The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

You find us early in the month of December, snow has been forecast and not long until Christmas!

Cheeky Pig loves this time of year, putting up all the house decorations and especially the Christmas tree! Traditionally, this is a family affair with mum and dad leading operations. This year, however, Cheeky Pig wants to surprise his mum and dad and put up the tree himself.

Waiting until mum and dad had were going out on a shopping trip one morning, he put his plan in to action. As soon as he saw their car turn and disappear at the end of the road he ran upstairs. The spare bedroom was where the loft hatch was located and behind the door sat a long metal pole which unlocked the hatch door and lowered the ladders. A rackety “whoosh” brought them down to the carpet waiting for him to climb. He switched on the lights and immediately a warm inviting glow shone down from above. Up he clambered, slowly so he could make sure there were no spiders waiting to jump out on him (he was a bit scared of spiders!).

The loft was like an Aladdin’s cave, full of all sorts of objects; suitcases, old books, photographs, toys, a trainset, old vinyl LP records, old computers, a guitar and amp, his old cot and lots of framed pictures. There was even a photograph of his mum and dad when they were younger each pulling a funny face that made him laugh out loud! “You are funny!” smiled Cheeky Pig.

He found the Christmas tree and boxes of decorations stored beside his old cot. Moving between the hatch and the cot he moved all the items he needed. Then, working in short shifts, got everything downstairs in to the front room where the tree normally stood. He undid each box to check its contents and laid them all out in order on the carpet next to the tree box.

The family used to buy real Christmas trees but dad had an unfortunate accident which ended up with him having lots of pine needles stuck in his bum! Mum had to remove them one by one, ouch! So after that mum went out and bought this artificial tree, after all dad’s moaning and groaning. She said she couldn’t put up with the chance of any more embarrassing accidents like that.

Cheeky Pig liked the new Christmas tree. He emptied the contents of the tree box out and organised them ready for assembly. The tree was made up three sections. The bottom pole was thickest and held in place by a green stand which sat on the floor. The mid-section which was narrower slotted into the bottom pole and the top section, which already had branches, in turn slotted into the mid-section pole.

The two lower poles had colour coded slots into which the separate branches were secured. Once a branch was in place it was then a case out fanning out the smaller branches and leaves to make it life-like. Starting at the base, Cheeky Pig gradually fitted and fanned out each branch until he saw he had the shape of a natural pine tree.

He could not resist having a play so taking two of the leafy branches he held one to his chin and one to his head. He walked over and looked at himself in the mirror. Imagining himself to be a green-bearded Santa Claus.

He laughed at his image and in a deep voice said, “Ho, ho, ho, Cheeky Pig, have you been a good boy this year?”

Removing the greenery, he looked at his normal reflection and replied to the mirror, “No Santa, I’ve been very cheeky to old ladies this year! Hahaha!”

Quickly replacing the greenery, with a stern look he said to himself, “Well then Cheeky Pig, you will only have a rotten potato as a present this year. Ho ho ho!”

“A rotten potato would be lovely Santa, thank you so much!!!!” Laughing to himself, he put the branches down and carried on building the tree.

After some time of arranging and re-arranging branches he stepped back and admired his handiwork. He was very happy with the result, in fact it was difficult to tell it from a real tree…if you didn’t stand too close! “At least dad won’t get any needles in his bum this year!” he chuckled.

Next came the lights, they were always the first decoration to go on the tree. He tested they worked, which they did, then unplugged them so he could work freely. Using a small set of steps, he started at the bottom and walked the cable around the tree to wind the lights all the way to the top. Every year his dad did this task and it looked easy.

However, after only three circles, Cheeky Pig found himself part of the tree as he accidentally lashed himself in to some of what were quite sharp branches. “Ouch! Oo oo! Noooo, not my bum.” He stopped and regained his breath thinking how the situation could get worse if he panicked. Slowly, and by reversing his direction, he eventually managed to work himself free again. “That was a close shave!” he said to himself.

Cheeky Pig found himself part of the tree as he accidentally lashed himself in to some of what were quite sharp branches. “Ouch! Oo oo! Noooo, not my bum.”

Next, the decorations and there were lots of decorations! Mainly gold and red colours, he sorted them in to groups of large ones for the lower branches and smaller ones for higher up. He then laid out the special baubles; cupcakes, butterflies, dragonflies, wooden figures and Advent gifts. Advent gifts were unique baubles the family gave to each other each year on the first day of December. Cheeky Pig’s favourite was the one with his little signature on that he had created. He had also put this on his suitcase too.

