“Christmas is coming
and the goose is getting fat,
please put a penny
in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny,
a ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got an ha’penny,
God bless you!”
(Traditional Xmas song)
Watch the short video below and think about what the song means.
Do you think the song encourages children to:
a) eat a lot of fat goose at Christmas?
b) think of Xmas as a time to be charitable to people who have difficulties?
c) laugh at old men?
Of course, the correct answer was (b). Xmas is a time to think of other people and be kind and generous, and to spend time with your family and friends. This may be especially true this year with all the financial difficulties people around the world are experiencing.
Yup! I know, Crimbo seems to come earlier and earlier each year, doesn’t it. There’ll be santas and Xmas trees in the convenience stores by the end of the week, and it’s not even the middle of November yet! But on that note, I saw the first pumpkins of Halloween in the first week of September, so it seems quite normal to prepare early in Japan – which might not be such a bad thing.
At honTony mansion, we have been having a huge annual Xmas party for a few years now, and believe me, when you have 40 or so hungry people coming for dinner, it is best to start preparing early!
I remember this now because, on Monday, I had a telephone call from my old friend and colleague, Mark (the tall blonde one!), asking me if I needed anything for Xmas from the Foreign Buyers Club – which is an internet shopping site specialising in goods from overseas for the expat community living in Japan. I initially thought, “What is he talking about, it’s not Xmas yet!” But then it dawned on me that it is only six weeks away, and it only seems like yesterday when the swimming pools in Hamaderakouen were full of the screams and laughs of excited school kids. How time flies, eh?
So, I asked Mark to send me the link to the website and I had a look. Mark asked me to let him know what I wanted quite quickly, as he needed to place his order that day.
This is what I chose:
An advent calendar – which excites kids by counting down the days to Xmas. Because it looked the most interesting, I asked Mark to order the most expensive one, which is called “Olive, the other reindeer”
Two boxes of Xmas crackers – the Christmas Day festivities would not be complete without pulling crackers, which are a kind of table decoration with paper Christmas hats inside. It’s quite difficult to explain. So, watch this video clip from an old British comedy series set in a department store and you will see them pulling some Christmas crackers! (You might also get some good ideas for fancy dress for the BC Chrsitmas party on Sunday 7th December.)
Two bags of frozen Brussels sprouts – the essential Christmas vegetable, delicious to some and hated by many! (I love them! They are like very small cabbages!
One bag of frozen cranberries – which are necessary for making one of the many side-dishes that Christmas dinner needs.
Mark paid by credit card and I have to give him the money in cash for the things I asked for.
Quick reading and mathematics test for you all 🙂
Here is a quick test of your Internet reading skills – you will need to scan the website to look for the items I have listed above. Try and find the things I mentioned and I want you to add up the prices and tell me how much money I have to give Mark.
Put your answers on a comment and the first person with the correct answer will receive a special Xmas gift from me! 🙂
Good luck and hope you enjoy the website – you might find something you’d like for Christmas. Let me know if you have any problems or questions.
Click here for the Foreign Buyers Club website.