Hello again everybody! Svinorita here and since the Christmas holidays are coming up fast, I wanted to help bring some holiday cheer and spirit by writing this Inside Out Christmas Special requested by Orangebird124!

I hope you all enjoy this little Christmas story and have fun with Riley's Emotions as they experience all the highs and lows of the holiday season and learn to appreciate the true meaning of friendship and family during this magical time of the year!

Before I get started, I'd just like to point out that over the next month or so I would like to concentrate on finishing this story (hopefully before Christmas!) and also work on my Halloween story "The Curse of the Were-Disgust" because it is seriously overdue for an update! So I'm going to have to put my other stories on hold for a while because I would like to rotate between these two until they are both finished and then I'll get back to "One Summer of Joy" and "Secrets of an Emotional Mind" :)

That's all I wanted to mention for now, so let's all get into the Christmas spirit and celebrate with Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger as the countdown to Christmas begins...

Svinorita


Chapter 1 – 5 Days till Christmas…

It was less than a week until Christmas and inside the mind of 12 year old Riley Andersen, Headquarters was in a state of organized chaos! Christmas Day was approaching rapidly and there were still so many preparations to be done…

Anger and Joy were busy decorating the Christmas tree together, which was a bit of a challenge because the stepladder wasn't tall enough to reach all the way to the top of the tree. As a result Anger, who had stubbornly taken possession of the Christmas Star was beginning to lose his temper because he couldn't reach high enough to put the tree topper in place!

As the grumpy red Emotion let fly with some colorful language, Joy rushed around the base of the tree, stringing the Christmas lights and hanging baubles simultaneously.

Her blue eyes were filled with urgency as she ran laps around the tree, laying out the Christmas lights as she went. "Oh why did we wait so long?! Riley and her parents had put their tree up several weeks ago!" She fretted anxiously.

In her frenzied attempt to decorate the tree, Joy wound up getting herself tangled in the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, in her desperate struggle to free herself, she accidentally bumped into Anger on the stepladder.

"Joy! Will you calm down already?! You're making me mad!" Anger shouted as he steadied himself on the ladder and fixed his yellow co-worker with a withering scowl.

"If I fall off this ladder because of you, you'll be sorry!" The red Emotion grumbled warningly.

As if to prove how serious he was, a few sparks ignited on top of his head and smoldered menacingly as Joy finally untangled herself from the lights and looked up at her red colleague with a nervous grin.

She mumbled an apology to her fiery friend and quickly busied herself with hanging up baubles and other ornaments on the opposite side of the tree (as far away from Anger's sizzling head as she could get just in case he decided to follow through with his threat!)

Meanwhile, Fear was decorating the doorframes and windows overlooking the Islands of Personality with gold and silver tinsel. As he worked, his every move was being carefully scrutinized by Disgust, who had just finished painting her toenails and consequently found herself confined to the sofa while she waited for the shiny pink nail polish to dry.

But just because she couldn't actively join in with the decorating, doesn't mean that Disgust was resigned to watching the action from the sidelines! The green Emotion kept one eye on the monitor and Riley's activities, whilst simultaneously letting her input be felt as she offered helpful tips to her busy co-workers.

"Fear, why don't you use some of this trendy green and red tinsel instead?" Disgust insisted as she studied her purple colleague's work with a frown of disapproval.

"That bland gold and silver stuff is so old fashioned!" She commented tartly, the corner of her mouth turning up in distaste. "I think green and red would really help capture the essence of Christmas!"

Fear threw down the tinsel with a growl of irritation. He turned around and glared crossly at Disgust. "Well why don't you do it yourself if you know everything?!"

Disgust just flicked a strand of hair out of her face nonchalantly and turned her head to the side. "I would if I could, but someone needs to keep an eye on Riley around here!" She stated matter-of-factly.

Before Fear could respond, Sadness walked in from the break room carrying a box of Christmas stockings. Each Emotion had their own stocking that matched their color and every year at Christmas, they liked to hang them up around the console and leave little gifts for one another inside!

Sadness stopped in front of the console and put the box down with a grunt. "Is it okay if I put these up now?" She asked in her soft, melancholy voice as she looked up at the others timidly.

Fear felt a teasing smile creep across his face. "Of course! Just make sure you don't hang them too high Sadness, otherwise you and Anger might not be able to reach into them!"

From over at the Christmas tree, Anger scoffed on his stepladder. "Ha, ha Beanpole!" He retorted sarcastically.

Suddenly his amber-colored eyes lit up deviously and he flashed a wicked grin at his purple co-worker. "Maybe I should string that tinsel around your neck and turn you into a living Christmas ornament!"

Sadness gave a despondent sigh from the console as she listened to the boys' bickering. "Come on you guys! It's almost Christmas! This should be a time for love and sharing…a time to put all our differences aside and be nice to each other."

The blue Emotion took a shuddering breath and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. "But I don't know if I'm ever going to see that around here…" She sobbed despairingly.

