Christmas- Modals of deduction


Guessing how likely descriptions are to be about Xmas in different countries

By: Alex Case
Level: Intermediate
Topic: General
Grammar Topic: Modals
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Lesson Plan Content:

Christmas guess the country modals of deduction practice

Cover all but the top square of the page that you are given. Read the top statement and make a statement about what country it is or isn’t likely to be, including the right level of certainty or uncertainty, using phrases like those below. Negative statements are also okay. Look at the next clue and do the same, perhaps making a more certain statement now that you have more evidence. Continue in the same way until the last hint or until you are 100% sure and so use “must”, then check the answer.

Useful phrases for playing the game

Useful language for guessing/ expressing certainty and uncertainty

It can’t be…

It is almost certainly…

It is probably…

It may be…/ It might be…

It may well be…/ It might well be…

It must be…

It’s probably not…

Possible responses to people’s guesses

Yes, that is possible.

Well, it… be. (In fact, it… be, because…)

I think you can go further and say that it… be, because…

I don’t think you can be sure, but it… be.

No, it.. be, because…

After doing the same with at least two countries, give the same hints one by one to other groups, this time with the most difficult hints first, and rewording the hints if you want to. Give other groups one point for each statement which you think has the right level of certainty or uncertainty for the information that they have been given so far. Don’t tell them if they have guessed correctly or not until the very last card. 


Modals of deduction presentation

Without looking above, brainstorm suitable phrases for guessing in order of certainty.

100% chance








0% chance


Use the mixed phrases above to help, then check as a class.


Further practice

With your own knowledge and/ or research, make up similar clues about other countries and/ or other festivals.


Country number 1


Some people eat turkey at Xmas (“It’s probably not…, because I think most people eat turkey there, not just some people”)




Some other people eat goat.




Xmas isn’t a public holiday.




This is because only half of the country is Christian.




Some people decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees.




Palm fronds are also a popular Xmas decoration.





Country number 1 is Nigeria.



Country Number 2


The real Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was born and lived in this country. (“It could be…, because Saint Nicholas is their national saint”)




In this country, people in Santa Claus outfits still sell lottery tickets until the thirty first of December.




This is because people often confuse Xmas and New Year.





The bird that Americans and British eat at Xmas was named after this country, even though the bird comes from somewhere else.





Country number 2 is Turkey



Country number 3


Xmas presents are traditionally brought by a witch called Befana. (“It can’t be…, because Santa brings presents there”)



Saint Nicholas is buried in this country.




There are some famous fairs where you can buy traditional Xmas decorations such as wooden figures for nativity scenes.



The most famous Xmas market is in a city whose name comes from Greek and means “New City”.




The name in Greek for that city was Neo Polis.





Country number 3 is Italy



Country number 4


Even though very few people in this country are Christian, nowadays most families give Xmas presents and have some kind of Xmas decorations. (“It can’t be Saudi Arabia, because they don’t celebrate Xmas at all”)


Xmas is considered the most romantic time of the year for couples to go out for dinner.


In this country, shopping centres often take down their Xmas decorations on Xmas Day, so they can put the traditional New Year decorations up in their place.


The New Year decorations are made of pine and bamboo.



Only Christians do anything religious on this day in this country. For people of other religions, New Year’s Day is much more important.


Xmas cakes are usually made with fresh fruit and fresh cream.



The first recorded Xmas celebration in this country was in 1552, but it did not become popular amongst most people until the 20th century.


Xmas Day is not a holiday in this country, so most people work. The Emperor’s birthday on 23rd December is a public holiday, and most people also take time off around New Year.



Country number 4 is Japan



Country 5


Xmas presents aren’t received until after Xmas Day in this country. (It can’t be…, because in movies they always open their presents on Xmas Day”)



The day for presents is the 6th of January, when the Three Wise Men come bearing presents.



Near Xmas, children can receive sweets etc. by breaking a paper filled container above their heads with a stick.


This is called a piñata.



Some of the Xmas traditions in this country come from Spain.




Country 5 is Mexico



Country 6


In this country, the President turns on the lights of a huge Xmas tree in the capital city. (“It can’t be…, because they don’t have a President”)


Santa Claus was first given his red clothes in this country.




In this country, the Xmas pudding is eaten with hot brandy sauce.




In this country, some people decorate their Xmas trees with popcorn.




Turkeys were first discovered in this country.





Country 6 is the USA



Country 7


In this country, roast turkey is eaten with cranberry sauce (a kind of jam). (“It could be…, because roasted meat is common there”)



Although few people go to church on Xmas day in this country, religious songs are still very popular around Xmas.


Xmas cake in this country is usually a heavy fruit cake covered with marzipan and thick white icing, similar to a wedding cake.


It is considered bad luck to leave your Xmas decorations up after 6th January in this country



In this country, Xmas decorations are often made from holly.




In this country, they traditionally say “Father Christmas” rather than Santa.





Country 7 is the UK



Country 8


Santa Claus is known as “Santy” in this country.




Potatoes are eaten with the Xmas dinner.




In fact, there might be more than one potato dish served.





Country 8 is Ireland



Country 9


The song Silent Night was first sung in this country. (“It could be…, because there is a version of that song in French”)


Baked carp is the traditional Xmas dinner in this country.




Baby Jesus brings the Xmas presents in this country.





Country 9 is Austria



Country 10


In this country there are two versions of Santa – Pere Noel and St Nicholas.




The local version of Santa comes and brings presents on Dec 6th.




Pere Noel is the French name.




The people who speak Dutch don’t use the French name.





Country 10 is Belgium



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