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Annual Christmas story

Hannah rides on Santa’s sleigh

Hannah filled her mug from the hot cocoa fountain that stood taller than she was, then grabbed a frosted snowman cookie from one of the trays attached to the large toy train that twisted through the room, carrying plates and trays piled high with thousands of cookies. She’d just come back ...

Hannah shares a visit with reindeer

“Can the reindeer talk?” Hannah asked as they arrived at a massive warehouse. She stared up at the rectangle building — a building that hardly seemed suitable for anything to live in. “No, they can’t talk like people do,” Santa said. “But they’re excellent at communicating. ...

Hannah meets Santa Claus, aka grandpa

Hannah always had loved going to the mall and department stores at Christmas time; she enjoyed the way they always turned into magical winter wonderlands, and one of her favorite things to do was visit Santa at the mall every year. Now, even though she was actually right here in the middle of ...

An awesome arrival to the North Pole

Hannah couldn’t believe what she was seeing. How could it be that just a few hours ago she was a regular 10-year-old at home on a Sunday afternoon, and now she was standing at the massive red gates of the North Pole? She clutched her dad’s hand as they walked through them, and on his face ...

Charlotte meets old friend from North Pole

Max hugged Charlotte tightly before stepping back to look her in the eye. “You’ve grown up.” “I was grown up when you last saw me,” she said with a grin. He waved her comment off and smiled. “You know what it’s like at the Pole. Everyone is childlike. To me, you were just a ...

Hannah’s parents consider meeting with grandparents

When her dad came home, Hannah sat in the living room, surrounded by piles of wrapping paper. Ten years’ worth of gifts sat in front of her, the oldest sent when she was just a baby, and they’d all been sitting in the attic closet for years. Yet somehow, each and every item was something ...

Hannah gets a surprising invitation

Editor’s note: This is part two of a 12-day fictional tale that will run through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to their children. Charlotte stirred the sauce simmering on the stove, then checked on the chicken in the oven. As she tore up lettuce for the salad, her eyes ...

Hannah makes discovery about her mom

Hannah Montgomery carefully placed a chipped golden star at the top of her miniature tree. The small tree was her most treasured possession, despite the fact it always ended up crooked, no matter what she did. The strand of twinkling white lights had thankfully lasted another year, although ...

Selfless acts bring warm Christmas morning rewards

Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This is the final chapter of a 12-part fictional holiday tale that began Dec. 14 and ran daily through Christmas. Parents were encouraged to read it aloud to their children. “We can’t,” Faith said, finding her voice. “This is so kind of you, ...

Door to a very sweet miracle opens on Christmas Day

Editor’s note: This is the 11th chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. On Christmas morning, Angelica and Faith sat on the floor around the Christmas tree opening ...

Recipe of sacrifice stirs batch of hope to help others

Editor’s note: This is the 10th chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. The next morning, Angelica and Faith quietly sat at the kitchen table in their pajamas, holding mugs of ...

Scents of hope follow the sweet taste of gingerbread victory

Editor’s note: This is the ninth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Angelica Sweet could hardly watch as the judges went from table-to-table, making notes on their ...

Gingerbread bakery comes together

Editor’s note: This is the eighth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. “Careful, careful,” Angelica whispered to herself, slowly securing a piece of sugar glass into ...

Mysterious spoon fixes pie pans full of pumpkin mistakes

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Faith stood back and surveyed the dozens of pieces of cut-out and decorated gingerbread with a ...

Exciting possibilities glow in warmth of cookie shop

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the seventh chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Connolly. Your pies are all ready and just what you ordered. I don’t know ...

Cookies bring smiles, blessings

Editor’s note: This is the fifth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Angelica didn’t fully agree with her mom giving away all of their extra earnings, but she trusted ...

Spooning up goodness and holiday magic

Editor’s note: This is the fourth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Angelica practically ran home from school the next day, eager to get back to the bakery. Her mother ...

Mysterious mixing spoon goes to work

Editor’s note: This is the third chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Angelica clutched a small gift bag as she skipped down the hall to her mother’s room. “Hi, ...

Mixing spoon speaks ‘Hope’ for Angelica’s mother Faith

Editor’s note: This is the second chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. On Saturday, Angelica spent all morning helping her mother bake, decorate and pack dozens and dozens ...

Bills threaten to close bakery at Christmas

Editor’s note: This is the first chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children. Angelica Sweet pushed open the bakery door and dropped her backpack behind the counter. “Mom?” ...