Sadness trailed off and covered her face with her hands as she let the tears flow freely.

All the other Emotions watched her with a sense of guilt, her words making them momentarily stop their tasks and think about the simple message she was trying to convey to them.

Finally Joy was the first to offer a response as she gave her blue co-worker a sad smile and replied gently, "Well Sadness, I promise you that we will make it work this Christmas!"

She passed another bauble up to Anger and continued in a reassuring voice. "This year we are all going to put our differences aside and try to be best buddies no matter what!"

From the sofa, Disgust rolled her eyes unconvincingly.

Sure! Like that will ever happen…

Then the green Emotion turned her attention back to Sadness, who had started taking the Christmas stockings out of the box. "By the way Sadness, I hope you're putting those stockings in the right order." She informed sassily.

The order in which the Christmas stockings were hung up was quite a big deal. The Emotions had a long-standing tradition that come Christmas Day, the order in which the stockings were hung dictated who got to open their presents first! In other words, no one wanted their stocking to be the last in line…

Sadness was just about to start hanging the stockings around the edge of the console, when Disgust's remark made her stop and look up at her green co-worker with uncertainty.

Disgust gave her a confident smile and explained simply, "I mean we all know that the Christmas tree is the main feature of Christmas right? And since Christmas trees tend to be green, I think it's only fitting that you should hang the green stocking first!"

Anger snorted loudly from his stepladder. "Says who?! Isn't the main feature of Christmas Santa Claus? And can you tell me what color his suit is?"

The grumpy Emotion jumped down from the ladder and took a few menacing steps towards his green co-worker. His eyes flashed with defiance as he pointed to himself and declared proudly, "I think the red stocking should be first!"

Disgust narrowed her eye in challenge and was about to oppose her hot-headed colleague when Joy broke in with her cheerful, sing-song voice.

"Uh excuse me guys! Have you forgotten about the yellow star on top of the Christmas tree? After all, that star is meant to show people the place where Jesus was born…"

Joy trailed off and got a thoughtful look in her eye. "At least I think that's what it stands for…" She muttered as she scratched her head ponderingly.

Sadness was looking at her yellow co-worker questioningly. "Huh? So you want me to hang up the yellow stocking first then?" She inquired somberly.

From over by the window, Fear sighed miserably as he finished putting up the tinsel. "Oh wonderful! It's just as I thought…"

He looked at Sadness sympathetically. "It looks like there's nothing Christmassy associated with the colors purple or blue! So I guess that means my and Sadness' stockings should be last again this year…"

He glanced down at the floor and mumbled to himself flatly, "Just like every year since Riley's first Christmas…"

Suddenly, Disgust's shrill voice interrupted everyone's thoughts.

"Shush guys! This sounds really interesting…!" She announced as she pointed to the monitor excitedly.

The others all turned and stared at the screen in confusion.

"What's the matter? Is there something wrong with Riley?" Sadness asked worriedly, her voice beginning to quiver as she fought back a strong urge to cry.

Disgust shook her head, her green eyes glued to the screen as she replied quickly, "Oh not at all! She's just skyping with Meg on her laptop…"

She reached for a button on the console and turned up the volume so the Emotions could hear Riley's voice very clearly.

"Now just be quiet and listen!" Disgust instructed the others firmly.

All the Emotions gathered around the console and listened to Riley's conversation with Meg in rapt silence.

"Oh Meg, it's so good to see you again!" Riley smiled down at her laptop as she greeted her best friend from Minnesota excitedly.

"Have you completed your Christmas shopping yet?" She asked cheerfully.

From the computer screen, Meg gave an enormous sigh. "Far from it my girl! Mom and I have been to the mall practically every day for weeks now!"

All of a sudden, Meg's voice took on an excited note as she leaned towards the computer screen and whispered, "And I have just discovered something new about myself recently…"

She gave a little squeal of delight and exclaimed loudly, "For the first time in my life, I actually enjoy shopping! I have become like seriously addicted to it!"

A huge smile appeared on Riley's face as she nodded at her friend and confessed with equal enthusiasm, "Funny you should mention that Meg! I never liked shopping much before either, but lately I just can't get enough of it! It almost feels like a switch has been flipped in my head or something and I get so excited just thinking about buying nice things!"

Riley took a deep breath and began listing off some of her favorite commodities excitedly as Meg nodded in agreement at the mention of each item.

"I mean seriously! Clothes! Bags! Shoes! Books! CDs! DVDs! The thrill of buying something new and taking it home to admire…"

Riley gasped and stared at her friend in wide-eyed wonder. "What's happening to us Meg?!"

On the screen, Meg burst out laughing at Riley's awestruck expression. "Well my dear friend, I guess we are getting older!" She snorted as she struggled to keep a straight face.

"And everyone knows that teenage girls love shopping!" She concluded with an innocent shrug.

