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Set for Santa


by charmedhorses

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If anyone loved Christmas, Charmedhorses and her Uni, Indipsi did. And if there was reason to celebrate, it was at Christmas. This was the only time it felt as if the whole community was a part of something. Sure, fundraisers helped form unity, but there was nothing quite like hanging brilliantly bright light and decorating festive trees to bring a place and its people together.

      This year Charmed and Indipsi were going full out. They were going to turn their entire hill of property into a rightful place of holiday cheer. In years past they had put in a great deal of effort, that was true, but this year was going to be the best ever. Indipsi was finally at the age where she loved Christmas almost as much as her owner, and Charmedhorses was thrilled to share such an important occasion with her beloved Uni.

      "What do you think?" Charmed asked Indi. She stood in front of a white board with their land plotted out upon it and a proposed map of decorations.

      "We need more Raindorfs," Indipsi said, scrunching up her nose quizzically as she inspected the design. "And look here," she pointed, "we need more snow."

      "Snow's expensive, Indi," Charmed reminded her Uni. "It doesn't usually snow in Neopia Central, so we're going to have to bring it in all the way from Happy Valley."

      "But this is the year," Indipsi argued. "The year we'll always remember for our Christmas cheer."

      "And how long have we got left until the big day?" Charmed inquired.

      "Exactly two days, sixteen hours, fourteen minutes, and thirty-two seconds," Indi said, glaring at their enemy, a timer set to count down the days until Christmas.

      "That should give us just enough time to get everything ready for Santa's visit."

      "If all goes as planned."

      "Okay, let's get to work then," Charmed said. "On the agenda today- cut and decorate a Christmas tree."

      "Precisely," Indi agreed. "In ten minutes we need to be out the door."

      With that the two broke up their discussion to get ready in their respective rooms. Exactly nine minutes and forty-five seconds later they were out again and ready to race outside.

      "It sure is a good thing you're on winter vacation," Charmedhorses said, as they paced easily down the hill they lived on and toward the back of their property where a large grove of evergreens was planted.

      "Tell me about it," Indipsi replied. "You'd never be able to get all this done alone."

      Charmed laughed. "Are you going to do the honors this year?" The girl was holding a chopping device in her hand, which they used annually for the cutting of their chosen Christmas tree.

      "Do you think I'm ready?" Indipsi asked, touched by her owner's offer.

      "Why, of course," Charmed assured her.

      Indipsi beamed with delight and the two walked in silence the rest of the way. However, when they arrived at the orchard of big, beautiful trees the silence was broken and the pair quickly got to their jobs. Slowly, they walked between each row of vegetation, measuring, examining, and searching for the perfect tree.

      "What about this one?" Indipsi inquired. The young Uni was still learning the tricks of the trade and didn't have quite the eye her owner did, but she was on her way.

      Upon her Uni's question, Charmed came over and stood before the large tree. "Hmmm, good height," she said, standing tall beside it so as to measure it against herself. "It would fit nicely in the living room." Once the question of height was determined, Charmed felt the leaves. "Good. Not too dry. We don't want our Christmas tree browning before the big day." Then the final test- a stroll around the tree to make sure it was well rounded. Charmed walked slowly, looking the it up and down. She had made it three-fourths of the way around when she said, "Aha. See this separation of branches? This gap? That just won't do."

      Indi came over too see for herself. "Oh, I hadn't noticed that."

      "Don't worry, it was a good try," Charmed comforted. "But what we want is the perfect Christmas tree. Especially this year. Why don't we take a look down at the other end."

      Charmed and Indipsi continued examining, searching relentlessly but finding nothing. Then Charmed stopped. She was stunned. "Indipsi, come quick," she called.

      The baby Uni did so and upon her arrival froze in place, caught by the perfection of the little evergreen.

      "Care to inspect?" Charmed offered. It was customary that when one of them found a tree the other had to examine it.

      Indipsi nodded and first looked up at the height. "Well, it's a little short, but with a star on top it won't be so noticeable." She felt the bristles. "Not dry at all. In very good health." Then for the final test. Indi walked slowly around the tree, gazing up and down for any little flaw she could find. She made it all the way around and announced, "This is the one."

      "Good work," Charmed nodded in approval. "Now for the ceremonial cutting of the Christmas tree." Charmed handed Indi a small ax, meant solely for this purpose.

      Indipsi took the tool in her hoof, admiring all that it stood for. The Uni stooped down and with a quick and painless cut, the tree fell into the waiting arms of Charmedhorses.

      "Now to get this home," Charmed said.

      Indipsi took the tree's stump, while her owner held the top and in this fashion the pair carried it all the way to their Neohome, where they proceeded to decorate it in good old holiday decor.

      With the next day dawned part two of Indi and Charmed's three part holiday preparations. Part two was putting up lighting.

      "Okay. We're going to divide up everything we need done, right?" Charmed asked. They had planned a lot of decorations and would need to use their time wisely if they were going to get them all ready in time.

      "Yup," Indipsi assured her owner. "I'm going to go to the store and buy the lights and other accessories we need while you put up what we already have back here."

      "Sounds good," Charmed said. "Now there's no time to lose, let's get to work!"

      Indipsi got ready in a blur and was out of the door in no time, eager to get the lights and hold up her part of the Christmas celebration. In her hoof she carried a list of everything she was out to buy, which included such necessities as five plastic Raindorfs, a blow up Santa Clause, and fifteen strands of multicolored lights.

      Meanwhile, it was Charmed's job not only to hang what they already had, but to fly in their order of snow from Happy Valley. Trekking it in would be much too hard, so Charmed had arranged for it to be flown in by a few Eyries who worked for the snow manufacturers. They were expected to arrive while Indi was gone shopping.

