'Twas The Night Before Christmas!
The CBB -> St Clare's House

#1: 'Twas The Night Before Christmas! Author: CBB Secret Santa PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 11:42 pm

'‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse', begins the old poem but reality was slightly different. Chair was curled up on the sofa, looking at the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and trying to ignore the large pile of brightly wrapped presents piled under it. She had promised that she would only open one at midnight but they all looked so tempting. Chair closed her eyes but could still see the shiny green parcel that seemed to call out to her, there was also a large square parcel wrapped in paper covered with holly leaves. Which would she choose? It was no good, she would have to find something to do to distract her from those parcels. She picked up her book ‘Summer Term at the Chalet School’ but that didn’t hold her attention for long as it reminded her of the green parcel, which looked the right size for a book. Picking up the remote control for the television she pressed the standby button, maybe something on TV would distract her. Chair flicked through the channels and finally after a black and white movie, a cop show that seemed to have lots of shouting going on, she found a programme of people singing carols around a Christmas tree as fake snow fell. Checking the TV guide, Chair discovered the programme finished at midnight so she could open her parcel as the programme finished. Settling further back on the sofa, holding a hot drink with a box of tissues beside her, for a cold had prevented her going out with her friends, Chair prepared to enjoy the programme.

‘Silent Night, Holy Night’, Chair hummed along with the group on the television. Suddenly despite the hot drink she felt chilly and reached out for the throw that lay over the back of the sofa, that would do as a blanket, for she couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs to get one off the bed. The song changed to ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and the scene changed to inside a house with a roaring fire and a decorated tree similar to the one she was sitting near, suddenly Chair could smell the unmistakable smell of Christmas, pine needles mixed with wood smoke from a real fire, she could even feel the heat as the flames roared up the chimney. A warm hand had slipped into hers – she looked down there was a little girl next to her smiling at her who whispered ‘I hope Papa lets the fire die down or Father Christmas won’t get down the chimney later.’
‘I’m sure he will,’ Chair answered, whilst wondering who the little girl was. She did look familiar but Chair could not think of her name.

As three girls out of the group began to sing ‘We Three Kings’ a young man came past carrying a tray laden with steaming mugs.

‘Mulled wine?’ he asked.

‘Thank you,’ Chair said as she accepted one of the mugs.

‘I don’t recognise you as an adoptee so I take it you are one of Mama’s wards. I’m Stephen and it is nice to have you here for Christmas.’

Stephen moved away with his tray and Chair was joined by another slightly younger boy.

‘Hello I’m Charles,’ he said. ‘I didn’t see you at tea but I am glad you felt able to join us for carols. Mamma says singing round the tree is one of her most favourite parts of Christmas. Oh the triplets have finished singing. Mike, Steve and I are up next singing ‘While Shepherds Watched.’

Chair watched as the two young men, joined by a third one, younger again went to stand by the tree and sang the well known carol.

Charles’ place was taken by a young woman with a chestnut pony tail.

‘Hi, I’m Len,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry you weren’t well enough to join us at teatime. Mamma said it would be a pity to wake you as you needed the sleep but I am glad you are here now. We will have supper soon and then early bed as the kids will be up very early in the morning. I will go to early mass so I can stay home with you when the rest go at 11:00 hours. I’m sure you won’t want to be alone in a strange house even for an hour.’

‘Last carol,’ called a dark-haired lady sitting a big armchair beside the fire. ‘Lets sing ‘Oh Come all Ye Faithful’ before all you littlies go to bed.’

When they had sung the carol all the smaller members of the party including the girl who had first spoken to Chair had gone upstairs after much checking that a tray containing a mince pie on a plate, a carrot on a dish and a glass of amber liquid was prominently displayed by the Christmas tree.

‘Supper now and then bed for all of you too,’ the lady announced. ‘Tomorrow will be a long day if the twins get up as early as last year. Let’s go into the dining room.’

Arrived in the dining room Chair saw a table set with plates of sandwiches, plates of sponge cakes and cups and saucers. Sitting down at the table Chair found herself sitting beside the lady who made sure she ate a good supper.

‘You missed tea so you must be starving. There is always plenty to eat in this house especially at Christmas. We positively encourage everyone to eat lots.’ The woman said. ‘Oh and I forgot to tell you as it’s Christmas you may call me Auntie Jo, and my husband Uncle Jack. Dr and Mrs Maynard is too formal for Christmas time.

Very soon all the plates were empty.

‘Girls take the empty plates to the kitchen, boys you stay and help me set the table for breakfast. Anna and Rosli went to bed with the littlies.’ Auntie Jo said.

Soon all the jobs were done and Chair found herself upstairs in a dainty little room.

‘We call this Mary-Lou’s room as she often sleeps here in the hols,’ Len said as she showed Chair to her room. ‘Have you everything you need?’

‘Yes,’ Chair whispered.

‘Well I’ll see you in the morning.’ Len said and left her with a nod and a smile.

