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Last updated at 14:31 GMT, Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ho ho ho!


Report and vocabulary


Spare a thought for this man from Rovaniemi in Finland.

While many are on their Christmas holidays, Santa Claus and his team will be working overtime.

In the main post office, the year's most hectic period is underway. They receive around half a million letters from children all over the world.

They have to be answered and the team wants to avoid a backlog.

And if you've been good this year, he might just be heading your way.

spare a thought

remember someone sympathetically


longer than an ordinary shift


busy, chaotic


work accumulated

heading your way

going where you are


Use one of the words or phrases below to complete each of these sentences from news reports.
Note that you may have to change the form of a word to complete the sentence correctly.

spare a thought / overtime / hectic / backlog / heading your way

1. There have been numerous studies indicating that people are becoming increasingly forgetful as a result of modern __________ lifestyles. Researchers have labelled the condition "busy lifestyle syndrome", with stress being the possible culprit behind day-to-day memory lapses.

2. As Africa's economic fortunes rise and the continent continues to be charmed by superpowers, __________ for the millions of Africans in faraway lands.

3. Hundreds of thousands of workers may be sitting idly by during the ongoing government shutdown, but comedians are working __________ to find the humour amidst the partisan political turmoil.

4. "We have no safety concerns, however, advice to members of the public is that if smoke is __________, closing your windows would be a good common sense measure."

5. Tom McPhail, the firm's head of pensions research, said it was "extremely sorry for the delays", but was making "significant progress in clearing the __________" and hoped to have all systems running normally again soon.


To take away:



How did you do?




spare a thought




heading your way



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