The Christmas Journey | The Doll Coloring Book

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The Popover family is out.

It was Christmas Eve, and the Popovers sat with their toes on the chimney and listened to the storm howling around Aunt Amelia’s house.
Snow beat against the attic windows and piled up in white drifts on the windowsills. The wind howled down the chimney and made the trees on the grass rustle and shriek.
But he was warm in the Little Red Doll House. As for the Popovers, they were happy and excited. It was because they knew very well that it was Christmas Eve, and they were waiting to celebrate it in their own way.
“Tell us again about Santa Claus, Mom,” said Velvetina.
And at the mention of Santa Claus lo-lo, he sat down, with bright, awake eyes, in his mother’s arms.
Mrs. Popover began, “Years and years ago, Santa Claus brought you and me, Velvetina, here to live at the Little Red Doll House. We were crammed into his sleigh with Oh! As ever so many other toys of all kinds and sizes too. There were dolls and drums And trumpets and trains and balls and every other game you might name. I can’t begin to tell you all. It was a night just like tonight, snowing and blowing, but we were all as warm as we could get, tucked under Santa’s wonderful fur cape. We rode for a long time. I remember The ringing of sleigh bells that made you sleepy.Every now and then, we’d stop on a rooftop to let Santa Claus down a chimney with a load of toys.
Finally, Santa Claus got you and me out of the sleigh. We’ve pocketed it with this furniture. He carried the house in his bag, and we all gathered down the chimney in the playroom of this very house. Santa Claus put the doll house under the Christmas tree and put us and the furniture inside.
“Watch me next year, kids,” he said, and was away down the chimney in the twinkling of an eye.
“In the morning little Amelia came in and found us,” Velvetina crept up. ‘I know I know. Where was Daddy and Loo-Loo?
Of course I knew the answer. She just wanted to hear her mother say.
Her mother replied, “Your father was still an ordinary pin.” It wasn’t until the following spring, when one day Amelia found him in the grass, that he came home to live with us. And we didn’t have Loo-Loo until Amelia’s grandmother came to visit and gave Amelia a bottle full of little colorful lollipops.
“Now tell us about Santa Claus who comes every year,” Velvetina begged.
Mrs. Popover patted Lu-Lu softly for a moment and then went on with her story.
Every year on Christmas Eve we stand at the window and watch Santa Claus. He’s looking out for us too, we wave to each other and wish each other Merry Christmas. He doesn’t forget and neither do we. We used to wave from the window downstairs but the attic window is better because it is close to the sky. It’s almost time to watch that now. I hope Loo-Loo doesn’t sleep until Santa Claus comes and goes.
“I think we’d better go to the window now,” advised Mr. Popover. “It never hurts to be on time.”
The Popovers scrambled to the window and, by climbing into the trunk, managed to climb onto the window sill.
There they stood in a line, Mrs. Popover holding Loo-Loo, Velvetina next, and then Mr. Popover, standing straight and tall. They pressed their noses to the cold glass. They could see nothing outside the doors but a swirl of flying snowflakes. They strained their ears to listen. For a long time they heard nothing but the whistling of snow on the windowpane and the whistling of the wind in the fallen branches outside.
Finally, there was a ringing, ringing, ringing, faint and distant, but, moment by moment, drawing closer.
The ringing grew louder, and louder. The Popovers were trembling with excitement now.
Just outside the attic window, through the haze of snowflakes, the Popovers spied first a reindeer, then a big red sleigh full of game. Santa Claus sat in the sleigh, looking just as he did years ago when he carried Velvetina and Mrs. Popover in his pocket, and indeed as his pictures show him to this day.
Seeing Santa Claus, the Popovers waved their hands and handkerchiefs too. Velvetina cried and Mr. Popover let out several manly cheers.
‘Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!’ shouted the popovers.
But Santa Claus, though he looked smiling and friendly, didn’t wave in response to the Popovers! He drove out of sight without saying a word!
The Popovers looked at each other. They couldn’t speak. Actually, they couldn’t think.
The next moment there was a scratch and scramble on the roof. It wasn’t loud. If you didn’t know Santa Claus was nearby, you’d definitely think it was the wind.
“Santa Claus has landed on the roof,” the Popovers whispered, smiling again. “Maybe he will come here.”
And it was. A second later, the savage face of Santa Claus appeared in the Popovers’ attic window, his hand in its furry glove slowly pushed the window, and then Santa Claus himself descended from the roof through the attic window and stood in front of the Popovers, shaking hands and wishing them the Merry Christmas in the world.