      As one might have guessed, the shops were a zoo when Indipsi came to her destination. The local yard store, which carried the most popular decorations, was a madhouse and Indipsi faced a struggle just to get through the door.

      Having realized that it would be pointless to even attempt to ram her way through the crowds that lined the aisles and then carry the eons of merchandise that she intended to buy all the way back to the checkout counter, Indi vouched for a much simpler option. She asked for help.

      "Excuse me?" Indipsi stood in front of a corner counter labeled with a large question mark. "Can you help me?"

      "Of course," a Wocky behind the counter said kindly. "What is it you need today?"

      "Well, a lot actually. My owner and I are putting up Christmas decorations and we still need a few more things."

      "Alright, is that a list you've got there?" The attendant, whose nametag named her as Daffodil asked, eying the slip of paper in Indi's hoof.

      Indipsi nodded and handed it to her.

      "Let's see," Daffodil's eyes ticked down the list. "It seems you're going all out this year. An inflatable Santa Claus? Oh my. Well let's see what I can find for you. Please wait here."

      Indipsi thanked her and did as she was asked. When the Wocky returned, however, Indi was startled to see that she had only filled a couple of carts with items.

      "I'm so sorry to have to tell you this," Daffodil began, "but we only have three plastic Raindorfs and we're all out of inflatable Santas."

      Indipsi's jaw dropped and she gasped in horror. What would that do to their plans? Three Raindorfs instead of five…they'd have to recalculate…

      "What do I owe you?" Indi hurriedly paid the Wocky and then thrust her way through the many incomers to drag her heavy load home. This was a disaster.

      When Indipsi arrived home she found that things had gone little better for her owner. Though the Uni was sure that her owner had put up decorations, none could be seen and it was only once Indipsi stepped on a fallen candy cane that she found a trace of them.

      "Indi! Thank goodness you're back!" Charmed came streaking toward her. "Look at this mess! It's a disaster! Remember how we ordered extra snow? Well this is what we got! Everything's buried! Please tell me you have good news."

      "Sorry, Charmed," Indi said dismally. "They were out of inflatable Santas and only had three Raindorfs left."

      Charmedhorses sighed. "Well, we'll deal with what we have. Tomorrow's another day and we're bound to do better at baking."

      They could hope, but no such luck. Part three of Charmed and Indi's holiday decorations came with a torrent of smoke.

      "I thought you said you knew how to bake cookies!" Indipsi hollered at her owner, the only way to be heard over the banging of pots and pans.

      "I thought I did, but apparently I missed something," Charmed yelled back. "What about you? Don't they teach you anything in Neoschool?"

      Charmedhorses was a mess, her brown hair tied back in a low ponytail, now dusted with flour, and her face splattered with batter. Her baby Uni was no better, with sprinkles interspersed amongst her mane and her pale pink coat made even paler by flour.

      "How long are they supposed to be on fire for?" Indipsi shot back.

      Indi and Charmed had been attempting to make gingerbread cookies, but things had gone terribly awry around the time that Charmedhorses had placed them over a burning fire in an attempt to go "old fashioned".

      "I've heard cookies taste richer when they're baked this way," she had said.

      Indipsi raised an eyebrow at her owner, questioning the technique, but had wanted the cookies just right for Santa. Perhaps old fashioned was right up his alley. In any case, the pan had tipped off its support and the cookies were smothered under the fire.

      "Stop, drop, and roll!" Indipsi had warned them, but it was of no use. Those that had been salvaged were burnt to a crisp.

      By the time Indipsi and Charmed got things under control, it was dusk. Not to mention Christmas Eve. The night they had been waiting and preparing for had finally come.

      "So much for our best Christmas ever," Indipsi sighed.

      "What a disaster," Charmed agreed.

      "I don't think I can stay on my hooves any longer," Indi said wearily. "I'm going to bed. Poor Santa. I wanted to do him proud."

      "Wait," Charmed stopped her Uni before she went any further. "Aren't you going to put out his milk and cookies?"

      "Why?" Indipsi asked. "All the cookies are burnt."

      "So? I'm sure he'll appreciate the thought."

      "Haven't you heard the song?" Indipsi retorted. "Santa sees everything. He knows what happened. He'll know I was thinking of him."

      "Go on," Charmed urged. "Leave him some."

      "Fine," Indi said, discouragement still evident in her voice. She carried a plate of cookies and a glass of milk to a coffee table in the living room and left it with a note to Santa: Sorry things didn't turn out as planned, then retired to her room.

      The next morning both Charmed and Indipsi slorggishly made their way to the living room to see what lay beneath their Christmas tree. Indipsi had already passed the coffee table when she did a double take and realized that the milk and cookies were gone. "Charmed!" Indipsi exclaimed. "Santa was here!"

      "Of course he was," Charmed laughed. "Look at all those presents."

      "No, I mean he ate the milk and cookies!"

      "He did?"

      "Yeah, and look here," Indipsi held up a small scroll of paper with a message written on it in red ink:

      My dear Indipsi, one shouldn't get discouraged so easily. Christmas is a time of celebration not stress. I was pleased as plum sauce to see what you had done. How did you know that burnt cookies are my favorite? Just because things don't come out as planned doesn't mean they're ruined. A merry Christmas to you. Love, Santa.

      "On second thought, this Christmas didn't turn out too bad after all," Indipsi smiled.

THE END

Author's Note: I'd just like to thank you for reading and wish you a very happy holiday! Christmas has always been special to me because of the spirit that goes with it, and I hope that no matter what holiday you celebrate it goes wonderfully well.

 
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