Ani’s Advent Calendar 2018! Rationing, Roberta Eaton and a child’s Christmas in wartime

Christmas has been around a while. Much longer than me… and even longer than her! I mean, I knew that, ’cause we four-legses have been around for a long time too… and we have the stories from the Long Memory of our kind.  My mother told me those stories and she says all mothers do that, even two-legses.

She tells me that her mother was around when all the world seemed to be fighting each other… even at Christmas…  that her father was away fighting too. She says that it was very different from today, when Christmas seems to be about buying too much and eating too much (not that I mind that last bit myself…).

I don’t think I would have liked the wartime rationing. People ate some very strange things… and meat was so scarce that people even ate rats. A lot of pets were killed because people couldn’t feed them… I wonder how many were eaten too? Over three thousand dogs were sent to war too. For some two-legses, it seemed to give them more of a chance than just killing them. The dogs were used to do many things, not all of them good… but lot of lives were saved because of dogs.

My two-legs’ family kept their dogs and shared their food with them through the war years. That might be why mine is so good at sharing her food… One of them, a stray who adopted my two-legs’ mother when she was a little girl, even looked after her and took her by the hand to the air-raid shelters when the sirens wailed.

War seems all wrong to me. It seems silly that two-legses can say they love a Man whose message was peace and acceptance… and then go off to fight each other. I s’pose if they are defending their mates and pups, you can understand it… but somebody has to start wars and there is never a good reason. And nobody ever really wins.  There are some things about two-legses I’ll never understand…

Today’s advent calendar comes from Roberta Eaton, and opens a window on a child’s Christmas in wartime…

Letter to Father Christmas, North Pole  – December 1942

Written on behalf of Elsie Hancy by her sister Jean Hancy

15 December 1942

Dear Father Christmas,

I hope you don’t mind that my sister, Jean, is helping me to write this letter. I only started school in September and I haven’t learned all my letters yet.

It is school holidays now and my sisters and I are having a nice time at home. After we have finished writing our letters to you, my older sisters are going to make a paper chain to decorate the front room. Mother has given them some old paper which they will cut into strips and glue together to make the loops for the chain. I am going to watch as Mother says I am too young to cut with scissors.

Mother said that we should all ask for peace for Christmas this year. She is tired of the war and wants it to end soon so there will be more food for everyone and we can have a bigger coal fire to keep us all warm. She says there are severe food shortages in the cities and that we are lucky we live on a farm and have lots of milk to drink. We also have more meat than the people in the cities as Father is able to shoot rabbits when they come onto our farm. I do enjoy rabbit stew, it is one of my favourite meals.

Father says that the Allies are doing well in North Africa and this has given all the soldiers new hope. Father doesn’t talk about the war much but I know he is also hoping it will end soon. I am lucky to have Father at home with us. The fathers of most of my school friends have been called up to fight for Britain in the war. Father is a farmer and it is his job to stay on his land and help to produce food to feed the nation.

I don’t know what it means to have peace. Britain has always been at war since I can remember. Mother says that when the war ends, I will be able to have butter and jam on my bread every day and my brothers and sisters won’t have to go to bed hungry at night. That sounds very nice so I am asking you to please bring us peace.

If it isn’t too much trouble, it would be nice if you could also bring me a doll. She doesn’t have to be new, I don’t mind if someone has loved the doll before me, but I would really like to have one.

Thank you for reading my letter. Please travel safely when you come to England and be careful of the Nazi bomber planes. If you need to you can shelter in our bomb shelter in the garden. I know Father won’t mind.

Your friend


About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Eaton

Roberta Writes Blog     Twitter    Facebook

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

An Invitation from the Small Dog

If you would like to help Ani make her advent calendar this year, send your letters to Santa, festive memories, short stories, flash fiction or poems to the Small Dog. She will post them every day through December until Christmas…and there are still spaces left!

She would especially like to hear from her four-legged or feathered friends (she has a special place very close to her heart for turkeys)… but she says that as two-legs are better than none, she will accept submissions from humans too. And, in the interests of fairness, even from the odd literary fish or serpent.

To get in touch, please use the form on the contact page or email Ani at

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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56 Responses to Ani’s Advent Calendar 2018! Rationing, Roberta Eaton and a child’s Christmas in wartime

  1. Ritu says:

    What a wonderful letter 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Darlene says:

    That is such a sweet picture of you Ani! I agree and I’m sure Dot does too, that wars don’t make sense and wish for peace all over the world as well. I lovely letter to Santa from Elsie. I wonder how many children sent off letters just like that during WWII. I do hope she got her doll.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t understand the humans much either. Why an’t they all love each other like we do?

    Also… This post made mine cry. She says it’s just, “So beautiful, and touching.”

    Lots of licks,

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? Wonderful letter.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The simple wish of a doll. Wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for having us over for a visit, Sue. Elsie was very pleased to share her letter with your readers.


  7. Reblogged this on Roberta Writes and commented:
    I am visiting Sue Vincent’s lovely blog today to share a letter written to Father Christmas by the main character in my book While the Bombs Fell. I wrote this book under my married name, Robbie Cheadle, together with my mom, Elsie Hancy Eaton.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. amreade says:

    What a poignant post. I hope Elsie got her doll. Ani’s a pretty smart dog–and very photogenic!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ani looks like a sweetheart! Enjoyed this post, Robbie, especially when Elsie offers Santa the safety of the family bomb shelter. If only the kindness of children could spread!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Delightful contributions from all you ladies — including Ani! 🙂 Hugs on whatever makes reindeer fly!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Ani’s Advent Calendar 2018! Rationing, Roberta Eaton and a child’s Christmas in wartime | Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws

  12. Gosh Ani, fancy not having all the yummy food we are used to at Christmas. I have reblogged so others are reminded of how lucky they are. By the by, I know that look, it’s clever isn’t it. They can’t resist it. I always put it on when I’m looking for treats 🙂 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Mary Smith says:

    Lovely words of wisdom from Ani – that dog talks good sense. Ani for Prime Minister and Sue can be her deputy. I enjoyed Robbie’s post. I have her book on my Kindle and hope to get to it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lyn Horner says:

    Such a sweet, touching, unselfish letter to Santa. Our kids don’t know how good they have it these days. I agree, Ani, war makes no sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The hope and innocence of children are so poignant as adults blast away at each other. It’s so disorienting and wrong. A lovely letter, and the simple request for peace and a used doll brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful share, Robbie and Ani. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  16. dgkaye says:

    A beautiful post from both Robbie and Ani. Ani is so right, war doesn’t even make sense! Such a compassionate post. ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Lovely post! ❤ Sharing…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. acflory says:

    What a truly lovely story, Robbie. The Second World War was a bit before my time, but I can empathize with the sacrifices everybody had to make. -hugs-

    Liked by 2 people

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