Short story – First Christmas

First Christmas


Some weeks had gone by since the birth of the nox and the days had gotten colder and colder. During this time, they had hired a few new employees and aside from getting them used to how things worked around here, everything had passed rather smoothly. It could be said that they had gotten into a rhythm and the days went by quickly.

If not for Xie Luan’s ability to transverse every time he slept, he would have not noticed that it was nearing that time of the year.

Out of curiosity, he had asked Xia Qi if they celebrated any holiday around this time. Finding out that it was not the case, he had considered it thoroughly and decided that the cubs also needed some light and joy in the depths of the dark and cold winter months.

And so, he had now gathered the employees here in order to discuss this very serious matter.

“En, I want to let the cubs experience Christmas.”

For this, Xie Luan had gone up to the attic at his house and dug out the boxes containing all the Christmas decorations which had not been used in a while. As he could not take them all at once, he had slowly brought them over during this past week, one box at a time. A hassle.

Luckily storage was not an issue. His room at the staff dorm was still very empty and had plenty of space for him to store them. Was this what people called fortune in misfortune?

“Ok, but just, what is sh-rrr-ismas?” Xia Qi tried her best to pronounce it the way the youth had.

“Christmas is a human tradition–”

Xie Luan ponded on how to explain it and decided to keep it simple, “Roughly 2000 years ago..” Telling them a very short background story, he then mentioned some main points such as the 24 days build-up, the decorating, the Christmas tree and the giving of presents.

“Sounds fun! Do all humans do it?” Feng Weixian suddenly blurted out.

Xie Luan was not done talking about presents and so faltered for a second, then said, “No. Not all humans, we have several religions, each with their own traditions.” He thought for a bit. “Around the same time as Christmas I think there are also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and, oh, Las, ehm, Las Posadas which also has a connection to the story I told you earlier. There is of course also Diwali, but that is celebrated a little earlier,” Xie Luan nonchalantly counted them on his fingers as he spoke.

The others seemed shocked at how many different holidays and traditions there were. Even just the fact that humans had several religions appeared to be something abnormal. Most races only had one god or goddess they worshiped, sometimes that god or goddess was even being worshiped by more than one race.

Xie Luan wondered how they would react if he told them that some human religions had several deities they worshiped…

“Anyway, although I said that some holidays are connected to religions, you don’t necessarily have to have that religion or be especially religious in order to celebrate it. Christmas, for example, has become more and more commercialized. Not many people in my country have that religion but Christmas is still being celebrated, especially in bigger cities. So you don’t have to worry about that.” [1]

After having explained what Christmas entailed, everyone seemed excited to try this new and exotic holiday. As Xie Luan had brought all the decorations, it was also not something that would cost them a lot of money to do. It was therefore decided that they would try celebrating this “shrismas”.

Following Xie Luan’s lead, they slowly integrated Christmas into their days.

The first thing they did was cut out big squares of paper. The cubs got two squares each and they were meant to leave their hand or paw print on the papers. However, surprisingly, cubs and paint-covered paws did not go too well together.

After a lot of cleaning as well as bathing the cotto cub who slipped into the paint bowl when he tried to dip his feet into it, they finally had the squares neatly put up on the wall. As there were currently only ten cubs in the club, four were left blank at the end.

Now, each day in the morning, the cub whose print was “the print of the day”, got to be lifted up by Xie Luan and take down the square. It was quite popular.

Aside from that they also added another tradition.

Fluff and fire were a recipe for disaster, but Christmas was nothing without sparkling lights and candles. So each feeding time, they would sit down on the floor in a circle and turn off the lights. Then, in the middle, they would light one candle in an enclosed lantern. The moving flame created a very nice and calm atmosphere. The only sound that could be heard was the suckling of the small cubs.

During this time, Xie Luan would sometimes tell them Christmas stories and traditions. If there seemed to be something the cubs were especially interested in, they would try it out later if possible.

“And on the night of the 24th Santa visits the houses of all children and if they have been a good baby they get a present.” Xie Luan looked down at the takila cub in his arms. The cub always looked especially cute when he fed, he had his eyes closed and his nose would wrinkle with each suck. He really had the urge to boop his nose.

He continued, “Santa is a mysterious man with a white beard, he has red and white cloths and flies through the sky on his magical sled pulled by reindeer. He–”

“Isn’t that a klausnich?!” Lin Yi unintentionally interrupted and instantly seemed to have realized his mistake, “Ah, sorry.”

Xie Luan shook his head. “No worries, what is a klausnich?”

“It’s a legendary race!” Xia Qi seemed to also have become excited all of a sudden. “They are rarely seen as they like to keep to their planet and are few in numbers. What makes them so amazing is that they can create almost anything effortlessly! But it is also because of that that they rarely come in contact with other races, they have no need for trade.”

Xia Qi and Lin Yi continued to talk about klausniches and the more Xie Luan heard, the more he felt that there were similarities. Klausniches were creatures with bright red fur that had patches of white. They seemed to be extremely furry and even though they walked on two legs with a body shape similar to humans, they almost seemed round due to their fluffy fur.

The fur on their heads defied gravity and was almost like a smurf’s. As they did not need any items from other races, they only accepted payment in the form of sucrose. It seemed that it was their main source of food. Xie Luan really wondered what their planet must look like in order for such a race to be created.

However, if Santa really was a klausnich, which he was still reluctant to accept, there was one thing Xie Luan wondered about, “But why would he go out of his way to give presents to humans?”

Xia Qi put down the cub in her arms and stood up. “Well, does Santa get some kind of compensation? Oh, by the way, Santa is female.”

Compensation, sucrose, white sugar, cookies and milk…. No, wait! Female?!

“Santa is a girl?”

“Woman.” Xia Qi bent down to pick up and blow out the candle. “Male klausniches are much smaller than females and their furs are multicolored. I’m surprised you don’t know this, there are many children’s books around here about klausniches. I think we have some as well.”

“Here.” Xia Qi went up to the bookshelf and took out a book. “Try this one.”

Considering that they still had work to do, Xie Luan had intended to take it and read it after work. After all, no matter how shaken up or curious he was, there were priorities.

However, before he could get up and put the book away, the cubs had already gathered around him. “Okay, storytime I guess.”

Sitting back, he opened up the book and started reading to the cubs. Rather than the text, what caught his eyes were the pictures– A wonderland filled with sugary things, gigantic lollipops, cakes and all kinds of deserts. It was probably a bit exaggerated, but it seemed true that their planet was full of sugar crystals. Xie Luan turned the page.

The next illustration showed a klausnich house and there, in front of it, stood two red fluffy people surrounded by much shorter ones in several colors. The white patches on the red ones differed from individual to individual and one of them had a smaller white patch on her chin. Seeing it like this, Xie Luan could not deny that it really resembled Santa and Mrs. Claus standing together with their elves.

“Santa Claus is female huh.” 


Author’s note:

I hope you enjoyed my attempt at a short story, merry Christmas and happy holidays! 

[1] – I know he got a bit ooc chatty but there is a song in my country that perfectly explains this phenomenon, it is called “Mer Jul”. Here is a polished google translate english version of the lyrics.

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