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(to) wrap up - (to) conclude, (to) finish

preparation(s) - things you do to prepare for something

(a) travel advisory - a public announcement warning people about dangers of current road and travel conditions

(to) warn - (to) advise about the dangers and risks of something

heavy volume (of) - large numbers (of)

public transportation - transportation that the public uses, such as trains, buses and airplanes

secular - a non-religious holiday; a holiday whose roots are not in any particular religion.

(to) proclaim - (to) make an official announcement publicly

(a) centerpiece - something that is central to an event

cranberry sauce

pumpkin pie

American Thanksgiving


Hello, and welcome to today's episode of the ESL Help! Desk.

Here in the United States, people are busy getting ready for our national holiday, Thanksgiving, which we celebrate on Thursday.  Students are wrapping up their classes, getting ready to go home.  Families are busy shopping or beginning their cooking preparations. Travel advisories are warning people to drive carefully, and airports and train stations are getting ready for the heavy volume of people using public transportation.

Thanksgiving is a secular holiday.  In 1863, it was proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, to take place on the fourth Thursday in October .  The four-day weekend that includes the Thursday of Thanksgiving has become also the most heavily traveled holiday period of the year for Americans.  Canada also has a Thanksgiving holiday and it takes place the second Monday in October.

On the American Thanksgiving Day, people will sit down together and have a meal whose centerpiece is usually turkey.   Traditional side-dishes include cranberry sauce and stuffing, and the traditional desert is pumpkin pie.  People will express gratitude for the gifts of plenty that they are privileged to have.  After the meal, men often watch football on television.  Everybody is thankful for what they have been given.

The ESL HELP! Desk is also traveling this week.

And then we hope to return next week and look forward to continuing our full lessons for learners of English.


Do you have a particular holiday in your country whose purpose is to give thanks for what you have?  Are there any holidays in your country that are secular holidays?



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