On the first day of fanfic, my H.G. gave to me… The Everdeen’s Christmas Tree!!!
Katniss sat plucking her bird outside of Greasy Sae’s on a cold December morning. Prim and her mother were at home, and around her, miners gathered, already bidding on the goose, though Katniss had promised it to Rooba already.
She felt the bench creak as her hunting partner sat down next to her. “‘Afternoon, Catnip,” Gale said, picking up a feather and tickling her nose with it.
Katniss ripped the feather away and threw it into the pile, only the ghost of a smile lingering on her face, the only part of it she couldn’t wipe away.
“Hey.” Gale punched her arm. “I’m here, you know.”
“I know,” Katniss smirked. “Help me out, would you?”
Gale picked up another goose and started plucking feathers off. “Do you know what today is?” he asked.
Katniss shrugged. “The twenty-fifth?”
“Yes, but what else?”
Katniss rolled her eyes. “I don’t know, what?”
“It’s Christmas,” said Gale. “Remember? The Capitol started holding all those Christmas parties last year.”
“As if the Games and New Year’s weren’t enough holidays,” Katniss muttered. “They’re doing that again this year?”
“Yeah.” Gale twirled a feather. “They were talking about it in school assembly.”
“Oh, you mean while I was taking a nap?”
Gale laughed. “Prim seemed pretty interested.”
“Well, she can get over it. We aren’t doing anything they do in the Capitol.”
“It wasn’t always a Capitol tradition. Before the Dark Days, everyone celebrated Christmas. It’s supposed to be a time when you forget all your worries, or something tacky like that.”
“If it’s tacky, why are you still talking about it?” Katniss picked up her goose and started off towards Rooba’s shop.
Gale shrugged. “Prim was fascinated. And, well… you know, the kids never get to have fun in their lives.”
“So you thought we should have a Christmas for them,” said Katniss. She sighed. The idea didn’t seem appealing, but then again, it was so hard to deny her little sister anything. “What’s this all about anyway?”
“In school they said it was believed that Christmas was the birthday of a king, or something like that,” said Gale. “So everyone gave each other gifts. And they put them under a tree.”
“Under a tree?” said Katniss. “Why?”
Gale shrugged. “They didn’t say. But they brought the tree inside, and hung glass balls on it, and after that they had a feast.”
Katniss stared at him, mystified. “This sounds so typically Capitol. How do you fit a whole tree in the door?”
“It was an evergreen tree. Usually only a few years old.”
Katniss smirked. “Sounds like you were paying plenty of attention to this too, Gale.”
“Only because I knew you’d be asleep. So, should we do it? It would make the kids so happy. Your mother, too.”
Katniss thought for a minute. She and Gale loved their siblings very much, and if this one foolish day would lighten their spirits… well, she would do it. “Well,” she said, “there’s a fir tree by the fence that’s like, six feet tall. We could get a turkey, some roots, and a loaf of bread for the feast.”
“What about gifts?” asked Gale.
“I guess we’ll have to skip that part,” Katniss said. “Prim and mom are visiting a patient. If we hurry, we can get this over with before they get back.”
“Oh, come on. You’re excited,” said Gale.
They cut down the fir and dragged it to the Everdeen’s house in the woods, leaning it against the wall for lack of a stand. Katniss couldn’t find any glass balls, so she hung some of her mother’s yarn balls, and some pinecones she and Gale had collected in the woods. They set the turkey in the oven and then went back to decorating.
There came a knock on the door just as she and Gale finished the tree. Quickly, Katniss and Gale stood to block it.
Mrs. Everdeen opened the door. “Gale?” she said. “What a pleasant surprise. Um…”
“Mom, run and get the Hawthornes,” said Katniss. “Please?”
“What’s this all about?” Prim asked, sticking her head in the door.
“It’s a surprise,” said Gale.
Once Katniss’s mother and Prim had left, Gale handed Katniss some money. “Run to the Mellark’s bakery and grab a loaf of bread,” he said. “I’ll get the turkey from the oven. If you hurry, you can be back before them.”
Katniss threw on her coat and rushed out the back door, down the streets to the Mellark Family Bakery, and knocked on the door. “Please let it be Mr. Mellark,” she thought over and over as footsteps approached the door. “I really don’t want to deal with his wife… Please let it be Mr. Mellark…”
It was Peeta.
“Oh!” exclaimed Katniss. She blushed. “Hi… can I come in?”
Peeta opened the door, and she entered.
“You have… a lot of bread,” she said, looking around. Then her eyes landed on a small cake in the window, the kind Prim used to look at all the time.
“How much for that?” she asked, pointing to it.
Peeta looked at her for a minute. “It’s twenty.”
Her face must have fallen, because he said, “who’s it for?”
“My sister,” said Katniss, going to look at the bread. “Today’s Christmas in the Capitol. We’re having a party for her.”
The next moment, she felt a platter in her hands.
“Take it,” Peeta said.
Katniss was speechless.
“Quick.” He shoved her out the door. “Before my mother comes.” And he closed it before she could thank him.
Katniss ran home and threw open the door. “Hurry!” Gale called. “They’re almost here!”
Katniss set the cake on the table beside the turkey. The door opened, and she and Gale composed themselves before the tree.
“Merry Christmas,” they said, as Prim and Posy’s mouths flew wide open.
“A tree?” asked Rory Hawthorne.
“A cake?” said Mrs. Hawthorne.
Then all at once, the sibling and mother charged forward, and they met Katniss and Gale in a huge embrace.
They stayed up all night, dancing and singing and eating the meager feast. The Hawthorne’s slept over, and they all spread out blankets on the living room floor.
“This was the best day ever,” Prim gushed. She and Katniss lay beneath the tree.
“Anything for you, little duck,” said Katniss, giving her sister a light kiss on her nose.
And they fell asleep the happiest they had been all year.