Part 1

Empath's personal journal.
This Christmas is going to be the first one that Polaris Psyche has ever actually experienced since he has been exiled from Psychelia. This smurf is glad to have Polaris be among us, for he has always wondered what an actual Christmas celebration was like for us, given that the Psyches do not celebrate any holidays due to the Psyche Master's influence over the Psyches. Of course, the Smurfs never really knew anything about Christmas until our first encounter with actual humans outside the forest, when Johan and Peewit introduced the holiday to the Smurfs during one of their encounters. Until that time, the Smurfs have always celebrated the Winter Solstice, which happens about four days before Christmas, but nevertheless the celebrations of the two different holidays aren't all that different from each other. We still decorate an evergreen tree with ornaments, we still sing carols about the holiday season, we still eat festive foods such as candy canes, gingerbread cookies, and fruit cake, the last of which Hefty eats like it's going out of style. And last of all, we still give and receive presents from each other, though there are still a few Smurfs that believe in the legend of Santa Smurf, a Smurf who lives in a mushroom house all by himself to make presents for good little Smurfs to bring them to their houses on the night before the Winter Solstice.
This smurf has decided to take Polaris out into the forest with Timber so that we can find a good tree that we can cut down and use for our Christmas tree in the center of the village. Papa Smurf, who is busy with his own things this year, has decided to leave Hefty in charge of the village to keep things going peacefully while Brainy is busy with his studies as a sorcerer's apprentice. This smurf can only hope for the best with Papa Smurf, since this smurf cannot seem to get a grasp of what's going on with him at this time of the year.

Empath woke up on a bright snowy December morning, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead of him. He looked out at the village as it was getting itself ready to celebrate Christmas by putting up decorations and garlands all over. It was a pleasing sight to behold at this time of the year instead of having to see what he normally saw in Psychelia, which was everybody just getting up and going through the motions of the day without much conversation with each other.
He got dressed up in his Psychelian bodysuit, feeling how snug the thin fabric suit was on his body, and then went downstairs to see that Polaris was already awakened from sleep, putting on the same clothes that Empath was wearing. "Salutations, fellow Polaris," Empath greeted pleasantly.
"Salutations, fellow Empath," Polaris greeted back dispassionately. "This one suspects that we will need to wear our bodysuits to go out into this weather again as usual."
"It's not that this smurf has to, Polaris, given how the Smurfs normally dress during the winter," Empath said. "But this smurf just doesn't feel comfortable walking around in only a hat and pants, even if this smurf can't feel much of the cold as it hits this smurf's body."
"So what is our itenerary for the day, Empath?" Polaris asked.
"Well, you and this smurf are supposed to meet up with Timber so we can go out into the forest to cut down a Christmas tree for the holiday season," Empath answered. "Hefty should keep things under control for the day while we go and accomplish this task together."
"So we're cutting down a tree for the sake of celebrating a holiday, and then it will be disposed of when the holiday season is finished," Polaris said. "This one does not see the point in this ritualistic exercise that we're engaging in."
"Winter is usually a time when creatures go to hibernate or fly south to warmer climates, Polaris, and that's when things are lying dormant under the blanket of snow and coldness," Empath explained. "This is where the Smurfs celebrate the meaning of life even when things seem bleak and hopeless in a frozen landscape. Tapper himself says that it's the time when God sent hope into the world through the birth of a Savior, born to a poor couple in a dirty stable on a night that probably wasn't as cold as it is here."
"This one would be interested to know more about what Tapper puts his faith in, Empath," Polaris said. "For now, though, this one would rather focus most of this one's attention on becoming familiar with the everyday activities of the Smurfs, however distasteful some of them might be to this one."
Empath sighed. "That's your choice, Polaris. This smurf will stand by your decisions and let you choose what you want to do here as long as it doesn't hurt anyone."
They both left the house together, only to suddenly run into Smurfette, who was holding Baby Smurf. "Hello, Empath," she said as she greeted him with a kiss. "Hello, Polaris," she said, also greeting Polaris with a kiss.
"Salutations, fellow Smurfette," Polaris greeted back. "It is rather unusual for you to greet this one with a kiss, given who you would normally greet in such fashion."
"Polaris, look up above you," Empath hinted.
Polaris looked and saw a sprig of a plant hanging above their door. "It appears to be some mistletoe that is hanging over us, Empath," he observed.
"Surprise!" Smurfette exclaimed. "I just smurfed it above Empath's door last night while the two of you were sleeping. I hope you didn't mind what I smurfed."
"This smurf isn't offended, Smurfette," Empath said, still smiling. "But this smurf thinks you put some color in Polaris' cheeks when you kissed him."
Polaris looked sideways at Empath. "What do you mean, she 'put color in this one's cheeks', Empath?" Polaris asked.
Empath sighed. "Never mind, this smurf will tell you later."
"So are you boys going to help Timber smurf a very big Christmas tree for our village this year?" Smurfette asked.
"That's what we're planning to do, Smurfette," Empath replied. "You're going to help decorate the tree once we get it set up in place?"
"You bet I will, Empath," Smurfette said. "When we're finished, it's going to smurf like the best Christmas tree that we ever had smurfing in our village since I first helped smurf one years ago."
"This one is honored to help you celebrate the season in a manner that befits how you Smurfs normally celebrate it, Smurfette," Polaris said.
"I'm sure it's going to be a very smurfy first Christmas for you, Polaris," Smurfette said. "I'll smurf the both of you later."
"Bye, Smurfs," Baby Smurf said as both he and Smurfette watched Empath and Polaris walk off together.

