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Class 8 NCERT Solutions English Chapter 1 - The Best Christmas Present in the World

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 10

Solution 1

The author found an early nineteenth century roll-top desk in the junk shop. It was made of oak. It was in a very bad condition. The roll-top was broken into several pieces. One of the legs was clumsily mended and there were scorch marks all down one side. It was being sold for very little money. The author bought it in order to restore it.

Solution 2

The author found a small black tin box in the secret drawer. There was a piece of lined note paper sello-taped to its top. It had, ‘Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes” written on it in shaky handwriting.

‘Most likely, it was put there by Mrs. Jim Macpherson, who was Jim’s wife. Her name and address were on the envelope inside the box.

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 14

Solution 1

Jim Macpherson had written the letter to his wife Connie Macpherson on December 26, 1914.

Solution 2

Jim wrote the letter to tell his wife about a wonderful thing that had happened on Christmas day. The British and the Germans were engaged in a war, yet on this day, both the troops met in no man’s land. They greeted each other Happy Christmas, requested both sides not to shoot and shared their drinks, food and life stories with each other. They even played a football match together. Both sides agreed about everything even though they were at war with each other.

It was a thing of wonder because right in the middle of a war, the warring soldiers were making peace.

Solution 3

Hans Wolf was from Dusseldorf. He played the cello in the orchestra. Jim Macpherson was a schools teacher from Dorset in the west of England.

Solution 4

No, Hans Wolf had never been to Dorset or to England. He had learned all about England from school and from reading books in English.

Solution 5

No, it is most likely that Jim Macpherson did not come back from the war. The notepaper sello-taped to the tin box clearly stated that the letter contained in the box was the “last letter” from Jim and it had to be buried with the recipient of the letter when the time came. This was perhaps the last that Connie heard from Jim.

Besides the contents of the letter describe how both the German and British armies were in their trenches on Christmas day, when all of a sudden they decided to make peace in ‘no man’s land’ just for that day and the fighting stopped, cries of ‘don’t shoot lads ‘were heard and both sides came together shared food, drink, stories and even played a foot ball match together. During the match Hans told Jim that he hoped the war would also be resolved by a football match. After the game and celebrations were over and both sides had to return to their trenches Jim wished  Hans well and told him he hoped he would see his family soon and that the fighting would end and they could all go home. All this indicates that the war was still in progress when he wrote his last letter.

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 15

Solution 1

The author went to Bridport because that was the address where Mrs. Macpherson lived. The address on the letter read “Mrs Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport, and Dorset. He wanted to give that letter back to her.

Solution 2

Mrs. Macpherson was a hundred and one year old. She was in a nursing home in Burlington house, on the Dorchester road, on the other side of town.

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 16

Solution I - 1

Connie Macpherson thought that her visitor was her husband, Jim.

Solution I - 2

The sentence which shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity is, ‘I explained about the desk, about how I had found it, but I don’t think she was listening.’

Solution 1

Connie was 101 years old when the author came to visit her. Connie must have kept Jim’s letter for a long time. This is because she told the narrator how she read it quite often every day so that she could feel that Jim was near her.

Solution 2

The desk must have been sold when the house in which Connie Macpherson lived had caught fire. She was taken to a nursing home. All the burnt up things must have been sold after that. The desk was in a bad condition with the roll top in several pieces; one leg clumsily mended and scorch marks all down one side and so had landed in a junk shop.

Solution 3

Jim and Hans thought that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts because nobody dies in matches. No children are orphaned and no wives become widows. Due to these reasons, games are good ways for resolving conflicts. Yes I do agree with this statement. Wars only lead to heart break, separation, pain, suffering, death and devastation.

Solution 4

The soldiers of the two armies were like each other. Both the troops left their trenches and celebrated Christmas in ‘no mans land’ together. They shared each other’s food. All of them were smoking, laughing, talking, drinking and eating. They even talked about the books they liked. They agreed about everything. They also played a game of football for which both Hans and Jim cheered, clapped hands and stamped feet. Both sides exchanged carols at night. Moreover, they had the same view that wars only brought death and destruction, and wished that wars could be resolved like a football match where no children are orphaned and no wives become widows. They hoped that the war would end soon, and they could all go home and be united with their familes. All these instances show that the soldiers of the two armies were similar to each other.

Solution 5

The British and the German troops celebrated Christmas with each other by leaving their trenches and meeting in ‘no man’s land’. They enjoyed each other’s food. They shared their rum and schnapps with each other. All of them were smoking, laughing, talking, drinking and eating. Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson shared the Christmas cake Connie had baked. They talked about their lives before the war, their families, the books they had read, Bathsheba, Gabriel Oak, Sergeant Troy and Dorset. They agreed about everything. Both the troops played a game of football for which both Hans and Jim cheered, clapped hands and stamped feet. They also exchanged carols like ‘Silent Night’ and ‘While shepherds watched’ at night. In this way, they celebrated Christmas a time of peace and goodwill together, finding a lot in common between them.

Solution 6

When the narrator came to see Connie and gave her the box, she mistook him for her husband Jim. She thought that Jim had kept his promise and come home for Christmas. This was Connie’s Christmas present. It was the best Christmas present in the world for her because Jim had written in the letter that he would come home on Christmas. She had read that letter several times everyday to feel that he was near her and truly believed that he would one day return to her. Now that he was finally there with her, and she could hear his voice again she was extremely happy.

Solution 7

Yes, the title of the story is suitable for it. The spirit of Christmas is the theme that prevails throughout the story. The message of Christmas –peace and good will to all is brought out so clearly through the story. It was on a Christmas day, in the middle of a raging war, that two warring troops made peace. The moment of peace that the soldiers shared with each other was the best Christmas present for them. Again, it was on a Christmas day that the narrator went to see Mrs Macpherson. He went to return her husband’s letters to her. The letter was precious to her, but even more precious was her delusion that the narrator was her husband Jim, who she believed had returned as promised on a Christmas day. This was the best Christmas present in the world for her.

Suitable titles could be “A Christmas wish comes true!”, “Someday at Christmas…””The Christmas Message”.

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 17

Solution 1

(i) A man got on the train and sat down. The compartment was empty except for one lady. She took her gloves off. A few hours later the police arrested the man. They held him for 24 hours and then freed him.
(ii) My little sister is very naughty. When she came (come) back from school yesterday, she had torn (tear) her dress. We asked (ask) her how it had happened (happen). She said (say) she had quarrelled (have, quarrel) with a boy. She had beaten (have, beat) him in a race and he had tried (have, try) to push her. She had told (have, tell) the teacher and so he had chased (have, chase) her, and she had fallen (have, fall) down and had torn (have, tear) her dress.
(a)  My friends set out to see the caves in the next town, but I stayed at home, because I had seen them already.
(b) When they arrived at the station, their train had left. They came back home, but by that time I had gone out to see a movie!
(c) So they sat outside and ate the lunch I had packed for them.
(d) By the time I returned, they had fallen asleep!


Earlier past

Set  out

had seen


had left


had gone


had packed


had  fallen





Solution 2

(i) burn out: destroy totally
House number 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell, the roof gaping, the windows boarded-up.
(ii) light up: brighten up
That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness.
(iii) look on: watched
Hans Wolf and I looked  on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.
(iv) run out; finished / got over
The time came, and all too soon, when the game was finished, the schnapps and the rum and the sausage had long since run out, and we knew it was all over.
(v) keep out: keep away/prevent
Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.

The Best Christmas Present in the World Exercise 19

Solution 4





enormous, wild, large, medium sized, cheerful .


round, cheerful, chubby


multi-coloured, blue, red, large, medium-sized


blue, cold


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