Sunday, 19 December 2010

What do you know about Christmas?

Secret Santa, also known as Kris Kringle in England, is a Christmas tradition that involves the exchange of anonymous gifts. Secret Santa is common in the workplace and among members of extended families as a way of restricting gift-giving and saving money.
White elephant is something which is costly to maintain and difficult to get rid of. Typically, white elephants are also rare and very valuable, complicating the situation for their owners. Any number of things can be a white elephant, from a palatial home to an extravagant necklace. According to legend, the concept of the white elephant has its roots in Southeast Asia. Historically, Southeast Asians regarded the white elephant as lucky, because a white elephant supposedly appeared to the mother of the Buddha right before his birth.
Yankee Swap is another variation on the Secret Santa game. It’s usually played as part of a family or friend gathering or office party during the winter holidays, and it is most popular in places like North America, especially in the US and Canada. It’s essentially a game in which gifts are given, but they’re usually either used items or gag gifts.
Gag gifts are usually inexpensive novelty items intended to get a laugh. It could be anything from Betty Boop boxers to a coffee mug with a hilarious one-liner, cartoon characters or the faces of past presidents.
Tinsel - a decoration consisting of thin strips of shiny metal foil, traditionally used at Christmas
Bauble - any kind of Christmas decorations (glass balls or other shapes)
Holly - an evergreen plant with prickly dark green leaves and red berries. In Celtic mythology, winter and summer were represented by twin kings, the "Holly King" (winter) and the "Oak King" (summer). Therefore holly was symbolic of life and spring to come.
Trimming the tree – decorating the tree is called ‘trimming the tree’.
Manger – historically, a small wooden trough that animals ate hay from. Jesus was put in a manger after he was born, so some people set up a manger with a plastic baby in it and animals around.
Feast Day – a special day to honor a saint; commemorates birth into life eternal, the earthly death date
Carving the bird – cutting the meat and handing it out to people is called ‘carving’ the bird
Wreath -  a circular band of flowers or leaves used to decorate the front door of homes at Christmas.
Poinsettia – this plant is also commonly used to decorate at Christmas
Heirloom ornaments are traditionally passed down through generations of a family. They can be anything that is special to someone in that family and deemed worthy of preserving for future descendants.
Garland - woven leaves, colorful plastic material, popcorn, wooden beads etc is usually placed on the tree after the lights and before any other decorations.
A Christmas tree skirt is a rounded skirt with an open side that is used to cover the Christmas tree stand.
Christmas tree flocking is artificial snow that is applied to a Christmas tree.

like turkeys voting for Christmas

 If people are like turkeys voting for Christmas, they choose to accept a situation which will have a very unpleasant result for them.

like Christmas came early

When you receive some unexpected good news or good fortune, you can describe it as Christmas coming early. The good news/fortune is a ‘present’.

cancel someone’s Christmas

This is a humorous expression that can be heard in gangster movies. The idea is that you are so angry with someone that you are going to kill them; that person will not live until Christmas!

Christmas comes but once a year

Because Christmas only happens once a year, we should be kind and generous as it is a special time.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

PROFILES: Ana-Maria Vasilache, Bucharest, Romania

1st prize in the Lexis ... and the whole world is yours! contest
English takes you higher
For English is not a simple word,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
For English gives you wings and teaches you to fly
That's why! That's why!
In time of war, in time of peace
English is like a mother's kiss.
It's a blessing hand above your head,
It's a curtain that protects you from the bad.
Having English known,

Is like the battle is already won.
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Your walk through life turns into a happy dance
'Cause every piece of knowledge takes you further.
That's why English takes you higher. 

This is what Ana- Maria's teacher and group-mates say about her.
ANA-MARIA VASILACHE about herself: " I bet all the people who know me will say I have a big mouth...However,  I am not always that talkative. A lot of times I feel the need for space and quiet, and that's when I start painting or writing. It gives me a feeling of calm which cannot be given by anything else."
TEACHER RALUCA SERGHEI: " Who is Ana? If you meet her once, you can't forget her. She is one of the most talented teenagers you will ever know. She's got a a strong personality, and when she knows she's right, she will never give up arguing. But, in the end, she is a special and sensitive person, just as  all artists are."
RAMONA- DANIELA LETZNER ( FCE STUDENT ): " I have known Ana for four years, but she still surprises me every day. She is a great friend, and you can spend an amazing time with her, if you get to know her. Her joyous nature always makes her smile and laugh, and you just can't remain untouched by that. Also, she is very gifted, and with the brush her mind can create amazing images and extraordinary pictures, full of strong emotions."
MIHAELA DUTA ( FCE STUDENT): '' I met my friend, Ana, in a Lexis camp. Ever since I have known her, she has been a sociable and talkative girl. She can make friends very easily, and talk about any subject for hours. Her paintings are beautiful, they are not something that anyone can create. I am sure she will be a great artist, or whatever she wants to be, because she is ambitious and unconventional."
We definitely hope so. Ana-Maria impressed us a lot. (LexisTopStudents blog)

PROFILES: Adelina Iacob

Adelina was awarded the 3rd prize in the "Lexis ... and the whole world is yours!" contest.
She studies English at Lexis Marasesti-Unirea, in Bucharest. This is what she wrote about herself in a letter:
 My name's Adelina and I'm 13 years old. I've been with Lexis for 6 years and I really enjoy it because the group is so funny and cool and because I love English. My hobbies are rollerskating, swimming, playing basketball, diving, writing
 songs and stories about aliens and FBI investigations. I love America and everythings related to it. I disapprove of people who smoke and I really can't stand football...IT'S TOO MUCH ON TV!!! I also love animals, dancing and my Physics teacher. He's so funny and believes in UFOs.
P.S. My favorite subjects are English, Physics, P.E. and I also like Geography and Maths, but not too much
This is Adelina: brief and to the point. We hope she'll become a famous writer. Maybe, another Agatha Christie was born.