Christmas Stories

Grandma's House
The year is 1947. We are at my Grandmothers house
for traditional English
Christmas dinner, which at that time was a very
large tough old chicken with
sage and onion stuffing.
The whole family had gathered, all the Aunts and
Uncles and kids were crammed
into this tiny little house, there were about 30
people there.
Now as it happened, my three Uncles had all been
prisoners of war. Two in
Germany, and one in Greece.The two who had been
in German camps fared quite
well as they had jobs in the kitchens cooking for
the other prisoners.
The one who had come home from Greece was a
different story, today I think
they call it Shell Shock and the results of
He had not uttered a single word to anyone
including my Grandmother who he
lived with.
Imagine our surprise, when Uncle Sid took out a
mouth organ and began to play
Silent Night. We were all stunned, as he finished
playing he said Merry
Those were the first words he had uttered in two
years, and he had the
biggest smile on his face and tears were rolling
down his face. Needless to
say everybody in that tiny house was in tears
including all the kids.
So my Grandmother had her Christmas Miracle to
hear her son speak again.
I will never forget that day as long as I live.
He remained a very quiet man for the rest of his
life, but when he did speak
everybody listened.
So little miracles do happen.
Margaret the Wench


Here is a poem my real mother used to sing to me when I was very little ,
I am a little shoe girl
my mother she is dead
my father is a drunken
and wont give me any bread
I sat up on the window
to hear the organ play
God bless my dear old mother
whose dead and far away ,
has anyone ever heard of this before I was sure there was a bit more to it but can't remember,



SECOND VERSION OF THE POEM from a Bilston resident: I am a little beggar boy, My mommy she is dead, My Daddy is a dunken, And he wont give me no bread, I went into the pantry, To get a peice of bread, My Daddy came behind me, And he whipped me off to bed, I sit upon my window sill, To see the children play, Godbless my dear old mommy, She's dead and far away.

It always made me cry. Hope this is of some use. Regards, Kate Morgan.


We had apples, oranges, nuts, and a bit of candy in our stockings on Christmas morning.
On Christmas Eve we went to church in the late afternoon, came home to Christmas dinner, and opened presents afterward.
When we were too young to have earned money to buy presents we had to give a gift of effort. This was true for birthdays as well. I would sing a song I had learned for the person, recite a poem I had learned for them, performed a dance, played the piano, something that was from my heart to them.
My grandfather and I would go look at the display windows downtown and buy presents we would give anonymously to families we knew were needy.
I remember going caroling and singing the Wassailing song Margaret had the words for, and also Good King Wenceslas, and other traditional favorites.
Then it was Boxing Day.
Lois in Michigan


__A modern story of England and the US__

Or, how a famous movie star, has to have a 
Christmas pudding.
Three years ago, my youngest son, a driver for a 
limousine company in Denver 
Colorado USA, got a call, that someone needed a 
limo for a day. So off goes 
Andrew, youngest son to big posh hotel to pick up 
his fare for the day.
Much to his surprise, it was Haley Mills, 
daughter of John Mills, Actor by 
She was in town to do The King and I.
She had a day off before Christmas, and wanted to 
do Christmas shopping, so 
Andrew drove her and a friend all over town.
As they were driving around town, she talked to 
Andrew about where he was 
born, and he told her he was born in England.
So the talk went on about all things English, 
especially Christmas, she said 
how much she missed not being home with her 
family that year.
Then the talk went on about food. How she wished 
she could have a Christmas 
Pudding in Denver Colorado.
So, what does my very bright son say, Well I have 
one at my house that my 
Dear Old Mother sent me.(could have kicked his 
butt for that),would you, like 
to have it.
Haley Mills went nuts, and said, you sure your 
Mom wont mind you giving away 
your pudding, No said my son, she would love to 
know that Haley Mills ate her 
pudding at Christmas that year.
So they stopped at his apartment and he Gave her 
my pudding.
Needless to say, he got a very big tip from her, 
and made her happy.
I of course was delighted that he gave her his 
pudding, and the moral of this 
story is always keep an extra one in the house as 
you never know who might 
come knocking at your door for a bit of Pudding 
at Christmas.
Margaret the Wench, and this is another true 




Elderly Doctor Williams, sank gratefully into his comfortable old armchair. It had been a long, hard day. His country practice covered many miles, with isolated farms and cottages. He sat there musing about the days events, hoping that Mrs Perkins would hold on to her seventh unborn child until morning, and that 'Old Martha' now well into her eightieth year would have a good night sleep. He sat warm and content, sipping his glass of port. Sam the old border collie lying at his feet, was no less content then his master in the warmth of a glowing log fire. Just occasionally raising a lazy ear to the half unexpected crackle as an ember split in the heat.

