Blyton at Christmas 1946 – 1950


There are such a huge amount of stories still that I’ve only made it through five years worth here! The stories from 1920 through to 1945 can be see here.


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The 1940s continued

For the Christmas Tree from The Second Holiday Book, 1947

It would be fun to make some gay little baskets to hang on the Christmas tree, full of sweets.

We want some flat round corks, some long pins, and some bright coloured wool.

Perhaps Mother has a pickle-cork she can let us have, a nice flat one that we can cut into two, and use for the bases of two baskets. If you are not very old, ask Mother to cut the cork for you, or you may hurt yourself with the knife.

Now we have our flat cork. Stick the long pins in all round – not too close together. Now take a gay length of wool and begin to twist it from pin to pin. You must begin weaving at the base of the pins, of course, not at the top. Go on weaving until the pins are quite covered with the wool, and you have your little basket.

A piece of wire (or a hairpin) will do for a handle. Twist some wool over it, then bend the ends to catch under the edges of the basket, just as in the picture.

Now put your sweets in, and hang your little basket up on a twig of the Christmas tree. If you make half a dozen, they will look very gay hanging on the tree.

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The Christmas Tree Aeroplane from The Second Holiday Book, 1947

All the children in the village were as excited as could be, because the lady at the Big House was giving a party –  and every boy and girl was invited!

“I’m going to wear my new suit,” said Alan.

“I’m going to have on my new blue dress,” said Eileen.

“There’s going to be crackers and balloons,” said John.

“And an ENORMOUS Christmas tree that nearly reaches the ceiling!” said Harry.

“And a lovely tea with jellies and chocolate cake,” said Belinda.

“It will be the loveliest party that ever was!” said Kenneth.

“Look! There’s the tree going up to the Big House!” cried Fred.

All the children ran into the lane and watched the cart going up the snowy road, with a big Christmas tree lying on it.

“There’s a fine pack of toys for this tree!” called the driver, who was Alan’s father. “I’ve seen them. My, you’ll be lucky children!”

“What’s for the top of the tree?” asked Belinda. “Will there be a fairy doll?”

“No, not this year,” said the driver. “There is going to be something different – it’s a Santa Claus in an aeroplane!”

So all the children dress up – apart from Harry who seems to come from a poor family. His mother’s also too ill in bed to get him a clean hanky. Never the less he gives away his balloon when someone else’s bursts, and gives away the bonnet from his cracker. Then one of the other children is somehow missed out, and doesn’t get a present from the tree. Harry selflessly gives up his ship to the other child.

Just before he has to walk home alone in the dark, the lady who held the party realises he hasn’t got any of his toys and prizes to take home. When the other children tell her how he gave them away she gives him the Santa Claus aeroplane from the top of the tree, a box of cakes, dish of fruit jelly and a ride home in her car.

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Bells! Bells! Bells! from The Second Holiday Book, 1947

bells bells bells

A Flock of Christmas Robins from The Second Holiday Book, 1947

a flock of robins

Christmas Puzzles from The Second Holiday Book, 1947

The clues I give you must be turned into a rhyming couplet. For instance “a kindly gift” can be changed to “a pleasant present” which is a rhyming couplet; “a Christmas donkey” to a “yule mule” and so on.

  1. A neat and trim Christmas bird
  2. A curtsying Christmas bird
  3. A fidgety Christmas bird
  4. A jolly celebration
  5. A happy decorations
  6. An enormous bob-bon

Can you guess them all?

[Answers provided at the end of the post!]

a few christmas puzzles

The Strange Christmas Tree from A Second Book of Naughty Children, 1947

One year George, Kenneth and Doris demand their mother buy them a Christmas tree from the market. What they don’t know is it was planted by a pixie and is a very special tree. At home, mother covers it in candles, toys, sweets and ornaments and tells the children not to go near it. But of course these are Naughty Children as the title of the book suggests.

“It looks nice,” said Doris.

“It’s not so big as the one last year,” said George.

“It hasn’t got enough toys on,” said Kenneth.

“There’s something I mean to get, anyway,” said Doris, pointing to a box of crackers. “So don’t you ask for that, boys!”

“Don’t be mean, Doris,” said George. “You got the crackers last year. It’s my turn!”

“Well I’m going to have the soldiers,” said Kenneth, and he took hold of a box of them. “There’s only one box this year, George, and as I’m the oldest, I’m going to have them. See? If you ask for them I’ll smack you hard afterwards.”

“Don’t be so mean and horrid!” said George. “If you smack me, I shall smack you! I’ll pinch you too!”

