Truce at Christmas 1914


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Christmas adverts from the big supermarkets are renowned for their emotive themes and powerful strap lines that tug at the heart strings.

Truce at Christmas 1914

Christmas adverts from the big supermarkets are renowned for their emotive themes and powerful strap lines that tug at the heart strings.

In this lesson, pupils will examine the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert from 2014 to elicit and develop vocabulary around the theme of ‘sharing’ and ‘kindness’.  First of all pupils should watch the advert in its entirety to get the full effect and message. It is worth mentioning that this is an actual event that happened in WW1 and it is well documented. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914, soldiers laid down their weapons and congregated in no mans land to celebrate Christmas.Together they mingled with the opposition, played football and exchanged gifts. The truce was unique to this year as after that the war became increasingly brutal and many lives were lost. Those high in authority prohibited any further truce from happening.

This advert can be explored using a 7-cog model and can be used to explore both positive and negative emotion sequences. The advert can be split over three different scenes so pupils will need access to the advert in order to replay the film to pause and discuss their given scene. Pupils should capture the words in the boxes on the note board next to each cog. Some example of these words have been captured in this photo.

Suggested vocabulary

First Christmas during WW1Freezing cold hands, face, toes, shivering lonely, sad, missing home  hunched over, low eyes, smiles looks at pictures from home, chocolate in his box/sing ‘Silent Night’ together with opposition 

Soldier climbs up out of the trenchesheart races, lump in throatfear, panicshout, wide eyes, grab weaponsraise hands to show they come in peace – walk towards each other slowly with hands visible

Accept offering of ceasefireface soft, sweatyhappy, jolly, playful, contentshake hands, introduce themselves, laughing, hugging, conversingplay football

Sounds of bombs dropping in the distance brings the festivities to a close.

Throughout the discussions, pupils should elicit the intensity of the emotions that the soldiers felt within the different situations. They should agree on vocabulary that expresses the intensity within each scene.

Pupils should continue to work in their teams to write an acrostic poem that captures the vocabulary they have elicited from the advert.

Groups should decide on a word that is directly related to the message of the advert to use for their acrostic poem. In these examples the words Christmas and sharing have been used, however groups could choose another suitable word of their choice.


Pupils should be encouraged to have at least one Emotion Works related word in each line.

Once the poem is complete, a final draft of the poem should be created, ensuring that it includes reference to the colour of cog associated with the words used (highlight in the colour relating to the cog) and that it has an image that ensures the theme of WW1 is present.