Story Lovers World

Stories, Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends,
Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts

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NOTE: Check out more winter holiday stories at:

BOOKS ABOUT CHRISTMAS – Children through Adults
(To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

Book titles are underlined in blue. Click on them for further information.
Arranged alphabetically with short descriptions for your convenience.



A Pirate's Night Before Christmas
by Phillip Yates with Sebastia Serra (illustrator)
(2008 - Ages 4-8)
Young mateys will find plenty of holiday joy in this humorous, colorful, and thoroughly piratical version of the beloved Clement C. Moore classic. On this ship of mischievous brigands—who have visions of treasure chests, not sugarplums, dancing in their heads—you wouldn’t expect a visit from nice St. Nick. Instead, here comes Sir Peggedy, with his peg leg and hook arm, cracking his whip and driving eight giant seahorses: Salty, Scurvy, Sinbad, Mollie, Cutthroat, Cross-Eyes, Roger, and Jolly.

Animals' Merry Christmas, The (Little Golden Books (Random House))

by Kathryn Jackson with Richard Scarry (illus). (2005 - Ages 4-8)
This beloved Christmas collection is chock-full of funny animal stories and poems. The oversize format features Scarry’s earlier, more painterly style and makes a perfect gift. A true holiday treat for Scarry fans!

Christmas Crocodile, The by Bonny Becker with David Small (illus). (2001 - Ages 4-8)
A hungry crocodile appears under the Christmas tree and this eccentric family handles the mysterious reptile remarkably well, even though the beast seems to have a fierce appetite and tears around the house eating everything in sight. The family must decide how to deal with this unexpected guest...

Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells with Patricia A. Pingry and Meredith Johnson (illustrators). (2002 - Ages 4-8)
Once the most celebrated writer of his age, William Dean Howells (1837-1920) published Christmas Every Day in 1892. It is an unpretentious tale in which a busy father is beguiled by his young daughter to tell her a holiday story.

Christmas Tree Ship, The
by Jeanette Winter. (1998 - Ages 4-8)
Based on an actual historical happening in the late 19th century, this book tells of the tragic fate of a young schooner captain who traveled treacherous Lake Michigan each year at Christmas to supply Chicagoans with spruce trees for their holiday celebrations...

Diane Goode's American Christmas (Picture Puffins) (1997 - Ages 4-8)
A collection of 23 American poems, songs, and stories that reflects both a traditional and contemporary Christmas.

Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present
by John Burningham (illus). (Reprint 2007 - Ages 4-8)
One Christmas Eve after the reindeer are asleep, Santa sees a present still in the sack — Harvey Slumfenburger’s present. And so he starts a very long journey on foot . . . by plane . . . on skis . . . and so on until he reaches Harvey’s hut, slides down the chimney, and delivers the last Christmas present, safe and sound.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
by Dr. Seuss. (1957 - Ages 4-8)
Based on Dr. Seuss's wacky and wonderful classic picture book and the motion picture screenplay of the same name, this novelization elaborates on the story of a holiday gone awry. Seventeen color photos from the film are included.

Legend of the Margil Vine, The
by Mark Tezel. (1998)
As a young boy at Mission San Antonio de Valero (the "Alamo"), Shavano had a good and happy life. Yet, when Christmas time came around, he became very aware of his lack of wealth. This story tells how young Shavano finds that wealth is not necessarily made of material possessions.

Mousehole Cat, The (Book & CD)
by Antonia Barber with Nicola Bayley (illus). Book & CD. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
A Cornish tale of Mowzer, the cat, and Tom, the old fisherman, who brave the wrath of the Great Storm-Cat to try and save their village. This midi hardback edition of the picture book classic is accompanied by a CD narrated by Bernard Cribbins, featuring the story, song and activities.

Polar Express, The
by Chris Van Allsburg. (1985 - Ages 4-8)
The tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole. This book won the 1986 Caldecott Medal. The Polar Express rings with vitality and wonder.

Santa's Christmas Storybook
by Sheila Black with James Bernardin (illus). (1995 - Ages 4-8)
Jolly old St. Nick himself narrates eleven charming tales of Christmas magic and memorable characters,
including an impetuous elf who learns an important lesson on a wild sleigh ride. Also: A Christmas Angel.

Selfish Giant, The (A Michael Neugebauer book)
by Oscar Wilde with Lisbeth Zwerger (illus).
(1994 - Ages 4-8)
A once selfish giant welcomes the children to his previously forbidden garden and is eventually rewarded by an unusual little child.

Story of Holly and Ivy, The
by Rumer Godden with Barbara Cooney (illus). (2006 - Ages 4-8)
Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true?

Treasury Of African-American Christmas Stories by Bettye Collier-Thomas (compiler, editor). (1999)
A collection of 18 stories and 2 poems exploring the significance of Christmas to African Americans and their embrace of Christianity, with its hope of a better afterlife and recognition of long-suffering faith.

Very Marley Christmas, A by John Grogan with Richard Cowdrey (illus). (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Marley, the lovable pup with a nose for trouble, wants to get in on the Christmas action. Anticipating his very first snowfall and Santa's arrival, Marley jumps in to help his family every way he can. But Marley, being Marley, always ends up on the wrong side of right.
This follow-up to the #1 bestselling Bad Dog, Marley! delivers a heartfelt holiday story with many hilarious Marley mishaps along the way.

Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, The: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston with Barbara Cooney (illus). (1996 - Ages 4-8)
Acclaimed author Gloria Houston has written a tale that is as joyful and timeless as Christmas itself. Jewel-like paintings by two-time Caldecott Medal winner Barbara Cooney capture all of the season's warmth and mountain flavor.

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AGES 9-12 through ADULT

18th century image of Balder - Iceland
Balder and the Mistletoe by Edna Barth and Richard J. Cuffari. (1979 - Ages 9-12)
A retelling of the Norse legend of how Balder, god of light and joy, was brought down by the evil Loki with an arrow made of mistletoe.

12 Books in 1: Andrew Lang's Complete "Fairy Book" Series. The Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Pink, Grey, Violet, Crimson, Brown, Orange, Olive, and Lilac Fairy ... and Fairy Stories From Around The World. by Andrew Lang (editor). (Reprint 2006)
Fairy tales are the oldest stories in the world. They were first made by adults who were childlike for their own amusement, and so they amuse children still, and also grown-up people who have not forgotten how they once were children.

Family Read-aloud Christmas Treasury, The by Alice Low (compiler) with Marc Tolon Brown (illus). (1995 - Ages 9-12)
A rich anthology of holiday favorites shares Christmas poems, songs and carols, and short stories for the entire family. Contains Cobweb Christmas retold by Shirley Climo; The Christmas Thief (Tyl Uilenspiegel) by Jay Williams.

Festivals: 2 by Ruth Manning-Sanders. (1985 - Ages 9-12))
Background information on the origins of the holidays included stories, poems, and descriptions of festivals for each month of the year from around the world.

Gift of the Magi, The by O. Henry with P.J. Lynch (illus). (2008 - Ages 9-12)
In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim, by selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, they discover what the true gifts of Christmas really are.

Hark! A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen with Adam Stemple (composer) and Tomie de Paola (illustrator.)
(1991 - Ages 9-12)
Fifteen carols plus two new songs with music by Yolen's son, Adam Stemple, who also did the arrangements; a baker's dozen of Yolen's appealing poems; nine legends, retold with disarming simplicity.

A Newbery Christmas Fourteen Stories of Christmas by Newbery Award-Winning Authors.
Authors included: Eleanor Estes, E.L. Konigsburg, Madeleine L'Engle, Elizabeth Yates, Nancy Willard, Lois Lenski, Katherine Paterson, Rachel Field, Ruth Sawyer, Hugh Lofting, Beverly Cleary Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Oxford Christmas Book For Children, The by Roderick Hunt. (1987 - Ages 9-12)
Includes stories, poems, songs, games, recipes, crafts, a play, and information on various customs and traditions in England and other countries.

Paper-Cutting Stories for Holidays and Special Events
by Valerie Marsh with Patrick K. Luzadder (illus). (1994)

This Way to Christmas (Yesterday's Classics) by Ruth Sawyer. (Reprinted 2007 - Ages 9-12)
Stranded in upstate New York with just seven days to go until Christmas, a lonesome boy comes up with an ingenious way to bring Christmas to the equally lonesome inhabitants of his small mountain community, all of whom were spending the winter far from home. Visiting each in turn, David befriends his neighbors and delights in hearing the Christmas stories they share with him.

Till Eulenspiegel: His Adventures (Oxford World's Classics) by Paul Oppenheimer (translator). (1995 - Adult)
Till Eulenspiegel is the most famous German folk hero, a roving jester whose exploits have fascinated and delighted millions for nearly five hundred years. This is the first translation of the earliest known complete edition of 1515.

Treasury of Christmas Stories, A by Webb Garrison. (1993)
A collection of thirty-two illustrated historical stories includes Abraham Lincoln's gift to a Confederate bride, portraits of the many interpretations of Santa Claus, descriptions of numerous Christmas traditions, and more.

Tyll Ulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by M.A. Jagendorf. (1938)

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Book of Christmas, The (Enchanted World) by Brendan Lehane. (1986)
This is a treasure trove of information about Christmas as it has been traditionally celebrated in many countries, with special emphasis on some of the holiday's pagan roots.
The vibrant color illustrations are a perfect complement to the text.

Celebrate the World: Twenty Tellable Folktales for Multicultural Festivals by Margaret Read MacDonald. (1994)

Celebrations: Read-Aloud Holiday and Theme Book Programs by Caroline Feller Bauer. (1985 - Ages 4-8) (Includes The Christmas Roast by Margaret Rettich (translated from the German by Elizabeth D. Crawford).

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Christmas Companion: Recipes, Traditions and Customs from Around the World by Maria Robbins. (1991)

Christmas in the Midwest, Essays, Stories & Cookie Recipes Including Scandinavian, Polish, German, Italian, Scottish, & Moravian Traditions by Clarence Andrews. (1994)
Includes Scandinavian, Czech, Polish, German, Italian, Scottish, & Moravian Christmas traditions. In this Christmas smorgasbord, two dozen Midwest writers, natives or residents, tell what Christmas has meant to them from pioneer days to the present.

Complete Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Andersen, The by H.C. Andersen. (1994)
Includes What the Old Man Does Is Always Right

Fairies and Elves (Enchanted World) by Colin Thubron. (1984)

Good Stories For Great Holidays by Frances Jenkins Olcott. (1914 edition reprinted 2007 by Echo Library)
Arranged for story-telling, reading aloud and for the children's own reading.

Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols by Edna Barth with Ursula Arndt (illus). (2000 - Ages 9-12)
Traces the origins of our favorite holiday customs and symbols, many of which antedate the first Christmas. Explores the multicultural origins and evolution of the familiar and not-so-familiar symbols and legends associated with our favorite holidays.

Illustrated Book of Christmas Folklore, The by Tristram Potter Coffin. (1973)

Legenden von Rubezahl by Johann Karl August Musaus. (1983)

Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships by Fred Neuschel. (coming out March 2009)
This book brings the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes to life, using the tragic story of the schooner Rouse Simmons as a window into the robust but oft-forgotten communities that thrived along Lake Michigan from the Civil War to World War I.

Silesian Folk Tales: The Book Of Rubezahl by James Lee and James T. Carey. (2004)
These tales came from Silesia and Bohemia. For centuries they have passed down from generation to generation. Rubezahl, the hero of these tales, is a spirit prince and exercises rules over all other gnomes. He can make himself as beautiful as Apollo or appear so terrible that old women mutter fervent prayers. brave men take flight, and young maidens faint

Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth by Dorothy Morrison. (2000)
Those who yearn for spiritual meaning but aren't strongly affiliated with a specific religion sometimes feel left out of winter holidays. Yule is like a hot toddy for these chilled and isolated souls. From mistletoe to gift exchanging, Yule explores and exalts the pagan and regional roots to many of our contemporary rituals and celebrations.

