The Best Christmas Present in the World Questions and Answers Class 8

The Best Christmas Present in the World English (Honeydew) Chapter -1 Questions and Answers for Class 8

Comprehension Check (page no- 14)

Question: 1 Who had written the letter, to whom, and when?                                                                

Answer: The letter was authored by Captain John Macpherson, a member of the British army, and addressed to his wife Connie. dated December 26, 1914.

Question: 2 Why was the letter written — what was the wonderful thing that had happened? 

Answer: In the letter, Captain Macpherson vividly described a remarkable occurrence where the opposing forces, the British and the German armies, joined together to celebrate Christmas amidst their ongoing conflict.

Question: 3 What jobs did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson have when they were not soldiers?

Answer:  Prior to enlisting in the army, Hans was an orchestra cellist, while Jim worked as a teacher.

Question: 4 Had Hans Wolf ever been to Dorset? Why did he say he knew it?                                                

Answer: No, Hans had never visited Dorset. His knowledge of Dorset solely stemmed from reading Hardy’s novel ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. 

Question: 5 Do you think Jim Macpherson came back from the war? How do you know this?

Answer: Regrettably, Jim Macpherson never returned home from the war. Consequently, his wife Connie had likely preserved his letters as a memento of their time together.

Comprehension Check (page no- 15)

Question: 1 Why did the author go to Bridport?

Answer: The purpose of the author’s visit to Bridport was to meet Mrs. Jim Macpherson and personally hand over the letter from Jim.

Question: 2 How old was Mrs Macpherson now? Where was she?

Answer: At the remarkable age of her one hundred and one, Mrs. Macpherson lived at Burlington House, a nursing home.

Comprehension Check (page no- 16)

Question: 1 Who did Connie Macpherson think her visitor was?

Answer: Mistakenly, Connie Macpherson believed that her visitor was none other than her beloved husband, Jim Macpherson.

Question: 2 Which sentence in the text shows that the visitor did not try to hide his identity?

Answer: The sentence that indicates the visitor made no attempt to conceal his identity is ‘I explained about the desk, about how I had found it, but I don’t think she was listening.’

Working with the Text (page no 16)

Question 1. For how long do you think Connie had kept Jim’s letter? Give reasons for your answer. 

Answer: Connie had held onto Jim’s final letter until January 25th, 1915, even though the letter itself was dated December 26th, 1914.

Question 2. Why do you think the desk had been sold, and when?

Answer: It is likely that the desk was sold after Connie’s house burned down. Both the desk and the table were affected by the fire as well as water damage.

Question 3. Why do Jim and Hans think that games or sports are good ways of resolving conflicts? Do you agree? 

Answer: Jim and Hans, who were both soldiers, shared a warm-hearted nature. Having witnessed the hardships of war, it was only natural for them to develop a strong aversion towards it. They strongly advocated for peaceful resolutions to settle disputes and believed that games or sports were effective means of resolving conflicts. I wholeheartedly agree with their perspective.

Question 4. Do you think the soldiers of the two armies are like each other, or different from each other? Find evidence from the story to support your answer. 

Answer: The soldiers from both armies displayed remarkable similarities. They joined together in celebrating Christmas, sharing meals and camaraderie. They engaged in activities such as smoking, laughing, conversing, drinking, and eating. Surprisingly, they even discussed their favorite books and found common ground on various topics. In a display of unity, they participated in a game of football, cheered for each other, clapped hands, and stamped their feet. Additionally, they exchanged carols during the night. These shared experiences and viewpoints revealed their unanimous belief that war only brought death and destruction. Each soldier longed to survive and reunite with their respective families. Through these instances, it became evident that the soldiers from both armies were remarkably similar to one another.

Question 5. Mention the various ways in which the British and the German soldiers become friends and find things in common at Christmas.

