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

NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World are provided below. These solutions contain answers to all the textbook questions. All the questions are solved by experts with a detailed explanation that help students to complete their assignments and homework. NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World are prepared as per the latest CBSE syllabus and curriculum. Students of Class 8th can study the answers provided here to score well in their school exams.

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

Comprehension Check (Page 10)

Question 1: What did the author find in a junk shop?

Answer: The author found a roll-top desk for sale in a junk shop. It was made of oak wood, but it was in a very bad condition.

Question 2: What did he find in a secret drawer? Who do you think had put it in there?

Answer: The author found a small black tin box in the secret drawer. There was a paper sello-taped to its top. It said, ‘Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes.’

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.

Comprehension Check (Page 14)

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

Answer: Jim Macpherson, a captain in the British army, had written that letter, dated Dec. 26, 1914, to his wife Connie.

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

Answer: The letter described a wonderful event. The two armies-the British and the Ger­man-fighting against each other celebrated Christmas together.

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

Answer: Before joining the armed forces, Hans Wolf from Dusseldorf used to play the cello in an orchestra and Jim Macpherson was a school teacher from Dorset.

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

Answer: No, Hans had never been to Dorset. He had only read about Dorset in 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: No, it appears that Jim Macpherson never returned home from the war. Perhaps, due to this reason his wife Connie had preserved all his letters carefully.

Comprehension Check (Page 15)

Question 1:  Why did the author go to Bridport?

Answer: The author went to Bridport to meet Mrs Jim Macpherson and deliver to her Jim’s letter.

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

Answer: Macpherson was 101 years old. She was in a nursing home.

Comprehension Check (Page 16)

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

Answer: Connie thought that the visitor was her own husband, Jim Macpherson.

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

Answer: That sentence is, “you told me you’d come home by Christmas, dearest,” she said, “And here you are, the best Christmas present in the world. Come closer, Jim dear, sit down.

Working with the Text

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

Answer: Connie had kept Jim’s last letter till January 25, 1915. The letter was dated Dec. 26, 1914.

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

Answer: 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 by the neighbours after that.

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

Answer: Both Jim and Hans were soldiers. Both were warm-hearted. They had seen the sufferings of war. So, it was natural for them to hate war. They favoured a peaceful solution to settle disputes. Games or sports, they said, were good ways of resolving conflicts. I also quite agree with them.

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 of the two armies were like each other. Both the troops celebrated Christmas with each other. 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. They also exchanged carols at night. Moreover, they had the same view that wars only brought death and destruction, and they hoped that each would be alive to see his family. All these instances show that the soldiers of the two armies were similar to each other.

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

Answer: The British and the German soldiers belonged to different camps. They were enemies in war time. But after all they were human beings and therefore they had similar feelings. They shared the festive spirit of the Christmas. They got over hatred and played games, feasted and drank like good friends. Both hated war. Both were anxious to go back to their families at the end of war.

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

Answer: 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.

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

Answer 7: Decidedly the title of the story is most suitable. For the old Connie, no other present could have given her such joy as the coming home of Jim, her husband. Her presumption might be wrong, but she got the greatest happiness of her life. Since the story revolves around Christmas, the alternate title of the story could be War and Peace’ or ‘Christmas Gift’. But neither can be a match to the present title.

Working with Language

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 verb 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 used 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. 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 back from school yesterday, she had torn her dress. We asked her how it had happened. She said she had quarrelled with a boy. She had beaten him in a race and he had tried to push her. She had told the teacher and so he had chased her, and she had fallen down and had torn her dress.

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

(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


PastEarlier Past
(a)  set out,  stayedhad seen
(b)  arrived,  came backhad left, had gone
(c)  sat,  atehad packed
(d)  returnedhad fallen

Question 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.

burn out       light up       look on       run out        keep out

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.

Answer: (i) burn out – destroyed by fire

 “House number 12 turned out to be nothing but a burned-out shell.

(ii) light up – brightened

That was the moment her eyes lit up with recognition, and her face became suffused with a sudden glow of happiness

(iii) look up – considered somebody to be somebody

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 –  become used up, finished

The time came, and all too soon when the game was finished, the schnapps and the run and the sausage had long since run out, and we knew it was all over.

(v) Keep out – to avoid

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

Question 3:
Noun Phrase
Read the following sentence.