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Arranged alphabetically with short descriptions for your convenience. Click on titles to link to more detailed information and how to buy.

Alvin and the Chipmunks
If you have kids or are a kid at heart (with a special fondness for novelty tunes), this is a goldmine. Contains The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), DeeTownRock Mix, and Witch Doctor, including a couple of 1958 versions.

And Winter Came by Enya. (2008)
This CD is about the changing landscape of winter as well as the festive cheer of the holidays. One of the most successful female artists of all-time, Enya is second only to U2 as the biggest selling Irish artist in history.

Charlie Brown Christmas, A (DVD - 2000)
A half-hour Christmas show of one of the most lovable animated specials in TV history. Charlie Brown finds himself depressed at Christmastime, searching for the true meaning of the holiday amidst the glitz and commercialism of the modern age. Though sent out to find a great big, shiny Christmas tree, Charlie comes back with a miserable tree—but a real one. Children provide the voices. The jazz music score by Vince Guaraldi is a classic as well.

Christmas Together, A by the Muppets and John Denver. (Rerelease 1996)
The Muppets and John Denver have always seemed perfect together. This is a sing-along collection of Christmas favorites as performed by Denver and the Muppets. Includes Twelve Days of Christmas, Silent Night, Deck the Halls and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Hear both Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Don't Come Home for Christmas by Jeff Dunham. (2008)
Contains instant sing-along classics!!! Don’t Come Home For Christmas is the first CD of songs ever released by Jeff Dunham and his beloved group of characters! Tracks include Achmed’s Jingle Bombs, Bubba J’s Roadkill Christmas, and Walter’s heart-felt I Hate Christmas. Join this group as they make Christmas very special and hilarious.

Eloise at Christmastime starring Julie Andrews and Sofia Vassilieva. (2004) (Ages 5 and up) (DVD)
Inspired by the book of the same name, Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) brings her Christmas holiday spirit to this television film as the mischievous 6-year-old cavorts about in New York's Plaza Hotel showing both her good and bad sides.

Joy To The World by Faith Hill. (2008)
The first holiday album from this super star features beautiful new versions of ten traditional and modern classics, complete with horns, strings, woodwings, percussion and chorales, much like the big-band orchestras of the 40's and 50's.

Midwinter Night's Dream, A by Loreena McKennitt. (2008)
2008 release. On her first full-length holiday album, Loreena celebrates the season blending the five songs from A Winter Garden (1995) with eight new recordings inspired by seasonal favorites. 13 tracks including The Holly & The Ivy, Good King Wenceslas, Seeds Of Love, Coventry Carol and more.

Noel by Josh Groban. (2007)
The songs range from the sacred to the secular, while Groban, backed up in some songs by the London Symphony Orchestra, sings duets with Brian McKnight, Faith Hill, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The arrangements never overwhelm the songs and Goban always finds and emphasizes the emotional core of these songs.

Raffi's Christmas Album by Raffi. (Remastered 2002)
Celebrate the Christmas holidays with old and new favorites, along with Raffi's inspiring Every Little Wish. Here is the perfect holiday collection for the whole family. Includes printed lyrics. Frosty the Snowman, Up on the House-Top, The First Noel, Must Be Santa, Deck the Halls, and many more.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - What's Christmas without Rudolph? Here are lots of choices.

by various artists

by Burl Ives

by Gene Autry

~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Burl Ives. (1995)
~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry. (1957 - the original)
~ Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer & Other Christmas Classics by Gene Autry. (New release 2003)
~ Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by various artists. (1990)
~ Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Original Soundtrack. (1998)
~ Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Vinyl LP Record by The Peppermint Kandy Kids.
~ Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by various artists. (2004)

Here are some DVDs of Rudolph...
~ The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, etc. (2007)
~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Burl Ives. (1964 - DVD release date 2007)
~ The Original Television Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer plus others) by Durante. (2006)
~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & The Island of Misfit Toys by Richard Dreyfuss and Jamie Lee Curtis. (2001)
~ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Movie by John Goodman and Whoopi Goldberg. (2001)

Songs of Joy & Peace by Yo-Yo Ma. (2008)
Imagine a party, a musical party that celebrates the universal hopes, dreams and joy animating seasonal festivals the world over - Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa, Yule and New Year's Day. That is what brought Yo-Yo Ma together with a remarkable group of friends - some old, some new - to create this album.

Thomas the Tank Engine: Ultimate Christmas Collection
My 2 year old son LOVES this DVD. I was going to wait until Christmas eve to give it to him, but he loves Thomas and Friends so much I let him watch it. He kept wanting to watch it over and over again!!! Such a great buy!

What A Night! A Christmas Album by Harry Connick, Jr. (2008)
Harry Connick, Jr. is an accomplished singer, pianist, and actor who emerged in the late 1980s as a Sinatra-style crooner for a new generation. As a musician, his influences include Bebop, New Orleans Jazz, and big-band swing.

Winter Symphony by Sarah Brightman. (2008)
This is a great album you can listen to during the winter months. You can well listen to this into January and February. It's got a few Christmas tunes, but it is not really a "deck the halls" sort of album.

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Listed alphabetically with short descriptions for your convenience. Click on titles to link to more detailed information and how to buy.


Hannah Montana Holiday Singing Doll

This doll is a perfect addition to any girl's collection. Dressed in shimmering style with great accessories, this holiday doll sings a rock Christmas carol and comes with a holiday keepsake. With all the personality and charm of her namesake, this Hannah Montana Doll is the perfect companion for kids aged six and up.

A Christmas Story 20" Lamp - Desk Leg
A Christmas Story Leg Lamp. No Christmas is complete without the family sitting down to watch Ralphie's misadventures. Now you can light up the living room with a comical leg lamp, just like the one in the movie!

A Christmas Story Monopoly
This is the first and only Monopoly game to feature fun movie photography from A Christmas Story, allowing players the opportunity of owning, controlling and building upon key mementos from the classic holiday comedy.

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition Elf on the Shelf Gift Set
Remember this little elf? According to tradition, families would put an elf out to watch the children to determine who's been naughty or nice. Comes with a full-color storybook and a posable elf.

Hannah Montana Holiday Singing Doll
This doll is a perfect addition to any girl's collection. Dressed in shimmering style with great accessories, this holiday doll sings a rock Christmas carol and comes with a holiday keepsake. With all the personality and charm of her namesake, this Hannah Montana Doll is the perfect companion for kids aged six and up.

Little People Christmas Story Nativity
Celebrate a most special day, from long ago and far away! Children will love learning about the Nativity and retelling the story through play. With this charming set of their own, they just might leave your holiday collectible alone.

Mattel Barbie Holiday Collector Doll
For more than a decade, Barbie has celebrated each holiday season with a special edition doll commemorating the year. Joining this tradition is this lovely Holiday Barbie. Barbie’s elegant gown features a fitted, strapless bodice with black lace trim along the décolletage, and a full skirt of deep, ruby red.

Plush Santa's Secret Elf Boy 11"
11" by Fiesta Toys.

Plush Santa's Secret Elf Girl 11"
by Fiesta Toys.

Shrek the Halls (Widescreen Edition)
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 11/04/2008

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Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience. Click on links underlined in blue for more information and how to buy the product.

Anthon Berg Chocolate Liquers with Original Spirits 64 Piece Christmas Holiday Gift Box
Great for an office holiday party of gift - Kosher with the "Circle U D" symbol

Baileys Irish Cream Filled Chocolates - Over 1 Pound (17.5 oz)
These delicious chocolates are filled with Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur is the world's most popular liqueur. Each chocolate is individually wrapped, and filled with Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. A great gift or stocking stuffer, and a wonderful treat for your guests!

Cadbury's Holiday Stocking
A selection of Cadbury's bars of chocolates. This holiday stocking includes Flake, Crunchie, Dairy Milk, Bubbly, Caramel, Fudge and Buttons. Ideal gift for the chocolate lovers in your life

Christmas Candy - 2.2 Pounds of Chocolate Truffles - French Truffles - Holiday Chocolates
Over 2.2 Pounds of delicious imported chocolate truffles dusted with cocoa powder! And NO TRANS FATS! 128 pieces sealed in two gold pouches for freshness. These authentic French chocolate truffles are a great holiday gift!

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate 24 oz.
Imagine a luscious, soul-satisfying blend of Madagascar cinnamon and premium dark chocolate in a steaming hot mug, a warm, comforting fire and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music in the air. A heartwarming gift with its own warm treat.

Create-a-Treat Gingerbread House Kit - Everything is included - Pre-Baked Gingerbread & Pre-Made Icing
Summon the magic of the holiday with our Gingerbread House Kit, one of our best sellers! Our Holiday Box is filled with this timeless tradition for all to share. With this Gingerbread House Kit, building your Gingerbread House is a snap. Everything is included.

Gourmet Popcorn and Seasoning Gift Set
Fireworks Popcorn features their top four varieties of Natural Gourmet American Popcorn and four tasty popcorn seasonings in the Gourmet Popcorn and Seasoning Gift Set. Enjoy Wisconsin White Birch, Starshell Red, Savanna Gold, and High Mountain Midnight gourmet popcorn complemented by four natural popcorn seasonings.

Starbucks Classic Gift Basket Christmas Holiday Gift Set
Each beautiful basket comes with 5 Ounces of Starbucks coffee, 1.5 Ounces Cocoa, 1.7 Ounce syrup, 0.9 Ounce cookie, 0.42 Ounce Candy, 0.34 Ounce Chocolate, and 0.16 Tea Bag.

Very Special Liquor Filled Chocolate Bottles 48 piece Holiday Gift Box
Very Special Liquor Filled Chocolates. These delicious liquor filled chocolates come in a 48 count variety pack. Makes a great holiday gift for that special someone.

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Alphabetized and described for your convenience. Click on links underlined in blue for more information and how to buy the product.

Avon 2008 Collectible Christmas Tree Pin
Our fifth annual pin has dangling ornaments and a garland that moves when you do. Silvertone with goldtone, colorful crystal and enamel-look accents.

Christmas Bear Pin by Judith Jack
Gemstones may have been treated to improve their appearance or durability and may require special care.

Christmas Earring Tree Jewelry Organizer Photo Holder
This contemporary woman is putting up her holiday lights in this unique earring tree/photo holder. She holds earrings in her skirt, and your favorite photos in her ornament basket.

Christmas Ornament Charm by Judith Jack
LIMITED EDITION Marcasite and Enamel Christmas Ornament Charm by Judith Jack.

Christmas Tree Pin Brooch
The Pugster Christmas Tree Brooch is made from gold plated metal and accented with green, red, blue, orange and opal color acrylic glass and crystal rhinestones. This Pugster brooch is perfect to give a fun, artistic flair to whatever it is that you are wearing.

Crosley BK329 Christmas Tree Music Box
Crosleys Music Box creates the feeling of warm mittens, fire places and snow flakes. The whimsical scene is complete with an animated train and Christmas tree that will bring you back to your favorite holiday memories.

Crystal American Flag Christmas Tree Pin by Margot Townsend

Frosty X-Mas Ornament Pendant Sterling Silver Snowman
Can be worn as a large pendant or add some ribbon and hang it on the tree!

Holiday Christmas TREE Belly Button Ring
'Tis the Holiday Season and this is the must-have holiday belly ring. No Christmas celebration would be complete without a fabulous christmas tree belly ring.

Santa Snowman Charm by Judith Jack
3D, sterling silver multi-color enamel santa snowman charm with cubic zirconia and set marcasites.

Sterling Silver Pave C.Z. Peace Sign Stud Earrings (Holiday Special)
A Peace Sign accents the middle of these stud earrings. Sparkling roundsimulated diamonds are set in gleaming sterling silver for added shimmer.

