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Santa Claus

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Santa Claus has become the most popular and well-known image of Christmas around the world. During the holiday season in December, he appears on TV and in newspapers and magazines everywhere. His image is used to sell all kinds of merchandise. And in many shopping malls and department stores, children wait in line to tell him all their Christmas wishes. But how much do you really know about Santa? Do you know his other names, for example? Or do you know where he lives? Is Santa married?

Santa Claus has several other names, such as Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and Saint Nicolas. The modern idea of a man who gives presents to children began with a real person. In the 4th century, there was a Christian bishop named Nicolas. He lived in Turkey, and was very generous. He often gave gifts to poor people. He later became a saint, and is the inspiration for the Santa Claus of today.

Of course, there have been many changes to Santa's history and image since then. For example, the modern Santa Claus comes from the North Pole, not the warm Mediterranean shores in Turkey! Many folk stories in Europe have influenced the story of Santa. An old god in Germany named Odin has the most influence. Odin often appeared as an old man with a long, white beard, and he gave gifts to children too. Then there are other influences, especially from the 19th century. The popular writers Charles Dickens and Washington Irving took these old stories and traditions, made a few changes, and more or less created Santa Claus of today.

Santa now almost always appears as a fat, happy man with a big, bushy beard the color of snow. He dresses in red. When he laughs, his belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly. Each year on December 24th, he flies around the world with a magical sleigh and reindeer. He slides down the chimney with gifts for children, placing the presents under the Christmas tree or in stockings. But only children who behaved during the year get presents. The naughty, or bad, children don't receive any gifts, but they may sometimes get a lump of coal. Santa Claus keeps a list of naughty and nice children, which he updates throughout the year.

It's a difficult task to get all the presents ready. So he has elves to help him, and together they work all year to prepare for Christmas. The factory is located at the North Pole.

So now that you know more about Santa Claus, there is only one more question to answer: Yes, Santa Claus is married.


Step 1: You will listen to an article about Santa Claus. The article is a little more than five minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything.
Step 2: Read and understand the questions, then listen again. As you are listening, try to answer the questions in your head. Don't write the answers yet. Next, listen again and write the answers this time. Check your answers with a partner.
Step 3: Read the article. Check in your dictionary any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more?
Step 4: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!

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