Answer: Despite belonging to opposing sides in the war, the British and German soldiers shared a common humanity. While they were enemies during wartime, they possessed similar emotions and sentiments. They embraced the spirit of Christmas, setting aside their hatred and engaging in games, feasting, and drinking as if they were lifelong friends. Both sides held a profound disdain for war and eagerly anticipated the day when they could return to their families after the conflict’s conclusion. This shared longing for peace and the desire to be reunited with their loved ones demonstrated that, underneath their opposing uniforms, they were fundamentally united as human beings.

Question 6. What is Connie’s Christmas present? Why is it “the best Christmas present in the world”? 

Answer: Connie, eagerly awaiting her husband Jim’s return from the war, mistakenly believed that the author was Jim. She had been anxiously anticipating Jim’s homecoming and, as a result, viewed his arrival as the most precious Christmas gift imaginable. The joy of Jim’s return was unparalleled for Connie, who had been longing for this moment for so long.

Question 7. Do you think the title of this story is suitable for it? Can you think of any other title(s)?

Answer: Undoubtedly, the current title of the story is exceptionally fitting. For elderly Connie, no other gift could have brought her such immense joy as the return of her husband, Jim. Despite the possibility of her presumption being incorrect, she experienced the greatest happiness of her life. Considering the central theme of Christmas in the story, alternative titles such as “War and Peace” or “Christmas Gift” could be considered. However, neither of these titles could truly surpass the significance and appropriateness of the existing title.

Working with Language (page no 17)

Question: 1 Look at these sentences from the story.

I spotted it in a junk shop in Bridport… The man said it was made in the early nineteenth century… This one was in a bad condition… The italicised verbs are in the past tense. They tell us what happened in the past, before now. 

(i) Read the passage below and underline the verbs in the past tense. 

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.

Answer: 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.

Now look at these sentences.

The veneer had lifted almost everywhere. Both fire and water had taken their toll on this desk.

Notice the verb forms had lifted, had taken (their toll).

The author found and bought the desk in the past.

The desk was damaged before the author found it and bought it.

Fire and water had damaged the desk before the author found it and bought it.

We use verb forms like had damaged for an event in the ‘earlier past’. If there are two events in the past, we use the ‘had…’ form for the event that occurred first in the past.

We also use the past perfect tense to show that something was wished for or expected before a particular time in the past. For example, I had always wanted one…

Discuss with your partner the difference in meaning in the sentences below.

When I reached the station, the train left.

When I reached the station, the train had left.

(ii) Fill in the blanks using the correct form of the verbs in brackets. My little sister is very naughty.

My little sister is very naughty. When she __________ (come) back from school yesterday, she had __________ (tear) her dress. We __________ (ask) her how it had __________ (happen). She __________ (say) she __________ __________ (have, quarrel) with a boy. She __________ __________ (have, beat) him in a race and he __________ __________ (have, try) to push her. She __________ __________ (have,tell) the teacher and so he __________ __________ (have, chase) her, and she __________ __________ (have, fall) down and __________ __________ (have, tear) her dress.

Answer: 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.

(iii) Underline the verbs and arrange them in two columns, Past and Earlier past. 

(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!

Answer: (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!

PastEarlier Past
Set out , StayedHad seen
Come back Had gone
Arrived Had left
Sat , AteHad packed

2. Dictionary work                                                                                                                                       By the end of the journey, we had run out of drinking water. Look at the verb run out of in this sentence. It is a phrasal verb: it has two parts, a verb and a preposition or an adverb. Phrasal verbs often have meanings that are different from the meanings of their parts.                                                                                           Find these phrasal verbs in the story.

Write down the sentences in which they occur. Consult a dictionary and write down the meaning that you think matches the meaning of the phrasal verb in the sentence.

1. Burn out- House number 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell, the roof gaping, the windows boarded-up.

2. light up- That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness.

3. look on- Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.

4. run out- 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.

5. keep out- Hans Wolf and I looked on and cheered, clapping our hands and stamping our feet, to keep out the cold as much as anything.

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