The quiet solitude was shattered suddenly by a frantic banging on the front door. Wearily the doctor rose to his feet and ambled across the living room floor. Reaching the hall doorway and on opening the heavy creaking door he looked across the threshold, out into a cold winters night. A gusty wind ushered snow flakes onto his worn slippers, his toes already beginning to feel the chill of the night air. Sam snuffled and grumbled at the figure of a thin, frail and anxious young child. The girl, clutching a threadbare shawl round her shoulders, spoke quickly, her voice stammering between her chattering teeth. "Please doctor quickly. Come please sir. It's my mother, she is very sick". "Steady child" he murmured kindly while turning to put on his coat and hat. Instructing his dog to "stay" he picked up his bag and with one final glance towards the comfort he knew Sam alone would enjoy for the rest of the evening, perhaps even night, he followed the girl through the ever deepening snow. She led him to a small cottage, hidden under the thick branches of gnarled trees aged by winters such as this for years longer than even Dr Williams could remember. Reaching the entrance long before him the child breathlessly opened the door ajar. Entering, he felt the chilling cold and dampness already seeping through his ample overcoat, his own body warmth quickly evaporating. An involuntary shiver passed across his shoulders. The scene which beheld him was illuminated by the stump of a single candle valiantly flickering dimly by a bedside. In a bed, near a cold fire hearth, its grey ash thinly scattered damply on the stone floor, lay an elderly woman. Her bony frame sparsely covered by a thin blanket. Her tortuous fingers fidgeting at the covering around her chest. Wheezing, a hacking cough spasmodically penetrated the otherwise gloomy silence. Her shivering and beads of perspiration around her matted hair line indicated an advanced fever. Williams hurriedly opened his bag to retrieve medicine to ease her laboured breathing. Leaving a small quantity at her bedside to be taken later. Turning, to beckon the girl to light a fire, saying "this room needs a fire, warmth. It's too cold for your mother." The girl? She was no where to be seen. Vanished, quietly, no sound, no discernible movement. Nothing. There a second or two ago and now?

Thinking to himself she must have gone to get kindling for the fire. He turned to the old woman saying "You are fortunate to have such a thoughtful kind daughter. One who loves you so much."A look of sadness and puzzlement crossed her face, a fleeting glance of anger that he could be so thoughtless at a time like this! "Doctor, my daughter died 6 months ago! Her shawl and shoes, God bless her, are still in that little cupboard there, by the doorway. "Williams opened the cupboard door and gazed into the inner darkness. His hands grasping for whatever lay in side, Feeling something warm yet cold as ice he with drew them into the fading light. A shawl, ragged dress, tattered shoes. His mind leapt, spun, twisting in a disturbing sensation of disbelief. This child brought me here! Sam! He didn't bark. That's not like Sam! What happened less than an hour ago?

The doctor made a vow to the old lady to return in the morning and once more ventured into the cold night air. "It's stopped snowing. The moon and stars are lighting my way back home."

Suddenly he felt a sharp burning pain. Startled, he jumped from his chair. Sam leapt to his feet and gazed around, first at his master, the door and then back to the fire. "It's all right Sam" said tired Dr Williams brushing a spark from his hand "I seem to have nodded off for a few minutes." Glancing down at his feet lay a thin shawl! The shawl she had been wearing. ......................

A very merry Christmas to you all, Audrey.


rocking chair


The old rocking chair moved gently in the corner 
of the room.
The clock ticked and the cobbles on the fire 
glowed with a warmth
no wood fire could give.  Maggie looked up at the 
clock, clicked
her teeth and struggled to her feet.

The old woman’s bones were tired and ached with 
the pain of
age.  Her knitting scuttered to the floor and she 
sighed, knowing
that she could no longer bend to pick it up at 
that time of the night.

