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Christmas Scene 1

Ashlie and Stephen are getting ready for Christmas. They need to buy presents and decorate the tree, but there's still time for a bit of ice-skating...

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to the Tasks and do the activities. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hi Learn English team,
I am very happy to be here.I am getting confidence with English now.I want to improve my vocabulary also,what should I do?I think I don't have enough vocabulary. And I want to improve my writing skill also. Give me some suggestions.

Hi rajibejoy,

It's great to hear that you're making progress, and that LearnEnglish is helping you!

To improve your vocabulary it's important to do three things:

  • see new and familiar words and phrases in context
  • note down new items in an organised manner
  • practise, revise and review new items systematically

The Listen & Watch section on LearnEnglish is a great source of reading and listening materials and working through this section will help you with the first point.  In fact, the more you read - magazines and newspapers, journals, short stories, novels, poems... in fact, whatever genre or kind of writing interests you - the better, and you can find an inexhaustible supply on the internet, of course.

With regard to the second point, I suggest you start (if you haven't already) a personal vocabulary book.  Organise it by topic (sports, work, appearance, finance etc) and add new words and phrases to it as you listen, watch and read in English.

Once you have built up a small collection of items in your vocabulary book, you can use it to test yourself so you can see how well you memorise the items.  Cover the meanings and/or examples and try to recall them, or to translate the words and phrases into your own language.

Finally, remember that you can use the comments sections on most pages to ask us about anything with which you have problems, and you can also use the Cambridge Dictionaries Online tool which is on the right of almost every page on LearnEnglish and is a great resource for looking up new words and phrases.

In terms of writing effectively, as I wrote to another user  last week, how to write depends upon what kind of writing you want to do, for what purpose you are writing and who the recipient is.  Different kinds of writing require different different language and different ways of organising the text, so take a look at as many different texts as you can.  In general, to improve your writing it's important to read and write as much as you can, so keep an eye out for good examples of letters, articles and so on.  Using the internet to read magazines and newspapers, and other text-types from online media, is a good idea.

If possible, you should get feedback from a teacher or knowledgeable friend on your writing. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to give users individualised feedback on their writing, but you can still use LearnEnglish to do some work on your own.  You can respond to other users in the comment sections to carry on a written conversation, just as I am responding to you now. Good writers learn from reading other writers' texts, so you could learn a lot about writing from reading the content on the site. The Magazine might be a good place to start if this interests you. You can also of course carry on written conversations there in the comments.  On the other hand, if you are interested in academic writing, then our Writing for a Purpose section might be what you are looking for, though that is very challenging, with a lot of high-level materials.

Whatever you do, try to spend at least 15 minutes several days per week reading and/or writing. When you have doubts, ask a friend or teacher, or you're also welcome to ask us periodically here by using the comments sections on each page, and we'll be happy to try to answer your questions.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter M,

Thanks for you valuable advice.


The life in England is so wonderful. I am a Chinese and life here is always boring. You must work all day of the whole year to earn a living. Your developed countries people can work for a while and then travel around the world, but people in Chinese can not. If you quit your job for a travel , when you are back, your position will be occupied by other people and eventually you have a vacation in which you can go out and relax, everywhere is people mountain and people sea, yeah, other people is also on vacation. I want to learn English well and hope I can migrate to Australia or Canad one day.
Your website is very great. There are a lot of resource, but it is a pity that the radio can not be downloaded. People around the world visit this website, so it would be better to have a place to let people know each other. When I click a user name and I want to know more about her or him, I just can not find a way.
That's all. Hope better!

The situation is the same here in Vietnam. You have to work very hard every day. Going on vacation is something luxurious.

That's great!
Improving my listening is under way!
Thanks for you guys. These materials are really invaluable! :)

Dear learnEnglish team;
First, I would like to say that your educational package is incredibly useful for foreign learners. I got my IELTS and FCE and in both of them the weakest point is achieved in writing part. Now I have 3 questions:
1) Knowing that I’m preparing for CPE test, what sort of advice, especially on writing skill, can you give me?
2) Up to what extent your writing practices can help me?
3) Which method could you recommend me in order to gain a better result from your writing practices?
Yours sincerely

Hello Shabab,

Thank you very much for your nice comments.  It's great to hear that the work we do is helping people.  In answer to your questions:

1) My advice would be to familiarise yourself with the requirements of the exam.  CPE is quite an academically-orientated exam and the style of writing that is required reflects this.  Looking at good models of the various text-types required in the exam is a good idea so you know what is expected.

2) I'm not sure this is a question I can answer as I don't really know what kind of help you need - I don't know your strengths and weaknesses, for example, or how good you are at writing different things.

3) Again, this depends on what you are producing at the moment.  There may be elements of grammar which you are getting wrong - if so, you should revise these so you can stop making these mistakes.  On the other hand there may be vocabulary areas which you lack, or you may be structuring your writing inappropriately, or using an inappropriate style.  You are the only one who can judge this (unless you have a teacher locally who can help you).

I think a good place for you to gather some information is the British Council's page on UK exams, which you can find here.  There are links to various exams there, including the Cambridge exams.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter;
Thanks for your advice

I can't watch the video! Is it compatible with mac?