Study Guide of “The Best Christmas Present in the World by Michael Morpurgo”
The Best Christmas Present in the World is a heartwarming story by Michael Morpurgo that showcases the beauty of love and kindness. The story is about an author who finds an inspiring story of friendship during war while restoring a damaged 19th-century oak roll-top table. The author bought the table from a junk shop and upon fixing it, he found a secret compartment containing a tin box with “Jim’s last letter,” written by a captain in the English army during World War I. The letter described how he had shared Christmas Day with German soldiers and the author set out to return the letter to Mrs Jim Macpherson, its intended recipient. The story shows that even in difficult times, people can be connected through kindness and understanding. Read on complete summary of The Best Christmas Present in the World by Michael Morpurgo as follows:
The author went to a junk shop. He saw a desk with a roll-top. It was made of oak and was very old. It wasn’t in good shape. One side of it was burned. The author bought it and had it fixed because it was cheap. On Christmas Eve, he got to work on it. He took off the roll-top and worked hard to get the drawer to come out. Fire and water had done a lot of damage to it. The drawer got stuck. He hit it hard with his fist and then pulled it out. He looked under it and found a hidden drawer. He pulled out a small black box made of tin. On it was written, “Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915.”
The person who wrote the letter also wanted to bury it. He opened the box because he was interested. Inside, he found an envelope with the address “Mrs. Jim Macpherson, 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport, Dorset.” The date on the letter was December 26, 1914. Jim had written the letter to his wife, Connie. He was a soldier in the First World War. He fought against the Germans. Jim told her in a letter that something wonderful had happened that made him very happy. On both sides of no-land, man’s soldiers were moving into their trenches. It was cold and frosty on Christmas morning.
The German soldiers were waving a white flag, which Jim saw. They were shouting “Happy Christmas.” to the English soldiers. The fact that our enemies treated us like friends was a big surprise. But it wasn’t a trick, it was real. In return, the English soldiers also wished them luck. The leader said that they wanted to celebrate the holiday. Jim was the person in charge. He gave his men permission to join the German army. In the middle, there was a mix of grey and khaki coats. During the war, they were trying to make peace. Hans Wolf was the name of the first German soldier. He used to play the cello in an orchestra before he joined the army. Jim used to teach school in Dorset. Hans was not telling the truth when he said he knew Dorset well. Far from the Madding Crowd, a book by Thomas Hardy, talked about that place.
Soldiers from both sides smoked, laughed, drank, and ate together. Hans said that he liked Jim’s bread because of the sweet marzipan on top. In the letter, Jim said that he had never seen or thought of a Christmas Party like that. Also, they played football. Both of them agreed on something. The countries should have solved their problems by playing a football or cricket game instead of going to war, since no one dies in a game but many people do die in war. The game was over, and the drinks and cakes were gone. Jim told Hans that he hoped they would be able to see their families again as soon as the fighting stopped next Christmas.
The letter was put back in the envelope, and the author drove to Bridport.
He meant to give Connie the letter (Mrs Macpherson). Connie had reached the age of 101. Her house burned down, but she was okay. She was in a garden house. The writer gave her the letter and wished her a “Happy Christmas” She was very happy to see that the letter was from her husband. She thought the author was Jim, who had come home on Christmas as he had promised. She gave the writer a kiss on the cheek and asked him to read her the letter. She wanted to hear what her husband sounded like. She said that Jim himself was the best gift she could get for Christmas.
The story starts with the author buying a cheap roll-top table from a junk shop. Despite its poor condition, he decides to restore it and begins the repairs on Christmas Eve. It turns out that the oak table is of 19th-century make and has been damaged by fire and water. As he pulls out the last drawer, he discovers a secret space that holds a small tin box. Inside the tin box, he sees a letter written by Jim Macpherson, a captain in the English army, to his wife, Connie.
The letter described a memorable Christmas Day spent on the battlefield by Jim and the German soldiers, when they put down their weapons, shared their food and drink, and even played a bit of football together. The letter acts as a reminder of the soldiers’ humanity and the importance of compassion and empathy, most importantly during times of conflict.