Straightening herself as best she could, she 
reached for a spill
from the mantelshelf and took a light from the 
coals.  Shuffling towards
the table where her unlit candle rested she 
turned and smiled.  In the
corner the old
rocking chair kept it’s rhythm.

Leaving the room she hoisted herself up the 
stairs holding her candle out
in front of her to
light the way as best she could.  Back in the 
parlour the rocking chair
swayed backwards and forwards on it's old creaky 

Maggie placed the candle on the small table at 
the side of her bed.  Closing
the curtains she looked down into the street.  
There was a hazy hallo
around the gaslamp and snow hung on the eaves of 
all the houses in the small
It had been a pleasant evening.  The carollers 
had visited her and she had
given them mincepies and a hot mulled drink.     
They in turn had sung her
favourite carol – the Holly and the Ivy, before 
wishing her a Merry
Christmas and leaving her to her memories.  She 
turned to her cold bed
touching the counterpane fondly, with old worn 

Her night clothes donned, she crept into the bed  
pulling the sheets around
and it was not long before the rhythmic breathing 
of the old lady could be
heard drifting around the bedroom.  Down stairs 
the Old Rocking Chair rocked

It had been a long time since the death of 
Maggie’s husband.  He had worked
as  a coal miner in the deep mine, dying young 
in a coal damp explosion
many years ago.  His body had never been found – 
little would have been left
to find!
Religiously she had gone everyday in the hope 
that  he would come to the
in one of the  returning cages – it never 
happened – she was always to turn
her back
after placing a flower from their garden, at the 
mine entrance.   Eventually
the Mine Owners prevented her from entering onto 
their land.  Cruelty!
Perhaps, but they saw it as
a bad omen and it upset the miners going below 
ground, which they saw as a
cause of low productivity.

So she had gone home that last day and having no 
where else to place her
had put it on the rocking chair her husband had 
always sat in by the fire.
It became a ritual that she had continued to keep 
ever since.  In winter
when there
weren’t any flowers to pick she would go into the 
wood and cut a branch of
Or Ivy to place on the chair.  No one had been 
allowed it's comfort since
his death.

Midnight chimed from the clock in the steeple and 
a hunting owl glided
silently on silver wings
As the ivy branch fluttered to the floor and the 
last spark left the cobbles
with an hissss!
The rocking of the chair stopped and all was 
still!  In the room above the
silence permeated the fabric of the house.  All 
was silent -  not a sound
could be heard.

Maggie and John held hands and walked down the 
street with the ease of
Hand in hand they walked and the owl rested in 
the belfry and watched with
knowing eyes.




It’s Autumn 1941 and Britain is at war and all Europe is in terror of the Germans. Britain stands alone with her Allies to fight off this Nazi Invader and protect Europe and the whole world from doom. A young Welsh girl from the hills meets an American GI and they fall in love. The girl’s parents forbid this and the couple meet secretly.

The GI is forced to move to another base and the couple swear to keep in touch but after a couple of weeks, the girl has heard nothing and realizes she is pregnant. Scared of the wrath of her parents’ she runs away from home and finds an abandon farmhouse deep in the Welsh hills and there she stays thinking her lover has abandon her.

The days grow shorter to the time her baby is due and she can hear planes flying above her every night and wonders what she is going to do. It’s nearly Christmas and the girl is very alone and suddenly she hears guns firing above her and she goes into labour. With all the fighting above her she gives birth to a little boy and it’s Christmas morning and she is very weak. All the strength has gone out of her and she wonders what will become off her son. She takes a locket from her neck and hangs it round her son’s neck. This was the last thing her lover gave to her. Has she draws her last breath Christmas night came and the bombing was furious overhead and a plane was shot down. The local villagers came to see what had happened and arrived at the old farmhouse to hear the cries of a baby and went to investigate.

There, in the broken down farmhouse was a young woman and clutched in her arms was a new born baby just a few hours old. A woman villager picked up the baby and wrapped it in her coat. Another one covered the poor mother up saying. “Poor lass!” has she did so.

The girl was buried, nobody knew her name or where she game from and the little boy was called Christopher and kept by the woman who found him.

