Abigail sat by the Christmas tree. The lights twinkled through the branches and she patted one of the glittery red baubles gently with her paw. They’d hung a lot of chocolate decorations on the tree too, but most of them had disappeared. Abigail picked up another empty foil wrapper from the floor and scrunched it in her paw. When she’d asked the tiger, he’d said he didn’t know where the chocolate had gone and it definitely wasn’t him but Abigail didn’t believe him for a minute. He loved chocolate. Lifting up her other paw, she wound a piece of gold tinsel around it. She was sure there had been more tinsel, perhaps it had fallen off and she looked around. There it was, in a heap on the floor. As she reached for it, the heap moved and she jumped backwards. Two ears appeared.
‘Grigs what are you doing! There’s tinsel all around you!’
The ears twitched. ‘Very itchy, can’t get out.’
Abigail grabbed the end in her paw and pulled hard. The tiger shot up in the air and whirled around and around.
‘Whoa… feel sick.’ With a thud he landed on the ground.
‘Serves you right,’ said Abigail, picking up the pile of tinsel and winding it around her like a scarf, ‘I don’t know how you keep managing to get tangled up in things.’
‘What’s he done now?’ The polar padded into the room. ‘Have you written your Christmas lists? You know for Santa?’
‘Who’s Santa?’ asked Abigail, suspiciously, ‘and why can’t they write their own list?’
Patrick giggled. ‘Santa’s the one who brings us presents, something you want for Christmas. He drives a big sleigh, pulled by reindeer.’
Abigail tilted her head on one side. ‘Right,’ she said slowly, sleigh, reindeer.’
‘Yes, but you need to post your list to him soon otherwise he won’t know what you want.’
Wrinkling her nose Abigail looked at him hard, she wasn’t sure she believed him at all. But… she supposed there was no harm in writing one, there were some things she wanted and she clambered to her paws. ‘I’ll get us some paper.’
Sitting on the chair, Abigail thought hard, tapping the pen too and fro. Bouncing up behind her, Grigs looked over her shoulder. ‘What’s that?’
‘It’s my list to Santa,’ said Abigail airily, adding another line, ‘it’s what I want for Christmas.’
‘Gold…’ the tiger peered at it closely, ‘m..a..r..b..l..e..s. Lots.’
‘Yes,’ sniffed Abigail, ‘glittery gold ones, I saw them in a book and I really want some.’
‘I’d like some chocolate,’ said Grigs.
‘Why. You’ve eaten all the ones on the tree.’
‘Have not!’ said the tiger, ‘haven’t eaten any. Didn’t even know they were there.’
Abigail looked at him. ‘Really..well someone has.’
Looking up at the ceiling Grigs shook his head. ‘Probably melted. Happens all the time.’
Abigail waved an empty foil wrapper at him and the tiger blinked innocently.
Clambering up onto the chair, Patrick picked up Abigail’s list. ‘There’s a lot here, it’s meant to be just what you really want.’
‘Well I want all of it,’ said Abigail snatching the list back, ‘you didn’t say how much to write.’
‘Well just make sure you know what’s important, are the marbles your favourite?’
‘Yes,’ said Abigail, patting the top of the paper fondly, ‘they’re very shiny.’
Patrick nodded, ‘well if you’ve finished..’ he pulled the paper towards him.
Abigail held on tightly and pulled back.
The polar pulled back more firmly, ‘I said if you’ve finished.. and I think you have. It’s three pages long for goodness sake, then we can post it.’
Abigail let go suddenly and with a yelp Patrick shot backwards off of the chair and into the wall.
‘There,’ she said brightly, helping him up, ‘I’ve finished. You can both write your lists and then we can post them. Hurry up.’
Paisley and Preston sat under the seat on the bus, a big bag between them.
‘Almost our stop,’ said Paisley, ‘give me your paw in case you trip and we can get off. I’ll walk you to the house so you get there safely and then I’ll be off.’
With a resigned sigh Preston held out his paw.
Walking past Preston’s bedroom Abigail paused. The door was open and his bed neatly made, the blue blanket laid across the bottom. Padding in, she straightened it out with her paw and sniffed. Stupid bear to go away, she didn’t miss him at all. None of them did, she was sure of it. With a heavy sigh she wandered down the stairs and climbed up onto the window ledge looking out onto the path. They’d posted their letters to Santa ages ago but there was no sign of any presents, she really wanted her marbles. The gate creaked open and she ducked behind the curtain, it must be the post. Peering out she blinked. Was that… No.. surely not… Could it be…. ‘Patrick!’ she shouted, ‘Grigs!’ Quick it’s Preston. He’s come back!’
Scampering down the hall Patrick jumped up onto the radiator and yanked open the door. There on the path was Preston, three Christmas presents in front of him.
‘Preston!’ Patrick squeaked, then he coughed, ‘I mean, Preston, so you’ve come back.’ He shrugged, ‘you can if you want to of course, I mean we don’t mind, one way or the other. You know, I mean.. whatever.’
Preston nodded and cleared his throat. ‘I got you some Christmas presents, from your lists.’
‘How did you know?’ asked Grigs suspiciously. ‘You’re not Santa.’
‘Oh you know,’ said Preston tapping his nose, I have my ways.’
Leaning forward the tiger sniffed one of them, ‘smells like…’ his licked his lips. ‘Chocolate!’
‘Might be,’ said Preston. He pushed one of the others towards Abigail. It rattled gently. ‘And this is for you, something important that you wanted.’
Standing up on the tips of her paws Abigail blinked. Stretching out both paws she ran forward, straight past the presents knocking them aside. Scooping Preston up, she pulled both Patrick and Grigs into the hug too and sighed happily. ‘I’ve got exactly what I wanted. Welcome home Preston, and happy Christmas…’