As this is the final story before Christmas, I would like to take an opportunity to wish everyone a happy holidays - here's to lots of fun, love and laughter. Merry Christmas! xx
This story is also available as a podcast.
Bella's Fretful Christmas Eve
Bella was seven years old and she had lived in the same house her whole life. At least, she used to. Right up until a few weeks ago, when she and her family moved to a completely different town.
Bella had settled into her new school and made lots of new friends. She had chosen a pretty purple paint for the walls of her new bedroom and even helped her parents decorate it. She had all of her things exactly where she wanted them.
But Bella was worried.
When the family moved, they had given their new address to lots of important people: Nan and Grandad, Granny and Grandpa, Bella's aunties and uncles and even Bella and her brother Charlie's school friends. But now, on Christmas Eve, Bella realised they had forgotten someone. Someone very important.
As Charlie sat on the sofa, with a big bowl of popcorn and a mug of warm cocoa, watching a Christmas movie with Mum and Dad, Bella sat on the floor, staring at the gas fire in the lounge. Their old house had had a real fireplace, and every year, Bella and Charlie would write a letter to Father Christmas and then Mum would light a fire and throw the letters in, so that they would burn and disappear up the chimney. Bella had never been quite sure how the letters got to Father Christmas, once they were all burnt, but Mum assured her it was magic.
But this year, they'd had to write letters and post them. There was nothing magic about that, surely? And with all the fuss of moving, they'd forgotten to send the letters until just a couple of days ago. Neither Bella or Charlie had had a reply.
Bella heaved a sigh. "Mum?" She said, her eyes looking sad. "How will Father Christmas know where to bring our presents, this year? We forgot to send him our new address when we moved!"
Mum smiled. "Don't worry," she replied. "He just knows. He knows where all the little boys and girls in the world are."
Bella still wasn't convinced. "But how?" She pressed. "There are millions and millions of boys and girls! He surely can't have an address book that big?!"
"He'll find you," Dad promised. "Now, why don't you come up onto the sofa and watch the movie with us?"
Bella shook her head. She was still too worried. "I'm going out into the garden," she announced, hurrying to find her coat before anyone could stop her.
It was already dark outside and it was very cold, but Bella ran down to the end of the garden and fetched as many twigs and sticks from the bushes as she could. Snapping the longer ones into smaller pieces, she began lying them on the ground to form the words:
"Bella and Charlie Evans live here."
"There," Bella said to herself. "Now, when Father Christmas is flying his sleigh up in the sky, he'll look down and see that and he'll know to bring our presents to this house, instead of the old one."
She jogged back into the warm house and settled down to watch the rest of the movie with her family.
When it finished, it was almost time for bed. Dad rose to his feet and glanced out of the window. "Oh!" He gasped. "Look! It must have started snowing whilst we were watching TV - everything's gone white!"
Bella was horrified. She rushed to look out of the kitchen window at the back garden. Sure enough, her message had been buried by the snow. Her little face fell and she blinked back tears. How was Father Christmas going to find her, now?!
Mum took Bella up to bed and tucked her in. "Please don't worry," she told her, as she hung a stocking on the handle of Bella's bedroom door. "Everything will be okay, you'll see."
But, when the lights went off and Bella was alone in the dark, she found herself worrying more than ever. She wanted to hurry out into the snowy street, waving her hands up at the sky and shouting for Father Christmas to see her. How was he going to know where to go?! And if he didn't know where she lived now, how would he be able to give her the peach satin ballet shoes she so desperately wanted, this year?
Bella climbed slowly out of bed and peeped out of her curtains, to the wintry night beyond. "Please find me," she whispered. "I've been really good, this year. Please find my house, Father Christmas!"
Suddenly, she had another idea! Bella rushed across the room to the little desk in the corner and pulled out her big art pad and pens. In huge, bold letters, she wrote across a sheet of paper:
"Father Christmas, please stop here for Bella and Charlie Evans!"
Beside the words, Bella drew a picture of the ballet shoes she wanted for Christmas. Then, she grabbed some sticky tape from her desk and opened her window, ever so carefully. She reached out around the glass pane and, with her arm shaking and snow landing on her skin, she stuck her sign to the outside of the window.
"There," she smiled. She closed the window, shivering from the cold, then scrambled back into bed.
But sleep didn't come easily to Bella. The wind had picked up outside and before long, she could hear something flapping against the window pane. Sure enough, by the time Bella crept out of bed to look again, her sign had been blown away.
With no ideas left, Bella let out a long sigh and crawled beneath her bed covers. A single tear rolled from each eye as she finally gave up and went to sleep.
In the morning, Bella's bedroom door burst open and Charlie came rushing inside, swinging his stocking full of gifts. "Wake up, Bella!" He cried. "He came! He knew how to find us and he came!"
Bella's eyes widened as she saw the stocking on her door handle, weighed down with beautifully wrapped presents. "But... How did he know?!" She gasped.
"There's more downstairs under the tree," Charlie shrieked, ignoring her question. "Get up, quick!"
Soon, the whole family were gathered around the Christmas tree, opening presents, smiling and laughing, just as they always did each year. Before long, all of the presents had been opened... Except for one.
Lying right underneath the tree, was a beautiful looking gift, wrapped in shimmering red paper, with a gorgeous gold ribbon on top. On the gift was a tag with Bella's name on it. With a squeal of delight, Bella tore the paper open, to reveal a cream box. She opened the lid and there inside, was the loveliest pair of peach, satin ballet slippers that Bella had ever seen. She took them out and put them on right away. With a giggle, she began to twirl around the Christmas tree, until something caught her eye. Tucked inside the box where the slippers had been, was a little envelope. Bella took it out and quickly opened it. She pulled out a note, written in a glittering ink. It said:
"No matter where you go in the world, if you wish hard enough, I will always hear you.
Lots of love,
Bella hugged the note to her chest and a huge smile spread across her face. "This is the best present of all," she said. "Merry Christmas, everybody!"
So, the Evans family settled down to enjoy their very first Christmas in their brand new home. And they all knew that it was a special one, which they'd remember forever.