Episode 07: Alone for Christmas?


Our friends are staying here for Christmas. Find out if they are spending this festive season alone.

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to each Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you listen

We suggest you do the vocabulary activity below before you listen. Then listen to the episode and do the first task to check your understanding. Finally, practise some vocabulary and grammar.




Fadi: What a fantastic Christmas present!

Olivia: Did someone say “present”? I love presents...

Fadi: I just mean the café staying open – and your shop, of course - it’s like an early Christmas present!

Olivia: It’s still a bit early for Christmas presents...

Fadi: Come on, it’s only a few days now!

Olivia: Yeah... I guess you’re right. I can stop worrying now. Hey Tony!

Tony: What?

Olivia: Come on Tony! Even you must be happy about this! The café is staying open!

Fadi: Our campaign was successful!

Tony: Yeah... erm, thanks everybody!

Olivia: So, Fadi – what are you doing for Christmas?

Fadi: Nothing much – guess I’ll just be with my family...

Olivia: Yeah, me too - it’d be great to spend Christmas just with my friends, not the whole family...

Fadi: Yeah, it’d be great to spend Christmas with you... er, I mean, everyone here...

Olivia: Oh, yeah, erm... hmmm.

Fadi: Tell you what – let’s invent an excuse!

Olivia: An excuse? How do you mean?

Fadi: Let’s leave our families for a few hours... come and have dinner here!

Olivia: Here? I don’t think the café will be open on Christmas day...

Fadi: We can persuade Tony to open – just for us – to celebrate our campaign to keep the café open, and Christmas too...

Olivia: Great idea! But I’ll probably have to bring Joe...

Fadi: Oh no! Joe, your terrible little nephew, I’d forgotten about him...

All: Hi Johnny!

Johnny: Hello everyone!

Olivia: We were just talking about Christmas...

Johnny: Of course, I’ve come back just in time for Christmas – how could I forget! I love Christmas here in London... We don’t really celebrate Christmas in China, but I love it here – lots of food, presents...

Magda: I love Christmas too, but Christmas in Poland is so special, I’ll really miss it this year...

Sarah: Aren’t you going back to visit your family? You usually go back to Poland.

Magda: I wanted to go, but I couldn’t afford it. Plane tickets are so expensive at this time of year.

Sarah: (sighs) So, me and Magda will be on our own for Christmas.

Carlos: Me too – there’s no way I can go back to Brazil!

Sarah: That’s a long way.

Carlos: I’ve got an idea – if Fadi and Olivia can ask Tony to open the café, I’ll cook a proper Christmas dinner for everyone! I love cooking.

Magda: Good idea - in Poland we have a twelve-course meal at Christmas!

Carlos: Twelve courses! Wow, that’s a lot...

Magda: It is...

Carlos: I’ll try and make some traditional Polish food for you Magda... and perhaps something special for you too, Sarah... I’d like that...

Sarah: That’s very kind, but don’t try to make Chinese food for me! It’s difficult... make one of your own specialities – I love trying new things!

Carlos: OK, you’re on!

Olivia: This sounds like a party! Harry – what about you? What are you doing for Christmas?

Harry: Well, I’ve only got my mum, so I guess I’ll be with her.

Bindyu: It’d be nice to have Christmas dinner with you...

Harry: Yeah, it would... don’t you have to be with your family...

Bindyu: We don’t really celebrate Christmas...

Olivia: Don’t forget it’s a religious festival!

Harry: Of course, yeah, I know that, but everyone can enjoy Christmas!

Olivia: Well, why don’t you two try and join us....

Harry: I’ll see what we can do....

Carlos: There is a problem though...

Fadi: What’s that?

Carlos: Nobody has asked Tony...

Fadi: Oh, erm, yeah... Go on Olivia – you ask him...

Olivia: Why me?

Fadi: You’re the best at that kind of thing...

Olivia: OK, OK... erm, Tony!

Tony: Yeah?

Olivia: What are you doing for Christmas?

Tony: Why?

Olivia: We wanted to invite you to have Christmas with us!

Tony: Well... well, that’s very kind of you… thank you, yes...

Olivia: Just one thing...

Tony: What’s that?

Olivia: Erm, we’d like to have our Christmas dinner here!

Tony: Here?

Olivia: Yes. Here!

Tony: Hmm... OK, but I’m not washing the dishes afterwards!

Fadi: Deal!

Johnny: This is going to be the best Christmas party ever!

(sounds of eating and drinking, laughter)

Carlos: So here it is! Some Brazilian specialties – this is papaya...

Magda: Mmmm...

Carlos: This is cassava...

Harry: Delicious...

Carlos: And caipirinha to drink!

All: Cheers! Happy Christmas!

Harry: And I’ve brought my mum’s Christmas pudding!

Sarah: Euurrgghh!

Olivia: No, you must try it! It's delicious!

(crashing noise)

All: What’s going on! What’s happened?

Johnny: It’s all dark!

Fadi: I can’t see anything!

Olivia: Joe! What have you done?

Harry: What’s happened?

Tony: He’s broken the lights! That little...

All: Oh no!

Bindyu: Never mind – let’s light candles!!!

Olivia: Good idea!

