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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 what I was thinking,” Faith said.

Mrs. Connolly smiled. “I can see you’re busy, and it looks like you two are entering that contest at the winter festival downtown this weekend.” She stared at the gingerbread bakery. “I hope you ladies win.”

“Mom, it’s freezing in the car.” Her son, Nick, pushed through the door.

“Oh, you’re fine.” His mom playfully swatted his arm. “And just in time. You can help carry pies.”

“Hey, Angelica,” Nick said.

“Hey, Nick.” Her cheeks flushed. Nobody, not even her best friend Sophia, knew she had a giant crush on Nick.

“Um, I’m glad you’re here.” He looked at his mom and she nodded encouragingly. “My dad’s taking some of us to the hot dog shop for dinner, and then we’re going caroling.” He paused. “Do you want to come?”

“That sounds fun,” Angelica said, “but my mom and I have plans tonight…”

“Angel, you should go if you want,” Faith said. “You’ve been working in here almost nonstop. You need to go have fun with your friends.”

“Are you sure?”

Faith smiled. “I’m positive. Go and have fun.”

For the next few hours, Angelica had a blast jumping around in the snow with her friends and classmates, throwing snowballs and singing.

They visited several homes, spreading cheer and caroling all of her favorite Christmas songs. As fun as it was to be with her friends, Angelica’s favorite part was seeing the expressions on the faces of the people for whom they sang. It seemed to make them so happy. And it seemed word had spread through their little town that they were entered in the gingerbread contest because many of them wished Angelica and her mom good luck.

She couldn’t wait to tell her mom how much fun she’d had, so when Mr. Connolly and Nick dropped her off at home, she ran inside to find her.

“Mom, I’m home!”

“Angel? I’m in here, sweetie.”

Angelica walked into the kitchen where her mom sat at the table, looking bewildered as she held the mixing spoon in her hand. Bowls of icing surrounded her, filled with every color of frosting in the rainbow.

Angelica’s eyes widened as she took in the sight. There had to be 15 bowls of icing.

“Well, you’ve been busy,” she said.

Faith laughed hard and stood up, spreading her arms out at her sides.

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But Angel, I came in here and made one bowl of each color so we’d have a head start tomorrow.” She held up a finger. “Just one of each. Then I went to take a shower and came back down and found this!”

“The spoon,” Angelica whispered. “It has to be.”

“I think so too.”

They laughed and hugged each other, not knowing what else to say. Angelica thought about what life would be like if they won the contest and were able to keep the bakery. If they kept using the spoon, was this how it would always be?

She smiled at the thought, and realized she wasn’t just thankful for the spoon itself, but more for it making her and her mom believe in miracles. With the feeling she had in her heart, anything was possible.

Read Part 8 of “Mixing Up Some Holiday Magic” in tomorrow’s Tribune Chronicle.

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