Watch the following Youtube video clip from the Christmas movie “Elf,” in which a real-life elf working at a department store confronts a fake Santa Clause.
Intro Discussion Questions:
- Why is the elf so upset?
- How does Santa react?
- What do you think of department-store Santas? Did you ever go to one as a kid? Have you taken your kids to one?
Get-together (n): an informal gathering of friends and family, generally smaller and more informal than a “party.”
- Example: I’m having a holiday get-together this weekend, and I hope you can come.
Festivities (n): a joyful celebration
- Example: I didn’t want to miss the New Year festivities at my brother’s house.
Secular (adj.): not religious
- Example: Unlike Christmas and Chanukah, New Year’s Eve is a secular holiday.
Superstition (n): A belief that isn’t founded in facts or reason
- Example: Halloween is connected with many old superstitions, like black cats being unlucky.
Commemorate (v): To honor the memory of something though a ceremony or object.
- Example: International Women’s Day commemorates the achievements of women worldwide.
Gratitude (n): The state of being very thankful and grateful
- Example: On Thanksgiving, people express gratitude for all the good things in their lives.
Anniversary (n): The yearly recurrence of an important date.
- Example: The Fourth of July commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Fast (v): To abstain from food on purpose
- Example: Observant Jews fast on Yom Kippur to reflect on the last year.
Feast (n): A large, extravagant meal eaten to celebrate something
- Example: On Thanksgiving, a huge feast is prepared and shared by friends and family.
Note about “Holiday:” In American English, “holiday” means special occasion or festive day. In British English, “holiday” means a vacation, or multiple days off from work or school.
- What is your favorite holiday? How do you celebrate it? Why is it your favorite?
- What are some holidays that are celebrated in your home country that aren’t celebrated in the US?
- What are some foreign holidays that people in your country celebrate?
- Do you like Halloween? Is there a festival in your home country that deals with spirits and spookiness?
- Do you like Christmas? Is there a festival in your home country that happens around the darkest part of the year?
- What are your favorite holiday foods?
- On what holidays do people give gifts to each other in your country?
- What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
- What is the best gift you’ve ever given?
- What is the strangest holiday you’ve ever heard about?
- Are there any holidays from other cultures that you wish you celebrated?
- What do you like to do on your birthday?
- Do you like going to weddings? What is the best wedding you’ve ever been to (including your own.)?
- What do you think is the most overrated holiday?
- Do you like Valentine’s Day? Is there a holiday that celebrates romance in your home country?
- Would you rather travel or stay at home on holidays?
- Do you get together with your family on holidays? If so, do you find it stressful, enjoy it, or both?
- Do you find holidays stressful in other ways? Travel/shopping/cleaning/hosting?
- What are some of your childhood memories of holidays?
- Do you think holidays are a bigger deal when you have kids?
- Does the symbolism of any holidays inspire you? Which holidays?