A Christmas Tale
The CBB -> St Agnes's House

#1: A Christmas Tale Author: CBB Secret Santa PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:08 pm

A Christmas Tale

The three friends were sitting in the common-room. Most of the other girls had already left for the Christmas holidays, and the few other girls who were still around were busy with Christmas secrets of their own, so they had the common-room to themselves.

Simone got up to draw the curtains, as dusk was falling and the lights had been brought in. “So, my Jo, you are off to England tomorrow?” she asked.

“Yes, Grizel, Robin and I are to spend Christmas with Maynie while Madge and Jem go to Vienna for his conference. It'll be odd having an English Christmas again, after two years in Tirol. And you will be in Paris, and Frieda in Innsbruck.”

“I wish you were coming to us again, Jo,” said Frieda, “but die Grossmutter hasn't been very well, and Mutti thinks it would be too much for her. But I'm glad you'll be calling in to see her on your way to England, it was kind of Maynie to think of it. And it means Vati doesn't have to come up to bring me home, either.”

“I'm glad, too, that we shall see her. And it will be jolly staying with Maynie in Hampshire. I don't know that part of England, as we used to live in Devonshire, but the New Forest has such a history. I'm looking forward to seeing the place where William Rufus was killed.”

“It was a created forest, no?” asked Simone.

“Yes, by William the Conqueror, who wanted somewhere to hunt deer, so he turfed all the peasants out and made it into a Royal Forest. But of course, people now can wander about, I think almost as they choose, and there are the Commoners, who can graze their cattle and pigs and things on it. But still lots of deer.”

“Moi, je préfère Paris!” exclaimed Simone, with a shiver. “The country, he is all very well during school time, but in the holidays I like to visit a city.”

“So you'll be going to Paris tomorrow, so just possess your soul in patience until then, old thing!”

“Yes, it will be good to see Maman and Papa again, and then it will be the fête de Noël, and we will have our Réveillon.”

“So what is it, then, this Réveillon?” asked Frieda, to whom the term was new.

“It is the big meal we have on Christmas Eve, the main feast of Christmas.”

“On Christmas Eve? Really? We don't have our meal until Christmas Day. What do you eat?”

“Oh, it varies, but there is always soup, and saumon fumé, and some patisseries.... but the biggest Réveillon is at Saint-Sylvestre, to see in the new year.”

“Is that like the Scots, then, making New Year more important than Christmas?”
“No, le fête de Noël is very important, and we go on celebrating right through to Le Fête des Rois, when we have the gateau with the fève in it, and the person who gets the fève is King or Queen for the evening.”

“So what do you do after you have had your Réveillon?” asked Jo, curiously.

“Well, we have our presents -”

“What, on Christmas Eve?” gasped Jo and Frieda, for both of whom the idea of presents not on Christmas Day itself was very strange.

“Oh, we have the little presents that Le bon Père Noël leaves in our shoes, but the presents from our parents and friends are on Christmas Eve.”

“We hang up stockings in England,” said Jo. “Traditionally by the fire, so that when Father Christmas comes down the chimney, he can fill them. I don't know if we'll do that at the Maynards.”

“I expect so,” smiled Frieda. “Miss Maynard is what you call a sport, nicht wahr?”

“Yes, she is,” said Jo, “But each family has their own Christmas traditions.”

“And the important thing,” said a fresh voice, “is that no matter how you celebrate Christmas, it is to remember the coming to earth of our dear Seigneur as a human baby, to live like one of us. Simone, ma chère, I am come to remind you that we leave very early in the morning, so you must be sure you are all ready and packed tonight. Girls, your Kaffee und Küchen are ready, so come, please, to the Speisesaal.”


#2:  Author: aliLocation: medway, kent PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:32 pm

Thanks Santa

We were talking about French christmas as part of the cultural aspect of MFL. The children were all suprised that they didn't follow exactly the same customs as the english but when they looked a little closer at their own celebrations they realised that most families have little things they do differently which make christmas important to them. It is important that everyone has there own ways of making things special. I was quite upset the first time I didn't spend christmas at home - where were the lunchtime presents? At my house we always get one gift each after we have fininshed eating, don't know why, just a custom. My husbands family thought it a strange idea. But I make sure that where ever I spend christmas now there will be lunchtime gifts!


#3:  Author: MaryRLocation: Sale Cheshire PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:45 pm

Yes, we all start our own Christmas customs and they mean so much to us.

Lovely story, Santa.


#4:  Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:55 pm

I find it really fascinating the way different places have different Christmas traditions. Thanks Santa.


#5:  Author: VikkiLocation: Sitting on an iceberg, freezing to death!!! PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:00 pm

How lovely. It's intriguing to see all the different christmas customs.

I DO like Joey and Co at this age.


#6:  Author: Carolyn PLocation: Lancaster, England PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:35 pm

That was a nice story Santa.


#7:  Author: ChairLocation: Rochester, Kent, England PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:51 pm

Thanks, Secret Santa. Rachel is a very lucky woman. It was lovely to hear about their different traditions.


#8:  Author: Cath V-PLocation: Newcastle NSW PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:31 am

That was lovely - and the building an maintaining of the traditions is so important. Very Happy


#9:  Author: tiffinataLocation: melbourne, australia PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:49 am

True, as is the acceptance of others or new traditions.

In my family we give something to all the family. In my husband's family we don't. The first year we were together I bought something for all. I unknowingly broke their tradition and boy did I get dragged over the carpet by the in laws!


#10:  Author: alicat PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:47 pm

And don't some people's customs seem odd????

My little nephew thinks all his presents come from Santa, not just the ones in his stocking as happened in our family when we were kids. This annoys the heck out of my mother as of course he never says thank you to grandma....I just wonder what is going to happen when he is old enough to read and am sneakily making plans to fix gift tags on with superglue to stop my brother and his partner pulling them off to preserve the myth..... Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil


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