It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If you resisted the urge to sing that line instead of saying it, then, well done! One of our favourite things about the festive period is the appearance of Christmas songs, films and TV specials. There are plenty of them, which means that there are many opportunities for you! Learning English through Christmas songs and stories is a memorable way to improve your language skills. Moreover, it’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in another culture’s Christmas celebrations!

Storytelling and music are fantastic ways to bring language off the page. We all know Christmas stories have some of the most unforgettable storylines, and whether we like it or not, Christmas songs are incredibly catchy! So, let’s look at how you can learn English through classic Christmas songs and stories.


Using stories in language learning


Stories are not just tales which we should limit to the pages of a book. They provide us with a door into a world of language learning. That is to say, we see vocabulary introduced through the context of a new and interesting plot. What’s more, they are filled with dialogue, which gives us marvellous examples of phrases we can use in authentic conversation. This is also great for looking at grammar used in context. Above all, the narrative structure of stories can help us recall new vocabulary, which then makes it much easier when we want to use it! Amazing!

Before we get started on some of our favourite festive stories, TV specials and songs, let’s have a look at some useful language for the world of entertainment.

Useful language for the world of entertainment |  Learning English through Christmas songs and stories | Oxford House Barcelona

Exploring Christmas stories


There are so many to choose from, but here are a few favourites:

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)


A Christmas classic! A year after the McCallister family accidentally left Kevin home alone at Christmas while they made their way to Paris, they have made another huge mistake! This time, Kevin is stranded in New York. Luckily, Kevin has his father’s credit cards, and as we know from the first film, Kevin can take care of himself. However, it isn’t long before he finds himself in a dangerous situation.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

First published in 1843 and retold in many versions, A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable old man who dislikes everything about Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, who tells Scrooge that three more ghosts will visit him. In the classic tale, we see images of Christmas which are less commercial, and more focused on the importance of family time, sharing food, music, dancing and generosity. It truly is a Christmas story with a message. The most recent adaptation is the Netflix version, Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, try either Scrooged, a black comedy from the eighties, or The Muppet Christmas Carol.


Classic Christmas songs


Most of us love listening to music in our free time, and songs are an excellent way to practise listening, reading and speaking skills. However, did you know songs are a great way to help you consolidate your grammar knowledge? All you need to do is use a website like Genius, and search for your favourite Christmas song. Then, as you read, look carefully and identify the grammar in each line. We looked up Last Christmas by Wham. Can you identify the grammar in the highlighted lyrics?

Classic Christmas song | Learning English through Christmas songs and stories | Oxford House Barcelona


Interactive learning


As we all know, Christmas is a lovely opportunity to spend time with friends, and what better way than with a good singalong? But, are you sure you’re practising your English if all you’re doing is belting out your favourite Christmas song? Yes, of course you are!

Whenever you’re listening to songs in English, you’re practising your listening skills. Using Lyricstraining will turn any song you choose into a listening and writing activity. However, why not take it one step further and practise your pronunciation skills too?

That’s right! Search for the karaoke version of your favourite Christmas song on YouTube and see if you can reach the high notes. If your neighbours aren’t very impressed with your singing skills, they can choose the next song! Get those vocal cords ready!


Final thoughts


So, in addition to being a wonderful time to spend with your family and friends, Christmas is also a fantastic opportunity to continue improving your English!

Don’t stop yet! Check out these blogs for more ways to improve your English:

Improve your English accent with these 6 great songs

3 easy ways to use music to improve your English

5 of the best apps to improve your English listening skills

Give yourself the Christmas gift you’ve always wanted this year – find the class to suit your needs!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Urge (n): a strong wish or desire, especially one that is hard to control.

Catchy (adj): easy to remember.

Plot (n) the story of a book, film or play.

Huge (adj): enormous.

Stranded (adj): not able to leave somewhere because of a problem such as not having any transport or money.

Retell (v): tell someone something again.

Former (adj): of an earlier time.

Black comedy (n): rude or showing no respect, but often in a funny way.

Belt out (pv): sing loudly.

High note (n): a musical note which is very difficult to sing.


n = noun

adj = adjective

v = verb

pv = phrasal verb