Editor's note: This part of a continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read along with their children.
Meanwhile, back in Warren, the days of December slowly ticked away, and the children began to notice something disturbing. Every few days, more and more kids were forgetting Christmas carols. Each day at recess, Phoebe, Brenna, Cienna and Cate would meet with those who still remembered, and they would ceremoniously sing a few carols and wrack their brains to find some way to bring back Christmas.
"Isn't there anything you can do to help?" Phoebe desperately asked Tuffy the elf one day. None of the third-graders knew the Christmas carols any more, and many of their fellow second-graders were falling away. Many kindergarteners and first-graders still were singing the carols, led by Owen, Tyler and Sofia.
Tuffy shrugged. "Santa said that you kids were the ones who could save Christmas," he said. "He didn't tell me how."
"But we don't have any more ideas," Brenna said glumly.
"I really thought that when we decorated the tree, the grown-ups would remember," Cate sighed.
That was the children's most recent effort to jog the memories of the adults. All the children who still remembered Christmas made ornaments and one day during recess, they all decorated a small pine tree planted near the front doors of John Hanson Elementary. The children were very pleased with their efforts - Cienna, for one, had labored for hours making a paper chain to drape around the tree like garland.
But instead of remembering the existence of Christmas, the teachers and principal had looked askance at the decorations and called an assembly on the subject of littering and recycling. When the principal had demonstrated how to recycle by putting Cienna's paper chain in the recycling bin, most of the kindergarteners had started to cry, and Phoebe, Cienna, Cate and Brenna all sported identical glares.
"I'm all for recycling," Cienna said. "My mom and dad always took our Christmas tree out to the lake to be recycled after New Year's. Mom said that they put the trees in the lake and fish like to hide in them. But I can't believe they thought our Christmas decorations were litter!"
"Tuffy, what happens if we can't get the grown-ups to remember by the time Christmas comes?" Phoebe asked.
Tuffy looked grave. "I don't know for sure, but I think there would be no more Christmas ever again."
The children looked horrified.
"We can't let that happen!" Cate said firmly.
"There's got to be something else, something we haven't tried," Brenna said.
"Well, you'd better think of something soon," Tuffy warned. "There are only a few days left until Christmas."
Phoebe paced back and forth. She had an idea forming, and it just might be something that would work. She muttered to herself as she paced. "What if we but then we could and maybe "
"What is it, Phoebe?" Cienna asked curiously.
Phoebe stopped pacing and looked at her friends. "You guys, I think I've got it," she said slowly. "But we're going to need everyone's help. Get everyone together, right now!"
For the next part of this story, read Sunday's Tribune Chronicle.