‘Why are you climbing the Christmas Tree?’ exclaimed Daddy Moffle, as his furry face and whiskers turned mint green with surprise, and the tips of his ears showed a rosy hint of crossness. Charlie Moffle climbed higher and his big, brown eyes peeped out from behind a sparkly bauble.
Charlie had come to live with new Daddy Moffle just a few weeks before, when the leaves on the trees were turning shades of red and gold and before the snow covered the floor of the forest. This was their first Christmas together and yesterday they had hung their painted acorns and holly berries on the walls. They piled the presents for their family and friends, higgledy-piggledy under the tree. Just two more Moffle sleeps and it would be Christmas Day.
Daddy Moffle bustled across the burrow, to rescue Charlie from the tree. As he did so, he noticed a loud rustling beneath his paws. Daddy looked around and gasped with louder surprise to see all of the wrapping paper from the presents ripped and scattered across the floor! ‘Oh, Charlie Moffle what did you do?’ sighed daddy sadly and his whiskers drooped as they turned pale blue.
‘It wasn’t me!’ yelled Charlie, his fluffy face turning bright red. The Christmas tree wobbled so much that the star perched on the top tumbled off and bounced under the sofa. Daddy Moffle took a deep breath and paused. Although the star had fallen, he could see little Charlie was holding on tightly to the tree trunk and he wasn’t going anywhere fast. Daddy Moffle noticed the disappointed feeling that was turning his big furry tummy a shade of berry blue. He had wanted their first Christmas together to be perfect and now it all seemed to be in tatters.
Then daddy took another deep breath and asked himself out loud why it might be that Charlie Moffle had needed to open all the presents and climb the Christmas tree? He wondered if Charlie might be thinking about all the Christmases before he came to live in this new burrow. As daddy spoke gently to himself, the Christmas tree stopped wobbling and became very still. Charlie’s ears were turning silver and busy listening.
‘Oh Charlie’ said Daddy Moffle, ‘I’ve been so busy making Christmas look the way I liked it when I was small that I haven’t thought enough about making it just right for you. I know Christmas has not always been a happy time for you and maybe it reminds you of sad or scary feelings? You haven’t had many presents in the past. Perhaps it is hard for you to believe that you are a special Moffle who deserves good things? No wonder you opened everybody else’s presents!
Daddy Moffle settled himself at the bottom of the tree. Slowly, Charlie climbed down and sat very close by. He reached out a tiny, yellow paw and daddy held it gently. ‘Let’s tidy up this mess’, said daddy ‘and then we can plan a Christmas that fits just right for you and me’.