The business of St. Valentine’s Day

Lesson plan overview

This ESL lesson is focused on the topic of St. Valentine’s Day, and more specifically about the commercialisation of the holiday and the businesses that profit most from it. Students will learn useful vocabulary to talk about their attitudes towards St. Valentine’s Day, discuss different aspects of the holiday and learn how to use the linking words despite, rather than, while and whether. You can combine this lesson with the worksheets “Phrasal verbs: money”, “Idioms: love”, “Idioms: Black Friday (shopping)”, “Phrasal verbs: shopping”.
Speaking: The lesson starts with a few conversation questions aiming to establish the general attitude of the students towards St. Valentine’s Day. They also look at different adjectives that can be used to describe the holiday and say which ones would they personally use and why. Next, students look at 4 different opinions about St. Valentine’s Day, discuss them and say which one they agree with the most.
Vocabulary: Students look at a few sentences about St. Valentine’s day and learn useful vocabulary (cash in on, capitalise on, splurge, splash the cash). After that they complete 5 sentences with the correct word. As a speaking practice, students complete 4 sentences with their own ideas and use them to start a conversation with a partner.
Video: Students watch a video “Economy of Valentine’s Day” and write down the correct number. After that they answer a few questions related to the video.
Grammar: Students watch the video again and complete the extracts with the correct linking word (rather than, despite, whether or while). After that they match each word to the correct use and look at some additional notes about “despite” and “while”. To practise, students work on 2 activities: first, they complete the sentences with the correct linking device and then they create sentences using the prompts given.
The conversation cards provide additional speaking practice.
You can combine this lesson with other lessons about consumerism, holiday spending, holidays, gift-giving and St. Valentine’s Day.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

February is a rough month to be single.
In fact, one 1994 study surveyed 105 men, found that though they primarily associated a feeling of love and friendship during Valentine’s Day …
The industries profiting most from love and obligations are jewelry at $3.9 billion, clothing and lingerie at $2.9 billion …
Regardless of whether you are buying out of devotion or out of societal pressure to live up to your role as a good significant other, …

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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