Silent night 


Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child

Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace


Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!

Alles schläft; einsam wacht

Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.

Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh


Everyone knows the famous Christmas carol, Stille Nacht or Silent Night. But do you know where it comes from? It was written originally as a poem in 1816 by a young Austrian priest called Father Joseph Mohr. In 1817 Mohr moved to the small alpine village of Oberndorf in Austria and became priest of St. Nicholas Parish Church.

The story goes that Mohr gave the poem, Silent Night, to his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist, shortly before Christmas Eve in 1818. That winter was particularly cold and hard and the church organ was broken. So Gruber decided to compose the melody for Silent Night just for voices with a simple guitar accompaniment. The manuscript was finished just in time for Midnight Mass and the choir performed it for the first time on the 24 December, 1818.

Almost one hundred years later during World War I, in an unofficial Christmas ceasefire, German and British soldiers came together on 24 December 1914 in no man’s land to sing Silent Night. This incredible gesture took place all along the Western Front and still represents a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst the horror, desolation and waste of war.



holy – heilig        

yon or yonder (old English) – dort drüben                                    

infant – der Säugling                               

so tender –so zart, zärtlich                               

peace – der Frieden

carol – Weihnachtslied

poem – Gedicht

priest – Priester, Pfarrer

alpine village – Alpendorf

organist – Organist

organ – Orgel      

Christmas Eve (the night before Chrsitmas) – Heiligabend             

to compose – komponieren

accompaniment – Begleitmusik

choir – Chor

Christmas ceasefire / truce – Weihnachtsfrieden/ Waffenstillstand

no man’s land – Niemandsland

desolation –Verwüstung, Trostlosigkeit


Has TIP TOP gone bananas?!

“We wsih you a wdeurofl, ecxntiig, raexnlig and pueafecl Chsimatrs and an avruduetnos, hheatly, sefccsuusl and porticdvue New Yaer!” All the bset form the TIP TOP taem

That’s not English! Yes it is, but we’ve just scrambled up the words!

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, the hmuan brian is plrectfey albe to raed colmpex pasasges of txet caiinontng wdors in whcih the lrettes hvae been mxeid up. the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteesr are in the rghit pclae. the rset can be a toatl mses but you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

According to researchers at Cambridge University, the human brain is perfectly able to read complex passages of text containing words in which letters have been mixed up. The only important thing is that the first and last letters are in the right place. The rest can be a total mess but you can still read it without a problem.

We are able to do this because we don’t read every letter by itself. The eye skims over the text recognising whole words. The brain constantly anticipates the next part of the sentence and puts it together in context to help us understand the meaning.

We often underestimate the skill and coping-power of the human brain. Every day our brains have to deal with chaos and disruption and we are constantly faced with new situations and problems that we certainly can’t predict beforehand. However, our brains cope cleverly with every single one of these challenges.

So, if your tasks seem unsolvable, the English language seems unintelligible and the chaos seems unstoppable; trust your brain and believe in yourself! With hard work, perseverance and a little help from TIP TOP, you can unscramble any word, text or situation and become a fluent and confident English speaker.

And once again, in plain English .... “We wish you a wonderful, exciting, relaxing and peaceful Christmas and an adventurous, healthy, successful and productive New Year!” All the best from the TIP TOP team.

We look forward to seeing you in 2017!



to go bananas – to go mad, to go crazy

to scramble - mischen, verschlüsseln

underestimate - unterschätzen

coping-power - Bewältigungsleistung

disruption - Störung, Unterbrechung

predict sth - vorhersagen, voraussagen

cope with - bewältigen, meistern

unsolvable - unlösbar

unintelligible - unverständlich

unstoppable - unaufhaltsam

perseverance - Ausdauer

fluent - fließend

confident - selbstbewusst


And last but not least, here are some Christmas jokes to keep you merry in the festive season ...

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?

A mince spy!

(A mince pie is a small sweet pie which is eaten at Christmas time in Britain)


What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?

It’s Christmas, Eve!

(In many English speaking countries Christmas Day is celebrated on 25 December, so the evening before Christmas, the 24th, is called Christmas Eve)


Why will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit? There will be no Brussels.

(In Britain, Brussel sprouts (Rosenkohl) are traditionally served as part of Christmas day dinner, for short they are called Brussels)


What do you call fear of Santa?


(a fear of small spaces or Santa Claus :)



keep merry – fröhlich bleiben

Adam and Eve – Adam und Eva


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