Anja compares Christmas tree traditions with Fred.
Fred: Anja, so what’s it like to decorate your Christmas tree in Switzerland?
Anja: Ah, Christmas tree! Oh, that’s so nice, right? Like, I remember in my family, you know, we have the special, like space in our house just for the Christmas tree, just for Christmas time.
Fred: A special space for the Christmas tree!
Anja: Yes, indeed! And I remember I always went with my parents to buy the Christmas tree, maybe, three days before Christmas.
Fred: OK, three days before.
Anja: Yes, and we wouldn’t put it actually until Christmas day, like I remember how me and my mother and the rest of my family, we went to church and then we would come back. My father wouldn’t go to church and the door would be closed and then we open the door and suddenly there would be the Christmas tree. So actually, you know, like, I never knew that my father actually put the Christmas tree. Of course, it was like some angel or something like that, but actually I never decorated the Christmas tree because an angel was doing that for us… as in my father.
Fred: So when you were a young child, you always thought that some kind of angel would come down to your house and decorate your Christmas tree.
Anja: That’s right. During the time I was in church, and did it for us. And it’s really pretty, and it has a lot of lights and it’s really colorful. You know some people like it one specific color: in red or blue, but our Christmas tree always had a lot of different colors. It’s really nice. What about you? How is your Christmas tree like in your family?
Fred: Ah, it’s just great. It’s a bit different because the whole family would gather and then put up the Christmas tree together.
Anja: Oh, really?
Fred: We would decorate the Christmas tree together.
Fred: Maybe too or three days before Christmas, we would all go to the store or just use what we already had and then we would all gather together and put up the Christmas tree together listening to Frank Sinatra’s best Christmas songs, and actually, the size of the Christmas tree was the most interesting part.
Anja: Oh, is it? Is it really big or…
Fred: It was a really, really big Christmas tree, and my father used to love those big Christmas trees and then it would take so much time to decorate it. Think about a fifteen foot Christmas tree, how much time you have to spend to decorate it.
Anja: Oh, wow that’s a tall tree.
Fred: Yeah, but it’s a lot of fun.
what’s it like
What’s it like to decorate your Christmas tree in Switzerland?
When we want someone to describe something we ask them, "what’s it like?" Notice the following:
- So what’s it like to study abroad?
- What it’s like there?
something like that
I always thought an angel or something like that puts up the Christmas tree.
The phrase ‘something like that’ has the same meaning as ‘something similar’ Notice the following:
- Yeah, something like that.
- We could get her a shirt or something like that.
Our whole family would gather and put up the Christmas tree.
Here, the two part verb ‘put up’ is similar in meaning to ‘set up’. Notice the following:
- We put up the tree a week before Christmas.
- She put up photos of her baby all over her office.
take so much time
A big Christmas tree would take so much time to decorate.
The phrase ‘take so much time’ means ‘a long time’. Notice the following:
- Learning English takes so much time.
- Let’s find a way that doesn’t take so much time.
how much time to spend
Think of how much time you have to spend to decorate it.
Here, ‘how much time we spend’ doing something describes the amount of time we use time to complete a specific task. Notice the following:
- How much time do you spend studying?
- I’m worried about how much time it will take.
so much time • to spend
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