The sun rose beautifully over Spongebob's street, its rays broadcasting peace and tranquility.

"Well, here it is, Christmas Day in Bikini Bottom." announced a nasally French voice, "And here, inside zis festively decorated pineapple, our young sponge is about to wake up."

Spongebob lay snoozing in his bed; Gary lay on the floor beside him. Spongebob's alarm clock showed five seconds to seven.

As soon as the second hand hit twelve, the alarm foghorn blared, jolting a widely beaming Spongebob from his sleep. He pressed the alarm's off button, catching it on the second honk, and threw off his covers. Now crouching eagerly on the edge of his mattress, he stretched his arm downward and tapped Gary's shell.

"Pst! Gary..!" he said quietly. This not working, he shook the snail's shell profusely and said louder, "Gary…come on Gary, wake up you sleepy sea slug! It's Christmas!"

Gary's eyestalks slowly crept out of his shell, blinking sleepily. "Meow..?" he asked, his voice dripping fatigue.

"Yes of course now, silly." Spongebob chuckled, "You wouldn't wanna miss present time, would ya?"

"Meow?" Gary questioned, sounding more awake as he popped fully out of his shell.

"Well, no…" Spongebob admitted, scratching his head, "I couldn't afford to buy a present for everyone with no Christmas bonus…but I did do something even better with what I did have..!" He stretched his arm out of sight and pulled a large cardboard box onto the bed. He opened the box and stuck his hand inside. "Are you ready, Gary?" he asked, smiling.

"Meow!" Gary replied, circling the floor in excitement.

"Ookaaay…iiit's…" Spongebob teased, then, quick as a flash, set before Gary, "a book made of origami!"

Gary blinked at the blank white book leaning against the bed in front of him. He oozed forward, opened it, and flipped though a few equally blank pages.

"Meow." he said sarcastically.

"You're welcome, Gary!" gushed Spongebob, "You have fun now..!" He then switched to a deep, important-sounding voice, stuck his index finger in the air and announced, "I've got some presents to deliver!"

He then grabbed the box and sprung from the bed, somersaulted through the air and landed squarely in his pre-set pants. Next, he rushed to the bathroom where he combed his eyelashes, polished his teeth with an electronic two-buffer brush, and injected himself first with soap, then water, and shook himself vigorously. As soon as he squished himself so that all the bubbles escaped from within, he zipped to the front door, donned hat and scarf, and then exited the house still holding his box.

La-la-ing 'Deck the Halls', Spongebob pranced his way next door to Squidward's. Coming to a dainty one-legged halt at the door, Spongebob began a rain of merciless pounding on it with his free hand.

After a few seconds, the door was wrenched open, revealing Squidward in his puce nightshirt. "What!?" he demanded in annoyance.

"Merry Christmas, Squidward!" Spongebob cheered jovially, and pulled out Squidward's present. "Here!"

Squidward took the white bamboo-mimicking case offered to him and inspected it with suspicion. "Umm, what is it..?" he questioned after a few seconds, a brow raised.

"Why, it's an exact paper replica of the case of clarinet reeds I was going to buy for you. See?" Spongebob informed, raising an arm to open it. The lid swung up on paper hinges, revealing several small bits of paper inside, some of which clouded up into Squidward's face before floating away in several directions.

"Gee, thanks." the octopus stated sarcastically.

"You're welcome, Squid buddy!" smiled Spongebob, and he pulled Squidward into a one-armed hug.

"Ok, enough of that now, Spongebob…let go!" pleaded Squidward uncomfortably, while attempting in vain to detach the clinging sponge.

"Hey guys!!" Patrick's frantic voice suddenly called. Spongebob and Squidward's eyes widened, and Spongebob let go of Squidward to face the scarved Patrick as he ran up to them.

"Guys! I just-it's-Krusty Krab-!" Patrick stammered, flapping about hectically.

"Hold on a sec, Pat." Spongebob said, holding up a hand. He then rummaged through his box and presented Patrick with a giant paper candy cane. "First, here's your present. Merry Christmas!"

"Wow a giant candy cane! Thanks Spongebob!" Patrick yelled, flying off of the ground. He snatched it from his friend and gave it a big lick, then inserted it into half-way into his mouth, sucking.

"Patrick, no, wait! It's not-" Spongebob started.

CRUNCH!

"-real…" Spongebob finished quietly. Patrick dabbed his mouth with his scarf.

"Mmm, papery." he smiled. Squidward rolled his eyes. "Whatever Patrick." he groaned, "Just tell us what you were going to say!"

Patrick started in surprise. He tapped his chin in thought. "Was I going to say something..?" he pondered.

Squidward growled and shook with anger.

"Wait a minute…you said it was Christmas, right Spongebob?" asked Patrick.

"Yuppers!" replied the sponge.