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Online links are underlined in black. Click on them and you will go directly to the online sources. Blue links will take you to more book information.
Listed alphabetically. Some links are for information only; others contain one or more full-text stories.

Many of the citations below were suggested by Karen Chace, MA, web researcher extraordinaire –

• Battle of the Shoe and Stocking, The

Children's Book of Christmas Stories
Classic tales dating back to 1926.

Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells.
And it is online for your reading pleasure

Christmas in Australia; also the U.K. and Italy

• Christmas, its history, with many links to stories about Christmas.

Christmas Legends

Christmas past, during the Victorian Era. Great fun to read about what was served for dinner (recipes included), the types of toys children received, how the trees were decorated and much more.

• Christmas songs; words and music:

• Christmas Tree Ship, The by Glenn V. Longacre

• Cornish Christmas
Here are two sites from Tim Sheppard.

Cup of Christmas Tea, A; a poem by Thomas Hegg.

• Eldrbarry's Christmas Pages.

Gift of the Magi, The, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Little Match Seller

Good Stories For Great Holidays
by Frances Jenkins Olcott - (1914) - which has a couple of German stories.

The Gifts of Wali Dad - A Tale of India and Pakistan. Retold by Aaron Shepard.

The Goblin and the Huckster by Hans Christian Andersen? Complete text is here:
And this

• How is Christmas Celebrated Around the World? Add some interesting facts to your holiday folktales. Visit eight countries and learn about their celebrations, food, music and customs.

• How To Say "Merry Christmas!" Planning on hosting a holiday party? From Afrikaner to Welsh, you will be able to greet your guests in their native tongue.

• Some people retell The Noisy House as Santa's Noisy House.

• Inspirational Poems

• Inspirational site for many stories.

Jan Brett's Winter Books

Legend of the Christmas Rose

Legend of the Christmas Spider, The (a folk legend from Germany and the Ukraine)

• Links to The Selfish Giant, Wali Dad and The Cat on the Dovrefell, and to David Browne's Christmas story list:

Mything Links - Yuletide Around the World
An annotated & illustrated collection with links to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions around the globe.

Norwegian Quilted Christmas
Customs and traditions as depicted in quilts.

• Ruth Sawyer's This Way To Christmas online at:
(See the fine print bio notes as well.)
Also at:
Book available at: This Way to Christmas (Yesterday's Classics)

Ruth Sawyer's This Way To Christmas from an excellent collection: Joy to the World at: - a fine Romanian tale of a blind gypsy child who experiences the prejudice of the village, and then a miraculous appearance of the Christ Child.

St. Stephen's Day is December 26. There are stories, and information here.

Santa Lucia picture and more about Finnish Christmas traditions at:

• Star Trek version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas:

• Urban Legends Reference Pages: Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas)

The Way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer
Full text of seven stories:
1) The Locked-Out Fairy
2) Barney's Tale of the Wee Red Cap
3) David Goes Seeking the Way to Christmas and Finds the Flagman
4) The Pathway to Uncle Joab and a New Santa Claus
5) The Locked-Out Fairy Again Leads the Way and David Hears of a Christmas Promist
6) The Trapper's Tale of the First Birthday
7) The Christmas That Was Nearly Lost

• The website for the story of Why Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves is
There are a lot of good stories at this site.

• This website contains some wonderful information on the songs and also has a section on Kwanzaa.
Here are some selections: Christmas, Traditions, Songs, Movies, TV Specials,
Decorations, Letter to Santa, Biblical Roots, Recipes, Rant--Hannukkah,
Dreidel, Songs, Traditions, Recipes, Biblical Roots--Kwanzaa, The 7
Principles, The Symbols, History, Recipes, Schedule

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These contributions are listed in chronological order as they were received from 1999 to 2008. From 2005 on, brief attributions often appear.
Note: Book titles are underlined in blue. Click on them for further information about the books and how to buy them.

1) From the Black Forest region of Germany comes Silver Pine Cones, found in Margaret Read MacDonald's Celebrate the World: Twenty Tellable Folktales for Multicultural Festivals. A more elaborate version of this story is found in Ruth Manning-Sanders' book, A Book of Dwarfs, but it's called Fir Cones there. I actually think fir cones is the correct name since the German-blown glass ornament that's very common is a fir, not a pine, cone.

2) There's an Austrian tale by Ruth Sawyer called Schnitzle, Schnotzle, and Schnootzle in The Long Christmas.

3) There's a Czech variant on Rubezahl the Mountain Spirit called The Christmas Crab Apples in Ruth Manning-Sanders' Festivals.

4) What The Old Man Does is Always Right from The Complete Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Andersen.

5) Rubezahl stories: Found in Andrew Lang's Brown Fairy Book, Time-Life's book, Fairies and Elves (Enchanted World), Silesian Folk Tales: The Book Of Rubezahl (the book of Rubezahl) by James Lee and James T. Carey (1915), and Legenden von Rubezahl by Johann Karl Agust Musaus (1735-1785) (German)

6) Tyl is indeed Till Eulenspiegel (owl mirror), translated into English as Howleglass in the three tales about him in Derek Brewer's Medieval Comic Tales: New Edition.

7) There are Pennsylvania Dutch stories of Eileschpijjel from Thomas R. Brendle and William S. Troxell in Pennsylvania German Folk Tales, Legends, Once-Upon-A Time Stories, etc . This is the Fool Owlglass (Till Eulenspiegel) from German and Belgian tradition. His stories were recorded by a Belgian writer Charles de Coster. He is similar to our Appalachian "Jack"...sometimes a fool, sometimes clever.

8) Till Eulenspiegel: His Adventures (Oxford World's Classics)
, trans Paul Opppenheimer. It says that because it has always been censored, it has never been fully translated into English. This is the first translation of the earliest known complete edition of 1515, with interpolations from previous fragments. It also comes complete with all the original woodcuts - nice! And there's a bibliography, mostly of German books, and detailed contextual notes on every tale.

9) The Christmas Thief appears in a Cricket Magazine issue from 1974.

10) Version of Southwestern milagro stories: Flower of the Blessed Night (adapted from a story in Walt Garrison's A Treasury of Christmas Stories, and other versions are available, including the one in a Tomie de Paolo picture book).

11) Something fun with audience participation that you might enjoy is The Swedish Twelve Days of Christmas - it is not a take off on the twelve days, but it a cumulative tale in its own right. (To learn it quickly, I made pictures of the animals to help me visualize it.) I'll put the cumulative participation story for Christmas from an Anne Pellowski's book - one I think suggested for preschoolers, but I've used it with mixed ages 5-12. The Swedish Twelve Days of Christmas is a rhyming piece that most youngsters will pick up on by the end of the poem. I made up hand motions to go with each animals' "name" to help the audience clue in.

12) Version of Southwestern milagro stories: The Legend of the Margil Vine (a fairly well-known tale in Texas, especially around San Antonio. There is a written-down version in a folklore collection made by Reader's Digest or Time-Life.

13) I have been doing Christmas programs at an inner city educational outreach center for the past several years. I have been focusing on St. Stephen's Day celebrations and telling the stories of the wren. St. Stephen proto martyr is a bit gorey but not the wren or the stories of the celebration and experiences....I end with singing a version of the wren song...take your kids pots and pans, wren, holly branch decorated with ribbons and a large procession forms going around the room. St. Stephen's Day is the day after Christmas. I have the kids make cut out wrens and give them handouts on how to make bird houses for and not kill the beneficial wrens. The birdhouse is a great Christmas project and can be hung up in the winter ready for spring. Then later when wrens come the kids can study their grand habits. Actually I have wrens in the porch out back which they enter through a carefuly un fixed portion of screen known as Wrens gate by the family..... Go here for St. Stephen and wren stories. Kids have a great time with the procession....lots of pots and pans to bang on-up with the kettle and down with the pan...

14) For a story that's light and happy, I would suggest Santa Visits the Moes, found in Ready-To-Tell Tales (American Storytelling) by Holt and Mooney and The Baker's Dozen, adaptation by Aaron Shepard. For the first I always bring in a candlestick and candle as a prop, which I rarely use, but it works with this story. You can see the children begin to huff and puff to help you blow the candle out. The second tale is an adaptation of an old folktale with a wonderful lesson which can be found under different sources. The one I use can be found here:
GOS #7 ~ The Baker's Dozen

15) Christmas stories for 6th graders: Santa Visits the Moes, from Ready-To-Tell Tales (American Storytelling) to a wide variety of audiences, from very young to senior citizens. It runs about 6 minutes and a candle stick and candle can be used as props, also some jingle bells for when Santa approaches. Listeners love trying to blow out the candle as the story moves along. It is also known as The Twist Mouth Family but this version has Santa come to the rescue instead of a policeman.

16) A Scottish version of The Night the Animals Talked can be found in Tales of the Travelers by Duncan Williamson.

17) The First Christmas Gift (see bones below) (also The Night The Animals Talked). This is one of two stories [along with The Holly Tree] collected [and adapted in Appalachian oral language] by Chuck Larkin, Bluegrass Storyteller, in the early '60s from Ms. Cecil Phillips who received the (possibly 4th-century) story varient from her Scottish Highlander ancestry.

18) Query: I have just gotten off the phone with my pastor, who wants me to put together a dramatic Christmas performance for Christmas Eve. Traditionally we have used a flannel board to encourage audience participation - but alas, have lost the flannel board. He would like to create something new, which would also allow the involvement of audience members from age 3-99. This service is very much a family affair. Any ideas? Has anyone put together a program like this?
Nancy F. 10/19/06
I always love to do O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" This is a story that is really well written and fits perfectly into Church programs. It is also in public domain so there is no problem with doing it. It works for every age (3 year olds maybe iffy) and it get away from the "cardboard" approach of the Christmas season.
Steve O. 10/19/06

19) Here is a lovely heartwarming Christmas story.
Angela D. 12/7/06

20) I read all the Christmas stories on the site you sent. While Crumbfest was pure delight, it was Bear River that stole my heart.
Thank you for passing these on. They were a delight and heartwarming too. I wonder if there are other heartwarming Christmas stories from other parts of the world members would be willing to share? Here in Holland, Sinter Klaas arrived Decembe 5th with St. Pieter bearing gifts for the kinderen. Sinter Klaas' story, one among many, can be found here:
Angela D. 12/8/06

21) There is a link on my website at that offers links on various celebrations around the world. There are some specific ones for Christmas and there are two listed there that highlight worldwide celebrations. I hope you find them useful and fun to read.
Karen C. 12/8/06

22) In my search, I came across these two sites:
The second site has more holidays than just Christmas and a delightful New Year's story called The Fairy's New Year Gift!
Angela D. 12/8/06

23) Christmas Wrappings, developed into a story by Mabel Kaplan from an excerpt of an address given by Gordon Moyes (1989) in Word Talk, Wesley Central Mission, Sydney.

24) Not a happy ending but a "never fail" at Christmas time with any age group is O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi . I told it to four classes of 7th graders this week and had them sitting spellbound. The looks on their faces to see people give of themselves for others was amazing. It works just as well for most all adults.

A variation of a folktale I tell is Santa getting his sled stuck in the mud (we have plenty of that around here!) and the reindeer, elves, etc. helping to pull him out. It's based on A Little Story About a Big Turnip, and of course it's the little mouse who provides the final tug that gets him out and on his way again. Steve Otto provided the idea for this with his tale of Santa getting stuck in the chimney.

26) The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas run from December 25-January 5. January 6, is the Epiphany, a feast celebrating the revelation of Jesus to the whole world. (The magi are traditionally believed to be one African, one Oriental, and one Caucasian. Scripture does not enumerate the number of magi, but there were three gifts, so most think of the magi as three.) Tomorrow, December 6, 2002, is the Feast of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who died around 342. It is from this person that Saint Claus came into being.