Cheeky Pig started at the base of the tree this time and worked slowly up to the top. Every now and again he would take a step back to find spaces he had missed and fill them in with a decoration. Eventually, satisfied with his work, he sat back and gazed at the finished Christmas tree. “Brilliant!” he thought.

He looked in the last box; a Star or Fairy for the top of the tree. It had to be the Fairy, he had fond memories of meeting a Fairy!

However, something niggled the little pig, what was it? “Chocolate decorations!” he shouted out loud. “We always have chocolate decorations! A tree is not a Christmas tree without chocolates to unwrap!”  With that, he ran upstairs, found and shook his piggy bank before emptying it onto his bed. He counted the tipped coins and saw there was plenty of change to buy chocolate decorations. He quickly dressed for the outdoors, pocketed the money and skipped along to the village shop.

A light snow was falling outside and once at the village shop window he was pleasantly surprised to see it had changed, now dressed up for Christmas. At the centre of the display was a small lit Christmas tree surrounded by beautifully wrapped parcels, in between which were snowmen and wooden soldiers, some with drums others stood to attention. Running around the outside of them all was a track on which a bright red train engine pulling three small coaches chugged through a snow covered wilderness. “Wow! ” thought Cheeky Pig, “I must get my old trainset down again!” However, time was ticking away and he still hadn’t finished his own Christmas tree so he quickly went inside.

He opened the door and a shrill bell rang. “Hello Cheeky Pig, haven’t seen you for a while. What can I do for you?”

“Hi Mr. Fox. I need some chocolate tree decorations. I’m surprising mum and dad and putting it up while they are out.”

Mr. Fox bent down out of sight searching behind the counter “Hmm, let me see, had some new ones come in yesterday. Ah here they are. Oh yes, these are very nice. Look like miniature presents and inside are cubes of chocolate each a different colour with a different flavoured filling; caramel, strawberry, orange, vanilla, cabbage, potato and apple. What do you think?”

“Sounds great” replied Cheeky Pig, “Cabbage, I love cabbage! How much are they?

“Well, if you buy twenty you get five free!”

Cheeky Pig checked his change, “I will take the twenty and the five free ones please Mr. Fox.” With that he swapped his money for twenty-five different coloured parcels. He then stepped back outside into the cold with his paper bag of goodies and returned home and finish his work.

With all the distractions of getting the Christmas tree just right for his mum and dad, Cheeky Pig had forgotten about his stomach. After slipping each chocolate parcel on to the tree he felt his tummy start to rumble!

“This is making me hungry!” he grumbled. “Hmmm. Mum and dad don’t know I bought chocolates so if I just have one that should be ok!” So he carefully picked out one of the green parcels, cabbage of course, unwrapped it and popped it in to his mouth. He bit into the chocolate and inside was a runny sticky cabbage filling. “Aww, this is fabulous!” he mumbled with his mouth full. In no time at all he had finished the delicious sweet.

Feeling a little bit guilty, instead of throwing the wrapper away he found some newspaper, cut a small piece off, rolled it into a ball and then wrapped it back up in the green wrapper from the chocolate decoration he’d just eaten. “Not too bad looking for a decoration,” he thought and although it was more of a round shape than square it looked pretty good as a replacement back on the branch.

Another cheeky thought then came in to his head, “If I ate some more and replaced them like this one I am sure mum and dad wouldn’t notice.” This time he slid a caramel off the tree then followed the same procedure replacing it with his newspaper wrapped parcel. Not being able to resist, he followed that with potato, apple, orange, strawberry, another cabbage and vanilla. “Oh, these are sooo nice!” He admired his handiwork nodding his little head in appreciation…then figured he could just carry on a little bit more. So he ate three cabbage, four vanilla, an apple, a strawberry, an orange and five vanilla treats! 

Guiltily, he didn’t know he had chocolate round his snout, he checked how many real sweets were still left on the tree – oh no, only two! Just then he heard his mum and dad returning home in the car. He checked the mirror and quickly wiped his chocolate covered snout with the back of his arm (tut, tut!) He ran to the front door and stood in the hallway waiting for them both to enter. As his mum and dad stepped inside Cheeky Pig ran to them and shouted, “Mum, dad, I have a surprise for you!”

“Hang on, hang on!” said his mum, “Let’s get in the house and unpacked first.” So Cheeky Pig moved to guard the front room door and waited for them to settle in. After a while his mum and dad assembled in the hallway together in front of Cheeky Pig. “Ok, close your eyes and I will lead you.” They put their trust in the little pig as he took each of their hands and led them in to the front room. “You can open them now!” And with that his mum and dad opened their eyes to see the wonderful job he had made of putting up and decorating the Christmas tree.

