Leo was very worried about Christmas.
Last Christmas was fun.
Mummy took him into town and they bought a jumper for daddy.
Daddy took him to the garden centre and they bought a bird table for mummy.
Then they bought a big Christmas tree for everyone. They tied the tree on the roof of the car. Daddy drove carefully but the tree wobbled all the way home.
In the garden mummy and daddy fixed the tree on its stand. Leo helped them carry it into the lounge. The branches tickled his nose. When they stood it in the corner it was so tall it tickled the ceiling.
Daddy climbed into the loft for the big box of decorations. He put the box on the carpet for Leo to open. Inside were lots of shiny red baubles and some gold and silver tinsel. Right at the bottom were the fairy lights, all tangled up on their long green wire. Mummy untangled them and daddy wrapped them round the tree.
Leo lifted the shiny baubles out of the box very carefully. He hung them on the bottom branches. Mummy hung some baubles on the branches Leo could not reach. Last of all daddy put a big gold star right on the top branch.
Daddy switched on the fairy lights. Leo clapped his hands. The tree looked very pretty. The baubles spun round and glittered. The lights twinkled like little stars.
But that was last Christmas. This Christmas was different and Leo was very worried.
This Christmas daddy would not help with the tree because daddy did not live with them any more.
Leo did not know why. When he asked if it was because he had bent the wheel on his new bike, daddy said no. When he asked if it was because he had torn his new jumper, mummy said no.
Leo thought of all the other things he had done. Mummy told him not to be a silly boy. She and daddy loved him a lot but they did not want to live in the same house any more.
So this Christmas Leo had two houses. One was the house where he had always lived. The other was the little house round the corner where daddy lived. Leo stayed with daddy one week and with mummy the next.
On Mondays he changed from one house to the other. Mummy and daddy called Monday change-over day. In the morning Leo would go to Jack and Jill nursery with mummy or daddy. After tea the other one would take him to their house. He stayed later on daddy-days because daddy worked longer than mummy.
With two houses to live in Leo wondered how Father Christmas would find him. Christmas Day was a mummy-day. What if Father Christmas left the presents at daddy’s house?
He asked mummy. She said Father Christmas was very clever. He would know where Leo was and leave his presents under their tree.
Leo wondered where daddy’s presents would be. Mummy did not take him to buy a jumper this year. She gave him a box of toffees to wrap up for daddy instead. Leo sat in the lounge in mummy’s house on the blue chair daddy liked best. He cuddled Monkey with its long arms and big stripy Fish and held daddy’s toffees.
The next change-over day he made two Christmas cards at nursery. He drew Christmas trees on both of them. He painted on some glue and sprinkled it with glitter. One card was for mummy and one was for daddy. Some of his friends made two cards as well. Leo was happy he was not the only one. He gave one card to daddy when they went to his house. He put mummy’s card carefully in his bag with Monkey and Fish.
At the little house daddy gave him a pretty plant with fuzzy leaves and purple flowers for him to give mummy.
Leo asked how daddy would get the toffees Leo had wrapped up for him. Daddy said after Christmas lunch mummy would take Leo to the Jack and Jill car park. Then Leo and daddy would come to the little house for mince pies and Christmas cake. Even though it wasn’t a change-over day Leo would stay for the night. Daddy said there would be a big surprise for him. Leo jumped up and down and asked what it was but daddy would not tell him.
On change-over day Leo took the fuzzy plant and mummy’s card to nursery with Monkey and Fish. When mummy came she had a big plant on the front seat of her car. It reached from the floor to the roof and was wrapped up in a net. Mummy said it wasn’t a plant. It was a Christmas tree with its branches all squashed up.
At mummy’s house Leo helped to carry the squashed-up tree into the lounge. They put it in the stand and mummy cut the net. The branches jumped out. Now it looked like a proper tree.
It wasn’t as big as the tree last year. It didn’t reach the ceiling. Mummy said it would look prettier because all the lights and baubles would be cuddled together. Leo asked if daddy had taken any baubles for his house. When mummy said no Leo thought daddy’s house would look sad.
On Christmas Eve Leo hid mummy’s plant under the tree. He put daddy’s toffees in his bag. He cuddled Monkey and Fish in bed and wondered if Father Christmas really was clever. It took a long time for Leo to go to sleep.
On Christmas Day Leo woke up early. He ran downstairs without his slippers.
Mummy was right. Father Christmas was clever. There were lots of presents under the tree.
Inside a big red box was a tractor big enough for Leo to ride on. It had a yellow body with big blue wheels and an orange seat. Leo rode it up and down the lounge while he was still in his pyjamas. Mummy sat on the sofa holding her fuzzy plant and smiling.
After lunch Leo was sad to leave his tractor. Mummy said he would soon see it again. She put him in the car and off they went.
Daddy’s car was the only one in the Jack and Jill car park. Daddy jumped out as soon as they arrived. Leo ran to him and daddy swung him high in the air. Mummy gave daddy the bag with Monkey and Fish and the toffees. They both said Happy Christmas. Leo gave mummy a kiss and a cuddle and she sat in her car as Leo and daddy drove away.
At daddy’s house Leo could see fairy lights in the window. He thought they looked very pretty. Daddy smiled a lot and said that wasn’t the surprise. The surprise was in the lounge.
He opened the front door and Leo ran inside.
What a surprise.
In the corner was a Christmas tree. Not a real one but a pretty silver one with glittering tinsel for branches. It was tall and thin and tickled the ceiling. The lights on it changed colour, blue and green and red and white. Lots of red baubles hung on its branches.
Father Christmas had been very clever again. Underneath the tree were more presents for Leo. Inside a big green box was a digger big enough for him to ride on. It was yellow and orange with a red lever that pulled up the scoop on the front.
Leo put Monkey and Fish in the scoop. He took them for rides to the sofa and back while daddy ate the toffee.
Now Leo was very happy. Mummy had a Christmas tree. Daddy had a Christmas tree. Leo and Monkey and Fish had two Christmas trees.