Tapper was outside his tavern sweeping away the snow from the entrance when he saw Empath and Polaris walking by. "Smurf o' the morning to you, Empath and Polaris," he greeted pleasantly. "'Tis a wonderful white wintry day that we're smurfing long before the day of the Winter Solstice, isn't it?"
"It certainly is, Tapper," Empath said. "We can't wait to see what kind of tree Timber's going to pick for the village square this year."
"I'm certain that the tree will be beautiful, and it will be well smurfed for as long as it remains smurfing in the village square, my friend," Tapper said.
"This one senses that you're not quite as fond of evergreen trees being used for such a celebration as you used to be when the Smurfs were originally celebrating the Winter Solstice, fellow Tapper," Polaris noted.
"Things have changed with me since I have been smurfing with the Almighty, Polaris," Tapper said. "In recent years I have been smurfing the evergreen tree as a wrong symbol to celebrate the birth of our dear Lord and Savior, which is why I refuse to decorate my tavern with any green wreaths or small evergreens in it."
"That's a real shame, Tapper, since this smurf actually liked your tavern when it had such decorations in them," Empath said. "But that's what your Almighty has convicted you about, then this smurf isn't going to make much of a big issue about it."
"Just what is it that you even decorate your tavern with to celebrate this season, Tapper?" Polaris asked.
"Just smurf inside my tavern and I will show you," Tapper invited.
Empath and Polaris stamped their feet outside the door to shake off the snow before they entered. Inside, they both saw on a table a miniature stable with small human and animal figures that were carved and painted.
"This is what's called a Nativity scene," Tapper explained. "The baby in the manger is Jesus, the two adult figures around the manger is Mary His mother and Joseph His foster father, and surrounding them are shepherds and the three Wise Men who smurfed to Bethlehem about a year later to smurf their gifts to the newborn King."
"Fascinating," Polaris said as he looked at the Nativity scene in great detail. "So your religion centers around a child that has been born into the world to become its savior."
"He can become your Savior and Empath's, if you are willing to smurf your faith in the fact that He smurfed into the world to smurf a sinless life and then smurfed His blood upon the cross to forgive your sins and then smurfed from the grave three days later to smurf us everlasting life," Tapper said.
"Well, this smurf finds it interesting, even though this smurf is not yet ready to make such a commitment of faith, Tapper," Empath said.
"And this one is still devoted to worshiping the Great Ancestors of Psychelia," Polaris said.
"Whether you two are ready or not, I will still be praying for you, that your eyes will be opened and your heart will be ready to receive the good news," Tapper said.
"We won't stop you from praying, Tapper, even if most Smurfs would rather devote their lives to Mother Nature," Empath said.
"When did you Smurfs stop celebrating the Winter Solstice in favor of Christmas, Tapper?" Polaris asked.
"It was that first winter when we smurfed again into those two humans, Johan and Peewit, after they have visited us the first time to smurf after the magic flute," Tapper answered. "Not that we haven't smurfed of Christmas before then, but most Smurfs weren't willing to change holiday celebrations, even if it is only a few days' difference between them."
"Whatever the difference is, this smurf is glad to be home to celebrate it year after year instead of just every ten years like it used to be, Tapper," Empath said.
"We really need to get ourselves to Timber's house so we can get started with our Christmas task, Tapper," Polaris said.
"Ah, don't mind me...I have no intention of smurfing you two from your task for the day," Tapper said. "I'll be smurfing the both of you later on, if you're interested in smurfing in for some warmth and a hot beverage."
"That's what this smurf will do, Tapper," Empath said, as he and Polaris got up and headed for the door. "Thanks for showing us your Nativity scene."
"May the luck of the Smurfish be with you," Tapper said as he watched them depart.

