Pippa Alderton lived in the big house on the edge of the village of Bardale, in the Surrey commuter belt. She was an only child and never wanted for anything. She was so spoiled she expected what she wanted when she wanted it and had no time for anything or anyone else.
She went to the most expensive private School in the area in the nearby town of Trussell Marston. Apart from one or two girls who she tolerated so that she could order them about, she had no real friends. Pippa ruled the roost and was happy in her own spoiled little world.
It was Christmas Eve and the shops were full of coloured decorations, loud music and bursting at the seams with Christmas gifts and Christmas Trees of all sizes. People were thronging to get last minute gifts for the holiday.
Pippa wanted to go into town to choose some last minute presents to prop up the dozens of presents already under the largest Christmas tree you have ever seen, with its gaudy bangles and decorations pulling the branches down nearly to the floor. A very expensive fairy decoration stood grinning on the top of the tree
Pippa put on her smart new expensive red coat with a pretty coloured hat, scarf and muff to keep out the cold. Her designer boots clicked as she walked across the huge hall in the house to the huge old rustic door.
The family chauffer, Ben, smart in his Uniform ushered her to the car, opened the door and closed it after her.
Once at the big expensive Department Store, Pippa let rip. She brought dolls, chocolates, games, books, wrapping paper, coloured paper, pencils, even a brand new computer. Poor Ben the Chauffer was given the task of carrying everything until he could not carry any more.
Happy at last Pippa ordered Ben to take the shopping to the car. She then brought a CD player to play music on the way home.
By now it was very dark and the stars were shining brightly, so much so that the roads and countryside were all covered in a white frost. Pippa had lost track of the time. It was getting late. They were the last to leave the Department Store and the road home was very quiet, the hundreds of Christmas Shoppers having long gone home to finish the final touches for Christmas Day and to prepare the turkey ready for the big day.
Oh Pippa was happy; she had everything she wanted and more.
The drone of the car made Pippa feel sleepy and she started to doze off. All of a sudden she woke up with a start. She was cold, the car had stopped, it was pitch black and she felt scared. What was happening? Where was Ben?
She called out. There was no reply. Pippa felt something cold on her lap. It was a torch. Ben had left the torch and a note to say the car had broken down and he had gone for help. She should keep the car door locked and wait until help arrived.
Pippa was so cross. She was not going to stay in the dark in the middle of nowhere. She would jolly well show them. Anyway she had to get home to sort through all her shopping and decide where she would keep everything she had brought. She did not get bored on Christmas Day.
Pippa opened the car door, waited till her eyes adjusted to the darkness and started to walk. It was slippery, it was cold, but all of a sudden the moon came from behind the clouds giving a spooky light amongst the trees at the side of the road. She walked on for a while and suddenly the road came to an end.
She turned around, but the moon had gone in and it was dark again. She was lost and now she was getting scared. She slipped on the wet ground and fell. She could feel mud all over her. She was now very frightened and upset. Her new clothes would be ruined.
She struggled up and in the distance she could see a dim light. She slowly walked towards it, hitting brambles and nettles and overhead leaves. She felt the branches scratching her face and tangling her hair and she wanted to cry. Something she never did.
After what seemed ages she arrived at the site of the light and it seemed to belong to a very run down old house. She banged on the door, and before she could speak the door opened and she fell inside. It was very dim, the main light coming from a few logs on the meagre fire. A small girl in threadbare clothes helped her up and sat her on a creaky wooden chair. The small girl went away and returned with a steaming cup of broth. Pippa looked at it in disgust. The mug was cracked but she was cold so she took a sip. The warmth of the broth stung her throat, but she started to warm up.
Pippa then looked into the corner of the room and a lady was lying there crying and moaning. The woman was crying and in pain.
“What is your name?” asked the little girl, “mine is Holly”. “I am Pippa and I live in a big house”. “Where are all your Christmas presents”? asked Pippa “and where is your Christmas tree? You can’t have Christmas without a Christmas tree and lots of presents.”
