised by this because I and my family and my friends, most of them have real Christmas trees.

It smells lovely. It looks lovely, and even if there are pine needles - those are little green bits that fall off and you find down the back of your sofa - even if there are pine needles, a real Christmas tree looks beautiful.


A family dressing a Christmas tree with baubles. Improve your spoken English by listening to our English language learning podcast on the build up to Christmas day in Britain!

©️ Adept English 2022

I once did a podcast on real Christmas trees and whether or not that's better for the environment than an artificial tree. That's A R T I F I C I A L. Basically that means a plastic Christmas tree that you reuse.

My conclusion on this? Plastic Christmas trees - they contribute to plastic pollution, of course. But I guess how environmentally friendly it is, it depends how long you keep your artificial Christmas tree. If it does 20 year's service, maybe that's not too bad.

Rent a Christmas tree?

And I consulted a UK charity, the Woodland Trust on how environmentally friendly it is to have a real Christmas tree. The Woodland Trust looks after trees and Woodland in the UK, and it's one of our national charities.

What the Woodland Trusts suggested was actually renting a Christmas tree - so paying money to hire a Christmas tree and then giving it back afterwards. That Christmas tree, of course, would come in a pot because it's still growing.

I'd never thought of that idea. I didn't know you could do that. Sounds sensible. What the Woodland Trust also suggested is that when you've finished with your Christmas tree - and they like you to buy one in a pot that's still growing - you could plant it in your garden. My problem with this, if you have a Christmas tree every year and you plant it into your garden, you're quickly going to have a lot of Christmas trees.

And one of the problems with gardens in the UK that usually are quite small, especially in the southeast of England where I live, there's not that much room and people plant trees in their gardens, which grow far too big for the space. So I think that Christmas trees might fall into this category. If you planted all your Christmas trees out, you'd soon be living in a little pine forest around your house. I don't want that!

So actually, if you get a real Christmas tree and it is cut, it's not growing in a pot, it's cut off at the bottom, that's not too bad for the environment as long as you recycle it afterwards. If you support Christmas tree farms. So organizations, businesses that use a small piece of land to grow Christmas trees on, then at least that protects the natural environment from being built on and used as a car park or covered in concrete for another purpose.

So buying a real Christmas tree, it's not that bad for the environment, was what I found. There is some benefit to it.

Popping over to France

Other preparations for Christmas? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had a day out in France with two of my friends. France is not that far away from where I live. We went to Calais for the day. It was a bit of fun, really. We had a nice French meal out in the middle of the day, but we of course visited the French supermarkets, which are wonderful places!

We visited the French supermarkets and we stocked up on our Christmas alcohol. I actually found the best place to buy alcohol was in the duty free shop at the terminal for Eurostar on the way back. ' Duty free' means you don't pay the tax to the government on the alcohol, so it's somewhat cheaper. Great for stocking up on gin and vodka.

But my day out in France was more of a social event really. It was good fun. And we don't drink that much over Christmas, but it is nice to have some extra Christmas alcohol in the house for when people come round.

Dry January, anyone?

People often do 'dry January' after Christmas as well. That means that they don't drink any alcohol for the whole month of January - as a health exercise. So that's called 'dry January'. Give your body a rest!

Christmas wrapping

Another big job? Wrapping all those Christmas presents. That's the verb to wrap W R A P, and that's when we use paper to wrap up gifts so that they're more of a surprise.

For me, that's not so much of a task for friends and family. They tend to get one present each. That's fairly easy. But when my children are all here for Christmas (and I say 'children', the eldest is 25!), they still like to have a Christmas stocking, so there's quite a bit more wrapping to do. All those little tiny presents - that takes quite a bit of time!

Listening Lessons

Christmas food shopping and meeting up for drinks

And beyond these Christmas preparations, there will be a big food shop to do. We get all the stuff for our Christmas dinner and for a lot of the meals that we'll eat around Christmas time. We tend to eat a bit more, I guess.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

And what else? Well, this week and next week are a bit busier for me because I'm going out to meet people, various Christmas drinks or meals and meeting up with people to give them their Christmas presents as well.

This is why I like December and Christmas - it's nice and sociable. Most of my socialising before Christmas is friends, and then between Christmas and New Year, it's much more about family.

Help with vocabulary around Christmas

I'll do another podcast talking through what I do at Christmas if you're interested in that. Again, good English conversation practice, like I'm talking to you as though I would a friend. Good to have some informal practice of English language.

I hope this podcast has helped you with some of the vocabulary around Christmas and preparations for Christmas, whether you celebrate Christmas yourself or you don't. And I know that many non-Christians like me still do like to celebrate Christmas. It's a nice celebration in the middle of winter when it's cold and grey. What's wrong with that?


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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