A Different Christmas Story
You'd think the Haunted Woods would stay gloomy year round. You'd think dark, abandoned graveyards would meet you at every corner no matter what day it was. You'd think that after Halloween, the most celebrated holiday in the Woods, everyone would pack up and get onto their normal schedules until next year.
Well, you'd be wrong.
Charles Svanshabbeny IV was your everyday Lenny in the Haunted Woods. Besides his outstanding white color, he blended in with everyone else. Charles' residence was held in the small area of Noxtown, named for its impeccable view and proximity to Castle Nox. It looked like your stereotypical Haunted Woods town, small rackety houses, dark unoccupied roads, and most importantly, a rather colorful community. Being slightly cut off from the main part of the woods, it attracted many personalities. Many of these were out of the normal.
"Good evening, Timothy. How's the Woods treating you this evening?" Charles asked, geared towards a seemingly abandoned house. After a few moments, a childish-looking Meerca peeked out the door.
"Evening? It's the morning of course, Charles. Stop being so foolish. I've been sitting here watching the sun come out from the horizon! It's morning, of course," the Meerca chattered, staring at the last of the sun setting behind Castle Nox. The Meerca then scampered back into his home, slamming the door.
Charles continued into the town, greeting the various inhabitants. He worked at the graveyard in the main part of the Haunted Woods, keeping his keen eye out for various vandalizers. He left the job at sunset, returning home to Noxtown. Charles lived across from the town hall in a large home he inherited from his grandfather. Charles had originally lived in Brightvale, taking up a sophisticated job as a scholar. But after Eliv Thade had gone insane, his grandfather fled the Haunted Woods and was never found. He decided to take up the home and has lived in the Haunted Woods since then.
Charles opened the gate and was just about to walk into his door as he was interrupted by a Korbat standing at the gate desperately trying to get his attention.
"Charles! Where are you going? The town meeting's tonight! Didn't you have something to propose?" the Korbat asked.
He turned around and smiled warmly at the sight of his friend. "Ah, Cedric! It's wonderful to see you again. I guess I hadn't realized how late it's become. Let us go," he said, greeting Cedric and turning to follow him to the hall. After passing through the gate, Charles followed Cedric across the road up to a much different looking building that changed the whole atmosphere. It was rather large and made of brick, unlike the other homes. It was lit nicely, and had pearl white pillars standing on either side of the entrance.
"Lennies first," Cedric said, moving to the side. Charles glanced at him with a quick nod and walked in. The rest of the town was already there, and greeted them warmly.
"Charles! It's about time! We have to start late because of you. Sit down now," a plump Bruce said. It was standing at a podium at the front of the room, impatiently waiting to begin.
The Bruce straightened the papers lying on the podium, then began to read the first page. "Well, first on the agenda, I feel that Noxtown is lacking quite a bit of charisma lately. We need... pizzazz! So, I decided to open this up to the community. What should we do to add a bit of... enjoyment to our town? Any ideas?"
Instantly, ideas shot out of mouths so fast and loudly that it was impossible to single out one voice.
"Let's turn off all the lights!"
"I say we cover the whole town in a giant, black sheet!"
"Let's egg Nox's Castle!"
"Well, I think I may have an idea," Charles said, rising to his feet. Everyone ceased talking to stare at him. He shrank back into his seat in embarrassment.
"Well, what is it?" Cedric questioned.
"I think we should do something different this year. The Haunted Woods seems so... depressing around these times. I think we should change it up, maybe do something that's REALLY fun, that's REALLY exciting! I think we should celebrate Christmas!"
Everyone in the room gasped. They started whispering to each other, keeping their eyes on Charles.
"Look, it was only an idea! In Brightvale we do this kind of stuff every year! We decorate houses, put up trees, make tons of food. Even King Hagan gets in on it! Last Christmas you went on with life like it was just another average day. Have any of you even had a Christmas?"
The crowd looked at each other and shrugged. Nowhere in the Haunted Woods did anyone celebrate Christmas. Why would they celebrate Christmas when they had gloomy, dark forests filled with howling Lupes and translucent Ghostkerchiefs to play with?
"I don't think it would be a good idea, Charles. I mean, where would we get the necessary supplies? There's nothing for miles!" the Bruce said.
Charles sighed. "We have the supplies. We can improvise! I plead with you all to give the idea a chance. It's a shame that none of you have had a real Christmas, and here's your opportunity!"
