The wind tunnel was just too much to fight. It tossed Amanda, Flo, Tony, and his family over the mountain that was in front of them. Within seconds, the twister stopped, and there was a loud “thud.” The princess and all of her friends were dropped into a large pile of snow. The princess asked “Where are we?” Everyone looked confused but happy to be safe. As they tried to get their bearings, Flo exclaimed, “Look! Over there! There’s an entire village all lit up!” Amanda jumped to her feet. Her eyes opened as big as saucers. She yelled in excitement, “That’s Hazelwood! That’s my home. Oh my goodness, we made it!” “It is still a far walk,” said Tony. “It doesn’t matter,” said the princess. “We will make it.”
Before they started walking, they stood in awe of how beautiful Amanda’s home looked. The many glowing Christmas lights created a halo around the village. It was a sight to behold. In that moment, Flo realized why Amanda was in such a hurry to get home. Her village looked very welcoming and like a picturesque postcard. All of a sudden, Amanda heard the sound of extremely loud jingle bells. She said, “It is time to go. Do you hear those bells? They are calling us.” Once again, only the princess heard any bells ringing. She said, “It is almost time for all of the Wassailia traditions to begin. We can’t be late!”
At that moment, they were on their way. It has stopped snowing, and they were moving faster. Now, their target was within reach. With every step, the entire gang got more and more excited. “I can’t wait for you to meet my family,” said the princess. “Everyone is going to have such a great time.”
As night was nearing, Amanda and her friends approached her home. They could all see the lights, and they could hear people singing beautiful songs. Tony was especially happy. He delighted in the aroma of freshly baked cookies in the air. Amanda was very relieved. Suddenly, the bunch found themselves in the middle of the festivities. Flo couldn’t believe her eyes. She had never seen anything so magnificent. The large tree was just as Amanda explained. Everyone was singing, laughing, and enjoying a delightful spread of food. There was something very special about this place. There was a unique warmth in the air that was hard to explain.
Out of nowhere a voice cried, “Amanda! Amanda! Is that really you?” A woman with delicate features appeared from the crowd. Amanda exclaimed, “Mother!” The two ran into each other’s arms and enjoyed a warm embrace. “I thought I lost you forever,” said the woman. Amanda replied, “I’m so sorry. I never meant to worry you like this. When I left, I went off into the forest. Something hit me on the head, and I heard jingle bells. Then I woke up lost and alone. I met some wonderful friends along the way. They helped me find my way home.” Amanda’s mother wouldn’t let go of her daughter. “I’m so glad you are home and safe. Where are your new friends? I want to thank them,” said her mother. Amanda gathered everyone together, and she introduced all her family to her new friends. Amanda’s father said, “How can we ever thank you for helping our daughter make it home for Christmas?” Flo was flitting around very nervously. She was never in the presence of so much royalty. Tony and his family were blending in nicely. They were mingling with the people of Hazelwood and were enjoying the great food. Tony’s fur was filled with crumbs from all of the cookies. He was definitely having a wonderful time.
Amanda was reunited with her brothers. Even they were happy to see her. They asked, “Why would you leave? Don’t you know how you worried everyone? Did you want to miss our celebration? What were you thinking?” Amanda responded, “I was foolish. Don’t you ever just want to be normal? I was mad that I have to always obey our mother and father. I was upset that you always get away with everything, but I always have to act properly. However, when I was gone, I missed you all terribly.” Her father listened to her talk to her brothers. His heart sank in his chest. When everyone else returned to the Wassailia festivities, he pulled his daughter aside. He said, “My darling daughter, I need to speak with you. I couldn’t help but overhear what you said to your brothers. I understand that being a princess isn’t easy. However, you’re destined for great things. This is why I give you responsibilities and make you mind your manners. Your duty is to serve the residents of Hazelwood and beyond. As a family, we were born to bring cheer to the world, to make people smile, and to bring peace to the restless. I know this is hard to understand right now. Someday, things will become clearer. Your mother and I love you very much. We never want you to feel like you need to run away again. We put a lot of pressure on you to be the perfect little princess, but you have been given a great gift. Although it may seem like a burden right now, the future will show you that you are blessed with a bonus. Let’s get back to the holiday fun. Now that you have returned home, we have a lot to celebrate.” Amanda’s father gave her a sweet kiss and took her hand. They returned to the crowd.
Everyone was gathered around the gigantic tree in the center of the village. Each person was joined hand-in-hand and was dancing with joy. The most angelic music could be heard at the site. At this moment, Flo looked around and totally understood why the princess couldn’t bear to be away from this spectacular event. As she floated around the tree, her ears suddenly heard the sound of jingle bells. Many questions flooded Flo’s mind. Are they the bells that helped guide them there? Why hadn’t she heard them before? Where were they coming from? Amanda heard the bells too. She could tell that Flo heard them as well. The princess simply winked at Flo and continued to bask in the beauty of the night. At that moment, Flo knew that there was something very mysterious and wonderful about the village of Hazelwood and her newfound friend Amanda. She was happy that she had the opportunity to share in the magic of Christmas in such a special place. In time, she would uncover exactly how special it was to live in Hazelwood.