Week One: Santa Claus is Coming to Town!!!
Pippa dashed around Astranar to talk to all the mentors and the Princess and Prince. Everyone had new outfits. Kitty wore an adorable orange and brown gingerbread kimono and carried a lollipop. Viva wore an angel pant suit decorated with stars and a tinsel crown. Marbel put his hoof down when Pippa told Viva she thought he’d look great in one. (Turns out tinsel crowns were available at the shop but Marbel wouldn’t hear of buying one.) Len was dressed like an elf with a vest and bells that jingled. Minnie wore a snow flake themed blue and white tin soldier suit with hat. Lottie wore a pink cardinal themed drindle with pine trees embroidered on her apron. Izzy was dressed up as a pale purple ballerina complete with lots of sequins and pointe shoes. The twins at the Castle were sand “snowmen” and instead of coal for buttons they had shells. On their belts they had star fish.
But in the end Pippa felt loyal to Vesper and went back to the Ruby district to help with Candy Cane Lane.
Vesper grinned at her. “All right! Let’s rock this Christmas out!” She then leaned on her candy cane-cane. “The most important thing we’ve got to do this week is prepare the main drag for Santa’s arrival. Oh, no, no, no, not every village. That would be a lot.” Vesper paused. “Santa comes to the biggest village or town in each district. But, I know every town wants to get their Christmas on.” She tilted her hat down and smiled. “So, we have some special Christmas magic spells to make it easier. Here, just for the season.”
Vesper gave Pippa a bunch of Christmas spells in their own special book.
“Now, they can’t be used everywhere,” Vesper said. “But they’ll speed things up quite a bit.” She put a finger next to her nose and winked. “I’m sure you’ll have no problem being a magic user of Harmony and all. They’re very basic spells!”
Pippa looked at the spells. There were spells to make things bigger. Spells for little fairy lights. And spells for making different colored Christmas balls. And spells for stringing different garlands; beads, tinsel, ever green, holly, berries, and ribbon. Spells for icicles. Spells for snowman forms.
“Some things though,” Vesper said. “We have to do the hard way. Right. One more thing before we get started. Christmas Achievements! Remember, you do so many Christmas Achievements like decorating trees and such, come back to me, and I’ll give you Christmas Coupons to turn in for items of your choosing out of the coupon store. If you save all the coupons, you can get an awesome light display for your farm. Santa is in charge of this season’s coupon store, once he arrives. Don’t worry, these achievements reset every Christmas! Complete all the achievements and you’ll have decorated the entire district! You’ll also get Christmas Coupons through quests. Are you ready?”
“I’ve been ready. Will you just get on with it?” Pippa asked.
“Enthusiasm,” Vesper said in a deadpan voice. “Okay, first things first. We need to put up the lights on Santa’s parade route! Meet you at the village!” Vesper shouted, mounted her horse, and raced away.
Pippa stomped her foot. “Oh! No fair!” she shouted after Vesper. She mounted up on Marbel. “We’ll just have to catch her.”
Marbel snorted, trotted over to the nearest train station and got on. Pippa giggled and gave the destination for the village. Marbel could be so smart.
Turns out Vesper just raced away for show. She was still there before them, but she also came out of a train station. Vesper pretended to pout when she saw them. One good teasing opportunity ruined.
Vesper showed Pippa the route. “Every year, Santa comes down this boulevard and to the square in front of the castle,” she said. “So, we need the hanging lights. They’re all in storage. The mayor no doubt has the key.”
Pippa went to see the mayor for the key.
Of course, the key was missing. He mumbled something about loaning it to someone to borrow decorations for a children’s event sometime during the summer. Pippa struggled not to roll her eyes. He gave her a few clues and sent her looking. It would be so much easier if the people who were supposed to have things, would have them. But once she had that key, she should have full access to all the decorations!
Well, the person did have the key. Returning it to the mayor had just slipped their minds and all. Pippa wasn’t sure how. And could Pippa do them one little favor as they went and retrieved the key. Pippa knew she was too nice when she said yes, that’s how she ended up tracking down a goat the lady wanted to decorate for Christmas. It turned out there wasn’t ONE goat, there were half a dozen! Pippa didn’t know which goat the person actually wanted and returned with all of them.
The person was delighted. They took the goats in exchange for the key and Pippa thought that would be the end of the matter.
But no, before Pippa was allowed to head off, she needed to help put ribbons on the goats. Once the goats had ribbons on them, Pippa waved and left, happy to have the key so she could get the lights to start setting up the boulevard for Christmas!
The warehouse was stuffed full of Christmas decorations and Pippa got a sick feeling in her stomach. Just what had she signed up for? She found the hanging lights that Vesper had described and headed back to the street.
The be-ribboned goats were bouncing about everywhere. No one seemed to mind. Vesper thought it was hysterical.
Pippa was beginning to wonder if the magic of Astranar made people crazy.
Vesper told her where to hang the lights. They were really rather pretty, clear domed glass with cut outs to make them seem like snowflakes or fancy umbrellas. Glass balls in red and white hung down with little fairy lights and crystals. They were clamped around the street lamps. Once they were finished, the same street lamps needed to be decorated to become candy canes.
Vesper gave her several directions at once. The street lamps needed to be turned into candy canes, which required ribbon and tinsel. The trees along the route needed to be decorated with lights, which could be done with her new Christmas magic spells. And then, they needed to put up the candy cane arch just in front of the square!
Pippa got to work. And it was fun!
When she was finished with everything. Vesper had another job for her. It was time to put out the candy cane lights and turn the place into a real candy cane lane. The candy cane lights were wire frames bent into candy canes, they were covered in tinsel and lights so they’d look like candy canes both day and night. There were also huge red ribbons bows to put on them, ribbons with black centers and silver buckles and white fur at the ends of the bows. It was a lot of work to put them up. First the bows had to be added, then the candy canes put in place, and lastly the lights connected to power.
Vesper made a rock on symbol. “All right, Pippa! That looks great. Tomorrow, we can start on the Christmas tree! Oh, before I forget. You’re going to need your heavy draft horse if you have one. If you don’t, don’t worry too much. But getting the tree will be easier with your heavy draft! See you tomorrow, Pippa!”
Pippa giggled and waved at her. She needed to get started on Santa’s outfit.