“Look! Look!” said Doris suddenly. “Here’s a box of chocolates. Shall we undo the lid and take some? Nobody will know.”

Now, wasn’t that a horrid, mean thing to do? Children that will do things like that don’t deserve a lovely Christmas tree, and that’s just what the tree thought. But it stood there quite still and silent, listening and looking.

The children took the chocolates – but Doris had the biggest one, so they began to quarrel again. George hit Doris, and then Doris smacked Kenneth, and soon they were all fighting. The tree was most disgusted. It had never seen such behaviour before.

The children bumped against the tree and knocked off a lovely pink glass ornament. It fell to the floor and broke.

“Silly tree!” said Doris rudely. “Why can’t you hold things properly? Why aren’t you as big as last year’s tree? You’re not half so pretty!”

Is it any surprise then, that this tree uproots and walks off? Ending up in the garden of a very poor family who had admired the tree through the window earlier? They are delighted and grateful for the presents and the tree then heads back into the forest.

a strange christmas tree

The First Christmas and The Shepherds and the Angels from Before I Go to Sleep, 1947

This is Blyton’s retelling of the first Christmas, with Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus in the stable, and also of the angels and shepherds visiting the next day.

There are also a prayer and a carol.

A Week Before Christmas from Enid Blyton’s Treasury, 1947

This is one of the stories included in Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories last year.

The Jamieson Family were making their Christmas plans. They sat around the table under the lamp, four of them – Mother, Ronnie, Ellen and Betsy. Daddy as far away across the sea, and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

“Now, we haven’t got much money,” said Mother, “so we must spend it carefully this Christmas. We can’t afford a turkey, but I can get a nice fat chicken. I’ve made a fine big plum-pudding, and I shall buy as much fruit as I can for you. Perhaps I can buy tangerines for a treat!”

“Can we afford a little Christmas-tree?” asked Betsy. She was ten and loved a gay Christmas tree hung with all kinds of shiny things. “Just a little one, Mother, if we can’t afford a big one.”

“Yes, I’ll see what I can do” said Mother, writing it down on her list. “And I’ve made the cake, a nice big one. I’ve only got to ice it and put Christmassy figures on it. I’ll see if I can buy a little red Father Christmas for the middle of it.”

However, disaster befalls Mother as she loses her handbag and all her money while out delivering magazines. There will be no Christmas now!

Thankfully these are good children and they put they head together to try to raise money for a chicken and tangerines. Ronnie starts delivering prescriptions for the pharmacy, Ellen takes children out for walks and keeps them amused and Betsy goes to read to a blind woman as a companion.

Between them they earn a fair amount towards Christmas, but it is Ronnie who really saves the day, as he offers to sweep someone’s path for free and finds Mother’s handbag buried in the snow.

the week before christmas

Santa Claus Makes a Mistake from The Green Story Book 1947

I’m not completely sure but I think that Santa Claus Makes a Mistake may be the same story which then appears in The Teacher’s Treasury – but it’s certainly the same one in Sunny Stories Magazine.

The story is about Ellen and John who, after hanging up their stockings and going to sleep nice and early on Christmas Eve, are woken in the middle of the night. They go downstairs and find…

“A boot hanging down in the chimney! look!”
Sure enough, there was a boot there –  a big black boot – and it was on a leg – and the leg was kicking about! As the children watched, another boot came down the chimney.
“It is Santa Claus!” said Jack. “He always wears big black boots in his pictures. Oh Ellen, he’s come down the wrong chimney. He’ll burn himself on the fire!”

It’s then up to the children to put out the fire and rescue Santa from the chimney!
santa claus makes a mistake

The Man Who Wasn’t Father Christmas from A Story Party at Green Hedges, 1949

There was once an old man with a long white beard who loved children. He was very poor, so he couldn’t give the children anything, and you can guess that he always wished at Christmas-time that he was Father Christmas.

“Goodness! What fun I’d have if I were Father Christmas!” he thought. “Think of having a sack that was always full of toys – that couldn’t be emptied, because it was magic. How happy I should be!”

Now one Christmas-time the old man saw a little notice in the window of a big shop. This is what it said : “WANTED. A man with a white beard to be Father Christmas, and give out paper leaflets in the street.”

Well, the old man stared at this notice, and wondered if he couldn’t get the job.

He does get the job – but he is disappointed that he will only be handing out leaflets and not presents. The leaflets are to entice people into the store to buy their Christmas presents there. The children that see him are even more disappointed at not getting so much as a sweet from Father Christmas. The old man feels terrible then, pretending to be someone generous but unable to give out anything but adverts. But then:

It wasn’t horse-bells he heard. It was reindeer-bells! To the great surprise of the old man, a large sleigh drove down he road, drawn by reindeer. And it in was – well, you can guess without being told – the real Father Christmas!

