After Christmas dinner, everybody tuned in to their TVs to see the annual festive edition of House of Canada. Calgary, Winnipeg and their parents watched the TV in the diner, while Halifax and Lloydminster were watching the show on the boss’ extra-large tablet he received as a present that morning. Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton nibbled on the fruit candies from the crackers for their ‘after-dinner’ treats as the show started up and Ottawa took his place on the stage to the roar of a festive crowd. “Thank you,” he greeted the crowd as the applause faded. Ottawa then began the annual speech on the meaning of Christmas he gave every year, and everybody watched with anticipation and excitement, listening to his every word and watching his every gesture.

“Now every year for Christmas, we have a special celebration which spreads across the city,” Ottawa began, and he started to stroll backstage, his camera crew following him. “What’s he doing?” Calgary asked Edmonton curiously, and Winnipeg gazed at the screen with slight confusion. “I think he’s going out to the market,” Pictou commented. “Has he ever walked off a show before?” Lloydminster wondered out loud. “Not sure,” the boss replied, shrugging a little.

Ottawa stepped out of the studio and into the cold, bitter night, snow blowing down onto his hair and suit. His coattails whipped about in the freezing breeze, making light trails in the snow as he and his camera crew shuffled their way through. Ottawa spotted a decorated arch in the distance, brightly illuminated with lights in rainbow hues. “That way!” he indicated. “That’s the Christmas market!” He started to push his way through the thick snow towards the market, his camera crew tailing close behind. “Ah, so he is heading for the market,” Pictou realized. “He’s coming here?” Calgary wondered out loud, feeling a little excited. Ottawa and his camera crew arrived at the entrance to the market, heading for the central plaza, where a giant Christmas tree as tall as the Ferris wheel was standing straight in the middle like a signpost for the rest of the fairground.

As Ottawa edged closer to the Christmas tree, people from across the city began to gather in their hundreds and thousands. Calgary, Winnipeg and their parents, seeing the crowd huddling in the central plaza, stepped out of the diner and promptly made their way across the fairground. Pictou and his parents, who had just arrived back at the market, were also making their way towards the central plaza, being careful not to bump anyone. Halifax and Lloydminster remained in their office, watching the live coverage on the boss’ tablet, as were all the other employees. Even all the Scrooges of the city, feeling like the man himself on Christmas Day after his encounters with the ghosts, had a sudden change of tune and decided to come and see the festivities which Ottawa was about to commence.

Ottawa climbed upon the podium beside the Christmas tree, immediately directing his sight onto the lever to switch on the lights. The crowd all had their eyes glued to the Christmas tree, unable to contain their excitement for what was going to happen. Halifax and Lloydminster fixed themselves on the boss’ tablet as Ottawa slowly stepped up to the lever, grabbing it by the rounded handle. Using all his strength and bravery, he cranked the lever down towards the ‘on’ position, the gears inside clanging together and buzzing with electricity.

In a matter of seconds, the Christmas tree burst into life, the lights illuminating the fairground in a colourful glow, making the baubles glimmer in the moonlight, and the golden star on the top glittering with the reflection of the stars in the dark blue Christmas night sky. The entire crowd cheered noisily as they admired the newly-illuminated Christmas tree, cameras flashing away while Ottawa triumphantly jumped up and down on the stage, clapping. Halifax and Lloydminster gasped in amazement and hugged each other tightly. “Merry Christmas!” they both wished for each other, kissing their cheeks. The boss and all the other employees rushed up to the office window, seeing the colourful glow of the Christmas tree lights over at the fairground, shouts of “Merry Christmas” spreading around and cameras snapping away at the wonderful wintry scene.

As if on cue, it started to snow again, making everybody cheer even louder. “I said let it snow… And it did snow!” Winnipeg giggled, catching snowflakes in his gloved hands. “Wishes always come true, Winnipeg,” Calgary beamed brightly, holding hands with Edmonton, who then held hands with Winnipegosis, and so on until the whole crowd was holding hands with each other. They began to sing Christmas carols in unity up towards the sky, bobbing to the left and right and up and down. Ottawa and his camera crew couldn’t help but join in and start singing too, holding each other’s hands. A shadow in the shape of a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer soared above the snowy city, shedding what appeared to be fairy dust onto the Christmas tree and the festive crowd below, joyful chants of “Merry Christmas” resonating into the atmosphere in a heartwarming display of the very best of the City of Canada at the most wonderful time of the year.

THE END!

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