Christmas was around the corner. Almost everyone in the neighbourhood was busy getting ready to celebrate the festival.
But Sara was upset and was in no mood to celebrate. Sara used to celebrate Christmas with her mother every year and enjoyed helping her mom bake cakes for their family and friends. Her mom had passed away about six months ago and the festival only reminded her of her mother more than ever.
Every year, Sara would ask for something or the other from Santa Claus. Sara’s grandpa would buy whatever Sara wished for and would keep it for her under the Christmas tree a few days before Christmas.
Sara would think that Santa himself had dropped by and left those gifts for her.
Sara sat on the sofa with her teddy bear looking sad.
Grandpa saw her sitting there and came to her and asked, “What’s the matter, Sara? Why do you look so sad?”
Sara burst into tears and said, “I keep thinking about mom. And I heard that dad is getting a step-mom for me now. But I want my own mom. I am going to ask for my own mom from Santa this year. I want to meet Santa Claus.”
Sara’s grandpa felt sorry for her. He hugged her and wiped away her tears.
Grandpa decided that on Christmas day, he himself would dress up as Santa Claus and talk to Sara about her step-mom.
Next day was Christmas. In the evening, Sara sat under the Christmas tree, waiting for Santa Claus. She had a feeling that Santa would indeed turn up.
Soon, Sara’s grandpa, dressed up like Santa Claus, arrived at their home.
She was overjoyed to see him.
Sara ran towards him and asked, “I was sure that you would come. But where’s my mom?”
Santa said, “Sara, I can’t bring your mom. But you’re going to get a new mom. And you will find your own mom in her too.”
“But I’ve heard that step-moms are bad. My friends told me the story of Cinderella, and even in that, the stepmom was such a bad person,” said Sara.
“No, Sara, not all step-moms are bad. I have met your new mom. She’s a kind person. You can teach her your favourite dishes and play games with her. You may want to know what she likes and do those things with her too. Give her a chance and see,” said Santa, before leaving.
Sara took Santa’s words to heart. When Sara’s new mom came, Sara and she took their time to know each other.
Over time, Sara accepted her as her own mother. Not a step-mom; she became like her real mom.
Sara’s grandpa was overjoyed to see Sara’s bonding with her step-mom. He felt that the family was complete.
The residents of Silver Forest were eagerly awaiting their king, Leo, the lion’s announcement that came a few days before Christmas every year.
Next day, the king called everyone and said, “As you all know, every year we select one animal among us to be Santa Claus. So please start preparations, as only two days are left for us to decide who will be the Santa this year.”
For the animals, being Santa Claus was a matter of honour. Everyone began preparing for the competition. Some started decorating their houses, while others started dressing up smartly.
Piku, the peacock, was drying his feathers after taking a bath. Suddenly, he heard a voice.
“Help me! I can’t carry this bag alone!”
Piku looked out to see who it was. An old and dark animal was carrying a heavy bag on his shoulders and was saying, “Please help me! I can’t carry this bag by myself.”
“Help? I’m sorry, but please ask someone else. This bag is so heavy and dirty as well. I have just taken a bath. I don’t want to get dirty again,” said Piku, declining to help him.
“My house isn’t far. Please help me. I’m too old to take this bag,” pleaded the animal.
“I just said no. Can’t you hear me?” said Piku, losing his temper. “Now get moving from here. I’m preparing for the competition to become Santa Claus. Don’t disturb me!”
The animal walked away sorrowfully. Some distance away, he came across Hinni, the deer.
“Please help me! I can’t carry this bag anymore,” the animal cried out. Hinni saw that an old animal was asking for help, but declined. “Please ask someone else. Can’t you see I’m busy preparing for the Santa Claus competition? I’ve just applied the cream on my body. If I help you now, the cream will get dirty and my skin will not shine anymore,” said Hinni, and turned away.
Suddenly, Dabbu, the donkey arrived at the scene. He was passing by and stopped on hearing the old animal’s cry for help.
“Let me help you,” he said. Dabbu took the bag from the old animal.
“Yes, please help him out,” said Hinni, laughing. “Anyway, who’ll choose you to be Santa Claus?”
Dabbu did feel bad, but he chose to ignore her.
“Careful! The bag’s quite heavy!” said the old animal to Dabbu.
“Not a problem,” said Dabbu.
“And it’s dirty as well.”
“Don’t worry! I will wash it afterwards,” said Dabbu, smiling at him. “Where is your house?”
“It’s quite far. You can put the bag down if you want. I’ll ask someone else for help,” said the old animal.
“Don’t worry at all. Let’s go,” said Dabbu, and started walking behind him.
After walking some distance, they arrived near an old house.
“Please keep the bag down here,” said the old animal. “Thank you so much!”
