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Christmas at Eagle Pond

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Donald Hall draws on his own childhood memories and gives himself the thing he most wanted but didn't get as a boy: a Christmas at Eagle Pond.

It’s the Christmas season of 1940, and twelve-year-old Donnie takes the train to visit his grandparents' place in rural New Hampshire. Once there, he quickly settles into the farm’s routines. In the barn, Gramp milks the cows and ent
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  254 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
Have you ever wanted a book to not end? I felt this way about this one, but I will read it again some day.

While Donald Hall wrote about visiting his grandparent’s farm in New Hampshire in the 40s when he was a young boy, he had actually never been there during Christmas time, only during the summers; instead he created this story of his taking a train at Christmas time from his home in Connecticut to their farm. So in his heart he had actually had Christmas with them. After they had passed away
Julie  Durnell
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
A short old-timey story, that centers on hard work on a New England farm and love of family for the few imagined days Donnie spent with grandparents during Christmas.
We expected to really enjoy this book as we love reading about everday lives in different places and times, and love reading about winter, Christmas and snow. The story starts off well with a young boy going to stay on his grandparents farm for Christmas. We enjoyed the detail of how Grandfather liked to recite stories and events and we enjoyed googling 'moxie' to find out whatever it was Grandma was drinking! After that we found the book which we thought was a memoir a bit flat. There were a co ...more
Karen Witzler
The crystalline fictional memory of this novella made me wake with tears on my face recalling my own grandparents. Reminds me a bit of A Month in the Country having a deeply poetic and salvific quality. Recommended for those melancholy and stress- filled days prior to the holiday.

...Days later, my mind is still filled by this book ..... for more on the one of the characters I highly recommend Hall's book for children also illustrated by Mary Azarian: The Man Who Lived Alone.

I will be exploring m
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comfort-books
A lovely novella about a boy visiting his grandparents' farm in New Hampshire during Christmas in 1940. Donnie helps with the chores, makes popcorn balls to decorate the tree, listens to his grandfather's stories and gets to attend the church's big Christmas party. On Christmas Day they have a feast -- everything but the salt and pepper came from the farm -- and they share more family stories.

This book brought back fond memories of Christmas visits to my grandparents' farm when I was young, and

Christmas at Eagle Pond – Donald Hall

4 stars

It’s a pleasant, 78- page trip into Christmas nostalgia that ends with a sleigh ride. Donald Hall has written a memory of a 1940’s Christmas on his Grandparent’s New Hampshire farm. It comes complete with a train ride, homemade meals, a Christmas pageant and presents. The interesting point about this little book is that Hall didn't ever spend a Christmas with his Grandparents. He has written a memory for himself and his readers to enjoy. And I did.

Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like holiday stories that make them smile
I had read some of Donald Hall's poetry and when this became available on Nook's "Daily Find" I decided it would make a nice addition to my holiday books. The way you should read this book is with snow falling outside, a fire in the fireplace, and a mug of hot chocolate in your hand. But it's still enjoyable with no snow, fire or hot chocolate. A sweet story of a long-ago New England Christmas (1940) with loving grandparents and a 12-year-old boy. The ending was predictable, but that didn't less ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
recovering just enough to sit with a pot of tea, a blanket and cat, this book which came in today's mail made me feel better for its sweet nostalgia. What I assumed was memoir turned out to be something more sad at the end. Lovely prose as always by the old master Donald Hall. Savor an hour with this small glimpse of the past.

Ken French
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A slip of a book, but as beautifully written as anything in Hall's magnificent career. ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1add-to-shelves
This was an unpretentious and delightful story full of vignettes and characters that are simple, yet remind me of the good people I grew up with and those I know now. The illustrations by Mary Azarian have the same deep quality. It is not a true story as Hall stated in the epilogue. He wrote it because it was a story he always wished had happened. And that makes it all the more poignant. This is my first Donald Hall book, but not my last.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a short novella about a young man’s/boy’s Christmas at his grandparent’s farm in 1940 it is literally just a slice of life, he talks about working on the farm and milking cows and talks with his grandfather it is a nice story but I guess I kept waiting for more to happen but nothing happens it is just a snippet of time that takes you back to a slower easier time. I liked the ending and could feel the snow and smell the farm, and I too wanted a ride in the sleigh.

I enjoyed the postscript
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
A simple, charming seasonal story, richer in description than plot, by a former Poet Laureate. As someone with my own fantasy about the ideal locale for a family Christmas (in my case, a cabin in the Rocky Mountains), I appreciated Hall's details. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford my own Christmas dream; for now, though, I might follow the author's lead and write it up from my imagination. ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brief and lovely, this story has all the ring-ting-ting-a-ling Christmas nostalgia and simplicity I love. This small volume will no doubt be given as a gift to more than one special someone on my Christmas list this year.
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a sweet little book with a scattering a beautiful illustrations. If you want to read a book about life on a farm in the 1940s at Christmas time then this is your book. Not much else to say about this book just pure and simple.