Fadi: Wow, yeah, this is really romantic!

Olivia: Isn’t it! Joe! Don’t touch the candles!

Fadi: It’s great to be with you Olivia...

Olivia: Erm, yeah, you too...

Bindyu: Yes, very romantic...

Harry: Great...

Carlos: Everybody thinks it’s romantic... I hope you do too, Sarah...

Sarah: Erm, yes, I suppose it is...

Johnny: It’s like I said – this is the best Christmas ever! I’m always right!


All: Happy Christmas!

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Average: 3.4 (9 votes)
Profile picture for user jpkeiros

Submitted by jpkeiros on Mon, 13/11/2023 - 13:03


Good mornig everyone there.

I have a doubt: tony says: I’m not washing the dishes afterwards!
Shoudn´t it be: I´m not GOING TO wash?

Thanks in advance.

Hello jpkeiros,

Tony could also have said 'I'm not going to wash the dishes' and that would also be correct.

Since the group of friends is making arrangements to have Christmas dinner together, this is a kind of arrangement or agreement and Tony is declaring his intentions.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by nikoslado on Tue, 02/08/2022 - 15:31


Dear Jonathan
I've been extremely thankful for everyone in your excellent Team.
I'm trying to get into the English structure and grammar and, at the same moment, my native Greek language always chases me... There are big differences between the two languages in terms of syntax and grammar, it's a tricky thing, hence my questions. I don't mean to waste your time and kindness, so, could you suggest to me some site or point me to a relevant sourse to find more things and examples on the previous matter?
Thanks a lot,

Hi nikoslado,

We're glad to read your kind comments and thoughtful questions. It's no waste of our time - we are here to help as much as we can :)

Could you let us know a bit more about what you are looking for? You mentioned structure, syntax and grammar - do you want to purely focus on that? Do you have a particular goal (e.g. using English for a particular purpose, or simply increasing your understanding)?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Jonathan,
thank you for your immediate reply.
I'm studying English mainly by myself and, yes, I target to increase my general understanding of this. So, what I'm looking for depends each time on the questions I have. This time-for example - it was about '' me too'', ''you too'', and short or compliment replies with ''parallel meaning'', as you pointed out. So, is there any further stuff about this kind of conversations and dialogues on your site that I could look at, or is it a rather general object that simply needs someone to get used to the daily style of speaking?
Thanks a lot for your time,

Hi Nikos,

OK, I understand. We don't have any pages specifically about conversational features like these, but we do have pages with conversations that will probably contain features that you are interested in. Let me suggest the pages below. 

  • Video zone - videos from YouTube. Many of these have conversations in them (e.g. Can a haircut change your life?)
  • Audio zone - unscripted speaking. Some (but not all) of the pages in this section are dialogues (e.g. Music in Manchester).
  • Speaking videos - these are scripted too, but you might find something of interest there. (e.g. Giving advice)

If you have questions about them, we welcome you to post them on the site.

Alternatively, if you have access to any advanced-level books that are focused specifically on speaking, they might contain some useful information too.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nikoslado on Sat, 30/07/2022 - 19:50


Dear Team,
could you tell me, please, the function and the meaning of Olivia's answer:
''Fadi: It’s great to be with you, Olivia...
Olivia: Erm, yeah, you
1)Is it like if she said ''....great to be with you too''?
2)Also, couldn't she say something like ''...me too''?
How can we realise the subject ''me'' or ''you'', in a such short answer? What do we have to have in mind in order to catch the correct meaning automatically, without guessing who says about whom?
Ever thankful

Hi Nikos,

1) Yes, exactly! Olivia is returning the sentiment.

2) "Me too" is unlikely for this meaning because it doesn't parallel Fadi's original sentence well ("Me/I" cannot replace "It" as the grammatical subject. It also cannot replace "you" because "It’s great to be with me" is not what Olivia wants to say.)

Olivia says "you too" because it parallels Fadi's sentence (i.e. "with you too"). Other things she could have said with the same meaning and function are "And with you", "It's great for me too", "Same here" or "Likewise".

The parallel with the original structure helps clarify the meaning. Also, I would say that returning Fadi's compliment is a common response in this situation (i.e., If one person gives a compliment, it's very common for the other person to then return the compliment), so we can consider that a likely meaning in the situation.

I hope that helps!


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by User_User on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 18:25

Hello I've got a question about the following sentence from the transcript: Sarah: (sighs) So, me and Magda will be on our own for Christmas. 'me' is an indirect object. We ask with 'to whom?' or 'for whom?' for it. 'I and Magda' is the subject (the part of the sentence which is doing the action). When I write in an essay 'me' instead of 'I' (for the subject) would this be a grammar mistake? Bye
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 06:49

In reply to by User_User


Hello User_User,

The phrase 'me and X' has become very common in modern English and has largely replaced 'X and I'. You are correct about the inconsistency in terms of grammatical agreement, but language is governed by use, not by prescriptive rules, and if a given phrase becomes dominant then it becomes the standard form.

This does not apply to pronouns other than in the phrase 'X and me'. In any other context, it would be incorrect to use 'me' as a subject pronoun.



The LearnEnglish Team