|This article is about the magazine story. You may be looking for the episode.|
It is Christmas on the Island of Sodor and Christmastime is a very busy and happy time. All of the engines enjoy it, except for Duncan who does not like Christmas one bit.
One day, Duncan meets Skarloey who is very happy to see the railway so busy, but Duncan just says that the extra passengers are slowing him down. As Skarloey goes back to the depot, he feels the festive spirit fly out of his funnel. Thomas assures Skarloey that Duncan will cheer up when he sees the decorations at the depot. Unfortunately, Thomas is wrong and the decorations don't cheer Duncan up at all. Then, Thomas shares the good news that all of the engines, both standard and narrow gauge, are to get a fresh coat of paint for Christmas. Duncan wants a new coat of paint, but doesn't say anything and puffs off in a huff.
The next morning, Duncan speeds eagerly to the Sodor Steamworks to receive his coat of paint. The Thin Controller is waiting for him there. Mr. Percival tells Duncan that he is not impressed with Duncan's grumpy attitude and he has been making all of the other engines miserable. The Thin Controller then tells Duncan that he can be first in line for a new coat of paint in the morning if he can stay cheerful for the rest of the day. Duncan agrees to the terms and sets off.
All day, Duncan waits patiently at signals and stations, determined to get his new coat of paint. Shortly, he gets stuck behind Luke on a slippery hill and Duncan loses his patience and shouts at Luke. Duncan immediately realises his mistake and he buffers up behind Luke and drops sand on the rails for him. Duncan then gives Luke a little push to help him on his way. Duncan still feels sad though; he did lose his temper and now there would be no fresh coat of paint for Christmas.
Duncan goes to see the Thin Controller to apologise for his outburst to Luke. The Thin Controller tells Duncan that he did a good thing by helping Luke out and he deserves a treat. Duncan gets his coat of paint and promises to be more cheerful in future. Luke tells Duncan that, even though he can be bad-tempered, it doesn't make him any less useful.