Father Christmas (the real one) needs directions and the old man explains why he’s dressed as Santa. Father Christmas is very understanding and asks if the old man can’t do him a good turn. That good turn is driving the reindeer around the town while he gets something to eat. And of course – handing out presents to any children he sees! After all that, he then wakes up on Christmas morning to find a coin purse in his stocking. Not just any coin purse, a magic one that is always filled with pennies which he intends to give out to children.

the man who wasn't father christmas

The Tiny Christmas Tree from Tales After Supper, 1949

There was once a very small Christmas tree. It lived in the woods among all the other Christmas trees that were grown for Christmas-time.

There are rows and rows of tall trees, big enough for the grandest parlour or school hall. All those trees are sure they will be sold and are imagining being topped with a pretty fairy and holding ornaments and tinsel. By Christmas Eve most of the trees have been sold, and the tiny Christmas Tree is alone in a wide open space.

Then a little boy and girl came running towards the trees. They stopped beside the tiny tree.

“This one would do beautifully,” said the little girl.

“It’s just about the right size,” said the boy. Let’s ask if we may have it.”

They are told they can have it for nothing, as it would otherwise be dug up and thrown away. When it arrives at the children’s house it meets a grand Christmas tree which was next to it in the field. That informs him that he cannot be the Christmas tree for the house, as that position has already been filled.

The children hang coconut pieces on it with string, along with bacon rind, a bone, crusts of bread and sprays of millet seed.

It’s a tree for the bird-table! (An idea also used in The Book of the Year for the school children.)

the tiny christmas tree

Let’s Make Some Christmas Trees from Enid Blyton’s Bluebell Story Book, 1949

let's make some christmas trees

Good Gracious, Santa Claus! from Enid Blyton’s Bluebell Story Book, 1949

There seem to be a lot of stories in this vein. Two children, Elsie and Nicky, should be asleep on Christmas Eve but are not. Nicky worries that Santa may not come to their big town thanks to all the telegraph wires. This turns out to be somewhat prophetic, as although Santa does come, his sleigh gets caught on the telegraph wires and tips all the presents out.

The children bring Santa inside to recover as his reindeer have run (flown?) away.

“Very worrying,” he said, half to himself. “Very worrying. My reindeer gone, and all those toys to take – and no way of getting to the chimneys of the houses! Dear, dear, dear!”

“Can’t you whistle your reindeer back to you?” asked Elsie.

“Not after eleven o’clock, my dear, not after eleven,” said Santa Claus. “Not allowed to whistle them, you know, for fear of waking children up. Well, well – what in the world am I to do?”

After biscuits and milks the children hit on the solution of borrowing some more reindeer from the zoo.

good gracious santa

Little Mrs. Millikin from The Fourth Holiday Book, 1949

I got a tip-off on this from the Enid Blyton Society Forums – as by the name alone you couldn’t guess it was a Christmas tale!

Mrs Millikin is a little old lady who loves children. She spends all her money on other people’s children, giving them sweets and toys and biscuits she has made. At Christmas she goes quite mad.

She went to the toy-shop and bought dolls, toys, and books. She went to the sweet-shop and bought packets of sweets and boxes of chocolates and tins of biscuits. She went to the book-shop and bought all kinds of gay cards. Really, she had a perfectly lovely time – but she was happiest of all when she gave what she had bought to the children, and heard all their squeals of joy and saw their beaming faces.

“That’s my best Christmas present,” she always said. “That’s my very best Christmas present – seeing the children so happy and excited.”

She saves up very hard by scrubbing floors, washing curtains and mending socks, but this year a hole in her pocket causes her to lose all her money and she can’t buy gifts for the children. She also can’t buy herself Christmas dinner, but she’s not worried about that, only the children.

It just so happens, though, that that Christmas Santa goes down the wrong chimney into Mrs Millikin’s house. He thinks she is a child asleep in bed but isn’t sure at all how old she is – or whether she is a boy or a girl. So he fills the pair of mended socks with presents for all ages and genders. She is then able to distribute all those toys to the children – and ends up with an invite to have Christmas dinner with one family.

little mrs millikin


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The 1950s

The Doll on the Christmas Tree from The Yellow Story Book, 1950

Raggy was a funny little doll. She was called Raggy because she was stuffed with rags and was very soft and cuddly. But she was old now, and her face looked queer. She had odd eyes; her hair was made of yellow wool, her nose was flat, and her teeth and lips were made of white and red stitches.

