Hatter thought he was terribly slick.
This year, he had read up on how Christmas is spent in Alice's world, and he was prepared for this one. He was especially intrigued by this plant called "Mistletoe" and its powers to cause people to kiss. It was this morsel of information that formulated a whole plan in his head, and nothing was going to stop him from his scheme. He was going to get a Christmas kiss from Alice if it took him until Christmas morning!!
He had every detail down and memorized by heart. He spent a day designing and planning a new hat and constructing it… embellishing it… and then reveling in its glory. At last he was ready and placed it on his head. It wasn't a far cry from his usual top hat, but it was extremely Christmasified. Even the small details were worked out, from the scarlet and evergreen hatband and the holly leaf pin right to the finishing touch, which was a noticeable sprig of mistletoe that precariously hung off the brim.
Boy did he think he was sly.
What Hatter forgot to plan is how to find Alice without running into people he knew. The truth was that the Wonderlandians probably weren't aware of some of the other traditions of the Other Side, but he didn't want to take that chance.
Alice was around somewhere. She had promised to come visit that Christmas Eve, so Hatter knew she was in Wonderland, at the very least. The hard part was going to be finding her. It would be cake and tea after that! Hmm, cake and tea… No! No time for that! A kiss would be better than cake and tea at that moment! …Or would it? NO. He needed to find Alice before he gave in to other desires.
First, Hatter wandered into the garden and out into the wilderness. He seemed to be getting along fine until—
"Hey Hatter!" It was the Tweedle brothers. "What are you doing slinking around on Christmas Eve!"
Hatter laughed nervously, "Oh… Nothing. Just… Slinking around on Christmas Eve, is all."
Tweedle Dum walked closer to Hatter, looking at his strange new hat, "Why Hatter, you've made a new hat! Why the change?"
Hatter leaned back the further Dum came closer. Must…. Not… Be… Under…
Dum's eyes narrowed slyly, "Are you trying to impress Alice?"
Tweedle Dee laughed, "Aw, Dum, let's leave him alone. He's probably been reading up on Christmas traditions again."
"Yeah," Hatter started, "Just that! Just being Christmas-y! …On Christmas!"
Dum shook his head, "Hatter, you're too funny."
The Tweedles began to walk away. Dee stopped and turned around, "Oh Hatter! If you're looking for Hare and Alice, they were over at the Palace Garden. They should still be there now."
"Thanks!" Hatter replied, and he resumed his cautiousness. That certainly was way too close.
When Hatter neared the bridge, he spotted Rabbit passing through. Rather than stop and chat, Hatter flattened himself against a tree and decided that if he didn't move, Rabbit wouldn't see him. It was entirely possible; Rabbit was in the middle of taking out his pocket watch as he skated past. Rabbit, did, however, catch a glimpse of Hatter's distinct purple suit, but by the time he glanced back, Hatter had made a break for it. Rabbit sighed. He wondered if he should want to know what Hatter was up to now…
Hatter was almost home free. He tiptoed to the palace gate and crept past it, briefly circling to make sure nobody was behind him. That was a mistake.
When he turned around, he was face to face with his best friend.
"Hatter!!!" Hare said happily, "I haven't seen you all day! Nice hat!"
Hare was, ironically, the last person Hatter wanted to see right now. The reason being, well…
"IS THAT MISTLETOE?!" Hare yelled excitedly, "I'VE NEVER SEEN IT IN REAL LIFE!"
Then it happened. Hare grabbed Hatter and gave him a friendly platonic smooch, and Hatter's eyes nearly bulged out of his head. It was like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, and Hatter felt a bit like Elmer Fudd.
"In Alice's world, they hang mistletoe, kinda like you did on your hat, and if you're underneath it with someone you have to kiss them! Haha! Get it?" Hare was thrilled, "I read it in that gardening book you gave me last Christmas!"
Hatter was beet red. And mad. In the more angry sense of the word.
"I know," he stated blankly.
It was then that Hare realized what Hatter was trying to accomplish.
"OHHHHH… Oh, you were trying to get Alice under it, weren't you?"
Hatter just continued looking at his friend, lips pursed. Hare knew that expression.
"Oops, I'm sorry! I'll… Uh… Go now."
Hare bounded off before Hatter had a chance to talk. He knew Hatter would forgive him, but just not now.
Hatter felt defeated. He wanted a kiss, but… most definitely NOT from his best friend! Frustrated more now than ever, he tore the mistletoe off his brim and flung it to the ground heatedly. In his temper, he crossed his arms and stewed in embarrassment. Nothing he did ever turned out right. Out of everything, why, oh WHY, did this have to go wrong too?
In his cross rumination, he failed to notice that Alice had walked up to him.
"Hi, Hatter!" she said cheerfully.
She was so beautiful as a woman. Hatter's cheeks blushed more from nervousness than from the event that had just happened a few minutes prior.
"Hi Alice!" he said, chuckling awkwardly.
She smiled at him. "I couldn't help but see you ruin that pretty hat of yours, and I was trying to figure out why."
Hatter started to urge the smashed plant to the side with his foot.
"Aw, nah. It's nothing," he said calmly.
Alice giggled. "Hatter, be honest, that mistletoe was there for a reason, wasn't it?"
Hatter looked off to the side somewhat shyly.
"Well, uh, maybe."
Alice blushed, "Well, it just so happens that…" she dug in her bag, "I have some more right here."
Standing on tiptoes to reach his head, and with Hatter nodding to help with the height difference, she reattached the sprig to his hat.
"There you go, Hatter." She looked up at him, "Now, you do know what the tradition is, right?"
Hatter sputtered, "Well, yeah… Of course."
Alice laughed, "Then what are you waiting for, silly?"
This time, Hatter smirked, "Waiting for you to say that!"
And with a smooth motion befitting of the Hatter, he brought Alice close to him and kissed her gently but enthusiastically. This was the best Christmas present he could have wished for. He could feel it.