“Deck The Halls”

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la!” Lulu cried as she wrapped the tinsel around the tall, green tree. 

Cruise cringed as her high pitched screech over powered the music throbbing from the speakers, pumping Christmas carols through the air as the animals worked on getting the house ready for Christmas.

Carefully lining up the last strand of Christmas lights, Cruise stepped back and frowned at the haphazard way Lulu had hung the tinsel on the tree and Zulu had placed the small Santa and ball decorations, sighing to himself in frustration. Sometimes his sisters were just too messy for their own good.

As he scrutinised the tree and planned what needed to be changed and how, he felt a giant weight slam into his side. Sliding across the room, he frantically fought to dig his claws into the smooth wooden floors to prevent himself from crashing into the wall.

Sliding to a halt, he whipped himself around with a hiss to face a laughing Zulu. Rolling around the floor in peals of laughter, Zulu cried “Lighten up will you! It’s Christmas, a time to be jolly and happy! Who cares about a stupid tree anyway, I only care about what’s under it!”

Shaking his head, Cruise took in Zulu’s new attire she had donned for the day. A giant Santa coat covered her sleek, ebony fur, her ears flopping through two holes carelessly ripped in the side of a Santa hat. Her collar had been transformed into a blinding circle of red and silver tinsel and Lulu had even worked to attach a grey beard to the end of her snout; “it looks more authentic”, she’d said. Because a female Santa dog was authentic in the first place, Cruise thought rolling his eyes.

“Up the ladder Cruise!” Lulu cried, “you need to do the top of the tree!” Making his way closer to the tree, Cruise climbed the rungs carefully and observed the decoration for the top of the tree. Smiling in all his glory was a hand drawn Chilli Dog head. A brother they had never known, but been told so much about. It seemed natural that his head, also adorned with a hat and tinsel, should top their family tree. After all, he was the reason the humans had sought out the love and affection of Cruise, Lulu and Zulu.

“Sing with us Ruisey!” Lulu cried out from where she stood, perched atop the buffet along the side of the room, her small, grey head adorned with exaggerated elf ears and a small Santa hat, her chin lifted high in the air as she warbled along with the Carols from the stereo.  

Placing Chilli Dog with precision in his spot overlooking the family he so adored, Cruise smiled and turned to his brother and sister, letting out a loud and garbled “fa la la la la, la la la LA!” 

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“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”

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Lulu bounded down the street, heedlessly splashing through puddles and drenching fellow Christmas shoppers with droplets of muddy, melted snow. Her nose, pointed high to the sky, was focused on sniffing out one thing and one thing only – the perfect gift for her fellow feline brother, Cruise, and canine sister, Zulu.

Her small, nimble body meandered through the hordes of crowds moving from one shop to the next, and her eyes were wide with wonder as she observed the twinkling stars of light hanging from shop windows and the glow of red button noses peeking through layers of scarves, jackets and beanies to ward off the chill of the snow. The sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies, nutmeg and coffee wafted from the warm, cosy coffee shops lining the street and made her small mouth water; although she would rather find a large piece of fish to chew on. Though the heavy, snow filled clouds hung low over Lulu’s head and her grey fur was soaked through to the bone, she didn’t mind. Christmas was her favourite time of the year – especially since Christmas day marked the bright, shining moment five years ago that she had come into the world 

People fought, pushed and shoved as they made their way into the Five and Dime store, seeking out the perfect item to tick off their lists as quickly and cheaply as they could. Lulu could understand this, it had been a tough year. Standing back out the front of the shop, she crinkled her nose as the scent of plastic and paper assaulted her senses every time the electronic doors whooshed open with a blast of hot air. Thinking this shop might hold her perfect gift for Cruise and Zulu since it was obviously so popular, Lulu made her way inside when a big, human body set off the sensor once more and the doors flew open. Walking inside, Lulu felt as through she’d walked into a Christmas paradise. Her small head swivelled back and forth as she took in the rows and rows of candy canes and silver lanes aglow. It was almost too much for her, as the bright lights, sweet smells and cheap aromas assaulted her senses and overwhelmed her.

Deciding to start at the beginning, Lulu began weaving through the legs of the shoppers to seek out the perfect gift for her loved ones.

Spying a set of boots that would look perfect on her Great Uncle Bonny, Lulu rushed for the shelf and threw the right size in her trolley. Looking at her own list, she crossed off the first name. Now to find the next gift… Aisle after aisle seemed to be filled with not only people, but hordes and hordes of junk and cheap toys and household items. To Lulu’s eyes however, the shop looked like a treasure cove. The cheap plastic of the police kit glittered like real silver under the Christmas lights, and the princess outfits so carelessly jumbled and picked through gleamed with the shine of wealth and royalty. So much so that Lulu couldn’t resist grabbing a Cinderella dress for herself to wear on Christmas day. As she walked down aisle after aisle after aisle she started to get disheartened. She’d found Great Uncle Bonny’s present, and a few bits and pieces for her human but nothing perfect for her brother and sister.

Then she saw it. Sitting at the end of the aisle, illuminated as if from heaven by a large, iridescent fluoro light stood a display of pistol guns. Lulu rushed to the display to claim her own prize; the most perfect gift to help Cruise protect his fortress so painstakingly built under the bed to protect them from the visitors their humans always had over.

Rejuvenated after finding one gift, Lulu bounced down the next row marvelling at the displays and displays of dolls that could talk and walk – eventually settling on a grey kitten replica that moved and purred when you stroked its back. Just so Zulu would always have a part of Lulu with her wherever she was! Hopefully school would go back soon so the human children they lived with wouldn’t play with all their new toys and they could have them all to themselves!

Satisfied with her purchases, Lulu moved to the checkout, grumbling with all the other shoppers about how long the lines were and how slow the checkout people were going. Laughing to herself, Lulu realised she didn’t mind at all how slow they were going. By now her fur had dried and her insides were toasty warm from the heat. She sure didn’t relish going back outside into the cold weather again now!

Eventually emerging with her purchases, Lulu skipped down the street on her way home. Stopping to gaze through the windows of the Grand Hotel she stood star struck as she took in the tier upon tier of glittering lights, glimmering tinsel and gleaming baubles. The magnificent beauty of it all hypnotised Lulu, and it was only when her paws started to go numb from the ice of the snow seeping through her feet that she reluctantly moved on to continue her long trek home through the park – stopping at every magical tree where small fairy lights climbed trunks and embraced branches and where snow seemed to transform into magical fairies as it moved with the slight breeze against the glittery backdrop of dazzling lights.

Finally reaching home after a lot of Christmas light looking, impromptu shopping and posting her letter to Santa Claus, Lulu walked through the front door to hear sound of bells chiming and the dulcet tones of Christmas carols warbling through the air as Cruise prepared to erect their own magnificent tree and start baking their own Christmas goodies for Santa. Humming to herself as she quickly hid her purchases and shook the excess snow off her fur she laughed and said to herself, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”