Set at no particular time in the storyline. I'm assuming some things and making up others.
The Spirit of Christmas
Ash opened one eye and saw that dim morning light was beginning to spread across the sky.
"YAHOOOO!" he screeched, "IT'S MORNING!"
Ash leapt out of bed, promptly tripping over Pikachu, inspiring several hundred volts, but not terribly daunted.
"It's MORNING! It's MORNING!"
"Grrmpf," said Misty.
"Rrmef," agreed Brock.
The two groaned simultaneously and buried their heads under their pillows.
"Pika pi, pikachu!"
Ash smiled. "I know it's only 5am, but that's the best time of the day. Every normal kid gets up at this time on Christmas."
"Ash," said Misty, tiredly, "wake up properly."
He paused for several moments before it dawned on him.
"Oh yeah, Christmas is tomorrow."
Brock muttered, "remind me not to be anywhere near him tomorrow morning."
"Well," said Nurse Joy perkily, as they checked themselves out of the Pokemon Center, "what will you three be doing this Christmas? Going home, I guess?"
The three looked at each other, surprised. Apparently, it had never occured to them.
"Christmas is a time for families," lectured Nurse Joy, going into nagging-parent mode, "and you three are too young to forget about them at this time of year! I'm sure they'd all love to see you, and you have been away from home long enough! Pokemon journies are all well and good, but every once in a while you should revisit your roots!"
"Well, my family lives kind of far away -" began Misty, which was an understatement; the trio was currently in Lavender Town.
"And my family doesn't really need me around -" began Brock, not wanting to go back. "But you look like you could use some company, right Nurse Joy? Heheheh."
"You two should be ashamed of yourselves!" scolded Nurse Joy - conveniently ignoring Brock's suggestion - "and what about you, Ash? Are you going to forget all about your family too?"
Ash's face crumpled.
"I... I don't have a family."
Nurse Joy put her hands to her face.
"That's right," said Misty sadly, "we didn't want to make too big a deal about our families around Ash."
"It's a real pity you brought it up, m'am," added Brock.
Ash started sniffing, and the two led him off.
"It's okay, Ash," said Misty reassuringly.
Brock patted him on the back. "She didn't mean anything by it."
"I'm so sorry!" Nurse Joy called after them, "please try to have a merry Christmas anyway!"
The three staggered out of the Pokemon Center, and as soon as they were out of sight, they all broke up laughing.
"Pi hee hee hee," snickered Pikachu.
"Toge priii hee hee," laughed Togepi - it had no idea why anyone was laughing, but it wanted to be in on it.
"Good call, Ash," said Brock.
"You got us out of another Nurse Joy lecture," agreed Misty.
Ash grinned, before changing to a more serious expression. "But she's kinda right. I've never had a Christmas away from home before."
"Don't worry about it, Ash," said Brock, "all trainers have to take steps out on their own, and this is a new one for you."
"We'll have a great Christmas, just us three," said Misty brightly.
"We're all the family we need!"
"Pika, pika pikachu!"
"Sure," agreed Brock, "we can have a Christmas party out in the forest. The same style we've been doing things this past year!"
"And our Pokemon can join in too," said Ash, entering into the spirit of things.
"We should start buying things," said Misty, "there's supposed to be a mall a couple of streets over."
"I don't really like shopping," said Ash.
"Oh, come on, this'll be fun."
Five hours later, the trio battled the crowds to leave the mall, laden with shopping bags.
Misty's eyes were wild. "Let us never speak of the mall again."
Everyone nodded, before they headed to the nearest forest.
The next morning, the sun stole over the sky, and had travelled almost to the top before our heroes awakened.
Ash sat up abruptly. "AAAH! 11am! I'm a disgrace!"
"You got up too early yesterday," said Misty, sounding slightly pleased.
"Oh, who cares! It's Christmas, it's Christmas, it's Christmas!"
Ash leapt up and started running around madly, exhuberantly, looking like a fool. He woke Brock up by tripping over him.
"Ow. Good morning, Brock!"
"I'd answer, but I think you just dealt me permanent back injury."
This did not bother Ash; instead, he continued his mad dance around the clearing, tripping over sleeping bags, tripping over Pikachu, tripping over his own two left feet, and not caring a scrap.