27) The Advent Season is always the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas ... from Christ the King Sunday and ends with the Feast of Christmas. The Christmas Season of course begins ends with Baptism of the Lord Jan 12 ... not Epiphany. This feast day often falls during the week, therefore not a Sunday celebration... which may lead to some thinking Christmas Season ends with the feast of Epiphany... Jan 6.

28) The Feast of Christ the King is the last Sunday before the first Sunday in Advent. This year, November 24 was The Feast of Christ the King. Advent began on December 1. Sunday, December 8, is the second Sunday in Advent. There are four Sundays in Advent. The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25, and end on January 5, which is Twelfth Night. January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany. The Epiphany season is celebrated up until Ash Wednesday, in some denominations. The first Sunday after the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated as the Feast of the Lord's Baptism. It is a day considered very appropriate for baptisms to take place in many churches, especially baptisms of children. This year this Sunday will be January 12. Welcome To The Book Of Common Prayer provides these collects for Epiphany and the first Sunday after Epiphany: The Epiphany: January 6 O God, by the leading of a star, you manifested your only Son to the people of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. The First Sunday After the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. ~BCP, page 214

29) There's a story where a family loses almost everything in a fire just before Xmas, only things saved, other than themselves, are antique glass Xmas ornaments. Those are sold so the family can start over. But on Xmas eve, after the bare tree is in their cottage, the spiders spin webs over the tree. It glistens in the sunlight the next morning. It's on an Odds Bodkin tape (called Winter Cherries, I think).

30) Spice up your holiday stories with two easy to do origami folds; a star
and a Christmas tree
Karen C. 12/5/05

31) Victorian Christmas
Query: I am looking for Victorian Christmas stories for an event in December. I remember reading a short story as a child about a girl and birds, but that's all I can remember. I'd be interested in any stories of this era. Also, I am writing an original piece about a fictional woman who was the midwife at the nativity and am having a hard time finding historical information about what life was like for women during this time period. Any suggestions?

Response: The first thing that came to mind is Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus: The Classic Edition
written in 1897 during the Victorian Era. Of course there is also A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens but that is so long. There is also the works of Beatrix Potter. She has one story titled The Rabbits' Christmas Party Frieze, but I don't know the length. It is found in Beatrix Potter: Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales (Potter). Of course, I am assuming your venue is for children but I could be wrong. I will keep thinking about your request. You might also want to intersperse your stories with Christmas traditions of the Victorian Era. Here are two sites that might give you a few ideas.
Victorian Christmas Traditions
A Victorian Christmas - christmas celebrations and traditions

Response: You're probably thinking of The Bird's Christmas Carol, which is a real Victorian weepie, with an impossibly good child who dies at the end, mourned by all who knew her. My mom read it to my sister when she was little and made her cry. She told mom, "I don't think you should have read me that story. I'm too little to listen to a story like that."

Response: I was asked to do a Victorian Christmas program once and found it very challenging to locate material. (The Victorians were rather sentimental and definitely longwinded.) However, there is one Victorian tale that is terrific. It's by William Dean Howells and called Christmas Every Day. A little girl gets her wish to have Christmas every day and, of course, it turns out to be a disaster. It's longish, but definitely tellable, and it's funny for a wide age range. I believe it was made into TV movie not too long ago. I have it in an old library reject, Treasury Of Christmas Stories edited by Ann McGovern, but I think I have seen it in other sources.
Response: Isn't the web grand?
Christmas Every Day
by William Dean Howells

Response: I love to do The Gift of the Magi for Christmas programs. It is a wonderful story that draws tears and applause every time, has great writing and is fun to do. Another one I use is Charles Dickens Dickens' Christmas story of goblins who stole a sexton. This is a ghost story written years before A Christmas Carol but it is the exact same story. Dickens just rewrote the thing using different characters. It is fun to find someone who degrades ghost stories and then do this and ask them if the story sounds familiar. It was a tradition of the Victorian era to tell ghost stories at Christmas, and the Christmas Carol is nothing but a ghost story with a moral. Same as "Goblins."

The Victorian Christmas Revival. A number of stories referenced on this website, most available online through the Gutenberg project...

And of course, The Night Before Christmas. Although it was published before Queen Victoria came onto the throne.... Browsing a little through Christmas Victoriana, I was surprised to see that most of the Christmas customs we practice now were created or revived during the Victorian era - including decorating Christmas trees, sending cards, singing carols, and Santa himself......(who came from an illustration for The Night Before Christmas...)

This is not a story, but you might want to stretch it to including a dramatic monologue like It was Christmas Day in the Workhouse - a great piece of Victoriana:
I did it a few years ago in a theatre Christmas show - very enjoyable!

Response: Eldrbarry, formerly of this parish but seemingly offlist for a long time, has a useful page on Christmas stories at
He gives the whole text (on a linked page) of the great Ruth Sawyer's first book, which was on Christmas stories, and gives a number of web resources - including other collections of links to Christmas story sites. These aren't all Victorian, but some may be.

32) Here is a lovely holiday tale that might fit for some of your upcoming programs. I have mentioned this website before, it is a keeper. They redesigned the site a while ago (much to my dismay) but you can still find the stories by using the calendar to the left of the screen. The days on the monthly calendars which are highlighted in yellow are the days in which stories are shared. Just click on the date and it will take you to the story. Their adaptations are wonderful.
Click here: Welcome to uExpress featuring Tell Me A Story -- The Best Advice and Opinions In The Universe!
Response: This site does have one story of the day, but it's out of date and you can't access any others.

I have told The Gingerbread Boy into the North Pole setting. Mrs. Claus makes the gingerbread boy. She chases him. Santa chases him as do a polar bear, a visiting penguin, a snowman, the reindeer, the elves and a seal. The Gingerbread doubles back, jumps into a sack in Santa's sleigh just as he takes off. Santa puts him in a stocking. So if you ever find a Gingerbread Boy in your stocking, you'll know where it came from! And don't thank me. I got the idea from Storytell! Happy to pass it along.

Sing Nine Reindeer to the tune of Three Blind Mice
Nine reindeer, nine reindeer (hold up 9 fingers and then hold hands to head for antlers)
See how they fly. See how they fly. (Hold hand over eyebrows and "see" and wave arms for fly.)
They all help Santa deliver the toys (Hold hands over shoulder for sack)
To all the good girls and all the good boys. (Tuck hands under head and pantomime sleep.)
Did you ever see such a sight in your life (Hand over eyebrows)
As nine reindeer? (Nine fingers, hands to head for antlers.)

I adapted this for cub scouts years ago and it works great!

Sing "Frosty the Snowman. . . . melted!"
Adapt "Hey My Name is Joe and I Work in a Button Factory" to an elf working in the toy factory and Santa comes along. . . . You can find it in Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches by Naomi Baltuck
The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle can be adapted to be a Christmas story since she is decorating for Christmas and doesn't have enough room for a tree, and then doesn't have enough room for more decorations, presents, etc. Christmas fairy keeps giving her a bigger house and a bigger house, etc. At the end of the story she wants to be the queen and live in the White House. The kids love to tell me that the President lives in the White House and the Queen lives in England.

This is an audience participation story and can be found in one of Margaret Read MacDonald's Story-Teller's Start-Up book.

Here are some past contributions to Storytell:
From Papa Joe
The following story is participatory. Each telling uniquely created by the group. Please adapt this tale as much or as little as you please. No recognition required. The style is common throughout the world.

Judy Nichols contributed:
I've been doing a Christmas version of the "bear hunt" participation story for almost 15 years and the kids love it!
Instead of looking for a bear, we go looking for Santa Claus. We (children do the actions as I tell the story) wade through deep snow, slip on icy patches, swim cold seas, climb snow hills and slide down the other side. When we get to Santa's house, he asks why we are at the North Pole when we should be home in bed... so we turn around and hurry home, repeating all the actions in reverse very fast. This works particularly well if you are in a situation that a Santa has been hired to give presents to the children. I tell it last in my program and time it (with the help of the program planners) so that just as we jump into bed... Santa appears! The looks on the kids' faces is priceless!

Ina Doyle contributed:
I'd suggest looking through all of Chuck Larkin's XMAS posts. A favorite of mine is MS. HORSE, MS. MULE AND MS. COW I've used it with Kindergarten youngsters. (I'll put Chuck's version at the end of this post.) Children love imitating Ms. Mule and never fail to be impressed that Ms. Cow was allowed to baby-sit the Baby Jesus.

Another participation type tale is from an Anne Pellowski's book - one I think suggested for preschoolers, but I've used it with mixed ages 5-12. It's called the Swedish(?) Twelve Days of Christmas. It's not a song, but a cumulative, rhyming piece that most youngsters will pick up on by the end of the poem. I made up hand motions to go with each animals' "name." Tell in cumulative manner so that each time after a new animal is named, you go back through the earlier animals - not mentioning the day, but just the animal and what he called it.

The hardworking man received gifts from the landowner - who had neglected giving him gifts for many years.
The 1st day he received a hen; he called his hen Talleri(sp?) Ten.
2nd- rooster - Out of bed booster.
3rd- duck - Just my luck
4th-goose - Longed necked and loose
5th- goat - Trip, trap, shaggy coat
6th-cow-Milk me now
7th-pig- Oh so big
8th-ox- Horns on a box
9th-horse- Trot, of course
10th- cat- Furry and fat
11th- house - Snug as a mouse
12th day he married a wife, he called his wife "Joy of my Life."

Then you're supposed to repeat them all quickly backwards - I do it frontward as I mess it up the other way! I add a little rhyme at the end to wish a Merry Christmas.
(I know you wanted easy to learn. And this one did come quickly after I sketched all the animal pictures on an index card with the names. And said did the rhyme ad nauseum several times a day.)

Christine McNew added these suggestions:
has a variety of Christmas children's stories in their "Holiday" links. Many are readily tellable. Click on "Around the World", "Holidays", "Christmas", and then "Stories.

Here are some ideas for the preschoolers.
Here is a warm-up rhyme. Children can copy your motions the first time through, and then say them with you the second time. It is short enough for the children and parents to learn easily.

Santa Claus is a bit fat man (hold arms out as if resting on a large tummy)
And I love him as much as I can (hug yourself)
Because he gives me all the presents I can hold in my hand. (Hold your hands out in front of you.)

Here's one to end with.
When Santa comes down the chimney (move hands in downward motion)
I should like to peek. (peek through fingers.)
But he'll never come, no never (wave finger, shake head)
Until I'm fast asleep. (lay head on hands).

Since your time is short, here are a couple of traditional stories you can adapt to Christmas which work well with preschoolers.

The Enormous Package is an adaptation of The Enormous Turnip.
Choose one child to be each character, and you are Santa. You mime picking up a heavy package and the chldren hold on to first your waist and pull, and then each other's as the "train" grows. You lead in the refrain.

Here is a brief synopsis of The Enormous Package.
Santa is loading his sleigh with toys and the last package is so large that he cannot lift it.
He looks around and sees various characters, including an Mrs. Claus, an elf, reindeer, etc, who try to help him pick up the package. Each attempt is accompanied by an audience participation refrain such as "Snowflakes and candy canes, ho, ho, ho. I pulled the package but the package wouldn't go."
The last creature to help is tiny, such as a tiny elf. They succeed in lifting the package into the sleigh and Santa invites the elf to help him deliver the toys on Christmas eve. You can end this by singing "Jingle Bells". I usually distribute a few bells for children to ring while singing. Merry Christmas and Happy Telling!
Rose, the Story Lady

10/9/01 Lucia (Dr.D.Light) wrote:
Dear Storytell Community, Amtrak has asked me to tell stories on their Santa Express carrying Santa from Milwaukee to Chicago on Nov 17 to make his grand debut in the Windy City. My challenges are the noise and movement of the train, the children's excitement which will be off the charts and trying to keep their attention with Santa near by.
Mary Lee S.