Many years passed and the talk of the village was always about the lost soul who wondered the hills and found no peace. Some twenty odd years had passed and a group of ex GI’s had come over for Christmas and were staying in the local pub. As always the locals brought up the story of the girl with no name and how she always appeared around Christmas time wondering the hills. The GI wanted to see where this was and one on the young men said he would take them. So off they went. Has they got there they saw a shadow come towards them and as it came nearer they could see though it. The shadow pointed a finger at one of the men and said. “You abandoned me and our child. Why did you do this?” The man said. “Never! I was captured by the Germans and was kept a prisoner for many years. Then I looked for you and your parents said you had left and had no word of you.” At this the ghost of the woman appeared more solid and a bright smile appeared on her face and she said. “We have a son, behold your son.” The GI looked at the young man who was there guilt and tears slowly came down his cheek. The two men hugged each other and turned to look at the ghost of the woman who was slowly vanishing in the mist with a bright shinning smile on her face. Now she was at peace at last and father and son were together. That was the last anyone saw of the ghost of the hills but it was talked of for years to come but now she had a name.




When I was younger in the 1940's and fifties I knew a Church of England clergyman who's house was haunted. Parts of the Rectory where he lived dated from about 1200. Parts of the church about half a mile were of Norman construction and even older. The Church had been a monastic foundation prior to the reformation and the Diocesan records indicated the Rectory had originally been built as a Nunnery.

The ghost who haunted the rectory was of a nun dressed in a grey habit. She was very friendly, although appeared to be shy. She never did anyone any harm, she just seemed to be looking for something or someone. This ghost was seen by many people and they all gave the same description. She was always seen in the same corridor, which allegedly lead to what had been the entrance to a tunnel leading to the Church.

Between the Church where the Monks who cared for the Church would have had their quarters and the Rectory there had been a tunnel. This was well documented as during the seventeen hundreds the tunnel had been used by smugglers to move contraband brandy and tobacco, but it has always been said the tunnel was not their work and was indeed much older, dating from the foundation of the Church itself.

In 1954 work was undertaken in the village to install new water mains, these works involved digging alongside the Church Wall. During the excavation, on Hogmany as it happened, the remains of a body were uncovered. The remains were outside the boundary of the Church on unconsecrated ground! A coroners inquest was held at which it was disclosed the body was that of a man had been buried for about 600 years. Also scraps of course cloth in which he had been interred indicated that he was probably a Monk.

The Rector who was a very caring man had the body re-buried within the Churchyard in consecrated ground. From that day the Nun has never been seen!

So what was the connection between the Monk and the Nun? I do not know, but its interesting to speculate. Is this all true? Well I will leave you speculate on that as well.

Happy Christmas. Ted



Nearly 7 years ago, I was quietly having a brew in the canteen at Uni, in Dudley, when a friend appeared with a gothic looking girl. Julie, the girl, was a student renting a room in the old Vicarage, behind St Mark's Church, in Pensnett. She had been coming up the stairs, the night before, when she looked to her side and saw someone standing on the next flight of stairs. She knew that only she and Gary were in the house, and these feet had boots, then an ankle length full skirt. She looked up and there was a woman in old-fashioned costume. She had gone to my friend, Kate, in terror, who had come to me - a, because I was a history student and b, because I was psychic.

So we walked (!) to Pensnett (being fitter seven years ago, before the student poverty lines, the booze and the nicotine took their toll!). To cut a long story short, a whole gang of us used the Old Vicarage as our unofficial base for the next three months (mainly because it was cheaper than three buses back home!) and even the hardened cynics believed in ghosts thereafter.

Description of the Old Vicarage: (We had a hippy in the house who had once been a high-flying architect, designing posh buildings up Stourbridge, amongst many other things. He had withdrawn from the rat-race, but he knew his stuff) The house had had some Tudor foundations, but had burnt down at one time (the windows were black at the edges outside), so was predominantly Victorian. You entered through an ante-chamber with benches around the walls, to take your Doc Martens off on or to console your friend, who had just been dumped, on. Then there was a large hallway, with a huge mirror on one wall. Two rooms went off, but they were kept locked by the landlord. Then there was the kitchen! The old range was still there, as was the old washroom, but the back wall had a long worktop and a modern cooker, etc. There was a huge oak table in the centre of the room. Come back out, into the hall. The stairway was very broad, with a crimson carpet and a border of wooden stairs half a foot to each side. You went up to a half landing, turned and up onto the first floor. Four bedrooms and a bathroom came off a massive landing. You then turned and went up an identical stairway to the second floor. This was originally the servants quarters, now home to Gary (ex-architect, ex-yachting champion - folk asked his autograph, embarrassing him and alerting us to how famous he was in yachting circles- now hippy with a vengence).

