Test 5. (intermediate level)


Section I. Reading. Read the text about Christmas in the USA and do the exercises.


Christmas in the USA

Christmas is a religious holiday. It is celebrated on December 25,as the birthday of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian religion. It is the time of warmth and gaiety, love and laughter. Most churches have Christmas Eve services. The services usually begin just before midnight on Christmas Eve and end early Christmas morning. Cities and towns deck their streets with bells, garlands of evergreens and glittering decorations. On the front lawns of home trees and shrubs are strung with twinkling electric lights, and on almost every front door hangs some red and green symbol of the Christmas season- a wreath of shiny green holly with its bright red berries and the words Merry Christmas . Store windows replace their usual display of goods with figures of Santa Claus and Christmas toys.

Christmas is a family holiday. Stores, post offices , banks, and business houses close for the day. Schools and colleges close between Christmas and New Year's Day. The people stay at home and spend the time with their families. Everybody tries to come home for Christmas. People send cards or Christmas greetings to their family and friends. The day before the vacation begins, the schools have Christmas programmes and parties. The children sing carols. Every house tries to have a Christmas tree, which is decorated with tinsel, coloured bulbs and lights. Sometimes they hang Christmas cookies on it. They also hang up little candy canes for children. The use of mistletoe as part of Christmas decorations in private houses is common in the USA. Little children have up their stockings on Christmas Eve. They believe that when they are asleep, Father Christmas (Santa Claus) comes to visit them. He comes down from the North Pole. Santa Claus drives a big sled. In the sled are toys for all the good children. Eight little reindeer pull the sled there through the air. When it comes to the roof of the children's house. Santa gets out. He comes down the chimney with a big bag of toys. If the children have been good, Santa fills their stockings with candy, fruit and toys. He puts some toys under the tree.

Usually the whole family has a big Christmas dinner in the afternoon or evening. The Christmas dinner is traditionally distinguished by a plum-pudding dessert.

Many towns have very large Christmas trees set up outdoors in the parks. A giant pine tree, selected for its perfect conical shape is set up on the parade ground between the While House and the Washington Monument and decorated with thousands of coloured lights. The President of the USA presses a button which lights the tree. This is the signal for lighting trees across the land. The air is filled with the sounds of Christmas songs, the stores are decorated in red and green, the traditional Christmas colour. Dozens of Santa Clauses welcome the customers. The Christmas spirit is expressed in many charitable ways. Religious, civic and social organisations, as well as philanthropic individuals, see to it that the poor, the unfortunate , the orphans, the sick, the lonely and the elderly are remembered with gifts and festival food.


Exercise 1. Comprehension. Choose the correct answer to complete the sentences.

1) Christmas is the day on which Christians celebrate........

A) the beginning of the new year

B)the birth of Jesus Christ

C) the birth of Santa Claus

2) Most churches have Christmas Eve services which usually begin.......

A) before midnight on Christmas Eve

B) after midnight on Christmas Eve

C) early Christmas morning

3) At Christmas all offices are......

A) all day round

B) open till 10 p.m.

C) closed

4) Father Christmas arrives in a sleigh pulled by......

A) two horses

B) reindeer

C) wild animals

5) Father Christmas comes down.....and leaves presents for children.

A) the chimney

B) the window

C) the fireplace

6) If the children have been good, Santa fills......with presents.

A) school bags

B) stockings

C) purses

7) The main Christmas Tree is set up.....

A) in the White House

B) between the While House and the Washington Monument

C) In front of the Lincoln Memorial

8) The......presses a button which lights the giant Christmas Tree.

A) Prime Minister

B) person of the year

C) President of the USA

9).......are traditional Christmas colours.

A) orange and green

B) red and green

C) yellow and green

10) American children sing traditional.....

A) pop songs

B) carols

C) Auld Lang Syne


Exercise 2. Vocabulary. Explain the meaning of each phrase in other words: in every sentence one word or phrase is underlined. From the three choices given (a, b, c), you should choose the one, which can be substituted for the underlined word or phrase without changing the meaning of the sentence.

11) Cities and towns deck their streets with bells.

a) clean

b) decorate

c) paint

12) Cities and towns deck their streets with garlands of evergreens,.

a) bright toys usually hung on Christmas

b) nice flowers of green colour

c) bushes or trees that do not lose their leaves in winter

13) On the front lawns of home trees and shrubs are strung with twinkling electric lights.

a) to shine with a soft light that rapidly changes from bright to faint

b) to shine for a long period of time

c) to shine with bright lights of different colours

14) Santa Claus drives a big sled.

a) four-wheeled vehicle pulled by an animal and used for carrying goods.

b) vehicle made for carrying people or goods over snow

c) small vehicle for travelling across water

15) The Christmas spirit is expressed in many charitable ways.

a) joyful, merry

b) kind and generous

c) wasteful


II. English Usage.

Part 1.Vocabulary and Grammar. Read the text 'Who decorated the first Christmas Tree?'

Fill in each gap only one word front the list on the right.

Who Decorated the First Christmas Tree? No one knows for sure. The ......(1) of bringing an evergreen tree indoors and decorating it .....(2) Christmas started ......(3) Germany. One legend says that Martin Luther started the practice. Luther was an important Christian leader. According..... (4) the story, he noticed the starlit sky as he walked home one Christmas Eve about the year 1513. He thought the stars looked as if they......(5) shining on the.........(6) . When he arrived home, Martin Luther.......(7) a small fir tree........(8) his house. He decorated it.......(9) lighted candles. Decorating Christmas trees became popular in Germany. Prince Albert, the German husband of Queen Victoria, .......(10) the tradition to England. Both German and English people brought it to America. are at branches custom in inside on outside placed to took were was with


Part 2.Grammar and Writing. Write questions using the words in brackets.

11) The word 'carol' means 'circle dance'. (What........?)

12) A typical Christmas card has a sentimental picture of a snowy country scene. (What.........?)

13) In Britain the traditional day to give presents was December 26th and not as it is today, Christmas Day. (What........?)

14) The British like to decorate their homes at Christmas by hanging the cards they receive . (What.......?)

15) The highlight of Christmas Day is the Christmas lunch. (What........?)


1П. Writing.Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. Many children believe that it's Santa Claus who brings the gifts. So children often send letters to Santa to tell him what they want for Christmas. Write a letter to Santa telling him what you want him to give you, your parents, your relatives, your friends, your country, your city, your school, etc. (120-140 words)

Key: I. Ex.1: 1)B 2)A 3)C 4)B 5)A 6)B 7)B 8)C 9)B 10)B

Ex.2: 11)b 12)c 13)a 14)b 15)b

II. Part 1: 1)custom 2)at 3)in 4)to 5)were 6) branches 7)placed 8) inside

9) with 10) took

Part 2: 11)What does the word ‘carol’ mean? 12) What is a typical Christmas card like? 13) What was the traditional day in Britain to give presents? 14) What do the British like to do with the cards they receive? 15) What is the highlight of Christmas day?


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