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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil. Did you get all your Christmas shopping done, Alice?

  • Alice: I did, Neil. And I spent a small fortuneand that means a lot of money!

  • Neil: Well, I hate buying all those presents that people just don't really want.

  • Alice: Oh, Neil, you grumpy old Scrooge!

  • And I hope you realise that the subject of today'sshow is Christmas kindness!

  • Neil: Oh dear. I might be grumpyand that means bad-temperedbut I'm not a scrooge!

  • I don't mind spending money – I just don't know what to buy people.

  • Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol.

  • He's a miser and that means someone who loves money but hates spending it.

  • Alice: Indeed. Well, on the subject of A Christmas Carol, Neil, at the end of the story,

  • what does Scrooge buy the Cratchit family for Christmas dinner? Is it...

  • a) a goose? b) a turkey?

  • Or c) a chicken?

  • Neil: Hmm. Well, I haven't read the book so I'm going to guess a) a goose.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out later if you chose the right answer. Now, Neil, I agree that

  • Christmas shopping can sometimes feel pointless

  • but we mustn't forget what a magical time Christmas is for young children.

  • Neil: Well, that's true. I remember how hard it was to get to sleep on Christmas Eve

  • worrying that Santa Claus would get stuck in our chimney.

  • Alice: Yes, well, eve means the day before somethingin this case, Christmas Day.

  • Parents tell their children that Santa Claus

  • an imaginary old man with a white beard and red clothes

  • will bring them presents at Christmas time.

  • In the UK children believe that Santa comes down the chimney to get into the house.

  • Neil: But it's not all fun. Increasing numbers of people these days are struggling for money at this time of year.

  • Having enough food to feed their family is what matters most

  • and buying presents comes further down the list.

  • So let's listen now to a BBC Scotland report by Laura Maxwell.

  • She's talking about a special event with lots of presents.

  • Laura Maxwell: Beatrice Cadell has just celebrated her 80th birthday.

  • And instead of presents for her, she asked her friends to buy toys.

  • Beatrice Caddell: Everyone that turned up to that birthday do was absolutely brilliant.

  • Absolutely brilliant. And it's good for something like this. It's even better. It's even better ... you know

  • somebody else can benefit. We don't need it. We're old.

  • Alice: So Beatrice is celebrating her birthday and she told friends and family to buy toys

  • instead of presents for her.

  • Neil: Right. She had the generous idea of donating or giving the toys to a toy bank

  • a place where toys are given away free to people in need.

  • The toy bank then distributed Beatrice's toys to parents

  • who couldn't afford to buy presents for their children at Christmas.

  • Alice: Yes. So Beatrice is happy that children can benefitor be helped by her.

  • She says she doesn't need presents. A woman after your own heart, Neil!

  • Neil: Indeed! And that means Beatrice has the same opinion as me!

  • Well, that's a great example of Christmas charity

  • and charity means giving free help to people who need it.

  • Alice: Yes. And here's another example, Neil.

  • Last year in London, twenty tons of presents

  • were donated, wrapped, and delivered to a local hospital to cheer up sick children who

  • couldn't go home for Christmas.

  • Neil: Were they delivered in Santa's sleigh?

  • Alice: No Neil, they were delivered in a big double-decker bus!

  • Let's hear about the volunteers who made this happen.

  • Volunteer: Lots of different groups of people come together under the banner of kindness

  • so religious people come together, corporate people come together, young people, old people

  • it seems to be something that stretches across many many many different demographics.

  • Neil: Under the banner of kindnesswhat does that mean, Alice?

  • Alice: Well, being under the banner of something means being part of a group

  • who are united in support for an idea.

  • And in this case, different people came together to do something kind for sick children.

  • Neil: And demographics? What's that?

  • Alice: Demographics means statistical information about a population and the groups of people in it.

  • People from different groups in society are working together

  • the old and the young, religious people, corporateor businesspeople.

  • Neil: And this talk of kindness is making me feel more in the mood for Christmas!

  • Alice: I can see that, Ebenezer. You've got a smile on your face!

  • Now, earlier in the show, I asked: At the end of the story,

  • what does Scrooge buy the Cratchit family for Christmas dinner?

  • Is it... a) a goose? b) a turkey? Or c) a chicken?

  • Neil: And I said a) a goose.

  • Alice: Yes. And you were wrong, Neil! The answer is b) a turkey.

  • Neil: Uh...that makes me a goose.

  • Alice: It certainly does. Scrooge buys the Cratchit family the prize turkey.

  • Delicious! A Christmas Carol is a lovely story. Everybody should read it.

  • Neil: And did you know that although turkeys are traditional Christmas food now,

  • they weren't in Dickens's time.

  • Alice: I see...

  • Neil: They were exotic back then

  • and that means unusual because it comes from another country.

  • The story was written in 1843.

  • Now how about hearing the words we learned today, Alice?

  • Alice: They are:

  • a small fortune

  • grumpy

  • miser

  • eve

  • Santa Claus

  • donating

  • toy bank

  • benefit

  • after your own heart

  • charity

  • under the banner of something

  • demographics

  • exotic

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Merry Christmas, everybody!

  • Alice: Merry Christmas!

  • Neil: Please join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 UK alice christmas beatrice scrooge goose kindness

BBC 6 Minute English December 24, 2015 - Christmas kindness

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/09
Video vocabulary