Firstly, have you ever watched the 1960s film 'The Haunting'? You know the bit where the banging starts, as if the ghost is looking for something? We had something similiar - it sounded like a big cricket ball being bounced. There would be a loud thud, then a minor thud and a roll; then the process would be repeated.

This occurred about 8.30 every night, on the first, then the second, then the first floor, for at least half an hour, sometimes more like an hour. It drove Gary crazy - his architect brain would kick in and he talked about pipes a lot. Eventually he conceded that he had no idea what it was. Then, in no particular order, there was Bob. His real name was Arsalan Mohammed. I embarrassed myself by thinking he was joking and laughing at him. Until he produced his Uni papers... then I wanted to crawl up my own backside. I was with him in his first floor room, when he loudly proclaimed that he didn't believe in ghosts and that Julie, Kate, Charlie and I were hysterical women and Jim was no better and Gary would eventually get to the bottom of that noise. Then I watched as a glass picked itself up off the desk and threw itself at the wall behind Bob, smashing on the carpet. His face was a picture, it has to be said.

Then there was Charlie, Gary's girlfriend. It was an unofficial, unspoken rule that no-one even went to the loo on their own - even the lads waited until someone just happened to be going to one of the bedrooms, while us women just recreated that scene from 'Letter to Breznek' every time we had to go. But it was broad daylight and Charlie had a new frock. She wanted to try it on, I said I'd come up with her, but she wanted us to see it in all its glory already on. So up she went to the second floor. About five minutes later, down she came again, like the Hounds of Hell were after her - the dress unzipped at the back, with one sleeve halfway down her arm and her decency practically on show. It took us ages to get a coherent word out of her, with Kate doing her frock up for her and me putting the kettle on and Gary demanding to know what had happened. It turned out that she'd nipped to the loo first and, you know how scary the sound of a flushing loo can be, when your nerves are already shot.... She had left the flushing bit, until she was dressed and ready, then she'd flush it on her way downstairs. Except she was just putting the frock on and the toilet flushed itself.

Then there was Julie again, coming out of her bedroom to wash her hands after dying my hair midnight blue. There was the ghost, stood on the landing watching her. She gasped and I looked up, with midnight blue dripping underneath a dodgy towel turban. But by the time I tottered out there, there was no ghost.

Then there was the cold spot. Jim found it, on the half landing leading up to the first floor. He wondered into the kitchen (our main hideout) and casually mentioned it. We were soon up there investigating. Put your hand near the wall and it was room temperature, bring it across and it was like shutting your hand in the freezer. Then out the other side. Being a short-arse, I couldn't reach above it, but the lads, Julie and Charlie could. They said the freezing bit finished at a particular point vertically as well. It had to be me with my hand in the cold, when Jim pointed out, 'She's standing here, isn't she?' Again our ex-architect Gary had a frustrating few days with a tape-measure and a pad full of complicated sums, working out the trajectory of this or the distance of that. He came up with the fact that there was no way that area should be cold. In fact it should have been one of the warmest areas in the house. It was never cold before or after that day.

Then there was me. I had an exam the next day, so I figured that I'd better get some revision in. It was the height of summer outside and I'm not a very sun-type person, so I sat in the kitchen revising. I had Rage Against the Machine on the stereo (an American grunge/rock band from the early 90s), blasting away. I was deep into my text-books, which I actually did find fascinating. I had been seeing something out of the corner of my eye for a while, but was too into what I was reading to actually turn and look (or lazy).

