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“A HAPPY NEW YEAR”
NEW YEAR IN ENGLAND
In England the New Year is not as widely or as enthusiastically observed as Christmas. Some people ignore it completely and go to bed as usual on New Year’s Eve. Many others, however, celebrate it in one way or another.
The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either a family party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually begins at about eight o’clock and goes on until the early hours of the morning. Sometimes the hosts make a big bowl of punch which consists of wine, spirits, fruit juice and water in varying proportions. There is usually a buffet supper of cold meat, pies, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits.
At midnight the radio is turned on, so that everyone can hear the chimes of Big Ben, and on the hour a toast is drunk to the New Year. Then the party goes on.
Another popular way of celebrating the New Year is to go to a New Year’s dance. Most hotels and dance halls hold a special dance on New Year’s Eve. The hall is decorated, there are several different bands and the atmosphere is very gay.
The most famous celebration is in London round the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus where crowds gather and sing to welcome the New Year. In Trafalgar Square there is also a big crowd and someone usually falls into the fountain.
Those who have no desire or no opportunity to celebrate the New Year themselves, can sit and watch other people celebrating on television.
January 1st, New Year’s Day, is not a public holiday, unfortunately for those who like to celebrate most of the night. Some people send New Year cards and give presents, but it is not a widespread custom. This is the traditional time for making New Year resolutions, for example to give up smoking or to get up earlier. However, these are generally more talked about than put into practice.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Characters: Mr. Small, Mrs. Small, Timothy (their son), Susan (their daughter), Grandma, Rocky (the dog).
Setting: It’s January 1st. The family are having breakfast.
Timothy: We make our New Year resolutions today. What are you going to do, Susan?
Susan: I want to get up early every day and take Rocky for a walk before school starts. Have you made any resolutions, Timothy?
Timothy: Yes, I want to get up early, too, because I’m always late for school. I’ll never be late again.
Mr. Small: I can think of a better resolution for you, Tim. Go to the barber’s. Your hair’s much too long.
Timothy: Oh, you’re always talking about my hair.
Mrs. Small: Well, I’ve made two resolutions. I want to have violin lessons, and I won’t eat any more cakes because I’m getting too fat.
Mr. Small: Well, I like cakes! I certainly don’t like the violin and I get up early every morning. Can you think of a resolution for me?
Grandma: Yes. Stop smoking that awful pipe.
Mr. Small: But I love my pipe! It helps me to think … . Oh, all right then … . I’ll stop smoking it.
Grandma: You’ll laugh at me when I tell you my resolution. I want to learn gymnastics. I’ve got me first lesson tomorrow.
Timothy, Susan (together): Tomorrow? Gymnastics?!
Rocky: Woof, woof!
Setting: Now it’s January 2nd. The family are having breakfast but Grandma is not there.
Mr. Small: Where’s Grandma ?
Mrs. Small: She’s upstairs. She’s having her first gymnastics lesson. (Suddenly, there is a terrible CRASH! and a BANG! Timothy and Susan run upstairs.)
Timothy: Grandma, Grandma,