Soon Empath, Polaris, and Timber were walking together out in the forest with Puppy hitched up to a sled that they were using to carry the tree back to the village. Timber was whistling the Smurf song while Empath and Polaris walked along silently, with Empath enjoying the walk and Polaris just quietly observing everything he was witnessing.
"So how long have the Smurfs been cutting down trees to celebrate the holiday season, fellow Timber?" Polaris asked.
"Ever since the Smurfs started smurfing in this forest, Polaris," Timber answered. "I usually like to smurf the biggest tree that I can smurf, though every time I smurf down a tree, I feel a bit of sorrow because it means that a tree's life has ended. So I plant a new tree to smurf the place of an old one to honor the life of the tree, to make sure that it hasn't been smurfed down in vain."
"This one knows your people have such veneration for nature, but this one would not begin to imagine how much you care for what the Psyches would consider dead inanimate material," Polaris said.
"A tree is never really dead to me," Timber said a bit defensively. "That's what makes my job as a lumbersmurf so hard to smurf at times, realizing that this is what Mother Nature has smurfed in the ground to become food and shelter for the animals as well as protection for us, for who knows what would become of us if all the humans knew where our village is located?"
"But all the same, where would us Smurfs be if trees didn't provide us with the wood that we need for our furniture, our paper, and our kindling?" Empath said. "Handy and Carpenter would be out of their jobs if there weren't any trees left in the forest for them to have the materials they need. And what would Brainy use to write his vast library of books with if there wasn't any paper?"
"I wouldn't miss Brainy's books if there was no paper for him to smurf his writings on, Empath," Timber jested. They soon came to a stop when Timber motioned them to stop as they came across a big evergreen tree in their travels. "Now this definitely smurfs like the right tree for our village. All right, Smurfs, let's get our axe ready and smurf this thing down gently so we can carry it back with us."
"Are you certain you are able to cut this tree down by yourself, Timber?" Polaris asked as Timber went to the sled to get his axe.
"Don't worry about me, Polaris," Timber said. "I've smurfed years of experience with these sort of trees, so I know what I'm smurfing. You and Empath just be ready to smurf it when it comes smurfing down, you hear?"
"We'll be ready for it, Timber," Empath said, standing by and watching as Timber headed for the trunk of the tree and started hacking away.
It took about a minute or so of waiting, but soon Empath and Polaris could hear the final hack that caused the tree to start falling. "TIMBER!" Timber yelled.
Empath and Polaris both concentrated their mind powers together to slow the fall of the evergreen as it fell in their direction. The tree hovered about a foot from the ground, and then it was levitated to the sled where it was laid down, ready to be secured with rope.
"Perfect!" Timber said, sounding pleased. "I knew that I could smurf on the both of you to smurf this thing down and smurf it on the sled to smurf it back home."
"This one is honored to assist you, Timber," Polaris said.

As Puppy hauled the Christmas tree back to the village, Polaris was talking to Timber about something that was on his mind.
"This one has heard about the time when you Smurfs had lost your parents due to an outbreak that spread among the adult Smurfs about a hundred years ago," Polaris said. "How did you manage to get through that time when there was just Papa Smurf as your only parent and guardian?"
"It wasn't the easiest time for us back then, Polaris," Timber said. "We didn't smurf much hope in Papa Smurf since he was just one Smurf watching over all of us, and we were much more than even he could handle by himself. His patience was smurfed to no end by the various things we were smurfing wrong, and it smurfed like nothing ever pleased him. But I think he was most angry with himself, because most nights he was smurfing himself to sleep, thinking he was a complete failure."
"This one would not envy the experience you and your fellow Smurfs had to go through, especially during a season like this," Polaris said.
"Hmmm, that first Winter Solstice without our parents was really hard, but we tried our best to smurf up each other's spirits," Timber said. "Even though I was still too young to be smurfing out into the forest by myself as a young lumbersmurf, I thought our village could smurf a good Solstice tree to brighten things up. And that was when I smurfed somebody in a much worse situation than I was in at the time."
"Who was it that you found in the forest at that time?" Polaris asked.
"It wasn't a who, it was a what...or at least it was a what when I first found it, Polaris," Timber answered. "It was an enchanted evergreen that was originally an elf that an evil witch had smurfed into a tree. And it had a sister that was smurfing over it in the hopes that it would be free of the spell that cursed it."
"This one would be interested to hear the entire story of how you came across this enchanted evergreen in your forest, Timber," Polaris requested.
"Well, here's the whole story smurfed from the beginning...," Timber said.