Holly replied with a sigh and a brief smile, “Mummy is poorly, daddy is away, so we have no money”. I picked a branch up to-day and some cones and they are in the back room”. “They are so pretty”. Pippa stood up and peeped into the back room. There propped up in the corner was a branch with a few twigs on it, some cones and some cotton wool balls. Not a single present was by the makeshift tree.
Suddenly there was a loud cry; Holly’s mother was calling for help. “Help Holly please, I think the baby is coming early”. Holly listened to her mother and went into the kitchen followed by Pippa. Holly put some water in an old saucepan and started to boil it, she collected some towels. “Let me carry the saucepan” said Pippa.
The two girls went into the living room with the towels and saucepan. Suddenly before they could do anything they heard a cry. There before their very eyes lay a new born baby boy with jet black hair and a screwed up little red face crying his heart out.
Pippa saw a blanket on a chair and ran to get this. Doing something she had never done before she wrapped the blanket around the baby boy. to keep him warm
Holly’s mother started so smile and so did Holly. Holly had a new baby brother. Pippa did not know what to do and felt very awkward. Holly started to sing to the baby boy “silent night, holy night”. Pippa had a very strange feeling, she had a lump in her throat, and her eyes started to fill with tears and before she knew it she was sobbing uncontrollably. She had never cried since she was a baby.
Holly and her Mum had very little and yet they were happy. How could this be? Surely they needed lots of money and food and presents to be happy like she was?
Suddenly voices could be heard in the distance getting nearer. Holly and Pippa ran to the door and Ben stood there with a bright torch and some other people warmly wrapped in scarves and gloves. Ben told Pippa he had been worried when he returned to the car and found her missing. With the help of people from the nearby village, they had found her hand muff lying on the side of the road where she had lost her way and followed the foot indents in the mud to this the only cottage for a few miles.
Gently Holly with the help of one of the grown ups cut the chord from the baby. Holly then handed the baby boy to Pippa who for a moment, took a step back and then opened her arms. The baby boy wrapped his fingers around Pippa’s little finger and she felt a stirring feeling she had not known before, a feeling of love for this little miracle.
Pippa handed the baby back. Holly’s mother thanked everyone for their help and said that she was going to call the baby Joshua.
It was now time to go home.
Pippa turned to say goodbye and went to the door. She suddenly ran back and gave Holly a great big hug. “Can we be friends please?” asked Pippa. “I would like that very much” said Holly.
As Holly went to the door to see her new friend Pippa off and all the villagers, she looked up and there in the sky above the little house was a huge star standing apart from all the others. It was beautiful.
In the distance the village church clock began to chime, slowly very slowly twelve times. The church bells then pealed out their message to say it was now Christmas Day.
Pippa climbed into the rescue car, looked out of the window as the first gentle white snowflakes of winter fell. She had everything she wanted. But……………., Holly who had so little was the lucky one. She had a new baby for Christmas and Pippa would have given ANYTHING to have a new baby brother for Christmas.
Next morning Holly awoke and rushed downstairs to see Joshua and to see if there were any presents under the tree. Nothing – but Holy was happy; she had seen the big lucky star which Joshua had been born under; there was snow on the ground and on the trees. This was better and prettier than the largest Christmas tree in the world. But best of all she had a new baby brother, Joshua.
“Yes” thought Holly to herself “this is the BESTEST Christmas I have ever had”
Meanwhile at home in the big house, Pippa sat under the tree, her presents unopened. How she wished she could change places with Holly. Yes Holly was lucky. She was the one who had everything.that mattered. Perhaps she would call round later with a gift for Holly and Joshua.
But best of all Pippa had found a new friend in Holly, what more could she ask for? Yes for Pippa too Christmas was going to be wonderful after all. A Christmas she would never forget.
Written By Barbara Brewin ©