Passive and Christmas

This is a downloadable ESL communicative activity to practise the passive voice in the context of Christmas traditions around the world.

Activity to practise the passive in the context of Christmas

Download this activity for free!

Here’s some more info about the activity:

Aim To practise the passive in the context of Christmas and/or other cultural celebrations.
Activity Students identify the passive in a text and rewrite in active voice, then have a class discussion.
Organisation Pair or group work and whole class
Preparation Make enough copies of the activity for the number of pairs in your class.
Cut up the text along the lines and mix.
What do I do?
  1. Divide students into pairs or groups and give them the cut up text.
  2. Students read the text and try to match the traditions to the countries.
  3. Students highlight the passive, and rewrite these sentences in active voice.
  4. As a class, discuss the traditions, and compare them with Christmas or another popular celebration in their own culture.

Follow-up: students write about their own cultural traditions using the passive.


St. Nicholas visits on December 4th to find out which children have been good and bad. When he visits again on December 6th good children are given presents and bad children are left twigs in their shoes.

French-speaking children are visited by Pere Noel. He and his friend Pere Fouettard give sweets to good children and a handful of sticks to bad children.

A sweet bread called cougnou or cougnolle is sometimes eaten on Christmas morning.

Fresh fish with rice or potatoes is usually eaten on Christmas Eve.

Children are visited by Santa Claus on December 6th. Their shoes are left outside the door or window before they go to bed. In the morning they find red bags in them filled with sweets and toys.

After this, the Christmas tree is seen for the first time by the children. Christmas songs are sung and gifts from under the tree are shared.

An early morning church service called Misa de Aguinaldo is attended daily between December 16th and 24th. In the capital city, it is customary to roller-skate to the church!

A piece of string is tied to children’s toes before they go to bed. The other end is hung out the window. The next morning, the pieces of string are pulled by the rollerskaters!

On Christmas eve, candles are carried to an unlit bonfire. The Christmas story is read by a family member and then the bonfire is lit.

At mass on Christmas day another bonfire is lit and hymns are sung. Chicken, oranges, nuts and pastries are eaten for dinner.

Keith Taylor
Keith is the co-founder of Eslbase. He has been a teacher and teacher trainer for over 20 years, in Indonesia, Australia, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Poland, France and now in the UK.

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