As Dabbu was about to leave, the old animal called out, “Haven’t you prepared for the Santa Claus competition?”
“Who will make me Santa Claus? Neither am I good looking nor do I have any special skill,” saying that Dabbu left.
Dabbu then went and cleaned his house and set up a Christmas tree.
That night, all the animals, including Dabbu, gathered on the ground to hear the results of the competition.
“This time I’ll surely be Santa,” said Piku, spreading his feathers. “Who’s more beautiful than me?”
Everyone admired Piku’s beautiful and colourful feathers.
“You’re really handsome,” some of the animals complimented him.
“Oh, but wait till you’ve seen me! Look how fair I look,” said Hinni, the deer. Everyone turned to her.
“Yes, yes, you too could be Santa Claus,” said the other animals. Hinni was elated.
“Hey, even Dabbu has come! You’ve come just as you are, Dabbu. You should at least have dressed up,” said Piku, laughing at him.
“He’ll never change!” said Hinni, laughing as well.
“Friends!” said Leo, their king from the stage. “The results this year can come as a shock to all of you. This time our Santa Claus is…”
Piku and Hinni both were ready to go on to the stage.
“…Dabbu!” Leo announced.
“What?” everyone at the gathering, including Dabbu himself, was shocked. Leo knew that all the animals were asking why.
“Please Dabbu,” Leo said. “Come up to the stage.”
“All of you must be wondering why Dabbu and no one else can be a better Santa than him. He is kind and helpful. He helped a weak and old animal who was refused help by many others.” Saying this, Leo narrated the whole story.
“But how can you be so sure that Dabbu actually helped out that old animal? It sounds like a made-up story,” said Romy, the squirrel.
“He’s right! He’s right!” said a few others in support.
“No, it’s not a story. Because that animal was me,” said Leo.
Everyone was quiet.
“Yes,” said Leo. “I had set out in disguise to search for this year’s Santa Claus.”
All the animals praised king Leo for his smart decision.
“We’re sorry for being rude, Dabbu,” said Piku and Hinni. “You truly deserve to be Santa Claus.”
“Yes, Dabbu, I wish we realised our mistake sooner,” said Hinni.
“Forget it, friends,” said Dabbu. “Come, let’s celebrate Christmas together!”
Everyone cried out in joy, “Merry Christmas!”
All the animals in the forest were preparing to celebrate Christmas. Everyone was happy and cheerful.
Except Coco, the crow who was perched on a tree with his friend, Minnie, the squirrel. He was sad, and was thinking, “Neither do I have any gift to give anyone nor does anyone like my continuous cawing.”
“What’s the matter?” Minnie asked. “Why are you sad?”
Coco told how he felt.
Minnie said, “No, you’re wrong! Everyone likes you.”
Coco said, “No, you don’t understand. All the other birds are colourful. They sing sweetly. But both my colour and voice are bad.”
Minnie started thinking about Coco’s words. The trees in the forest were beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Coco was so lost in thought about himself that he did not see the beauty around him. Minnie wished that Coco could see the beauty around him and forget his worries.
Coco was thinking, “I wish I wasn’t so black and ugly, and I too had a sweet voice like the other birds.”
Minnie tried explaining again, “You are so young. All the elderly crows are considered to be wise. Your nests are so clean and beautiful. And you eat up all the insects in the fields and help the farmers too.”
Coco waved his wings and said, “What’s so special about that?”
“Not for you maybe, but it is very helpful for the farmers,” said Minnie as she jumped up and sat on a higher branch.
“All right,” said Coco and went and sat beside her.
Minnie said, “Don’t overthink about your colour and your voice. They are not as important as you think.”
“Even I don’t like sitting in despair during the holiday season. I can hear nice music playing all around. I really wish I could sing!” said Coco.
Minnie replied, “Why are you so afraid of your own voice? Everyone knows how your voice sounds since you were born.”
“In Brazil, they cook chicken and rice during Christmas. The songs and music make even the turkeys dance in joy. In France, they decorate the Christmas trees with balloons, ribbons and lights. All the animals celebrate and enjoy themselves in the moonlight. In Germany, the party is kick-started by piglets and then by the opening of gifts. There is happiness everywhere,” said Minnie.
“How do you know all this?” Coco asked Minnie.
Minnie continued, “Christmas is the time to dance, sing, eat, make merry and have fun. It’s not for being sad like this.”
Coco was beginning to understand Minnie’s words. It was true that Christmas was time to be happy.
He too should mingle with all and enjoy himself.
“You’re right, Minnie,” he said. “I too shall celebrate Christmas with everyone and have a lot of fun.”
“That’s the spirit!” smiled Minnie. “Ticktock, tick-tock… Soon it’ll be Christmas day. Come, let’s enjoy ourselves!”