Back inside Headquarters, Disgust turned the volume knob back down as she gave her co-workers a look of extreme satisfaction.

"You heard what Meg said, and I think the same goes for Emotions too!"

She smiled broadly and exclaimed, "Because I personally love shopping as well!"

Disgust got a dreamy look in her eye and her voice filled with longing as she wondered out loud, "I just wish we had some more variety in here! You know what I'm saying? I already know every nook and cranny of Fashion Island and I think it would be really nice if we had more shopping choices available to us!"

Joy nodded slowly as Disgust's words struck a chord with her. "You're right Disgust! That does sound nice…" She agreed eagerly.

Sadness, Fear and Anger all rolled their eyes in disinterest as Disgust and Joy got into a passionate discussion about how great having more retail options at their disposal would be.

Suddenly a low rumbling sound interrupted everyone's thoughts and Headquarters began to shake as if a mild earthquake had just occurred in the Mind World.

Fear shrieked in alarm and dove behind the console as the other Emotions exchanged worried looks with one another. A few memory orbs rolled off the Short Term shelves and clattered to the floor noisily.

Then just as suddenly as it had begun, the tremors subsided and an eerie silence descended over the room.

After a few seconds, a brand new Core Memory rolled into Headquarters. Disgust's eyes widened in revelation as she noted the coloring of the orb as it rolled down a transparent tube and came to a stop in the Central Memory Holder alongside all the other important memories that shaped Riley's personality.

"It's green and yellow…" Disgust uttered in a stunned whisper.

Fear peeked cautiously from over the edge of the console, his voice shaking with panic as he stuttered nervously, "A new Core memory?! Wait! Does that mean…"

Disgust and Joy shared a quick look of understanding as they both ran to the window, their hearts racing from anticipation.

Once there, both Emotions gasped in wonder as they saw that the yellow and green Core Memory had triggered the creation of a brand new Island of Personality in Riley's Mind!

Disgust let out a high-pitched squeal of elation as she pressed her hands against the glass and stared in astonishment at the new Island that had formed right beside Fashion Island.

"I don't believe it! Hey guys come quick and check this out!" The green Emotion uttered in awe as the others slowly approached the window.

Joy was dancing from exhilaration beside her, an expression of pure delight showing on her face as she exclaimed, "We have a new Island! Oh, could it be what I think it is…!"

As if in answer to Joy's query, a massive banner rose above the new Island, the big bold lettering arousing a mixed chorus of gasps from the five watching Emotions:

"The Grand Opening of Shopping Island!"

From their high vantage point inside Headquarters, the Emotions could easily make out hundreds of escalators crisscrossing the entire width and length of the Island. Huge multi-level glass buildings dominated its center while smaller departments lay scattered around the Island's periphery.

Anger shot a curious glance at Disgust, who was still spellbound by the amazing sight outside the window and cleared his throat gruffly.

"I don't suppose you had something to do with this Disgust?" He pointed roughly at the Central Memory Holder with the new green and yellow Core Memory inside and grumbled, "Perhaps you could explain the meaning of that?"

Eventually, Disgust managed to peel her gaze away from Shopping Island, her lips turning up in a sly smirk as she addressed her fuming red co-worker smugly.

"Well I guess Riley and I think alike! You heard what she said to Meg before about developing a strong interest in shopping!"

A look of extreme self-satisfaction appeared on the green Emotion's face, as she folded her arms over her chest and declared loftily, "Sure. I may have influenced and encouraged her new-found passion to a point…"

She threw a quick glance at Joy and winked knowingly at her yellow co-worker. "But I certainly don't deserve to take all of the credit!"

Joy smiled back happily and gave her the thumbs-up sign.

"Anyway, it doesn't matter how the Core Memory was created! The main thing is that we now have a whole new Island dedicated to shopping!" Disgust stated proudly.

Her emerald-green eyes suddenly became distant and full of yearning. "I guess dreams really can come true!"

"This right here…" She pointed out the window at the new Island, "Has made not only my day, but my Christmas and my whole year as well!"

Disgust looked over at Sadness and flashed her a genuine heart-felt smile. "You wanted all of us to be nice to each other this Christmas? Well let me show you just how generous I can be! Sadness, feel free to hang up my stocking last!"

Sadness shot her green co-worker a quizzical look. "Are you sure…?"

Disgust nodded enthusiastically, her smile growing even broader as she assured, "Yes! This fantastic new Shopping Island is the greatest gift I could ever have asked for…so I really don't mind if my stocking goes last!"

Joy jumped up and down on the spot and cheered from unbridled exhilaration. "That's the spirit! Now let's hurry up and get these decorations finished because there is still so much to do!"

Laughing enormously, she gathered everyone into a massive group hug and declared, "Tomorrow we will organize the food and who's going to cook what…"

She squeezed her friends tightly before adding ecstatically, "And after that, we can all go and check out this amazing new Island and do some shopping!"