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.
By MARY BETH WYKO
In the week before Christmas, the children at John Hanson Elementary - the ones who still remembered Christmas - were very busy. It was their last chance to get the adults to remember and to save Santa from Old Floovenhopper's evil plan to cancel the holiday.
Cienna sat down with her brothers, Tyler and Dimitri, and went through their old toys. They put together a pile of toys they didn't use anymore and asked their parents to take them to the Warren Family Mission.
"We have enough toys," Cienna explained. "We want to give these ones to kids who might not have any."
"That's very thoughtful of you," Cienna's mother said. "I'd be happy to take these toys to the mission."
Cate and Sofia convinced their parents to help them bake some more cookies. After their favorite treats were done baking, the girls put together plates and brought them to their neighbors.
"We thought you might like some cookies," Cate told one of their elderly neighbors.
"We baked them ourselves," Sofia added.
"How sweet," said their neighbor. "Thank you, girls!"
After talking over some ideas, Brenna and Owen remembered that their mom told them that when she was a girl, she and her classmates would visit a nursing home and talk with the residents there. So they asked their mom and Grandma Zard if they could visit a local nursing home, too. They brought cards that they made for the residents and passed them out to everyone they met.
"What a nice idea!" one of the nurses said to Brenna and Owen. "We love to see children come and visit."
Phoebe sat down one day after school and made cards and little gifts for everyone she knew. She left a card and some new pencils for Miss Dennis, and she made braided friendship bracelets for Cienna, Cate and Brenna.
Tuffy the elf flitted about here and there, helping all the children with their projects. Somehow, none of the adults seemed to notice him.
All over the city of Warren, children were helping their parents without complaint, collecting canned goods for the food bank, and giving their unused toys to kids who didn't have any. The school bus drivers commented on their model passengers, who didn't fight or throw things on the ride to school, and the teachers remarked that their classes had never been so well-behaved.
"I don't know what it is," Phoebe heard Miss Dennis tell another teacher, "but it seems like these children have a spirit that I've never seen before."
But despite the fact that the children were being as kind and as unselfish as they could, not a single adult mentioned the word "Christmas." There were still no decorations, no Christmas songs on the radio, no stockings hung by the fireplace.
"How long do you think it will take before the adults remember?" Brenna asked as she and her friends met for recess on the Friday before Christmas.
"I don't know," Phoebe said, looking worried. "I would have thought that they'd know by now."
Cate said what they were all thinking. "What if it didn't work?"
"We can't think like that," Cienna said firmly. "We've done our best. It just has to work!"
"Well, there are only a few more days until we'll know for sure," Brenna said.
For the next part of this story, read Monday's Tribune Chronicle.