Christmas with Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Christmas has come early to My Book Corner with a wonderful guest post by Patricia Cleveland-Peck, author of the laugh-out-loud Elephant series.

This time, our clumsy friend has set his sights sky high! You Can’t Let An Elephant Pull Santa’s Sleigh is a jolly good addition to this hugely popular series and has all the animal antics and escalating mayhem we’ve come to expect from the creators. The author’s  fantastic rhythm and rhymes are brought riotously to life by David Tazzyman‘s instantly recognisable illustrations – there’s a buffalo puckering up under the mistletoe, a cantankerous wildebeest creating chaos in the kitchen, a nanny goat chomping on presents, and much MUCH more. It’s the perfect book to share in the lead up to Christmas and you can even download a fun activity pack to go along with it here:

Now let Patricia get you in the festive mood with her own gorgeous Christmas traditions.

Christmas with Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Ours is a country Christmas. Well before the actual day we set off on a recce to see if there are berries on the holly which grows prolifically around our fields. Mostly we are lucky, as we are with ivy, so we gather armfuls to make wreaths and garlands.

Then out come the fairy lights, not just for the Christmas tree but to illuminate the outside of the house – we want it to be as magical as possible.


On Christmas Day we have the animals to look after: sheep, chickens, geese, rabbits and dogs. Each of them gets some sort of special Christmas treat.

The Christmas puddings have been made well in advance and so on Christmas morning it is on with preparations for the feast.  We have tried goose, pork and wild boar but we usually favour the traditional turkey with, of course, all the trimmings.

Late morning the children, their partners and the grandchildren start arriving. After admiring the big Christmas tree laden with bright baubles and crowned with an antique fairy, we all settle down in front of the log fire with drinks of bubbly in our hands (the adults that is – posh juice for the kids) and begin opening presents. Even the dogs sense the excitement as gradually the floor becomes a swirling sea of wrapping paper and we all exchange kisses as we delight in our gifts – sometimes very special ones like the year when Santa brought us Elsie (featured below). And yes, Santa, we know a dog is not just for Christmas but for life and all our dogs have lived good long lives.

By now it is dark outside, but we still have the other animals to feed and look after. If we are lucky, we’ll have a clear, starlit night or there’ll be a full moon, but if it is freezing or lashing down with rain, we just console ourselves that by now we are seriously hungry and that in a few minutes we’ll be sitting in the warm, enjoying the roast of the year with jokes and crackers and silly hats!

As I look down the table at the smiling faces, I am taken back to the time when these grown-up children of mine were tiny and woke us at the crack of dawn (and sometimes even before the night had really got started) with cries that, “Santa had been!”  If you are lucky enough to be or to have been a parent of young children, the glorious sense of Christmas magic will remain with you for life, enriching your own family’s Christmas tradition forever.

Photos © Simon Gray



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