"He is such a kid," sighed Misty, but her eyebrows were twitching. After about two seconds, she leapt up and shouted, "IT'S CHRISTMAS MORNING!"
Brock groaned as he watched the two bouncing around. "You're giving me a headache."
"Aren't you going to join in?"
"If you give me half an hour, maybe I'll be able to, like, stand up. I wouldn't push your luck."
After the two settled down, Brock, Pikachu and Togepi had managed to get up, and everyone sat around in a circle. Misty and Ash were bright-eyed. Brock was dishevelled and grouchy, with mussed hair and stubble forming; in short, he looked exactly as a parent does on Christmas morning.
"In my family," began Brock in serious tones, "we had this tradition where, as soon as everyone got up, we would sing carols while we started preparing lunch together."
Ash and Misty looked at each other.
"In my family," they said in unison, "it was PRESENTS, TOP PRIORITY!"
The two dove into their backpacks and pulled out a number of wrapped gifts. Brock sighed and did the same. Pikachu wondered if any of these things were for him. Togepi did nothing but watch.
"That poor egg is going to learn nothing about the true meaning of Christmas," sighed Brock. "Following YOUR example."
As usual, nobody listened to Brock, and they all got stuck into their presents.
Ash opened his gift from Misty and glared at her. Misty opened her gift from Brock and glared at him. Pikachu began to laugh.
"Misty," said Ash dangerously, waving a newly unwrapped book, "I'm a Pokemon Master! What's the big idea giving me "Pokemon training for beginners"?!"
"Brock," said Misty dangerously, waving her new... er, item of clothing, "you are SUCH a pervert! What's the big idea giving me a Wonderbra?"
Brock went starry eyed. "Your sisters... are so cute... I bet if you tried... you could look just as cute as them... hur hur hur."
Misty whacked him over the head. "A USEFUL gift would have been a new mallet."
Ash was now flicking through his new book, muttering such things as "Growlithe evolves into Arcanine? Cool... oh, I didn't know Bulbasaur was part-poison... you learn something new every day..."
"He does need it," muttered Misty and Brock in unison.
Ash blushed when hearing this, and quickly put the book away. He dove into Brock's gift, and found a camera.
"See, Ash," explained Brock, "I thought it'd be a really useful gift, I mean, think of all the beautiful girls we meet along our way, we could get photos of them all and then be able to look at them all the time!"
"Yeah," said Ash, a little nervously, "great... thanks Brock."
Misty opened her gift from Ash. It was a chain, with a lock. She stared at it. "Um. This appears to be a chain."
"You're very observant, Misty," said Brock.
"What am I supposed to do with this? Use it as a weapon? Hmm, now THERE's-"
Ash quickly interrupted, before she could get any ideas. "Uhh, it's for your new bike!"
"My imaginary new bike, ya mean?" she snapped, going into you-trashed-my-bike-you-jerk mode, "I don't see any bike!"
"The new bike that I bought you for Christmas," he said proudly. "I bought it late, and hid it just behind those trees. C'mon, I'll show you."
Brock had, so far, been pretending to show disdain for Ash and Misty's youthful enthusiasm, and "selfish attitude" in diving for their gifts. The moment the two were out of sight, he pounced on his gifts and wildly ripped away the paper. A large sweatdrop appeared.
Along with a little miscellany - a comb for Vulpix and polish for his rock Pokemon - were two identical copies of Playboy.
"You'd think they thought I was girl crazy or something," he muttered, but if he was going to say more, it was cut off by a shriek.
"Pika pi?" started Pikachu, recognising the shriek as Misty's. Brock picked up Pikachu and ran towards where his friends had gone. What they saw was nothing spectacular; Ash, and Misty, and no bike.
"What do you MEAN it must have gotten stolen?!" squawked Misty. "You're just trying to get out of the fact that you STILL haven't paid back my bike!"
"It's not true," said Brock, reassuringly, "I was with him when he bought the bike."
"YOU STAY OUT OF THIS!" she shouted, hitting him with the bike chain. Pikachu jumped onto Misty's head, making the time-out signal with its paws.
"You're right," she sighed, "sorry, Brock. We've gotta find out who stole this bike."
Dramatic music appeared from nowhere, and new voices piped into the conversation.