34) The story told in our community is Mary, a little Catholic girl, Robert, a little protestant boy and Levi, a little Jewish boy. Teacher asks Mary and Robert how they celebrate Christmas. Mary tells how they gather for midnight mass then return home to a feast, open presents and celebrate the birth. Robert tells how his family attends evening service, then returns home and, after a good night's sleep, wakes up and opens all the presents brought by Santa. Levi, announces that his family, too, celebrates Christmas. "How?" asks the teacher. "Well, teacher, on December 24 my dad takes the family down to the store, we all stand around the cash register and we sing "What a Friend We have in Jesus."
Dale P. 12/3/05

Query: I wish to tell folktale type holiday stories/ stories about light/ other cultures celebrations/but not religious stories.
Doris 11/27/05

Response: One story that I tell at Christmas is one that I call "Halvor and the Trolls" - it also goes by another name (which, of course I cannot remember right at the moment), you can find it in a good book of Norwegian tales. One of the reasons I use it is that it can be participatory with children. There is one point in the story where trolls break into Halvor's house and begin to trash it (since that is what trolls do). At that point in the story I always stop and ask the kids what would they do if they were trolls and trashing a house. The answers never fail to amuse not only me but the rest of the audience. At one performance when I asked a bunch of 4th graders this question, one blond-haired cutie raised her hand and said she would break a lamp. I had seen this munchkin enter with her mother, and by the startled look on Mom's face, this moppet just confessed!
Melanie P. 11/27/05

Response: One of my favorite stories is to take The Turnip and change it into Santa stuck in the chimney. It works really well with 1st and 2nd graders and it does get them up and involved in the story. It is an easy conversion and gets the kids into the mode of being able to see different versions of the story. I sometimes will get them to write their own version that they can tell.
Steve O. 11/27/05

Response: I am also doing a holiday story program that is not religious. I am telling a short version of The Ramayana as a Divali story from India, the Hannukah story (to let non-Jewish children know the origin of this holiday), the bi-lingual story of El Milagro de la Flor de Nochebuena or The Miracle of the Poinsettia as a Christmas story. (I guess it is sort of religious.) This is about a 45 minute program. If I tell for an hour, I include a story from Kwanzaa--usually one having to do with "unity." I start my program out singing Hey Ho Nobody Home and Soul Cake and talk a little about Halloween and All Soul's Day and festivals that bring light into our lives in the darkest time of the year. All of the stories and festivals I tell about have to do with lighting candles. I end with This Little Light of Mine (the song).
Judith W. 11/28/05

Response: To answer your question, I did a holiday program about light last year. I most of it was aimed more at kids about 10 and older, but I got in a bind when so many wanted pre-school programming, so I threw in a couple of other stories.

I sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. (He DOES have a guiding light after all!) I also do a paper cutting story about finding a Christmas.( I think that one is on SOS, and if not I'll send it to you.) Also, anything with fire will work for the Winter Solstice and the Yule Log. I love the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She was surrounded by light when she appeared to the Mexican people on the 12th of December.
Mags S. 11/29/05

36) From Hugh in Sheffield, England:
I have a story I love telling to children. It has the format of the three children and the inheritance. Father decides to set the test of who can fill the large barn in two days with a given sum of money. One buys straw, another bracken but the youngest seems to arrive with nothing. On the morning of the test one corner of the barn is filled with straw, another is filled with bracken. The youngest son stands in the middle. Father questions each...... The youngest asks for the doors to be closed, lights a candle and fills the barn with light...

I heard a version of this told by Pomme Clayton on BBC radio on Christmas Eve. In her version, the youngest child, a daughter, lights a candle, and as it is burning, sings a song. Her father tells her that she has filled the room three times
over. She has filled it with light, and light is knowledge. She has filled it with song and song is joy. And knowledge and joy together make wisdom.
Hugh in Sheffield, England
Judy S. 11/29/05

Response: This may have already been posted to ignore me if that is the case. A version of the story can be found in More Ready-To-Tell Tales from Around the World by Holt and Mooney. This version is by Taffy Thomas and it is called The Farmer's Fun Loving Daughter. You can find it on page 124.
Karen C. 11/29/05

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(Scroll down or click on your choice below)
Brer Rabbit's Christmas
Chris Mouse and Other Stories
Christmas Surprise
The Christmas Tree Lamb

Cornwallis at Yorktown
Death of Balder
Filling the Barn
The First Christmas Gift
The Man Who Was Willing to Risk Wishing
One and Only Christmas
The Soldier's Night Before Christmas
Swedish Twelve Days of Christmas
Why Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves

Brer Rabbit's Christmas (Traditional American Tale) from Diane Goode's s Diane Goode's American Christmas (Picture Puffins), 1990.
One winter morning, when he knew Brer Rabbit wasn't home, Brer Fox stole into Brer Rabbit's garden. He helped himself to every last one of Brer Rabbit's carrots and left with his bag so full it was bursting at the seams. When Brer Rabbit got home and saw his garden with nothing much left to admire, he was mighty angry. He sped off directly to Brer Fox's house. The door was bolted and the shutters were closed tight. Brer Rabbit couldn't hear anything except the sound of his own stomach grumbling. But all around was the sweet smell of soup cooking. Brer Rabbit knocked on the door. Bam Bam Bam. No answer. "I know you're there, Brer Fox," called Brer Rabbit. "Now you open this door." No answer. He knocked harder. Bam Bamity Bam. "I know those are my carrots in your soup," said Brer Rabbit, "and I want them back. Now open this door!" Finally there was an answer from inside. "Too bad," said Brer Fox. "I ain't opening this door. I'm making enough soup in here to keep me till spring comes." Brer Rabbit tried knocking the door in. He kicked at it and hammered on it, but that door didn't budge. Finally he gave up. He was hoppin mad. Now you know that Brer Rabbit was the best at trickety tricking, and when he was mad, watch out. But he could never stay mad long. And the next thing you know Brer Rabbit was chuckling. It hadn't taken him long to think of a plan to get his carrots back and make Brer Fox mad too. On Christmas Eve, Brer Rabbit heaved a sackful of stones on his shoulder and climbed up on Brer Fox's roof. He clattered around making plenty of noise. "Who's that up there?" called Brer Fox. "It's Santa Claus," said Brer Rabbit in a gruff voice he hoped sounded like Santa Claus. "And I got a sackful of presents for you." "Oh, you got presents for me?" said Brer Fox. "Well, you're most welcome here, Santa Claus. But ain't you supposed to come down the chimney?" "Sure am," said Brer Rabbit in his Santa Claus voice. "But I can't. I'm stuck in the chimney. You want to see?" Brer Fox unbolted the door and peered outside. "Well, don't come down then," he hollered up at the roof. "Just drop the presents down the chimney and I'll catch them." "Can't," answered Brer Rabbit. "The sack is stuck too. But if you do what I say, I'd be mighty grateful. Climb up into the chimney. Then catch hold of this piece of string and pull the sack down yourself." Brer Fox was only too happy to help. "That's easy," he said. "Here I come up the chimney." He started clawing his way up. Like lightning, Brer Rabbit leaped off that roof and into the doorway. There were his carrots in a pile, and on the stove was a big old pot of soup, all fragrant and bubbling, and on the table were some biscuits and mince pie, and there in the middle was the biggest, fattest Christmas pudding he'd ever seen. Brer Rabbit's mouth began to water at the sight of all that food. But he didn't waste much time. He grabbed as much as he could, stuffed it into his sack and took off running. Meantime, Brer Fox was struggling to get up the chimney. He couldn't see any string, but he felt it hanging down. So he gave a pull. The sack opened and out tumbled all the stones right on Brer Fox's head. My goodness, he went down that chimney fast. That rascally Brer Rabbit laughed at how he'd taken care of Brer Fox. But he kept out of Brer Fox's way all that Christmas day and for some time afterward.

Chris Mouse and Other Stories
- in the style of the French Canadian Irritating Tales by Papa Joe - available through Clap Books
Chris Mouse Tree
There's a Mouse that lives in my house.
His name is Chris. Chris Mouse.
I was telling him about all the Winter holidays people celebrate;
Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, Christmas...
(Ask about celebrations they are planning. Weave the events into your story. If someone says "Christmas" early, ask them to hold onto that answer. It really doesn't matter how many folks give the answer. When you are ready to go on - you can have everyone say it.

"Chris Mouse! I wanna celebrate Chris Mouse!"
I said, "It's not Chris Mouse, Chris. It's Christmas, silly."
"That's what I said, Chris Mouse. I wanna celebrate Chris Mouse. How do you celebrate Chris Mouse?"
So I told him about the Christmas tree.
(Ask about ways to celebrate. Use the same technique to get to "Chrismas Tree".)

"Chris Mouse Tree! I wanna Chris Mouse Tree!"So off he went to get a Chris Mouse Tree.
Do you think he used a chain saw? Do you think he used a bow saw? Do you think he used an ax? He used his teeth. Chewed it down. Set it up on his Chris Mouse Tree Stand.
(Ask for the actions a mouse might take to get a tree. This part of the tale can be as simple or extravagant as you and your group wish.)

I gave him a box of tinsel.
(I usually describe tinsel and talk about how it needs to be put on a tree.You don't want it in clumps. It must be put on one piece ata time.
Sometimes we talk about cats getting it caught in their throats, so be careful. You've got the listeners - figure out what to say.)

Chris Mouse.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
Then he said, "This is getting boring."So I gave him a string of lights. He strung the tiny lights on the tiny Chris Mouse Tree.
(Ask for items to hang on the tree. These can be anything. One at a time in the beginning, but you can speed it up by doing more near the end. Have fun.)

Chris Mouse.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.Then he said, "This is getting boring."So I gave him a bell. He hung the tiny bell on the tiny Chris Mouse Tree.

Chris Mouse.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
Then he said, "This is getting boring."So I gave him a boat, lamb, gelt, star. He tapped the tiny star atop the tiny Chris Mouse Tree.
(and when you are ready to finish)

Chris Mouse.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.
He took the tiny tinsel and he trimmed the tiny tree.<I generally sign for silence and say the next line alone.>Then he said, "It tooka ton of tinsel to trim this tiny tree!"
That's the story of Chris Mouse. I hope you enjoyed it
(or "The End.")

Pax & Amicitia,
Papa Joe
Oak-n-Ivy Cottage, Turtle Island
(16 Sunny Lane, Fremont, NH, USA)

Christmas Surprise
[I finally had a chance to look for the source of this Christmas story. My version is a good bit different from the original story, but for the sake of accuracy here's the source: Paper-Cutting Stories for Holidays and Special Events by Valerie Marsh, 1994.
Take a piece of green paper, and fold it in half lengthwise. On the inside of one half, draw half of a Christmas tree. Decorate both halves of the tree--you can guess about where the second half is---with glued-on sequins, etc. Re-fold the paper so the tree and decorations are inside. When you draw the tree, press hard enough so you can see the outline of
the tree on the outside of the paper.
A little boy wanted to get a gift for his family, but didn't have any money. The family went out and he went for a walk. (Make a cut for the tree's trunk, cutting through both halves of the folded paper.) He walked into the woods (make a cut for the bottom branch of the tree) and there he saw it--the perfect Christmas tree! That would be his gift to his family! He ran back home (make the cut back towards the "trunk" of the tree) and got an axe. Then ran back to the tree (cut for next branch). Then thought I could dig it up and then we could replant it. Ran back home for a shovel. (Cut back to trunk). Got the shovel, ran back to tree (another branch cut). Realized he needed a wheelbarrow to haul the tree, so ran back home (cut back to trunk). Got the wheelbarrow, ran back. (another branch cut). Dug up the tree and hauled it home. (back to trunk). When he got home he carried the tree right to the center of the living room and set it up. (Make the last cut to
make the tip of the tree). He decorated it and waited for his family. And when they walked in he cried out "Surprise" and there was the beautiful tree, all decorated. (Open the paper to show the tree).