I took out a small black tin box.

  • The phrase in italics is a noun phrase.
  • It has the noun — box — as the head word, and three adjectives preceding it.
  • Notice the order in which the adjectives occur — size (small), colour (black) and material (tin) of which it is made.
  • We rarely use more than four adjectives before a noun and there is no rigid order in which they are used, though there is a preferred order of modifiers/adjectives in a noun phrase, as given below.
NCERT Solutions for Class 7 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World image 1

Answer: Check the question properly and try to understand the placement of noun phrase and adjectives in it.

Question 4: The table below contains a list of nouns and some adjectives. Use as many adjectives as you can to describe each noun. You might come up with some funny descriptions!

NCERT Solutions for Class 7 English Honeydew Chapter 1 The Best Christmas Present in the World image 2


elephantenormous, large, cheerful, wild, medium-sized
faceround, cheerful, chubby,
buildingmulti-coloured, blue, red, medium-sized
waterblue, cold


Question 1: In groups discuss whether wars are a good way to end conflicts between countries. Then present your arguments to the whole class.

Answer: War means bloodshed, hate and destruction. It shows the animalism in man. Even the animals fight for some sound reason. But nations go to war to settle some petty dispute or in the name of religion. War solves no problem. Understanding alone can end differences. All religions condemn greed and bloody quarrels. Let us learn this great lesson from history.

Question 2: What kind of presents do you like and why? What are the things you keep in mind when you buy presents for others? Discuss with your partner. (For ex­ample, you might buy a book because it can be read and re-read over a period of time.)

Answer: On the personal front, I do not like the practice of exchanging costly gifts. However, if we really want to thank someone with a present, we can buy some flowers as a token of affection for the respective person. Due to this reason, we notice that in formal occasions may guests bring flower bouquets as gifts to express their warm feelings.


Question 1: Imagine that you are Jim. You have returned to your town after the war. In your diary record how you feel about the changes you see and the events that occur in your town. You could begin like this

25 December,
1919 It’s Christmas today, but the town looks…..


Suppose you are the visitor. You are in a dilemma. You don’t know whether to disclose your identity and disappoint the old lady or let her believe that her dear Jim has come back. Write a letter to a friend highlighting your anxiety, fears and feelings.

25 December, 1919

It’s Christmas today, but the town looks different from other days. The town was devastated by war. The buildings have been destroyed and are in complete ruins. My house is almost burnt by the bombardments happening due to war. All such events have taken a heavy toll on the lives of the soldiers as well as the civilians as a whole. I am in complete distaste of whatever is happening around and want to curse the war mongers. I truly long for peace and brotherhood among the countrymen and the people from across the borders.


12-A, Block 4,
August 10, 2009 Dear Smith,

I am in a dilemma. It seems to be insolvable. I, therefore, seek your help in making a decision.
You know I had purchased an old desk. Inside it I got a box containing an old letter. It was written by Jim, a British soldier, to his wife. I decided to deliver that letter to Mrs. Jim at Briport.
I reached her house. She was 101 years old. When I gave her the letter, her eyes lit up. She thought I was her long lost husband Jim, who had come home to keep his promise. She was excited and she kissed me. She didn’t listen to what I tried to tell her about my identity.
I don’t know whether or not I should tell who I am. I only walked away from her quickly.

Question 2: Given below is the outline of a story. Construct the story using the outline.

A young, newly married doctor——— freedom fighter ——– exited to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the British————– infamous cellular Jail ———— prisoners tortured —— revolt by inmates ——— doctor hanged ——— wife waits for his return —– becomes old ——– continues to wait with hope and faith.

Answer: In the year 1929 when India was under the British Raj, the English education system enlightened the minds of a few people. Gradually people started thinking progressively and were fighting hard to free the country from British rule. At that time, a young, newly-married doctor was framed in a conspiracy case and sent to Andaman and Nicobar Islands which was located in the Bay of Bengal. He was a freedom fighter who was exiled to the infamous Cellular Jail for a few years. He along with other prisoners in this jail were subjected to inhuman torture due to revolt made by the inmates. One fine day, he was hanged. But his wife kept waiting for his return until she grew old. However, she never lost her hope and faith and continues to wait for her husband to return someday.

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