"Who else would steal, but..."
"The magnificent duo!"
"Ya mean TRIO, numbskull."
"Yeah right, Meowth, as if YOU'RE magnificent."
"Why do I suddenly suspect Team Rocket," muttered Ash.
"DON'T INTERRUPT US!" shouted Jessie, jumping from a tree branch and suddenly appearing in full view.
"But... you were only arguing."
"ONLY arguing!" squawked Meowth in outrage, also leaping down.
"With Team Rocket," finished James, completing the trio, "arguing is an artform!"
"Prepare for trouble!"
"And make it double!"
"To deny the world a happy vacation!"
"To get new games for my Playstation!"
"Well, I did!"
"That wasn't what we rehearsed!"
"Does it matter?"
"James, how can ya play a Playstation in da middle a nowhere anyway?"
"Let's just continue the speech..."
"Fine. But I haven't forgotten about this. To get revenge for you all having fun!"
"To steal chocolates and turkeys and then eat and run!"
"Team Rocket coming to ruin a merry Christmas!"
"Surrender now and hand over all your gifts-fast!"
"Meowth, that's right."
"That was the worst thing I have ever heard," said Misty, and the others applauded her.
"Well, I'm sure it's better than anything YOU could come up with."
Misty's eyes glittered. "Challenge accepted. Come on, Ash. Prepare for trouble!"
"Huh? What'd I do?"
She shook him. "PREPARE FOR TROUBLE!"
He instinctively replied, scared, "uhhh, make it double!"
"In some ways, they're exactly like Jessie and James," muttered Brock, and Pikachu nodded.
"To beat off losers who steal my bike!"
"To, umm, electrocute people who we don't like."
"To protect the spirit of the holiday season."
"To... ummm.... uhh... fight you, why do we need a reason?"
"James! Oh, I mean, Ash."
"Team Misty is gonna beat you once and for all!"
"Why does it have to be "Team Misty"? What's wrong with "Team Ash"?"
"I can't, I forgot what you said."
"What was your last line?"
"You can't remember either, right."
"Of course I remember! Team Misty is gonna send you blasting off again!"
"That's not what you said," interjected Brock, but he was smacked in the head for his efforts.
"Well, I can't think of anything to rhyme with 'again'. This is stupid, anyway."
"Agreed," snapped Jessie, "now enough ripping us off, and hand over all your gifts!"
Brock grinned. "Jessie, I didn't know you were interested in that sort of thing." She stared blankly. Brock ran back into the clearing and returned with his Playboys.
Sweatdrops all around. Jessie screeched. "Of COURSE I'm not into that sort of thing, Zubat! That's YOUR area, not that you'll ever get a date!"
"Shows what YOU know, I'll have you know that Lavender Joy showed great interest in me last time."
"Yeah, interest in you getting out of her sight."
"Don't push your luck! You're just jealous!"
"Of her... of all the lovely ladies... you're jealous because I don't pay any attention to YOU."
Jessie paused in disbelief. There was a long silence.
In the explosion that followed, James made off with the forgotten Playboys, and Ash and Misty cornered Meowth, as the least threatening member of the team.
"Where'd you hide the bike, creep?"
Ash reached for a Pokeball, and Meowth took a step back. He thought quickly, and then made his eyes fill with tears (it's a Team Rocket artform, just like arguing).
"It's... it's... we was too ashamed ta come right out and say it."
"All we want is a merry Christmas too."
James and Jessie heard this, and immediately played along.
"That's right," sniffled Jessie, "it's so hard going year after year without any happiness on Christmas Day."
"It's enough to bring tears to your eyes, and a growl to your stomach," agreed James tearfully.
Ash and Misty glanced at each other, eyes narrowed, and then turned back to Team Rocket.
"BIKE NOW!" they shouted.
Meowth disappeared and returned with the bike. Misty's hard expression melted.
"Oh! What a great bike! Thanks, Meowth!"
"Ahem, I'm the one who gave it to you," pointed out Ash.
"Oh yeah, uhhh, thanks Ash, it's about time!"
With bike safely returned, and fairly intact, friends and enemies settled down to a Christmas lunch, along with all their Pokemon. For Ash and his friends, it was an opportunity to show some goodwill. For Team Rocket, it was an opportunity to score some free food.