The author has plans of delivering the letter to Mrs Macpherson, but when he gets to her house in Bridport, Dorset, he finds out that it has been destroyed by fire. Mrs Macpherson, who is 101 years old, is currently residing in a nursing home, and the author locates her there in order to deliver the letter. When she sees it, her eyes brighten, and as she declares that her Jim has kept his word, she reaches out and touches the author’s hand while her eyes fill with tears. After that, she shows the author a lot of affection. She shares her memories of her husband and the couple’s love story and also expressed that the letter was the most wonderful Christmas present that she could ever receive.
The story of Jim and Connie’s love, even though they lived far apart, shows how strong and long-lasting true love is. The letter is a reminder of all the good times they had together and how strong their love was. The story “The Best Christmas Present in the World” is a heartwarming and emotional journey that can touch the reader’s soul and remind them of the importance of kindness, love, and human connection.
The discovery of the letter written by Jim, one of the strangers, was more than a chance encounter; it was an instance of serendipity that brought two people together and gave them a chance to share something in common, despite their cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds. It showed that despite outward differences that may set us apart from each other, we can still find a way to connect through shared experiences and emotions.
Moral / Theme of Story
The story of Jim’s letter and the events surrounding it is truly a remarkable tale of hope, love, and kindness. It serves as a reminder that even in the most challenging of times, it is possible to experience moments of joy and happiness. The person who found the letter was moved by its contents and touched by the fact that they had been a part of something so special that would be remembered for generations. The story of the roll-top table and Jim’s letter is an inspiring testament to the strength of human connection and demonstrates the power of love, friendship, and kindness even in trying times. The Best Christmas Present in the World serves as a reminder to us all that we should never give up hope, no matter what the circumstances. It serves as a lasting reminder of the power of hope, love, and kindness – something that all of us can aspire to in our own lives.
The story doesn’t end there though; its impact has been felt far and wide over time. The simple act of kindness had such a powerful effect that it even inspired others to perform similar acts themselves. It was an example of how something so small can mean so much and be remembered long after it happened. The roll-top table and Jim’s letter serve as symbols of hope, reminding us all that even in times of darkness, we can still find ways to connect with each other through kindness and understanding.
The Best Christmas Present in the World highlights the importance of friendship, love, and generosity in our lives. It is a symbol not just for those who were directly involved but for all people everywhere. We can learn from this example that even when life may seem bleak or difficult at times, we should never forget the power behind even the smallest gestures or kind words spoken or written between friends or strangers alike. The story is about more than just furniture or letters; it’s about being mindful of others and having compassion for humanity – something sorely needed in today’s world.
The story offers a poignant and vivid reminder of the devastating impact that war can have on people’s lives. The juxtaposition between the horrific violence and destruction of the battlefield and the selfless acts of kindness displayed by soldiers on Christmas Day is a powerful reminder of the importance of compassion and empathy, particularly in times of heightened conflict. The sheer contrast between these two very different experiences conveys an important message to readers: even in moments of extreme adversity, it is possible to find solace and beauty in humanity.
The Best Christmas Present in the World serves as an evocative reminder that while war may bring destruction and devastation to our lives, it is ultimately up to us humans to seek out peace and understanding amidst the chaos. From its somber depiction of wartime suffering to its hopeful celebration of human kindness, this tale serves as an important testament to both the depravity and generosity which can be found within us all.
In conclusion, this timeless tale serves as an important reminder that no matter what happens in life – whether good or bad – our actions will always leave lasting imprints on those around us. No matter how small they may seem at first glance, they can have huge impacts on our lives and the lives of others too; this story is proof that any act of kindness can make all the difference in the world if shared with open hearts. The power behind Jim’s letter serves as inspiration for us all to be thoughtful towards others around us, working together to create a better future for everyone by connecting through acts of kindness and love whenever possible.