Best and worst Christmas gifts speaking activity

BEST-AND-WORST-CHRISTMAS-GIFTS-SPEAKING-ACTIVITY-(1)The aim of this activity is to talk about best and worst ideas for Christmas gifts. It is a good fit for all ages and levels. It makes students share their personal experience, compare opinions, and usually makes for a fun class. It is a great idea for the last lesson before the Christmas break.

The Task

Step 1

Start with showing your students five pictures and asking them what they have in common. The answer is: they are pretty bad Christmas gifts ideas. Ask your students whether they have ever received any of these and if so, did they like them?


Step 2

Discuss the following with your students:

  • What’s the best / worst Christmas gift you have ever received?
  • Are you good at coming up with ideas for great Christmas gifts?
  • Who is the most difficult person in your family to shop for at Christmas? Why?
  • Is it easier to choose gifts for family or friends?
  • Should you get your significant other something special for Christmas each year?
  • Is money a good gift idea?
  • Should people simply tell each other what they want for Christmas to avoid uncomfortable situations and unwanted gifts?
  • Have you ever tried Secret Santa at work, school or with friends? What do you think about it?
  • Recently gift cards you can use in various shops have become more popular. Would you like to receive one? Why?
  • Adventure Experience Box  is another popular gift idea. What’s your opinion? Do you know anybody who would enjoy such a present?
  • When should you start looking for Christmas presents?

Step 3

Since choosing an appropriate gift is often a difficult task, it takes a lot of brainstorming to make the right choice. Prepare a list of different family members and friends that should receive gifts this Christmas. Divide your students into pairs or groups. Each group must come up with at least 3 gift ideas for their assigned person.

  • Julia, your mother. She doesn’t need another scarf or a bottle of perfume.


  • John, your father. Hard to say whether he has any hobbies.


  • Mitch, your brother. He travels for work a lot.


  • Sara, your sister-in-law. She is a stay-at-home mother and already has plenty of cooking gadgets.


  • Tim and Tom, your twin nephews. They literally owe every latest toy and computer game on the market.


  • Martha, your grandmother. Last year you got her a sweater and you never saw her wear it.


  • Joe, your unmarried uncle. He reads a lot but claims he doesn’t have space for any more books at home.

Check ideas with your students. They should listen to each other closely and evaluate ideas presented by other groups. Try to come with a list of best gift ideas for each person in the family.

Looking for more ideas for Christmas lessons? Check out office Christmas parties lesson plan for adult students and video-based activities suitable for different levels and ages.

Personal Experience

Talking about Christmas gifts is always enjoyed by both adults and teens. Everybody has a story about this one great gift they got or about this one dud they never even took out of the box. Struggling to get a suitable gift for our loved ones is also something many students can relate to so this class is always quite relevant and interesting for the students. I teach it every year and each time we come up with different lists of gift ideas. Some of my students have actually told me they left the class with some last-minute inspiration which helped them resolve the gift-buying crisis.


Visual: Worst Christmas gifts

Conversation questions: Best and Worst Christmas Gifts

Gift ideas for family: Gift ideas for the family






  1. Thank you for this lesson plan! It looks really engaging. I’m looking forward to trying it out with some of my adult students soon 🙂

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