Chair speedily got ready for bed and snuggled down under the plumeau, meaning to try and work out how she had got here, but sleep overcame her and it seemed only seconds before she heard whispering and giggling from the corridor outside. She got up put on her dressing gown and slippers and followed the noise downstairs. Very soon after much unwrapping of presents and many exclamations over the said presents Chair found herself in possession among other things of a copy of ‘Gypsy Jocelyn’ which bore the inscription ‘To Chair with love from Auntie Jo and Uncle Jack’ and a new fountain pen, some chocolate and some lace edged handkerchiefs. All the others were surrounded by many new things too and Auntie was keeping a list so people would thank the right person for the correct gift on the morrow. Len went to early service whilst the others had breakfast and then stayed at home with Chair whilst all the rest of the family went to church. Before long they returned and a joyous family lunch took place in the dining room. There was an enormous turkey, mountains of vegetables, crackers for everyone and the company looked very gay as they all wore paper hats of every colour. There was a lot of laughter as the cracker jokes were read out.

When the meal was finished Uncle Jack insisted that everyone helped to clear the table before getting ready to go for a walk. He even vetoed Auntie Jo’s attempt to get Chair to stay beside the fire and not go out.

‘Nonsense Jo,’ he has said. ‘The girl needs some fresh air and her cold isn’t that bad.’

Soon Chair found herself wandering over the snow with the older members of the Maynard family whilst the two sets of twins and Cecil swooped round them throwing snow balls. She enjoyed the crisp snow underfoot and was so well wrapped up she didn’t fell the chill of the wind at all.

All too soon it was time to return home and the group retraced their steps feeling better for the short walk. Having taken off boots and outdoor clothing the family met again in the saal.

‘Let’s play charades,’ someone called. They spent a happy hour all trying to guess the various words that had to do with Christmas. Chair was pleased that she had managed to guess Rudolph and had made a good job of miming Angel. Then they had played paper games which had reduced most of the party to hysterical giggles.

Tea followed for everyone then the younger members of the family were put to bed while their elders read the books they had received for Christmas or amused themselves quietly with their other presents.

After a while Auntie Jo popped her head round the door and said ‘Supper will be at 19:30pm and it would be nice if you all dressed nicely for it,’

At 18:30 the other girls left the room to go and get ready so Chair went to and in her room she found a golden yellow dress she had never seen before. When she had washed and done her hair she put it on and it fitted perfectly.

When she arrived in the dining room she saw all the other girls wore similar dresses but different colours and the boys all wore suits. Auntie Jo came in wearing a green dress that Chair was sure she had seen somewhere recently.

Supper was a jolly meal they had meat and salad with trifle and other puddings to follow.

‘If anyone feels ill they are to report to my office and I’ll give them a dose,’ Uncle Jack announced as the meal ended.

‘Papa,’ Mike protested. ‘It’s Christmas no one will be ill.’

After the ritual clearing of the table the party reassembled in the saal,

‘Lets sing a few carols,’ Auntie Jo said. ‘I’m sure no-one wants to do anything energetic tonight.’

They sang a few carols ending again with ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ and were then dismissed to bed. Chair found herself accompanied to her door by Len.

‘Have you had a nice Christmas,’ Len asked.

‘Yes thank you,’ Chair replied. ‘It has been lovely.’

‘Good, I’m so glad. We like all the wards and adoptees to be happy. Tomorrow if its fine we’ll go and look at the school, if you like.’

‘That will be lovely,’ Chair replied. ‘Good night Len.’

‘Good night,’ Len replied as she went on to her own room.

Chair hung her dress up carefully and got ready for bed. As she settled down she heard in her mind the family singing ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful.’

‘Nice,’ she murmured to herself as she snuggled down in the bed.

Instead of fading the song got louder and reluctantly Chair opened her eyes to see what was going on. The singing was coming from the television and the lights were still twinkling on the tree. From outside came the joyous sound of bells being rung. The voices on tv changed from singing to shouts of ‘Happy Christmas.’

‘I must have had a dream,’ Chair thought as she reached for the green parcel. ‘Ooh Auntie Jo’s dress,’ she thought as she began to peel off the sellotape. Would it be her longed for HB of Prefects or Lavender. No it didn’t matter what it was as long as it was an HB she didn’t have.

The last bit of sellotape came away, the paper parted and out dropped a copy of ‘The Perfect Family Christmas’ or ‘How to Eat Your Way To Happiness’ by JM Maynard. The front cover showed a family sitting round a laden table and sitting next to the hostess was a figure in a golden yellow dress.

Last edited by CBB Secret Santa on Sun Dec 25, 2005 12:12 am; edited 1 time in total


#2:  Author: SugarplumLocation: second star to the right! PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 12:00 am

Aww Lucky Chair!


#3:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 12:22 am

How lovely - Chair's very lucky!

Thank you Santa.


#4:  Author: FatimaLocation: Sunny Qatar PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:58 am

That was absolutely lovely! Lucky Chair! Thanks, Santa.


#5:  Author: ChairLocation: Rochester, Kent, England PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 5:22 pm

Thanks, Secret Santa. I definitely feel very, very lucky! That was really, really wonderful. I felt as if it was definitely real and it was lovely to meet all the Maynard family. I guess the closest I have to a golden yellow dress is my yellow apron on my green Morris Dancing Dress.


#6:  Author: nikkieLocation: Cumbria PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:37 pm

Lucky Chair, shame you didn't get a h/b Wink


#7:  Author: Helen PLocation: Crewe, Cheshire PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:44 pm

Santa, that was lovely! And Chair is very lucky! Very Happy


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