After a long period of discussion, the town came to an agreement. The Bruce emerged from the group of residents, and approached Charles, who was sitting the far back of the room. "We'll do this, Charles, but you're going to be head of the operations around here. No one else knows what we're going to do, so we certainly need a leader!"
The next day, the town met back at the hall, this time with Charles standing at the podium. "Alright. We have approximately six days until Christmas day, so we're going to have to work hard. I've devised a plan last night in order to get everything done within this period. You'll find the information under your seats."
Confused, the townspeople took papers from under their seats and read their jobs, upon reading them, some become infuriated at their new position.
"Light maker? What's a light maker?"
"Decorator? Why do I need to make these? I can just grab some bats from the graveyard!"
After calming everyone down, Charles explained each persons job more thoroughly and after a few hours, everyone began to understand what Christmas was. "Alright, I think you all know what to do by now. Go out and get working! Good luck!"
The first day was chaotic. All though understand their jobs, many of the native people still thought making lights meant bulbs filled with fire crackers or filled with fire. Anyone assigned to make food still made caramel apples and candy.
"No no," Charles would say. "You do it like this!" He then would proceed to make bulbs that lit up, or make sprinkle-covered cookies. By the end of the day, he had been almost everywhere in Noxtown. Exhausted, he hauled himself back to bed, prepared for the onslaught of work that awaited him in the next day.
Sure enough, conditions improved in the Haunted Woods this time around. He walked out of his house to find everyone hard at work in their homes, making every item you could ever need for Christmas. Sure, it all looked a little bit different. The Christmas ornaments were made from hollow spiders and the wreaths were made out of candy wrappers, while to the stockings were sewn together with costume fabric, but it still worked out well. Despite having to work from sunrise to sunset, the community began enjoying the event, even getting into the spirit themselves by going door to door singing Christmas carols out of a book Charles had gave him. At the end of the second day, Charles fell asleep with a warm smile on his face.
Day three and day four things began picking up speed and the town started to take the shape of Christmas. Items began piling up as the workers finished the last of the items they were required to make. No one was seen roaming the streets, everyone was inside their homes, hard at work. By the end of the fourth day, everything was made and finished.
The next day was the most crucial. Day five. Christmas Eve. Now that everything was made, everyone needed to put them where they needed to go.
"Christmas lights should be hung on the edges of your roofs! Wreaths should be placed on the fronts of your doors or homes! Everyone that made food, please find some extra help to set up the tables in the Town Hall! Good luck, everyone, and make sure, be creative!" Charles announced in the center of town. Everyone cheered and got to work.
Over the day, the town had completely transformed. Once shadowed, gloomy houses became bright with lights and festivity. Bright green and vibrant reds draped from their homes, producing an extravagant mix of creativity and beauty. The roads had also been covered in pebbles of red and green, turning the almost unnoticeable pathways into breath taking arrays of color. Certain homes that had been turned into storage rooms were now handing out the hand-made wreaths, as citizens took them and placed them on their homes. Even Timothy had dressed up his home a little, setting a few candles in his windows and placing some stringed lights above his door.
At the town hall, Korbats, including Cedric, had gone from the top of the pillars and all the way to the bottom, circling ribbon on the way down. Inside, the gathering room was converted into a giant banquet room, with a long table stretching along the middle. The citizens that were required to make food, had set up the table, and were just beginning to set the food out.
By the end of the day, the whole town had completely transformed into a Christmas wonderland. As the sun began to set, everyone hurried into the town hall and took a seat at the banquet table, just as all the food was set.
"I'd like to say thank you to everyone that helped out on our quest to make a Christmas here in the Haunted Woods! This really worked out great and was worth all of the effort! It isn't that bad after all, you see? Now, dig in!" Charles said, raising his standing up and raising his glass. Everyone nodded eagerly and cheered, then did just as they were told. They dug into their first Christmas dinner. There were laughs and cheers. Everyone indulged the food and celebrated their success. They had worked as a team and had won.
The next day, the celebrations continued. Presents had mysteriously arrived at the homes, and no one could figure out who it was. Children who had never been a part of Christmas opened them with magical delight, getting toys that they could never obtain on their remote side of the Haunted Woods. Meanwhile, outside of the town, the rest of the Haunted Woods looked on in sadness to find themselves going about their normal day, while Noxtown celebrated Christmas.
After all the celebration, the town worked together to clean up the mess they had made. Everyone thanked Charles and said they should do this next year.
Until they learned about New Years Eve.