Every Christmas the children sorted out their old toys, and put those aside that they could spare. They were given away to children who had very few toys. But Raggy was never given away because the children loved her so much.

Unfortunately the new toys that arrive that Christmas do not have the same opinion on Raggy. They think she is dirty and battered. They aren’t very complimentary to the other older toys in the nursery either.

For some reason the family then try to get a fairy for the top of the Christmas tree – after Christmas – and can’t get one. Mother looks over the dolls in the nursery and ends up picking out Raggy for the job.

After unpicking her old dirty clothes –

She worked very hard all the evening. She made Raggy a lovely frilly dress sewn with tiny silver beads. She made her a most beautiful pair of silver fairy wings that stuck out behind Raggy like real ones. She washed Raggy’s woollen hair and fried it, and it looked clean and golden. She made a silver crown and a litlver wand, and she even made a little pair of silver shoes!

“There. You look lovely!” said Mother. “The prettiest fairy doll we have ever had, Raggy! I’ll put you at the top of the tree.”

Being an Enid Blyton story there’s an essence of come-uppance when the new toys fawn over the pretty new fairy and then discover she’s actually Raggy.

It reminds me a little of the fairy on the tree in my house when I was a child. It was a cheap Sindy style doll with fluffy yellow curls, a white dress with silver adornments, legs strapped together with elastic bands to hold her on the top of the tree and fingers that were fused together (in fact a finger or two had snapped off the plastic had grown so brittle). We loved her though and were very upset – as adults – when my parents replaced her with a proper fairy doll.

the doll on the christmas tree

The Christmas-Tree Party from Tricky the Goblin and Other Stories, 1950

Janey and Robin know the children in the house across the road are having a Christmas party as they have been watching from the window. Janey is in awe of the spread on the table and the beautiful tree while Robin is sulky that they are not invited (not going to the same school or even knowing the children).

Janey watched for a long time. It did seem as if the party was going to be a beautiful one! Janey counted how many chairs were round the table – sixteen! The maid put out dishes of sandwiches and cakes and buns and jellies and blanc-manges. And right in the very middle of the table she put the big Christmas cake, but she didn’t light the candles. They would not be lighted until the tea-time.

“A Christmas-tree party is the very best kind of party,” said Janey to herself. “Oh now I do believe the children’s mother is going to put all the presents on the tree now!”

So she was! The tree reached almost to the ceiling, and already had dozens of unlighted candles on it, and some bright shiny ornaments and coloured balls. Now the mother was hanging dolls and engines and books and motor-cars and all kinds of exciting toys on it.

When Janey notices that the tree is in danger of falling onto the table she rushes over to warn the family and earns herself an invite to join the party. Robin, who wished ill on the party-goers has to stay home and continue to sulk.

the christmas tree party

The Enormous Christmas Stocking from My Enid Blyton Book No.3, 1950

There was once a little girl called Margery, who always liked a lot of everything. She liked a big plateful of pudding, she liked the biggest cake on the dish, and liked the finest doll in the shop.

“You’re a greedy little pig,” the other children said to her when they saw her take the biggest and best things for herself.

She also wants the biggest and best Christmas presents, and lots of them too!

“Father Christmas, are you listening? These are the things I want. I want a railway train and lines and signal just like Harry has. I want twelve different books – school stories, adventure stories and circus stories. I want six new dolls for my dolls’ house, all dressed differently. I want a tea-set, one with buttercups and daisies on. I want a little tiny sewing machine that will really sew.”

Her only problem now, is that all that will never fit in her stocking! She decided to knit a new, enormous stocking to solve that problem. When Santa comes down the chimney and sees it, however, he is not impressed. He decides that if Margery is going to behave like a greedy little pig he shall give her piggy presents. And so Margery wakes up to her stocking simply stuffed… with vegetables. Leeks, turnips, parsnips, carrots and swedes.

the enormous stocking

Answers to the earlier puzzles!

  1. A spruce goose
  2. A bobbin’ robin
  3. A jerky turkey
  4. A hearty party
  5. A whacker cracker

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3 Responses to Blyton at Christmas 1946 – 1950

  1. Francis says:

    Very much appreciated dear Fiona.
    Regards
    Francis

    Like

  2. Dale Vincero, Brisbane, Australia says:

    I will suggest that drawing of the little girl looking at the tree through a window, looks very much like it was drawn by Eileen Soper who was the artist for the Famous Five original books.

    Like

    • fiona says:

      It is indeed Eileen Soper. She illustrated all of the stories in that book, and all the books in that series. She also illustrated Santa falling down the chimney further up the post – and all the rest of the illustrations in the four Methuen ‘colour’ books.

      Like

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