I hope these directions are clear enough to follow. It's very much fun to tell. The kids all guess that it's a tree you're cutting out, of course, but they are so surprised by the decorations.
Granny Sue

Christmas Tree Lamb, The.
The text can be found in The Animals' Merry Christmas (Little Golden Books (Random House)), by Kathryn Jackson, 1950.

Once was a white Christmas Tree Lamb - belonged to grandmother when she was little. Was new, snowy white. 2 black eyes, 4 black hooves. Looked like he was dancing from branch to branch. Tiny gold bell on collar tinkled when tree was brushed. Christmas that year was wonderful. "He is the best and prettiest thing on tree." Many Christmas's passed. Lamb danced on every tree. Grandmother grew up. Lamb was given to mother. She loved the little lamb. Played with him before putting him on the tree each year. Over years he became shabby. Eye popped off, one leg broke, tiny gold bell was lost. Looked very sad and shabby by time Mother grew up and had a little girl. Gray, had 1 eye, 2 legs, no collar, no bell. Still Christmas lamb in box of decorations, waiting to be on Christmas tree, waiting to dance from branch to branch. Grandmother - said "He is too shabby for Christmas tree." Remembers how he looked when she was little. Mother agreed and remembered how she loved playing with him. Little girl asked how he looked. Listened. Could picture Christmas tree lamb in her mind. Took lamb to room. Brushed fleece til dust was gone. Found black bead and glued it in place. Made 2 new legs from matchstick and painted them black and glued them in place. Tied red ribbon and bell around neck. Christmas Eve - crept down, lamb behind back. Waited until no one was looking. Climbed on chair, put lamb on tree, up near top under shining star. Grandmother saw lamb, "Looks just like he did when I was a little girl." Mother saw lamb "Looks prettier than he did when I was a girl." Little girls didn't say a word. "She was too busy loving the lamb and thinking he was the prettiest thing on the tree." Christmas tree lamb - eyes shone with joy and excitement, feet seemed to dance from branch to branch, "And his new golden bell jingled more merrily than the old one ever had. Perhaps that was because the samll, white Christmas tree lamb was happier than he had ever been in all his white cotton years on all the Christmas trees!"

[Could he have been that happy because all three of the little girls he had loved were there to share the Christmas joy with him? .... just a thought.. . ]

You could then give each child a Christmas tree lamb to hang on their tree--a start of their very own Christmas tradition. I like this story because it links the generations and is about giving of oneself--not simply buying a gift! I think it is the perfect story for a family Christmas party!

One more thought: To tie this story to the Christmas Story, the Grandmother and the Mother or the Little Girl could tell the story of the Shepherds and their sheep and how they saw the angels and visited the Christ Child to the Christmas Tree Lamb. The Lamb could seem to remember the story as it seemed to dance from branch to branch, looking at the star, the symbol of Christ's birth. The lamb could be so happy at the end because it was a gift from the heart--which is the kind of gift that Christ would have us give--gifts of love and service.

It's me again. As I was peeling apples to make applesauce, I was thinking about The Christmas Tree Lamb and how to include more of the Christmas story and here are my thoughts:

As the little girl brushed the lamb, she said, "On a long ago night, there were shepherds taking care of their flocks. It was night and everything was quiet and peaceful. By the light of the moon and stars, the little shepherd girl could see her little lamb and knew that all was well." The Little Girl picked up the small black bead she had found and glued it in place so the Christmas lamb would have two eyes. "Suddenly," said the Little Girl, "the little shepherdess and the lamb heard beautiful music. The sky became light. They looked up and saw an angel and the angel was brighter than the stars, brighter than the moon. And the angel said, 'Fear. . . .' And after the angels were gone, the shepherds decided to go see this baby--the Christ Child. The little girl glued the first leg in place. "The little shepherdess took her little lamb and walked all the way to Bethlehem with her father to see the Christ child." She glued in the second leg. "It was a long way but she was too excited to be tired." The Little Girl threaded a tiny gold bell on a red ribbon and tied it around the lamb's neck. "The shepherds gave gifts and the little shepherdess gave her lamb as a gift. It was all she had to give. If I had lived when Jesus was born, I would have given you to be His Christmas lamb." The little girl tucked the lamb into her pocket. "But I didn't live back then but you can still be my Christmas gift to Jesus. Because He wants us to give gifts of love and service that come from the heart. Shh now, don't baa or make a sound. I will hold my hand on your bell so it doesn't ring." And the Little Girl tiptoed down the stairs and stood before the Christmas tree. When her Grandmother wasn't looking, when her Mother wasn't looking, she got a chair and put the little Christmas lamb on a high branch. It looked like it was dancing up, up, up toward the star at the top of the tree that was the symbol of Christ's birth.

Then the story continues as outlined.
Rose the Story Lady 9/23/05

Cornwallis at Yorktown
: Tradition has it that when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown (1781) the British played the melody The World Turned Upside Down. There is some debate as to whether that is myth or fact. The ballad wa s first published on a broadside in 1643 to be sung to the tune When the King Enjoys His Own Again. It was a protest against the ending of all the favorite English Christmas traditions which he feels were destroyed by Cromwell's victory at the Battle of Naseby (1645)
The text of this ballad is drawn from the Thomason Tracts (669. f. 10 (47)), where it is dated 8 April 1646. In it, the author decries the passing of all the favorite English Christmas traditions which he feels were killed at the Battle of Naseby in 1645.
The World Turned Upside Down

Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:
Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.
Holy-dayes are despis'd, new fashions are devis'd.
Old Christmas is kickt out of Town.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
The wise men did rejoyce to see our Savior Christs Nativity:
The Angels did good tidings bring, the Sheepheards did rejoyce and sing.
Let all honest men, take example by them.
Why should we from good Laws be bound?
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
Command is given, we must obey, and quite forget old Christmas day:
Kill a thousand men, or a Town regain, we will give thanks and praise amain.
The wine pot shall clinke, we will feast and drinke.
And then strange motions will abound.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down..
Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:
They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.
They count it a sin, when poor people come in.
Hospitality it selfe is drown'd.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down..
The serving men doe sit and whine, and thinke it long ere dinner time:
The Butler's still out of the way, or else my Lady keeps the key,
The poor old cook, in the larder doth look,
Where is no goodnesse to be found,
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
To conclude, I'le tell you news that's right, Christmas was kil'd at Naseby fight:
Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine,
Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie,

Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.


Death of Balder, The
(Norse myth involving gods and winter mistletoe)
Balder was the most glorious god alive, handsome and pure in spirit, the son of Odin and Frigga. Every living creature loved him. Yet Odin knew his son was doomed to an early death. To protect him Frigga traveled far and wide, exacting promises from all objects and beings not to harm him. Believing she had done everything possible, Frigga neglected the lowly mistletoe. The gods rejoiced to know that Balder was invulnerable and invented a game in which everyone threw things at him.

Loki was intensely jealous of Balder and resolved to destroy him. While all the gods hurled things at Balder, Balder's blind brother Hoder sat by himself, unable to join the fun. Loki, having learned the secret of the mistletoe and having obtained a sprig, offered to guide the blind Hoder's hand. The mistletoe was thrown and it pierced Balder's heart, killing him. The gods grieved, but Odin and Frigga sent another son as an envoy to the underworld, Niflheim, to see if Balder could be ransomed. In the meantime Balder's funeral ship was prepared, set fire to, and sent out to sea.

The goddess Hel agreed to release Balder from her kingdom of death only if the whole creation and everything in it wept for the slain god. Messengers were sent everywhere, and all things cried over Balder's death until one messenger came upon a Giantess who refused to weep. This of course was Loki in disguise. So Balder was condemned to remain in the netherworld. But the gods revenged themselves on Loki by binding him in a deep cave and causing a poisonous serpent to drip venom in his face, causing the wicked being intolerable pain. Loki's wife caught much of this venom in a cup, but whenever she emptied the cup Loki writhed in agony, creating earthquakes.

This was the beginning of the end, for Loki then allied himself with the Giants and demons, who would bring ruin on the Aesir.
Text from:,pageNum-104.html
More information about mistletoe:


Filling the Barn
as retold by Hugh Waterhouse, U.K.
Once there was a farmer who had three fine sons. His boys were strong, polite, hard working and honest and he loved them all very much. But lucky as he was to have such a good family, the farmer had a problem.

He had worked hard all his life on his farm, but it was not a big farm. If he divided it up and gave one portion to each of his three sons, none of them would have enough land to earn a living. So, he was determined to leave his farm to only one of his sons. He thought for a long time before coming up with an unusual way of deciding which son would inherit the farm.

He called all three of his sons to him and showed them an empty barn. “Boys," he said, “I am giving each of you the same amount of money and two days to figure out how to fill up this barn. Whoever succeeds in filling the barn, will inherit the farm.” The boys each went off in their separate directions.

Two days later they returned. The oldest son had used his money to buy an enormous wagonload of hay. But when hestacked it in the barn, it didn’t even fill up half of the space. The middle son had used his money to hire children from the village to help him fill up a huge wagon with fallen leaves, which they put into sacks. But when he unloaded the sacks of leaves, they took up even less space in the barn than the hay.

Finally, it was the third son’s turn. When his father asked him how he intended to fill up the barn, he did not answer. Instead, he walked to the center of the barn and took a candle and a match out of his pocket. He lit the candle and its light filled the barn. Then he opened his mouth and began to sing, and his song could be heard in every corner of the barn.

The father said, “My son, I am leaving the farm to you, since you have filled the barn three times over. You have filled the barn with light and light is knowledge. You have filled the barn with song and that is joy. Knowledge and joy together make wisdom and now I know that you will manage your inheritance wisely.”

First Christmas Gift, The
by Chuck Larkin
Now you remember how, right after baby Jesus was born, the angels appeared in the sky, singing the fi rst Christmas carols. There was a group of shepherds herding their sheep out on the side of the hills. The angels were singing to the shepherds, again just regular country people out working, tending their sheep in their fi elds. Uh huh, I bet they were surprised and maybe a little scared. I know I think I would be. Well, the angels called out, "Hey, it’s all right, don’t be afraid." They also told the shepherds about how baby Jesus, the Christ child, was born in a barn in a little town called Bethlehem. The barn was in a cave. Now some have said it was a building, but I was told it was a cave. Well, at least the back part of the barn was in a cave. The front part of the barn had been built out of mud, straw and wood. The angels said if the shepherds wanted to go and visit the Christ child, they could fi nd baby Jesus under the new star they had set up in the sky to help people fi nd Bethlehem and the barn.

The next morning, bright and early, Sylvester, the chief of all the shepherds, called his son, "Frederick! Your uncles and aunts and I are going into Bethlehem to see the new baby the angels were singing about last night. Would you like to go?"

Would Frederick like to go? He was nine years old and had never been to town! Of course, he wanted to go. Not only would he get to go to town for the fi rst time, but he’d be able to see the new baby, the son of God, too. Frederick was excited!

Let me tell you about Frederick. When he became nineyears-old, he was considered old enough to help his daddy and uncles tend the sheep. He was given his own shepherd’s staff, a long pole with the crook or a curve on one end. Those staffs were good for hooking a sheep, to catch them like a cowboy ropes a cow with a lasso. Sometimes, a shepherd’s staff was even better, to smack an old wolf on the side the head in order to get his attention. Especially, when a wolf wanted a sheep for dinner.

Now you talk about a shepherd’s staff, you should have seen Sylvester’s staff! Frederick’s daddy, Sylvester, had a shepherd’s staff that was so big, that Frederick could just barely lift it up off the ground. Sylvester’s staff was the chief shepherd’s staff, and it was covered all over with all kinds of carved pictures. The staff had been in their family for a long, long, long time.

Back in the old times, when you got to be nine years old, young men and young women were considered old enough to help the big people with big people’s work.

