Christmas from More About Paddington by Michael Bond

Michael Bond’s festive tale from the second volume of Paddington stories sees our Peruvian hero celebrating his first Christmas with the Brown family. This provides plenty of scope for the bear unleash his trademark brand of good natured chaos. Paddington’s Christmas sees him putting up decorations, discovering the joys of festive hats and wallowing in that special feeling of satisfaction that comes from a long day of indulgence and generosity.

Illustration by Raymond Briggs

‘Apart from the Christmas tree, there were paper chains and holly to be put up, and large coloured balls made of crinkly paper. Paddington enjoyed doing the paper chain. He managed to persuade Mr Brown that bears were very good at putting up decorations and together they did most of the house, with Paddington standing on Mr Brown’s shoulders while Mr Brown handed up the drawing pins. It came to an unhappy end one evening when Paddington accidentally put his paw on a drawing pin which he’d left on top of Mr Brown’s head.’

Illustration by Peggy Fortnum

‘It all started when Paddington woke to find a large pillow-case at the bottom of his bed. His eyes nearly popped out with astonishment when he switched his flashlight on, for it was bulging with parcels, and it certainly hadn’t been there when he’d gone to bed on Christmas Eve.

‘Paddington’s eyes grew larger and larger as he unwrapped the brightly coloured paper round each present. Mrs. Bird’s parcel contained a checked cap which he’d specially asked for and had underlined on his list. Paddington stood on the end of his bed, admiring the effect in the mirror for quite a while.’

‘Paddington’s eye glistened as he surveyed the table. He didn’t agree with Mr. Brown when he said it all looked too good to eat. All the same, even Paddington got noticeably slower towards the end when Mrs. Bird brought in the Christmas pudding.’

‘When he made his way up to bed later that evening, his mind was in such a whirl, and he was so full of good things, he could hardly climb the stairs — let alone think about anything. He wasn’t quite sure which he had enjoyed most. The presents, the Christmas dinner, the games, or the tea. Pausing on the corner half-way up, he decided he had enjoyed giving his own presents best of all.

“Honestly!” Mrs Bird exclaimed. “What does that bear look like? A paper hat about ten sizes too big on his head – Mr Gruber’s scrapbook in one paw – and a plate of Christmas pudding in the other!”’

‘Tomorrow was another day — and he felt quite sure he would have some more adventures — even if he didn’t know what they were going to be as yet. Paddington lay back and pulled the blankets up round his whiskers. It was warm and comfortable and he sighed contentedly as he closed his eyes. It was nice being a bear. Especially a bear called Paddington.’

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