Coco spread his wings, looked to his left and to his right, and tried crying out in a sweet voice. But instead of his horrible cawing, he indeed cried out in a sweet voice, “Merry Christmas!”
Soon, the whole forest was celebrating the festival. They began singing, dancing and greeting each other. Merry Christmas to all!
The month of December was on and it was very cold in the forest. The animals and birds were worried. Winter seemed to be very severe this year. There were only a few days left for Christmas and preparations had to begin.
Tilu, the starling sitting on the tree asked, “Brother Goru, how is the preparation for the Christmas coming along?”
“It has not started as yet. Owing to the severe cold nothing could be arranged,” said Goru, the bear.
“It is always cold during Christmas, why are we afraid of it? We should start preparing for it,” said Tilu.
“It’s true. Christmas is a winter festival, then why are we afraid of the cold? Come let us start its preparation from today. Spread the news to everyone in the forest,” said Goru.
“Good, I will inform everyone,” said Tilu and flew off. She conveyed Goru’s message to most of the animals. The mere mention of Christmas spread a wave of happiness.
Harshilvan was known for it’s unique Christmas celebrations. Everyone helped and the idea was always new. The food and drinks were of different varieties and that is why Goru had informed everyone in advance. The plan was discussed in everyone’s house in the forest.
Tina, the doe was expert in making cakes, while Peelu, the peacock was good in making a Christmas tree. Every year they would decorate the tree in a new way and provide delicious cakes to eat. Some would sing and others dance.
As the festival approached the winter became more severe. Everyone was finding it difficult to work and was worried how they would celebrate Christmas this year.
Peelu made all arrangements to decorate the Christmas tree. He also chose the tree. It had to be fixed in the ground in front of the house. Everyone’s eyes were focused on the season. It was becoming colder.
Peelu and Goru fixed the Christmas tree two days before the festival. It was snowing on Christmas morning. No one went out in the snow. The birds sought shelter in their nests.
A thick blanket of snow was spread out everywhere. The plants and trees were covered with snow. Goru did not like to sit at home on a festival. He came out of his house as he could not stay in any longer and called out to all his friends. They wished each other a Merry Christmas. “How will we celebrate Christmas this year?” Teju, the monkey asked. “The Christmas tree is completely covered with snow,” said Tinku, the jackal. “What difference does it make? Are you all ready to celebrate Christmas?” Goru asked.
“Yes! All of us are ready.” Everyone replied in unison.
“You know we celebrate Christmas in a different way every year. This time the snow has given us this opportunity to do something unique,” said
“We have not understood what you said? they asked.”
“Together we will make a Christmas tree of snow,” explained Goru.
“That is a good idea,” said Tinku.
“But how will a tree be made out of snow? We can gather snow and make a mound but not a tree,” said Teju.
“You make a mound and we will change it into a tree,” Goru said. The others could not understand anything that has been told. The branch that had been fixed for the Christmas tree two days ago was now completely covered with snow, and it was still snowing. Everyone helped in gathering the snow and heaped it up to form a mound.
“Make it as high as possible,” said Goru.
All of them made it as high as they could. Meanwhile, all the animals came there. On the instructions of Goru, Teju brought Honey, the horse. Goru explained something which made Teju happy. He climbed up a branch and shaped the mound into a Christmas tree. He cut the pile of snow and gave it the shape of a tree.
“Wow! This is a beautiful snow tree,” exclaimed Chutki, the doe.
“But how will we decorate it?” asked Tinku.
“It can be decorated with plastic flowers and toys,” said Goru.
“Come let us tell Peelu,” said Teju.
“But he cannot come here,” Honey said.
“His feathers will get wet”.
“Their feathers get wet in the rain, not in snow,” explained Goru. Besides their feathers are so slippery that neither snow nor rain can stay on them…”
Peelu joined them within a few moments. Following his example, many birds came out of their nests. All of them decorated the tree with great enthusiasm. The bright white Christmas tree looked very beautiful.
The animals of the forest assembled to celebrate Christmas even in the snow. Everyone was happy. They had not imagined celebrating Christmas in this manner. By then Tina had also come there with the cake.
“Tina, what have you made this time?”
“Look at it!” said Tina and opened the box. It was filled with cakes in the form of small round white balls. Everyone enjoyed eating them. Then all of them made snowballs and hit each other with them. They had never enjoyed so much in the snow before.
Everyone celebrated Christmas together, sang songs and danced. No one felt the cold, but they were filled with the warmth of the festivities. Christmas was being celebrated by all.
It was very cold outside, but everyone’s face was lit with happiness. It was Christmas!
There was a lot of hustle and bustle at Lucy’s house. Lucy had a box full of toys. At night everyone at home wished each other ‘Merry Christmas.