Beautiful and heartwarming.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Hall’s poetry and his prose about the New Hampshire farm where he spent most of his life. This is a lovely holiday read.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
A thoroughly average and forgettable memoir of a 1940 childhood Christmas visit to Hall’s grandparents’ farm in New Hampshire. He arrives by train, animals are fed, dinner is cooked, presents are opened, extended family are present, stories are exchanged, politics is lightly touched upon, and he goes home. This is simple American nostalgia.

Then, in the author’s note, we discover why this entire book is a cliche: Hall says that he didn’t actually spend the Christmas of 1940 at Eagle Pond. He had
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: too-cute
I LOVED this! What a cute little book to spend a gorgeous afternoon with during the holidays. Set in 1940 on grandparents farm, chores included, but with resounding pride in the work. Oh beautiful scenery in detailed words. What a childhood to have, but we must not romanticize the past too much. So Donald Hall does so with caution. I like his poems, but wish he had written more short prose as well during his life time. This little Christmas book is a real gem. From cover to cover, including the ...more
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-reads
This is not a plot-drive book. Rather it is a walk down memory lane. Based on mostly true events, the author recalls a different time (early 1940s)in a meandering recitation. Warm and friendly and you definitely get a glimpse into the past, but not an exciting read. Old sleds, sleighs, cars, plucking chickens, milking by hand, phone party lines, and more will be comfortingly familiar to some. Quick read.
John Mulholland
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me of the time I spent at my uncle Bill's farm. It was similar in that it was just a family farm that raised most everything that was eaten. I came on the scene in 1943 and went to the farm on and off the rest of my life. I remember feeding the chickens, churning butter, raking hay by hand and then pitching the hay on a wagon and then having to pitch it off from the wagon into the hay loft. Pure work! ...more
R J Mckay
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Christmas at Eagle Pond is a nostalgic look back to a young boys' Christmas at his Grandparents farm in 1940 rural New Hampshire. It is a wonderful look at a gentle bygone time when a World War II was feared, a radio brought the families entertainment, and a phone call was still a thing of wonder.

It is a great reminder of what should be important during the Christmas season.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The author (a former U.S. Poet Laureate no less) creates the childhood memory that he always wanted to have, a 1940 Christmas on his grandparents farm in rural New Hampshire. There isn't much to the story, but it's rich with vivid details of a time long gone. ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A warmly evocative imagining of poet/writer Donald Hall's Christmas in 1940.
Although Hall spent many summers at his grandparents' New Hampshire farm, he was never able to spend a Christmas there. In this novella, Hall creates that longed-for Christmas when he was 12 years old, drawing upon stories told to him by his mother, grandparents, and various other relatives. He crafts a wonderful tale of rural farm life where houses were still heated by woodstoves, electricity was a relatively new addit
Jen H
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a short read. A comfortable read. Nothing in it that I found exceptional or extraordinary. Every once in a while, I nodded my head in agreement, when I ran across a sentence I could identify with (as in “long distance calls were short because they were expensive” or words to that effect). And I loved the ending.

I only cried once. It was when I read the author’s note at the end. I’ll leave you to explore it on your own, but I will say this. His words at the end are why we who aspire to wri
Michele  Frazier
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donald always wished he had spent Christmas with his grandparents at their big farm. He spent a lot of summers there, but Christmas would have been magical. When his mother has an extended hospital stay, Donald is sent to his grandparents farm for a few days. Riding the train, sledding, the family's big horse, fireplaces, big old comfy blankets piled high in a cold bedroom, grandmother cooking on her wood stove, making popcorn balls for the tree, milking the cows, Christmas eve church services, ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Donald Hall has long been one of my favorite poets, and I picked this book up, thinking that I had read it before. I had not, and it is so lovely and poignant but not sentimental. Do yourself a favor and add this to your holiday reading, and don't pass on the epilogue. Magical.... ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A charming Christmas story, written as a memoir of the Christmas at his grandparents’ farm in the country that the author never was able to really have. A call out to Jessaka for bringing it to my attention. 3 1/2 stars.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable reading it for the second time; I read it first at Christmas 2014 when I was much younger. Donald Hall is a national treasure, and I love his novella devoted to describing a New England Christmas, which is a beloved part of American literature to me.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Child’s Christmas in Wales for the rural NE. Very nostalgic. Made me remember my own country winter memories.
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Donald Hall was an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He began writing as an adolescent and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at the age of sixteen—the same year he had his first work published. Donald Hall published numerous books of poetry. Besides poetry, Donald Hall wrote books on baseball, the sculptor Henry Moore, and the poet Marianne Moore. He was also the author ...more

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