Children's Christmas story Claires Disappearing Presents by Nirupama Harikumar

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  Claires Disappearing Presents
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Claire stayed up all night before Christmas to find out where her Christmas presents have been disappearing to for the last two years. Will she find out what has been happening to them?
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Claire had had enough of this! Every Christmas morning for the last two years, she had been waking up to an empty stocking. Her brothers and sisters had gifts inside of theirs but her own present was always stolen.
The first time around, she had thought that she was being pranked.
She had secretly gone through her siblings' rooms but there was no hidden present anywhere.
The second time around, Claire had woken up before everybody else on Christmas morning to check for her gift but the stocking was already empty.
This year, she could not bear waking up to a present-less Christmas.
She had made sure to be very good all year so that Santa would take extra notice, in case he had forgotten to fill her stocking for the last two years.
So, on Christmas Eve, after everybody was asleep, Claire crept out into the living room where all the stockings were kept. She felt the bottom of her stocking. And guess what! Her present was inside! Claire was sure now that Santa had not been forgetting to gift her all these years. This was somebody else's doing.
"This year," she whispered, "I'm not letting anyone steal my present!
She decided to sleep on the sofa to make sure that nobody came inside that night.
Halfway through the night, Claire was bored with trying to keep herself awake.
She was done counting all the cushions in the room. She was also done with imagining all the rooftops that Santa would have to squeeze through that very night.
She could barely keep her eyes open when suddenly, she heard wet feet tip-toeing across the hall.
Claire sat straight up and looked around but there was no one in sight.
The tip-toeing had stopped now, but Claire could hear the sound of ripping paper.
"That must be my gift!"
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She jumped off the sofa and ran to where the stockings were hung.
At first it was too dark to see anything, but slowly Claire could make out a tiny grey ball of fur halfway-inside her stocking.
"Stop what you're doing right now!" she whispered, not wanting to awake everyone, she was not sure if she'd caught the right thief yet.
A little grey head emerged out of the stocking with two tiny hands that still held on to scraps of gift wrapping paper. It was a little mouse! This was not the thief that Claire was expecting.
"Are you stealing my gift away? That's very rude!" Claire complained, still whispering.
"Is this yours?" The mouse replied in a female voice. Claire was surprised! She had not expected a reply from the furry grey mouse.
"Um, yes mouse, I mean, Ma'am. You were in my stocking." Claire said.
"I am sorry; maybe I should leave now." the mouse was already moving away from her.
"But was it you who has been taking my presents all these years?" Claire tried to spot the mouse in the darkness.
She found her, crouching near the Christmas tree.
"Now that you ask, I will not lie. Yes. It was me. And I'm very sorry. I do hope that you forgive me."
"But why did you do it? Did you throw my gifts away?" Claire asked. She really wanted to get to the bottom of this.
"Oh no! I'd never do that, I was only taking your gifts because," the mouse hesitated.
"Go on," Claire prompted. "I'm not going to hurt you."
"Well," the mouse continued. "I took them for my three little sisters. I work very hard throughout the year to buy them gifts for Christmas. But I'm never able to."
Claire was touched. She was about to say something when she heard footsteps coming from the bedroom.
Quickly, she pulled her gift from the stocking and handed it over to the mouse.
"Here! You have it. Wish your three little sisters a Merry Christmas from me. And go home now; someone's coming this way. Please come back next Christmas, okay?"
Claire ran to the sofa and pretended to be asleep.
It was her sister who'd heard the voice and come to check.
Claire went back into her room after her sister had left.
Next morning, when everybody was checking their stocking, Claire was all smiles. She wasn't going to check hers but her sister called out "Claire, there's something in yours, aren't you going to check?"
Claire was surprised to hear that.
She ran to check what it was.
At the bottom of her stocking, there was a little note saying "Thank you!"
With the note, Claire found a little golden bell. It made the most charming ring when she held it up.
Claire was very grateful for helping out a new friend. In fact, it made her happier than being given a present ever could.
Every Christmas since then, Claire has never forgotten to leave a tiny stocking out along with her own.
She made sure to fill it up with tiny sweets and nice presents so that the mouse and her little sisters would have lots of fun every Christmas.

The End

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