There is something else about Frederick I need to tell you. When he was a little tiny baby, his Grandma had taken some sheep’s wool and had made Frederick a baby lamb doll. From as far back as Frederick could remember, he slept with that baby lamb doll and he ate his meals with that baby lamb doll. He even carried the doll with him everywhere he went. He loved that baby lamb doll. He was like Linus, Charlie Brown’s friend in the Peanuts comic strip, carrying that blanket around all the time. Frederick fl at out loved that baby lamb doll. He called her "Lauren Leigh". The problem was this. Now that he was nine-years-old, the older children had been teasing him about carrying a doll all the time. Recently, he had been hiding Lauren Leigh under his shepherd’s clothes. Frederick decided that if he was old enough to go to town and old enough to see baby Jesus, he was old enough to leave his baby lamb doll home. He hugged Lauren Leigh and hid her under his bed covers.

Frederick stood up straight, puffed out his chest, put on his new shepherd’s cloak and strutted out the cabin door with his daddy and his family heading for Bethlehem. They had not gone down the road a hundred yards when he stopped and said, "Daddy I left something at home I need. I’m going to run back and fetch it, but I’ll catch up with you."

Well, you can guess what he went back for. He picked up Lauren Leigh and hid that baby lamb doll under his cloak and ran to catch up with his mommy and daddy and kin folk. He quit strutting too and just trod along quietly with the grown ups.

When they entered Bethlehem, Frederick had never seen so many people. The barn was fi lled with well wishers and gift givers and a long line of folk outside waiting to get in.

Frederick was almost broken hearted. He didn’t see how they would ever get in to see baby Jesus. Frederick forgot that his daddy was the chief of all the shepherds. When the folks saw Sylvester, they all called out. "Come on Sylvester bring your boy Frederick and come on in the barn."

When they got inside the barn, Frederick climbed up on a high pile of hay, so he could see over everybody. There was baby Jesus, sleeping and Frederick couldn’t believe what he was seeing. There was baby Jesus, sleeping in a horse’s feeding trough, with some fresh hay under him for a mattress.

"Oh, wow! I remember mama saying that once when I was a baby, we were visiting, and I slept a few nights in a wooden box that was used to feed the sheep, just like baby Jesus. What an exciting day! I’m in town for the fi rst time The First Christmas Gift and I’m seeing the baby son of God. Oh wow!"

Then Frederick noticed that the whole barn, full of people, had gotten quiet. Frederick turned and looked toward the door. People were moving aside, and in walked three men. Frederick looked at their clothes and remembered the stories his mama had told him all about Kings and how they dressed. He never thought he’d ever see a King. Those three men had on fancy King clothes for sure. What a day!

First time to go to town. First time to see so many people. A chanceto see baby Jesus and now three Kings. Oh, what an adventure!

Frederick watched as the Kings went over to baby Jesus. The fi rst king, whose voice was commanding and deep said, "I bring a gift of gold to the Christ child, the symbol of a King."

Frederick thought, "Now hold on there king, that’s a foolish gift to give a little tiny baby. What’s a baby going to do with money!"

The second king stepped up and with that same kind of king voice said, "I bring the gift of Myrrh, the symbol of the healer, for the Christ child."

Frederick thought, "oh oh, that king’s not so smart either. Mama cooks sometimes with Myrrh. What does that king think a baby is going to do with a bitter herb like Myrrh."

Then the third king said, "I bring the gift of Frankincense, symbol of the priest, to the Christ child."

"Frankincense", thought Frederick, "that’s incense and that stuff stinks! Kings may dress fancy but they sure don’t have much gift giving judgment. The only time I’ve ever smelled Frankincense, was when it was burned at funerals and he gives that stuff to a baby?"

Frederick sadly shook his head and thought how silly Kings were, as he watched other gifts given. Nothing for a baby. Then he saw Sylvester, his own daddy, stand up, walk over to where baby Jesus was sleeping, and lay down that huge shepherd’s staff that Frederick could hardly lift, as a gift to baby Jesus. That’s when Frederick realized that sometimes grown ups do silly things. They just don’t have the sense they were born with. Did you ever notice that?

As Frederick thought about all the foolish baby gifts, he suddenly remembered that, under his cloak, he had the perfect gift for a newborn baby!

No, uh-uh, no, no way, he sure didn’t want to give up his Lauren Leigh! Frederick even looked out of the barn window and watched a small fl ock of birds perching on a tree. It didn’t do any good. All Frederick could think about, was how baby Jesus was born in this old barn, dug into the side of the hill, dirty and smelly and everybody giving him gifts that baby Jesus couldn’t use.

Frederick knew that if baby Jesus was going to receive a gift that a baby could use, he was going to have to be the one to do it. Frederick climbed down the pile of hay. He squeezed between the big people until he reached the manger. Frederick thought, for a horse’s feeding box, the manger wasn’t even well built. No mattress, just straw for baby Jesus, the son of Heaven, the Christ child, to sleep on in this rank-smelling barn. That’s awful!

He looked down at baby Jesus sound asleep. He reached under his cloak, pulled out Lauren Leigh, his baby lamb doll that his grandma Geneva had made out of sheep’s wool. He held her up and whispered into her ears how much Frederick loved Lauren Leigh and how baby Jesus would love her too, and how much he would miss her, but now Lauren Leigh had to take care of a new baby, like she had taken care of Frederick, when Frederick was a baby.

Frederick gave Lauren Leigh a big hug. When he started to put Lauren Leigh into the manger, baby Jesus woke up, saw the baby lamb doll up in the air above him, he started giggling, reached his little hands into the air, grabbed and hugged Lauren Leigh to his chest. Then baby Jesus, snuggled up to Lauren Leigh, the baby lamb doll made out of sheep’s wool, closed his eyes and went back to sleep with a smile on his face.

The First Three Miracles.
When baby Jesus saw Lauren Leigh and laughed for the fi rst time, that’s when the fi rst three miracles we know about took place. First, Jack the donkey got his sight and was able to see. You should have seen the big grin on his face!

Second, there was an old weed growing all through the Roman Empire, that for the fi rst time, bloomed a pretty red fl ower that night. Every year after that, the old weed blossomed the same red fl ower during the Christmas season. People started calling it the "Christmas Flower."

When people moved to the Americas, the flower grew very well in the Caribbean and Mexico. In 1832, our ambassador to Mexico from Charleston, South Carolina, brought the Christmas Flower home and it grew in our country. His name was Ambassador Poinsett and we still call the Christmas Flower by derivative of his name, "Poinsettia."

It was the third miracle I liked the best. That one was the gift of speech given to the animals.

Ms. Cow turned, and looked out the window and spoke to the same fl ock of birds in the tree that Frederick had been watching earlier. Ms. Cow told the birds how, out of an act of love, the fi rst Christmas gift had been given to the Christ child by Frederick, a young shepherd boy. The birds and Ms. Cow found they could talk to each other and Ms. Cow told the birds everything I’ve been telling you and the birds told Ms. Cow about hearing the angels singing and watching Frederick get up that morning.

Every year since then on Christmas Eve all the animals again get the gift of speech.

When I was a child, we would go down to our barn and watch the farm animals. First, they bow down on their knees and say a quiet prayer, then they tell these old stories. If you have pets at home, watch them. Just after they bow their heads to say their Christmas prayers, they will have the gift of speech and they love to tell these old stories.

My sister, Barbara Anne, told me her pet fish came to the top of the water once and told a Christmas fi sh story. I would tell you that story but my sister was real young and forgot the story. This happens on Christmas Eve but not on the 25th of December.

The animals receive the gift of speech on "Old Christmas Eve." In 1752, folks changed the calendar to the one we use now. What used to be the 25th of December on the old calendar, was the 6th of January when I grew up and now has moved to the 7th of January on today’s calendar. It was on the 6th of January eve that we called "Old Christmas" when I was a child. That’s when the animals get the gift of speech.

It was a wonderful trip for Frederick. In fact, as they were going home, they stopped to look back. There, in the air, hovering above the barn, they could see a great angel and the angel waved to them. Oh what a day!

I’m so glad Ms. Cow and the birds were storytellers to tell people this story. My own dog told me these stories when I was five years old.
The End.
Neppe P. 9/23/06

Man Who Was Willing To Risk Wishing, The
by Wayfarer Tomm
Some time is like other time but no other time is like Christmas time.
One time just before Christmas Howard was sitting at the kitchen table of his home in a quiet country town. The little house seemed so much bigger to him now that Rose was no longer with him. Rose would have known what to do with the Santa outfit that the school had sent him.. Howard didn't mind storytelling in costume, but the outfit the school had sent to him didn't even have real boots. There was only plastic imitation boot tops and if he was going to appear as Santa He wanted at least to look real. Howard hated the look of disappointment n the eyes of the little ones when they found that Santa was really only another one of "Santa's helpers", when they had hoped to see the real one. He knew how easy it was for children to grow up and let life's disappointments cause them to grow out of wishing.. He knew that not all wishes came true, but as Rose would say "If you don't wish, none of your wishes will ever come true." Howard did not want to be one more disappointment on the children's road to adulthood.

Howard wished that he could be the real Santa the children needed to see. Howard knew that if Rose were here she would knew what to do with the outfit and Rose would know what to do with him. He could see her now with a comb and brush, a needle and thread. A nip here and a tuck there, the wig combed the beard brushed, all the while telling him that if he believed in himself other people would believe in him also. Rose might no longer be there to help him, but Howard knew that he would never be without her love. Rose would have asked "What do you wish to happen?" and when he told her, she would say "Well, let's work on it like we believe that wishes come true and Howard remembered his wish that he could be the real Santa that the children needed to see. He had only four hours left before he would ride on top of the town's shining old fire truck to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the school yard and as he rode into that circle of light that evening with the cold air flowing through his hair and beard he was beginning to feel as Santa would feel at the helm of his grand old sled.

There was the smell of snow soon to be coming and a ring around the moon. The people who had come to the town's tree lighting ceremony had been singing carols and enjoying the warmth of being together. Mac the driver tooted the horn and sounded the siren and Santa was arriving right on schedule.

As he stepped from the truck he was greeted by Ms. Amanda Lee, the school's official greeter and unofficial guard against sixth grade boys who might seek to show their bravery and challenge the reality of their world by tugging on Santa's beard. All went well as he moved through the crowd, giving gentle waves to the smallest ones and hardy waves to the old timers. Into the auditorium he went, on to the stage to be seated on a throne made of hay bales fresh from a barn. As he waited for the town's people to be seated he looked into the eyes of those looking at him. In some eyes he saw wonder and in others he saw memories and in the smaller ones he saw the hint of awe.

When everyone had been seated and Ms. Amanda Lee had led every one in singing "Jingle Bells" and quiet reigned while breaths were regained. Howard raised both hands in the air and asked "What do you want enough that you would be willing to risk wishing for it?". Howard watched the question sink in and in some eyes he saw sadness and in others wonder and in some joy. Howard said "I wish to tell you a story of a young man who was willing to risk wishing" with that as an introduction he started into his story.

"In a time"***He said,*** "not unlike this time" In the land where the forest meets the open plains and there are no trees from the forest edge to the snow lands to the north. In this land lived Ooe and Ooe was old enough to have chosen a clan to join and young enough not to have been chosen by a clan.

Ooe went first to the Clan of the Rabbit and wishing them friendship and peace asked if he could join their clan. The Rabbits said to Ooe, Ooe you are a nice person, but you are neither fast nor agile and we really don't feel that you will fit in the Rabbit clan. We are sure that there must be a clan that will fit you better.

Ooe went next to the Clan of the Turtle and wishing them friendship and peace he asked if he could join their clan. The Turtles said to Ooe, Ooe you are a nice person, but you have never traveled nor are you old enough to have found wisdom. We have spoken about this among ourselves and we must tell you to sound out the other clans we are sure there is a clan that you will harmonize with.