“Wow!” cheered his dad. “Fantastic!” chirped his mum, “You have done such a good job Cheeky Pig. You have certainly saved both of us a lot of work. Well done!” Cheeky Pig grinned from ear to ear, he had done a first class job, hadn’t he?

Cheeky Pig didn’t notice that his dad had spotted the chocolate decorations out of the corner of his eye. “Oooo chocolates!” thought his dad and, unseen by cheeky Pig or his mum, grabbed one of the brightly coloured parcels off the tree. Hiding it behind his back, he undid the chocolate then pretending to cough and popped it into his mouth. As he started to chew a soggy sharp inky taste filled his mouth! The look on his face turned from the happy anticipation of a milk chocolate to one that looked like he was chewing a wasp, it tasted just like old newspaper, it was disgusting!!!

“Oh yuk! Blah, puh, aaargh!” he swallowed. “WHAT IS THIS? It’s horrible!” he spluttered then swallowed it down, not wanting to spit it out on the carpet and get in to trouble. Although spitting it out is exactly what he really wanted to do!

“What is it, whatever is the problem dear?” said Cheeky Pig’s mum.

“Awwww! Whatever these sweets are on the tree there is something wrong with them, they taste horrible!”

“You stole a sweet off the tree without telling us!!! How dare you Pops! Cheeky Pig must have bought them with his own pocket money and you took one without asking him! You should be ashamed, treating your son like that. You wouldn’t like it if he took one of your chocolates without asking now, would you?!” she scolded.

Cheeky Pig stood there watching his father getting told off, his face a picture of innocence, in fact right now it’s a fair bet that butter would not melt in his mouth!

“Now darling,” asked his mum, “How about a nice chocolate for your mummy?” With that, Cheeky Pig reached up to one of the two genuine parcels, a strawberry one, and passed it to his mum. She carefully peeled off the wrapping, bit into chocolate and chewy pink fondant in front of his dad. “Oh this is lovely, the strawberry centre is so nice! You must have had a bad one dear!”

Pops eyed Cheeky Pig with suspicion. “Have you been doing something to those chocolates? Maybe eating them and replacing them with something else?” he asked.

“No I haven’t dad, and to prove it why don’t you try another? I’ll pass you one down.” He quickly climbed up the steps and removed the last real chocolate, cabbage flavour, and handed it to his father, hoping desperately he wouldn’t ask for another one!

Believing it was not a chocolate and that he had caught Cheeky Pig out, his father carefully unwrapped the parcel. He held the chocolate in his hand and inspected it all around it closely, “Well, it looks like chocolate.”. He sniffed it with his big snout, “Hmm…and it smells like chocolate.” He carefully bit into it. The gooey cabbage centre ran in to his mouth, it tasted awesome. “Hmm. Smells like chocolate.“Awwww, ummm, delish! Maybe I did just have a bad one.” said his father.

“Or maybe it was a different flavour, maybe one you don’t like dad?” replied Cheeky Pig.

“Hmm, possibly…but I am a pig after all and I like pretty much most things!”

“First time for everything,” said his mum, “Maybe it’s a new flavour they have brought out. You don’t like aniseed so there are some flavours that don’t agree with you!”

“I guess” said his dad as he walked out of the room.

After his father left, mum stared at Cheeky Pig, “Come on, be honest with me, you have done something with them chocolates. You’ve been eating them haven’t you?”

Cheeky Pig stuttered and tried his most angelic look, “”Errrr, well I…”

“Be honest with me!” she reprimanded.

“Oh ok,” he sighed, “I ate all but two of them mummy! I bought twenty five and ate twenty three of them! I was hungry but I got carried away because they were so nice. Before I knew it most of them had gone so I re-wrapped them using old newspaper. Dad must have picked one of those off the tree.”

His mother looked at him sternly…..then to his surprise she smiled a big beaming smile, “I could have cried laughing! Your dad’s face when he was chewing that old newspaper instead of a sweet was so funny. Well done for disguising them so well!” And with that she put his arm around him. “And for telling me the truth we’ll go out tomorrow and buy some new chocolate decorations to replace them!”

“Wow! Yes! Great!” said Cheeky Pig. “Let’s go down to the village shop. They’ve got a beautiful Christmas display to look at, you should see it mum.”

“It’s a date,” replied his mum walking out of the room in the same direction as his dad.

Cheeky Pig stood there rooted to the spot. “How did I get away with that?” he said to himself. “Maybe, honesty really is the best policy!

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