‘Mrs. Patting Velvetina on the head and Lo-Lo, said Santa Claus, Pop-Over, I need your help. I have a hopping jack in my bag that feels very homesick. He does nothing but sit and cry. I’m afraid he will wash off his paint if he doesn’t stop. He says, too, that he’ll never jump again unless I take him home with me. I thought if you would go up and talk to him, tell him how you and Velvetina once played Christmas–that he might get over his homesickness and be more cheerful. He’s going to a little kid named Tom, and it’s the only toy Tom asked for, or I’ll give the kid something else.
“Tom?” exclaimed Mrs. Popover, very excited. “Isn’t Tom Ellen’s cousin?”
‘Yes,’ Santa Claus nodded, ‘exactly. Do you know him?’
“No,” replied Mrs. Popover, “but we know Tom’s Jack-in-the-Box.” “Take us all with you, Santa Claus. I’m sure we can make poor Jumping Jack stop crying.”
Santa Claus picked up the popovers without another word. He climbed out the window onto the roof, sat down in his sleigh, put the popovers under his fur coat beside Jumping-Jack, gathered his reins, and drove off.
The Popovers were surprised to find themselves moving away from their homes. They thought Santa Claus would put his deer on the roof for a moment while they talked to Jumping-Jack. But, of course, Santa Claus has no time to go on Christmas Eve. He is as busy as he can be.
Mrs. Popover, writing the others a word now and then, spoke kindly to the homesick Jumping-Jack. I told him about Elaine and Tom. She told him of Jack-in-the-Box, what a merry and easy fellow he was, and what a good friend she knew. And at once the jumping jack rejoiced.
He forgot to cry. He forgot to feel homesick. He asked all sorts of questions about Tom, Elaine, and Jack in the Box.
By the time he got to Tom’s house he was laughing, joking and jumping around. He could hardly wait to be carried down the chimney and put into Tom’s Christmas stocking.
Mrs. Popover came down with him to keep his spirits up to the end. When she returned she told her family that she had seen Tom in bed and that she thought he looked like a cute little boy. I talked to Jack-in-the-Box too for a second and he sent his love to all of them.
The sleigh is gone, it rushes through the air, the snow is flying, the sleigh bells are ringing.
Popovers never dreamed of such a trip. All the toys were smiling and excited, wondering each time the sleigh stopped whose turn it was to be carried down the chimney and left in the storage of a little girl or boy.
As they rounded the corner to Elaine’s house, Santa Claus said, “Don’t you like Popovers to come down with me and have a look at Elaine?”
Of course they will.
Once down the chimney, they steal a glimpse of Ellen, fast asleep and smiling in her Christmas dreams. Mrs. Popover, lifted up by Santa Claus, left a little kiss on Elaine’s cheek, softer than a snowflake and colder.
In the next room stood Elaine’s Christmas tree. And what was Santa Claus preparing under it?
a house! doll house! It looks a lot like the Little Red Doll House except it’s painted a beautiful shade of green!
“It’s a little green doll’s house,” said Santa Claus, smiling. “Here are the furniture and here is the family too.”
Santa Claus took the furniture out of his bag and settled into the Little Green Doll House in an instant. Then the family came out – dad, mom and two kids, just like the Popovers except they were all little china dolls.
Mrs. Popover admired their appearance and smiled at them in a friendly manner.
‘what is your name please?’ I asked politely from Little China’s mother.
‘Mrs. Buttonhook, answered the little lady with a bow, and this is my husband, Mr. Buttonhook. My little girl’s name is Betsy, and the baby is named Albert after his father, but we all call him Bertie for short. I hope you are neighbors and get back in touch again.
“Thank you,” said Mrs. Popover, looking at Baby Buttonhook’s hat and planning to make one like Loo-Loo as soon as she got home. “I’m sorry we don’t live close by, but I will call whenever I can.”
Again to the sleigh the Popovers went and now Santa Claus drove them straight home.
‘I don’t think I closed the attic window,’ said Santa Claus, ‘and I don’t want to cool down Amelia’s house, especially on Christmas Eve.’ She has been a friend of mind for many wonderful years.
Once home, the Popovers were very excited to go to bed. They sat talking with the Peanuts until Christmas dawn, telling of their journey and what they had done and what they had seen.
“It was a very fine house, little green doll’s house, my dear,” said Mr. Popover for perhaps the tenth time. Elaine couldn’t fail to like it. I thought it was tinted a very rich shade of green, and noticed several much needed improvements. It had electric lights, stairs, and a knocker on the front door, too.
“That may be true,” answered Mrs. Popover in her most stern manner. Whatever you say may be true. There is no doubt that we are ordinary and old. But I’m sure I’ll never love any other house as much as I love the little red dollhouse.

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