Ooe went then to the Clan of the Snow Geese and wishing them friendship and peace he asked if he could join their clan. The Geese said to Ooe, Ooe you are a nice person, but you are short and as wide as you are tall and we can not see how any could look at you and see the sleek beauty of a Snow Goose. We are sure that if you continue looking you will focus on a clan that will seem perfect for you.

***As Howard watched the people be drawn into the story, he saw their movements quiet and their breathing flow together so that they began to breath as one.***

Ooe *** Howard said*** went to speak to the clan of the Bear and wishing them friendship and peace he asked if he could join their clan. The Bears said to Ooe, Ooe you are a nice person, if only you were bigger and taller. We would love to have you but we know that you will be more comfortable with others more like yourself so keep searching and we are sure you will find a clan,

And even though Foxes are required to be devious and tricky Ooe went to the Clan of the Fox and wishing them friendship and peace he asked if he could join their clan. The Foxes said to Ooe., Ooe you are just the type of person who we would want to have in our clan but we are at full membership just now and have a rather long waiting list we are sure that the other clans who are just waiting for you to ask.

Nothing like this had ever happened before; no one had ever been refused by all of the clans before. So the leaders of all the clans met in secret conference to decide which clan would have to accept Ooe. After much discussion and loud talking and almost even a fight between the Rabbit and the Goose this is what they decided and that very night told to Ooe. "Ooe" they said "we cannot have among us one who was not a member of a clan and since you have not been chosen by a clan then you must leave us and go out into the world on your own.

*** From the furrowing of brows and the tightening of lips on many faces in the crowd Howard could see that many didn't approve of than councils decision. Howard continued on with the story. *** So Ooe left that very evening wishing to them friendship and peace to all and to all a good night, but only those with peace and friendship in their
hearts heard him.

As Ooe traveled out into that cold and windy night it began to snow and the farther that Ooe traveled the colder and windier and snowier it got and Ooe could find no shelter. Ooe traveled that night and the next day and into the next night. All alone except for the cold and the wind and the snow which followed him where ever he went. Ooe was not able to find any shelter and even though he knew better then to lie down in the snow when he was cold and tired, he was so tired that he lay down in the snow. It was said among Ooe's people that no one ever woke up from sleeping under a blanket of snow.

Ooe could not stay awake and he dropped into a deep sleep and while sleeping he dreamt of warmth and softness. *** Howard watched as mothers held their babies closer and grandparents unconsciously reached for the hands of their grandchildren and he continued saying.*** " Ooe did awaking in the morning and when he woke he found that he had in the night been surrounded by a small herd of reindeer and it was their warmth that had kept him alive through the night".

That morning Ooe was so weak from hunger and exhaustion that he could barely move and it took all the intelligence of these amazing reindeer to get Ooe to understand that they wanted him to get on the back of one of them. But finally he did understand and with their gentle help he was able to climb aboard the largest reindeer and hold unto it's antlers as it started to prance though the snow, it seemed to Ooe that he must still be dreaming because it looked as though the reindeer were prancing over the snow and then through the air and although he knew it was impossible it even seemed that they were flying over the frozen hills and mountains until they came to rest in front of the strangest dwelling that Ooe had ever seen.

The dwelling was made of logs stacked one on another and up one side was a pile of stone which had smoke coming from the top and there were openings in the logs that were covered with what looked like a sheet of ice that Ooe could look through and see a fire glowing warmly at the bottom of the rock pile. One of the deer walked to the log wall and rattled his antlers against a part of the wall which opened to reveal a kindly faced woman who gestured to Ooe to enter. When Ooe entered the woman guided him to the fire and offered him a place to sit and gave him a large bowl of delicious stew which Ooe ate before falling asleep in the warm glow of the fire.

When Ooe awoke he saw seated across from him the friendliest looking gentleman that Ooe had ever seen and even though Ooe had never seen this man before the man began to speak to Ooe in the language of Ooe's tribe.> *** Howard saw that all eyes were focused on him, but he did not know that the people weren't seeing him, but were seeing instead the gentleman of whom he spoke.*** The gentleman spoke of friendship and of peace and of the clan of reindeer, of traveling to many lands, of visiting many peoples and Ooe listened carefully. When the gentleman spoke of spreading joy and happiness throughout the world, Ooe could picture the happy joyful faces of children of all ages and saw how worthwhile that would be.

When the gentleman spoke of spreading the message of goodwill and friendship and of peace to all peoples, Ooe felt how important is was to help in this great work. When the gentleman invited Ooe to join the reindeer clan, Ooe said yes. On the Magical Nights when the old gentleman travels throughout the world bringing toys and joys and the message of goodwill to all. Ooe rides in the sleigh drawn by the Magical Reindeer helping the old
gentleman and between visits Ooe loads the sack of gifts to be delivered at each home. When they leave each home and the old gentleman calls out" Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night ". If you listen carefully as those who care about such things do. You can hear Ooe wish friendship and peace to all and to all a good night.

When He finished with the story there was no applause, only silence. When he rose and waved farewell, the returning waves were few and feeble. When he wished them friendship and peace to all and to all a good night, they rose almost as one and returned his wish and as he left he could see them turning to their families and neighbors and wishing friendship and peace to all. There are those who say that after he had gone there was the sound of sleigh bells and a tiny voice clearly saying friendship and peace to all and to all good night.
Wayfarer Tomm 12/8/05

One and Only Christmas Ghost, The
by Penelope Gladwell. I found it in Playmate Magazine, Dec. 1972. Now you might have a hard time locating this magazine so here are the bones of the tale.
Little ghost wakes up from nap. Time to go out haunting for Halloween. it is exceptionally cold. He doesn't know he has slept through Halloween and Thanksgiving and it is now Christmas! He can't find any of his friends. It is so cold the trick or treaters aren't out. He watches a car pull up (to the Biltmore Hotel?) and some children get out. They are laughing and chattering. The little ghost decides to attend their Halloween party and do some "solo" haunting. He peeks in the window and sees bright colors, lights, tinsel, stars, a decorated tree, bowls of popcorn, plates of cookies--whole room shimmers. He admires the costumes: ghosts with wings and halos, goblins in striped robes with crooked sticks, rich looking fellows with boxes in their hands, a lovely ghost wearing a blue sheet and carrying a baby doll. It is absolutely puzzling! When the hobgoblins sit down beside a green tree, he recognizes his opportunity. He rattles his chains. "Listen to the sleigh bells." children say. This makes him mad. "Nice..." he mutters. "We'll see about that." Taps and scratches on window. "Is it beginning to snow?" He climbs up on roof and stomps feets and rattles chains. "It's him!" "Yes, it's me!" shouts the ghost as he swoops down the chimney. Cloud of soot and ashes. "Boo!" "Happy Halloween!" Shock and surprise. "Well, who did you think it was--Santa Claus?" He tries to get party going again and suggests Halloween games. Nobody plays them at Christmas! Children gather round to convince him it is Christmas, tell him about their Christmas play, popcorn and cookies represent gifts for Jesus. "Oh no, I've made a terrible mistake. Missed my holliday and ruined yours." Children declare this Christmas has been different than any other Christmas. Won't he stay for party. So he does. Now he is very careful to set his alarm for Halloween so he doesn't miss out. Then he sets his alarm for Christmas to join the children. They stay up late and listen for a rattling like sleigh bells and footsteps on the roof. Those are the sounds that always come just before the arrival of the one and only Christmas Ghost.

Soldier's Night Before Christmas, The
By Major Bruce W. Lovely
(With Apologies to Clement Moore Who First Wrote the Story for His Children in 1822 also credit given to M/Sgt Noah Brazos Ross, RA18033195, a USArmy 18th Field Artillery survivor of Utah Beach, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Battle for the Ardennes, Deutschland wrote Daddy's Christmas (Soldier's Christmas) as a Bonita, Montague County, Texas, high school exercise in 1937)
Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.
His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
"Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

Swedish Twelve Days of Christmas, The
from Anne Pellowski's book.
The hardworking man received gifts from the landowner who had neglected giving him gifts for many years. The 1st day he received a hen; he called his hen Talleri(sp?) Ten.
2nd- rooster - Out of bed booster.
3rd- duck - Just my luck
4th-goose - Longed necked and loose
5th- goat - Trip, trap, shaggy coat
6th-cow - Milk me now
7th-pig - Oh so big
8th-ox - Horns on a box
9th-horse - Trot, of course
10th- cat - Furry and fat
11th- house - Snug as a mouse
12th day he married a wife, he called his wife "Joy of my Life."
Told so that after a new animal is named, you go back through the earlier animals - not mentioning the day, but just the animal and what he called it. At the end you're supposed to repeat them all quickly backwards - I do it frontwards as I mess it up the other way! I add a little rhyme at the end to wish a Merry Christmas. (I learned this by sketching all the animal pictures on an index card with the names. And did the rhyme ad nausea several times a day.)


Why Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves.
This is a winter story, not really Christmas. But I like it for Christmas programs. I believe it's public domain as I found it on the UVA site that has online text of public domain material.
by Florence Holbrook

WINTER was coming, and the birds had flown far to the south, where the air was warm and they could find berries to eat. One little bird had broken its wing and could not fly with the others. It was alone in the cold world of frost and snow. The forest looked warm, and it made its way to the trees as well as it could, to ask for help. First it came to a birch tree. "Beautiful birch tree," it said, "my wing is broken, and my friends have flown away. May I live among your branches till they come back to me?"
"No, indeed," answered the birch tree, drawing her fair green leaves away. "We of the great forest have our own birds to help. I can do nothing for you." "The birch is not very strong," said the little bird to itself, "and it might be that she could not hold me easily. I will ask the oak." So the bird said: "Great oak tree, you are so strong, will you not let me live on your boughs till my friends come back in the springtime?" "In the springtime!" cried the oak. "That is a long way off. How do I know what you might do in all that time? Birds are always looking for something to eat, and you might even eat up some of my acorns." "It may be that the willow will be kind to me," thought the bird, and it said: "Gentle willow, my wing is broken, and I could not fly to the south with the other birds. May I live on your branches till the springtime?" The willow did not look gentle then, for she drew herself up proudly and said: "Indeed, I do not know you, and we willows never talk to people whom we do not know. Very likely there are trees somewhere that will take in strange birds. Leave me at once." The poor little bird did not know what to do. Its wing was not yet strong, but it began to fly away as well as it could. Before it had gone far a voice was heard. "Little bird," it said, "where are you going?" "Indeed, I do not know," answered the bird sadly. "I am very cold." "Come right here, then," said the friendly spruce tree, for it was her voice that had called. "You shall live on my warmest branch all winter if you choose." "Will you really let me?" asked the little bird eagerly. "Indeed, I will," answered the kind-hearted spruce tree. "If your friends have flown away, it is time for the trees to help you. Here is the branch where my leaves are thickest and softest." "My branches are not very thick," said the friendly pine tree, "but I am big and strong, and I can keep the North Wind from you and the spruce." "I can help, too," said a little juniper tree. "I can give you berries all winter long, and every bird knows that juniper berries are good." So the spruce gave the lonely little bird a home; the pine kept the cold North Wind away from it; and the juniper gave it berries to eat. The other trees looked on and talked together wisely. "I would not have strange birds on my boughs," said the birch. "I shall not give my acorns away for any one," said the oak. "I never have anything to do with strangers," said the willow, and the three trees drew their leaves closely about them. In the morning all those shining, green leaves lay on the ground, for a cold North Wind had come in the night, and every leaf that it touched fell from the tree. "May I touch every leaf in the forest?" asked the wind in its frolic. "No," said the Frost King. "The trees that have been kind to the little bird with the broken wing may keep their leaves." This is why the leaves of the spruce, the pine, and the juniper are always green.

Created 2002; last update 11/15/10

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