"Then it musta been…" began Patrick, then suddenly he launched into a wild dance, screaming, "Merry Christmas, Meeerry Christmaaas! Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Me-rry Christmaaass!" He yanked Spongebob into a hoedown style circling, and Spongebob gladly joined in the 'song'. Squidward just crossed his tentacles and glowered at them.

After dancing across the lawn a few times, Patrick recalled out of nowhere, "Oh yeah, that reminds me: there's a big Christmas party goin' on down at the Krusty Krab!" He then continued dancing, but Spongebob screeched to a halt. Both he and Squidward's faces displayed the utmost shock.

"What?!" they cried in unison, then sped off down the road, leaving a dust trail, and with a surprised Patrick carried backwards between them.

…………………………………

Spongebob and Squidward stood frozen inside the doors of the now decorated Krusty Krab, mouths agape. People milled about, chatting, drinking punch, and doing things one generally does at parties.

Patrick got tired of standing around, so he wandered away from his friends.

Mr. Krabs noticed the two standing dumbly by the door and scuttled over.

"Hello there lads!" he greeted, snapping them out of their trance, "Welcome, come on in, try some punch."

"Mr. Krabs, what is this?" questioned Spongebob in amazement, "A big expensive-looking party for everyone in Bikini Bottom? Are you feeling alright, sir?"

"Arrr ar-ar-ar-ar!" laughed Mr. Krabs, slapping the sponge on the back, "Never better lad. I been plannin' this party all month! What, did ya think I'm so cold-hearted as to do absolutely nothin' fer Christmas?"

Spongebob's gaze shifted guiltily. "Um, yes..?" he answered quietly.

An awkward silence ensued.

"Well, never mind that now me boy!" Mr. Krabs saved it, throwing an arm around Spongebob, "Join in the merriment, have a drink! (Five bucks a glass, refills're extra.)"

"Hey, my last drink was only two dollars!" called a random unhappy fish.

"Aw, shut yer nog hole!" Mr. Krabs shot back, fisted claw raised. He started to walk away.

"Wait Mr. Krabs!" Spongebob stopped him, and dug through the cardboard box he still had with him. "I want you to have your present. Merry Christmas!" He pulled from the box a white paper Santa hat and presented it to his employer.

"Um, right lad, Merry Christmas…and, thanks, I'll uh, put it on later…" promised Mr. Krabs while stuffing the gift into his back pocket. Before departing, he turned to Squidward and added, "By the way, Mr. Squidward, that's quite a spiffy shirt ya got on. Nice ta see ya finally develop some taste." As the crab wandered off, Squidward glanced down to realize he still wore his nightshirt.

"Dyaaah!" he exclaimed, and tried to cover his chest with his arms.

"Don't worry, Squiddy," Spongebob assured, "That color looks great on you..!"

With that he left the octopus to distribute origami presents to every resident in Bikini Bottom. He spent the entire party on this task: Sandy got a new paper guitar, Mrs. Puff got a special monogrammed paper crash suit, Old Man Jenkins got a fancy paper ear horn; even Plankton was presented with his very own paper Krabby Patty! The presents were all received with less than enthusiasm, but Spongebob refused to notice. He just enjoyed handing them out.

But alas, at day's end the party was over, and all personnel were shooed from the premises. Spongebob and Patrick clustered to Squidward's sides as he walked home.

"Well, that whole thing was certainly unexpected." Spongebob noted as they walked, "I guess we never even needed to use that silly old book in the first place!" He pulled the novel from his pocket and threw it behind him. Squidward's brow furrowed.

"What are you talking about, Spongebob?" he demanded, "We still didn't get any money out of this…in fact, I seem to be a bit short after that party…" He shook his empty wallet to prove his point.

"Yes, but Squidward don't you see?" Spongebob asked, sparkling, "The Christmas spirit was inside Mr. Krabs all along! It doesn't matter that we didn't scare any money out of him!"

"Well it matters to me!" retorted Squidward, "I actually mind being sand poor!"

"Alright, so maybe Mr. Krabs' motives weren't exactly pure…but still, Squidward..!" the sponge gushed.

"Shut up Spongebob…"

Patrick laughed.

"And just what is so funny?" steamed Squidward. Patrick pointed.

Squidward and Spongebob both looked up. It seemed that Patrick had found another sprig of mistletoe somewhere, and was currently dangling it in anticipation between his two friends. Squidward immediately backpedalled several feet.

"Ahh! No! Get away from me with that thing!" he screamed.

"Geez, Squidward, where's your holiday spirit?" demanded Spongebob in mock anger, hands on his hips.

"CHASE SQUIDWARD!" Patrick yelled happily.

Laughing, he and Spongebob chased a shrieking Squidward into the night, waving the mistletoe.

"Well, zere you have it," the nasally French narrator narrated, "ze Spongebob Squarepants Christmas Carol...Oh, come on, you knew it was inevitable! Now go home you silly people. Zere's nothing else to see here."