As I have been putting Christmas lights outside and decorating the house, I have been thinking about the importance of color and design. Have you ever been to a public place like a restaurant or shop where the decor has made you want to stay?The opposite can also be true(1). I have been to some restaurants where, on entering, I have thought,"This place is awful. I don't want to eat here." So I have turned around and left! Am I unusually(2) fussy? Is it unreasonable(3) to be that way? Perhaps I'm sensitive to atmosphere and environment. Well, obviously I am(4). Certain decor, colors, textures, and arrangements of furniture either please me or turn me off(5). I'm either attracted by them, or they get on my nerves and up my nose(6). That's why this year I, in my fussy way, felt like having a blue and gold Christmas tree.It's not the only color combination you can have, of course, but it's the one I feel like being around(7). The tree itself isn't blue and gold; it's a real, green pine tree. But the decorations are: blue lights, blue and gold baubles(8), and gold ribbon. There is something about that combination that glows in the winter, and seems quite magical. I felt the same feeling when we were on a Disneyland ride in California. We were in the Haunted Mansion which had the theme from the movie 'Nightmare Before Christmas'.It wasn't particularly scary. However, I really liked the presentation of the different scenes, and the atmosphere the decor created. The artists and designers who work there are extremely talented. And that is, in large part, why Disney has been such a success for so many years. We're drawn(9) to its atmosphere.

1. 'The opposite'is useful to use in different ways:
a. She is really loud, but he is quite the opposite.
b. I thought he would be polite, but the opposite is true.
c. They are so different from eachother; they're complete opposites.

2. 'Unusually' is a word that needs to be practiced because it can be difficult to pronounce:

  Un-usu-ally; un-usu-ally; un-usu-ally.  *Note, the 's' is pronounced like a 'zh' sound which doesn't exist as a letter in English, but can be found in other words like: measure, leisure, vision, decision.

3. 'Unreasonable' is another word that needs some practice:

  Un-reason-able; un-reason-able; un-reason-able.

4. 'Well obviously I am.'Putting the pronoun, or noun, and verb at the end of a sentence adds emphasis.

a. Do you think Anna is fussy?   Answer: Oh yes, she is.
b. They are very helpful.        Response: No, they're not.
c. It might be too late to call them. Yes, it is.

5. 'To be turned off' means 'to be put off' or 'to find dislike in something'.

a. The hair in my soup completely turned me off.
b. I was put off by his bad breath.
c. I love the subject, but the lecturer's boring voice turns me off.

6. If something 'gets on your nerves' or 'up your nose' it means that that something is annoying.

a. That actor really gets on my nerves.
b. Their attitude gets up my nose.
c. His behavior got on everyone's nerves.

7. 'To feel like being around' is to feel comfortable enough to be in a situation.

a. I feel like being around friends during the Christmas season.
b. I don't feel like being around a lot of noise today.
c. They felt like being in an elegant, European environment.

8. 'Baubles' are specifically the round, Christmas decorations. We don't call them 'balls'.

a. The glass baubles break so easily.
b. We have run out of baubles; we need to buy some more.

9. 'To be drawn to something'is the same as being attracted to. It's not just visually drawn to something, but also physically and figuratively.

a. I feel drawn to the South of France.
b. The hunters drew the deer into the open with corn, and then shot them.
c. The waves will draw the boat to the shore.

Remember to join me on FACEBOOK at Anna Fromacupofenglish; you're all invited. Also, email me your questions and comments to or, and I promise to email you back.

Direct download: decor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00 AM

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