Tis the season to take or administer exams and once the stockings are hung from the chimney with care, we teachers all settle down to put the final touches on our corrections and deliver our grades before the end of the year. Only then can we finally settle in for a long winter’s night before celebrating Christmas, Hannekah, and/or Kwanzaa. The Holidays are a time to reflect on the past year and to take the time to appreciate those closest to us even while getting caught up in the consumer frenzy. But as Dr. Seuss said in his classic American tale: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, it’s more about caring for one another and celebrating an incredible act of love which is, after all, the underlying symbol of this holiday and less about joining in the mad rush to buy presents: “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
So as you think about that passage (or “puzzle over” it) and while waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney in his red suit (that will get “sooty”…), challenge your neurons by reading the following Christmas jokes: Christmas Jokes & Puns
To better understand the humor and the play-on-words, find the passages which rhyme with the following words or ressemble them phonetically. Then try to dig deeper by uncovering the cultural allusions (to help you they are in order): alphabet; to whine about something; mistletoe; self-esteem; a hoe; a voting poll where you cast your vote; Robin Hood; Feliz Navidad; chestnuts; roasting on an open fire; Kris Kringle (another name for Santa Claus); corn flakes; subordinate clause; Noel; to suit someone; a buck or a dollar; Scrooge (Charles Dicken’s famous character in the “Christmas Carol”); All of (“Olive”)….
Cultural Allusions: Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol”; “The Night Before Christmas” or “A Visit from St. Nicolas” by Clement Clarke Moore (one of the most parodied poems in the English language; see: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/historical/a/twas_the_night.htm ); the legend of “Santa’s Elves” and the North Pole; kissing someone under the Mistletoe for good luck; Al Gore’s Documentary “An Inconvient Truth” about global warming; political correctness; “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme (see lyrics: http://www.carols.org.uk/the_christmas_song_chestnuts_roasting.htm); the American nickname for ‘Santa Claus’ Kris Kringle which is derived from Christ Kindle (or the Christ Child), the traditional Christmas gift-giver probably coined by German immigrants or the Pennsylvania Dutch protestants in the 19th century; the popularity of Kris Kringle was revitalized in the American movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” in which a man called Kris Kringle gets a job playing Santa Claus at Macy’s department store in New York City.
Watch the following slideshow displaying traditional Christmas images and sing along with Nat King Cole singing “The Christmas Song” (click here for words) My French students should be able to find the translation of the following words:
(watch out for familiar contractions!) French: Marrons – faire griller – le Général Hiver – mordiller – fêtes de fin d’année – les gens – déguiser en – le gui – les petits enfants – yeux écarquillés – le Père Noël – jouets – friandises – traineau – épier — les reines – des gosses – bien que – Joyeux Noël !