Eventually I reached the end of my chapter and reached for a cigarette. The half-seen thing came to bug me, so I turned expecting it to be the bin. (After several months in there the ghost thing wasn't the first thought always - you get over the novelty and lead ordinary lives, adapting around ghosts). It was her. I could have straightened my arm right through her! She was about a foot behind and just to the side of me. I saw the boots, the patently Edwardian dress, with the grey, pleated frills up the bodice, the sleeves. I couldn't look at her face. I hate their eyes.

As a Pagan and as a person who had spent 21 years (at that time) seeing ghosts, I did what I could in the circumstances - I leapt onto the table and fled over it, to the corner. With my back to her, I panicked. Then I lit my cigarette on the gas cooker. Then I calmed a bit and thought, I've got to talk to her. She obviously has been waiting to get a message through and it's my duty as a Pagan and as a psychic. Also there was the fact that she was between me and the door, but naturally that didn't enter into it. I turned. She was gone. That was worse! Because I didn't know where she was! I couldn't open the door (what if she was standing behind it?!!?) Later on, my two friends sneaked up to one of the three huge windows (which were nailed down) and banged on it. Scared the life out of me!

Then there was the time I was coming back from the shop. I cut across the graveyard and approached the Vicarage from across the lawn. There were the windows of the two locked rooms in front of me. You have to have a look, don't you? So I cupped my hand to the pane and looked. It was an old-fashioned study - with sets of books in cabinet bookshelves and a desk (with an anachronistic calculator etc on it). I was trying to read the titles of the books, then scanned the room to see some others. She was there. She hadn't been, but now she was. I saw her face and those eyes. I fell backwards onto the slope of the lawn!

Finally, (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief! This is actually the short version, trust me!) we couldn't stand not knowing who she was. I had the name Maud in my head and the year 1932, which I'd dismissed as > imagination as 1932 wasn't the age for her dress. We spotted people in the church, so Julie, Kate, Jim and I raced across. There was an old man in there and, once we'd rushed up with 'excuse me's' and all the rest, we were at a bit of a loss of how to ask the question. So me, the shyest of them, just blurted out, 'We live in the Vicarage, who's the ghost?' He didn't laugh, he told us that his gt-aunt had been a servant there and another servant had become pregnant out of wedlock and hanged herself. His gt-aunt had talked about her ghost there. Julie and I both shook our heads - 'this isn't a servant'. Then I told him that I had the name Maud in my head. The others looked as though they wanted to die of embarrassment themselves, but it was out. The man looked strangely at me. 'There was a Maud, but she wouldn't be haunting there!' It turned out that Maud had been the vicar's wife, when he was a child. She was forever sneaking cakes, sweets and apples to the local children, him included. She had died of cancer and had been buried in Hertfordshire. The vicar had served another year, then had gone to another parish. So we all went to the Vicar Board - he left in 1933. So Maud had died in 1932. I said 'but her clothes are wrong'. He wanted to know about her clothes, so I told him. He looked ill - yes, she had worn Edwardian clothes until her death. It had been the fashion of her youth and she had never deviated from them. Because he sat down suddenly, looking really unwell, we decided we'd done enough damage - telling a man in his eighties that someone he knew was now a ghost - so we said our goodbyes and apologized a lot. But he called us back. He told us that during that time, the stained glass in St Marks was being done (there was a lot of it). They all depicted scenes from the Bible, so some had four or five faces in them, some had one or two. They were all made up, apart from one face. After Maud's death, the people of Pensnett had asked the vicar if her face could be used in the stained glass, as a memorial. She hadn't liked fuss, so it was agreed as long as there was nothing to say it was her - no plaque or aught. So, her face was in there somewhere. Only me and Julie had seen her face, so off we went to look. Naturally we started furtherest away didn't we? With the others, plus the old man following us. We finally made it to the Lady Chapel and simultaneously went 'There!' 'That's her!' (Later on, Kate said that the scariest thing was that we were simultaneous - it made it more real than actually being in the house!). The old man really did look ill. We were right.

Epilogue - recently, Kate happened to be going through Pensnett and needed something from the shop. She went into the nearest one to the Vicarage and, just chatting, told the shopkeeper that she had lived in the Vicarage years ago. His first words were, 'Did you see the ghost?' Apparently, he had had five years of students describing the same woman to him. The Vicarage is now privately owned and the inhabitants don't appear to use his shop.

(Sorry if it was too long!)

Yours, Jo