"Mmm, mpagh," said James, half a turkey leg in his hand.
"Don't talk with your mouth full," Jessie barked, automatically.
"My compliments to the chef."
"Hey Vulpix," said Brock, "don't take all the credit."
"Why," said Jessie, "she's the one who cooked it, isn't she?"
"Vulpix is a she?" asked Brock. Jessie sweatdropped.
"You don't know either?"
"How would I know? I've never checked."
"LET'S LEAVE IT AT THAT," said Misty.
Everyone ate in silence - well, it would be better to say, everyone ate without speaking. Team Ash and Team Rocket are not renowned for polite table manners. Let alone their Pokemon...
"I think we have a potential problem here," said Misty, picking up Togepi for the dozenth time and setting it on her head. Arbok sulked; it had been about to pounce.
"How so?" asked Jessie, lazily. She picked her teeth, having just finished her fourth helping.
"Snakes eat eggs," snapped Misty, "can't you give your Arbok more food?"
"It doesn't seem to like Christmas pudding," she said, "and you drew the line at it eating the turkey."
"That's because one helping of turkey for an Arbok is about twenty servings for any one of us."
"Fine," said Jessie, "Arbok, stop trying to eat Togepi."
Arbok nodded sheepishly, before turning its intense gaze onto Pidgeot.
"Don't even think about it," said Ash.
"Don't eat Pidgeot," said Jessie, not even looking up.
The cobra sighed, before turning to stare at Ash.
"I hope you're not thinking of eating me, Arbok," said Ash.
Everyone waited expectantly for Jessie to order Arbok not to eat Ash, but she remained silent.
"Eheh, guys," interrupted Brock, "what Christmas meal is complete without finishing it with Christmas crackers?"
v Most of his friends looked unamused.
"We're not little kids," protested Ash.
"Speak for yourself, twerp," said Jessie.
"Ooooh," squealed James, "crackers! Let me, let me!"
Everyone got sweatdrops, but Brock pulled a cracker with James. The second it exploded open, every one of the group's Pokemon jumped about three foot (excepting Zubat and Pidgeot, who flew about ten foot).
"Bulba bulba!" shouted Bulbasaur (is it really necessary to say who's speaking in this case?).
"Weeze," groaned Weezing, and fainted. James stared at it.
"I think it had heart failure."
"Or maybe it had an athsma attack. All that wheezing was a sure sign of something," said Ash. Everyone groaned.
"Um, let's pull the rest of the crackers QUICKLY," suggested Misty, trying to calm Togepi.
"Pika pika ka pikachu."
(To translate, Pikachu said "if any of you pull one more of those horrible things, I'll not hesitate in lunging at your throat." All the others said "ditto".)
Everyone looked towards Victreebell, to see what it had to say.
"Buh," it said, and ate James' head.
Brock sweatdropped and put the crackers away. Good judgement call.
After lunch, everyone had a post-meal nap. This lasted several hours, as all the characters are lazy slugs. It was Lickitung who woke up first (the caffeine Pokemon, just look at its eyes), and accidentally woke Pikachu by poking its tongue in Ash's bag, which Pikachu happened to be sleeping next to.
"Pika pika, pikachu!" (Do ALL members of Team Rocket steal!)
"Tung," said Lickitung, and licked Pikachu.
Everyone else woke to the pleasant sounds of Pikachu shrieking, and thunderbolting Lickitung - and the rest of them.
"Good afternoon," croaked Brock, charred.
"Nice day," agreed James.
The two both fell back down with a groan. Brock was soon back up again. "Hey, it'll be night time soon," he said, "what else do people do on Christmas day?"
He was keen to recreate a proper Christmas celebration, as best as possible.
"What'd YOU do, Brock?" asked Jessie.
"Well, what'd usually happen is, Terri and Timmy would start fighting over the toys they got, wanting the other one. Cindy would play with her new toys, show them off in front of the younger kids and make them cry. Sam would complain about how he didn't get what he wanted, so I'd have to try to explain to him that it was hard to buy for 10 people. Suzie would try on her new dress and inevitably rip it, then cry loudly until I fixed it, so that was top priority. Then the youngest, Eric, needed feeding, and that could take a long time since he could be kinda fussy..."