At midnight there were a few soft whispers from the toy box. A red coloured toy train came out and said, “I am going out for a trip around the house for Christmas. If anyone wants a ride, he can take a ticket and get into the compartment.” Mickey, the puppy became the conductor of the train. He wore a black coat and stood outside the compartment blowing his whistle.
Sweety, the sparrow came out from the midst of the toys and said, “A ride through the house on the Christmas train! This is a good idea.” She flew over and settled near Mickey.
“Mickey, give me a ticket,” she said.
She took the ticket and took her seat.
Rob, the elephant’s sleep was disturbed on hearing the chatter. “Are you all going somewhere?”
“Yes, we are taking a ride on the Christmas train. But you will need two tickets, in order to get on the train.” Sweety laughed and said.
“Sweety you should not say such things. My compartments are so big that Rob can easily fit in them,” the train boasted.
Rob was happy to hear this. He immediately adjusted his specs and went to Mickey. The puppy felt like teasing Rob. He said, “If the train does not start then you will have to get down and push it.”
“Hey! Why will I have to push it alone? Everyone will get down and push it,” he said. He entered the train and took the back seat. He felt very sleepy.
Harsha, the cow, Soni, the ant, Pia, the squirrel, Cherry, the mouse, Bantu, the monkey all boarded the train the same way. The train had just started when Lottu, the fox boarded the train.
Everyone was frightened when they saw him because he was wicked.
“Eh Sweety! Move from here, otherwise, beware” he said.
“Why should I move? I have a ticket and I sat here first, therefore no one can move me from here” said Sweety.
“How dare you defy me!” Lottu said angrily, he pulled Sweety’s feather. She cried out in pain.
“That is hooliganism Lottu. You should be ashamed.” Harsha, the cow said in anger. “Since you came in last, you get the last remaining seat.”
The fox, however, did not listen.
Baring his teeth, he said, “You stop your nonsense or I will bite off your tail.” The animals sat down quietly. The speed of the train increased. It was going to the garden through the kitchen. All the animals had got into the train comfortably, but their fun was ruined because of the fox. Rob was sleeping snugly, unaware of all that was going.
Suddenly Bantu had an idea. He went to Lottu.
“Leave this seat. This is my friend’s place. He will crush you if he gets angry,” threatened the monkey.
The fox was angry. “Let him come! Where is he?” asked the fox.
“He is sleeping in the back seat.”
It was dark at the back. Agitated Lottu went there and without seeing Rob he sank his teeth in his body. However, due to the elephant’s thick skin, his teeth broke. Rob woke up from his deep slumber. He was very angry at being roused from his sleep. Before Lottu realised anything, he wrapped the fox with his snout and threw him out of the train.
There was a pool in the garden filled with water. Lottu fell in it.
“This was fun.” All the animals shouted together. There was a Christmas tree in the garden with colourful lights on its leaves.
“What a sight,” Rob uttered unexpectedly. “I slept off in vain.”
“How would we have gotten rid of the fox if you had not slept?” Bantu said, and all the animals started laughing celebrating the Christmas spirit.
Christmas was around the corner. The forest was buzzing with activity. Like the other festivals, Raja Singh, the tiger celebrated this festival with a great deal of funfair. This time he announced a unique competition-the best-decorated tree would win a prize.
Everyone got busy with the preparations. The shops that sold decorations were crowded. The animals bought beautiful expensive things so that they could win the prize.
Minnie, the squirrel had also taken part in this competition. However, unlike the others, instead of buying decorative things, she was collecting old items from everyone’s house.
Sometimes she would pick an old bulb, at times an old bottle from the garbage. Sometimes she would collect pieces of broken bangles or gathered leftover cloth pieces from the tailor’s shop. Everyone made fun of her.
Christmas day arrived and everyone brought their beautifully decorated trees to the venue. Raja Singh dressed as Santa Claus and distributed gifts to everyone. They ate different kinds of cakes and puddings. All sang and danced together.
Soon it was time to announce the winner of the competition. Raja Singh looked at all the Christmas trees very carefully and gave the prize to Minnie.
Everyone was disappointed by this decision. The King explained, “Look carefully at Minnie’s tree. She has made the tree herself from waste materials.
She has made a fish, boat and puppet from old plastic bottles according to their size and covered them with paper and leftover cloth pieces. She has made small toys out of pieces of bangles, thermocol and mud, coloured them and put them on the tree.
Today our greatest problem is excessive garbage. It piles up in many places. Germs, mosquitoes and flies, they are everywhere because of this. Soon the world will be covered with garbage.
We should segregate paper and plastic and reuse them. Make manure out of fruit and vegetable peels by burying them in the ground. Then this problem can be tackled.
All of you have decorated your trees beautifully, but Minnie’s tree is different. She recycled things and made something beautiful. Hence, she deserves the prize.”