He trailed off as he realised everyone was staring. Then he wailed, "I wanna go home!"
"But you were just saying what a nightmare it was to be with your family at Christmas," said Jessie, slightly surprised.
"I was fooling myself. Onix! Let's see if we can make it home by the end of the day! Full speed ahead!"
Brock jumped on Onix's back, and the rock snake... well, slithered... off at full speed - about three kilometres per hour.
"Er, what did your family do for Christmas, Misty?" sweatdropped Jessie.
"Well, first I'd have to listen to everyone complaining about how things were better when Dad was with us. Then my sisters would open their presents, and I'd just get hand-me-downs. If I ever got something new, they'd ask to borrow it and I never saw it again. They'd all make fun of me 'cos I never got anything good, and then they'd show off in front of me. My mother wouldn't really care, she just acted like she didn't notice... then my relatives would come over for lunch, and they'll all fuss over my sisters, like "oh, look how beautiful you've become" and "haven't you grown" and all that, and then they'd turn to me and it was, like, "oh, hi Misty, you're still here"..."
Her expression darkened throughout this little speech, and she looked furious at the end, but it melted into sadness.
"I wanna go back! I've got see them again. Go, Starmie!"
"You gave Starmie to your sisters."
"Oh yeah. Staryu, let's get outta here."
She jumped on Staryu's back, and the Pokemon flew off.
Team Rocket looked at each other, and then at Ash.
"Well," said Jessie, "let's hear how beastly your Christmases were."
"Why do you keep asking?" asked Ash.
She didn't answer, just kept looking at him. But she wanted to know how normal families spent Christmas.
"Well... my Christmases were never that bad... they were better when Dad was home... but Mom would make a lunch by herself, and even though it was just the two of us, she'd always make the meal really fancy, and put a lot of effort into it... then we might go visit some of our friends, usually the Oaks... that was before Gary turned into a big jerk. We two would hang out in the backyard and play with our new things while our parents talked. And we'd pretend we were Pokemon masters..."
Jessie groaned. "Don't you start crying."
"I wasn't going to!" he said, haughtily, and changed the subject. "Well, what about you two?"
It was James' turn next.
"I'd get about a million presents, which was pretty cool, except after that, we'd go out to lunch with all of my parents' stuffy friends, and Jessiebell was always there. Since we were the only kids, they expected us to sit together, and play together, except she never wanted to play, just tell me things and show off. The whole day was absolutely boring, and all the grownups would talk about me like I wasn't there, saying things like "he'll need a lot of work as he gets older" and "you've got to shape your son up if you expect him to succeed you". The only good Christmas was when I got Growly."
"We never really celebrated Christmas," Jessie said, "and it sounds like that's a good thing."
"You're wrong," said Ash, "Christmas is a good thing, even if some families mess it up."
"Well, the whole Christmas deal is not what villains are about," said Jessie.
"But the other two were right," continued Ash, ignoring her, "even if a Christmas with your family sometimes sucks, it's the best place to be. Come on, Pidgeot."
Ash and Pikachu jumped onto Pidgeot's back, and flew away in the general direction of Pallet. He knew his mother would be waiting for him. Team Rocket watched him leave.
"Well, that was unbearably sappy," said Jessie, finally.
"Yeah, and now it's just us again."
"Kinda wish I still had a family..."
"We've got each other."
Jessie paused, eyes wobbling, before hitting him over the head. "Now YOU'RE sounding like a sap."
"You were about to agree with me! I can tell!"
"Don't flatter yourself!" Their squabbling woke up Meowth, who looked at them blearily.
"Where'd everybody go?"
"Oh, they all went back to their homes," said Jessie.
"Really? Ya mean they're nowhere around here?"
Meowth grinned. "Well, it seems they forgot somethin'." He gestured meaningfully around him. Team Rocket realised.
"The twerps are so stupid!"
"Can you believe they left all their Pokemon here!"
"And they're still asleep..."
The trio grinned at each other.
"Merry Christmas, Jessie."
"Merry Christmas, James."
"Da best gift," pronounced Meowth, "is da promotion we're sure ta get!"
The three rifled in their bags and found a handful of Pokeballs, before advancing on the sleeping Pokemon.
Team Rocket had finally picked up the Christmas spirit.