Traditionally, December 1 is the first day for the German Advent Calendar. The idea behind it is to sweeten the wait until Christmas. There are twenty-four doors, and, starting today, we can open one door each day.
In the past, I bought calendars containing candy or small toys. This year, my son's Advent Calendar is - as requested - chocolate filled.
My daughter, however, begged for something special. So instead of buying a ready-made calendar, I bought one that can be used every year and filled however we desire.
Striving for uniqueness, I stuffed the socks with...a story. (Plus some candy because we all know children can't live on words alone).
So if anyone out there is interested, they're welcome to use my original children's story with their children – there is one section for each day until Christmas Eve.
Max and Daisy's Christmas
When Daisy woke up on Christmas Eve morning, she never would have imagined the adventure she'd have that day.
Her brother, Max, was loud, as usual, and Daisy wished he would just shut up so she could sleep a couple more hours. When he yelled and screeched, she finally gave up and went down to breakfast.
Papa said, "I heard someone spotted Santa's sled already."
"Where," asked Daisy.
That was far away. Daisy and Max lived in Michigan. It would probably take a long time for Santa to get all the way to them.
Daisy went out and pet her favorite horse Snowball and gave hims some delicious oats to eat and an apple since it was Christmas.
Then Daisy's family put on their nicest clothes and went to visit their grandparents. After a delicious dinner and a present to share (a real work bench where they could make things out of wood), they went home, exhausted.
They went to bed quickly. They didn't want Santa to think they were trying to get a peek at him.
Daisy woke up to a scratching sound. She got up and looked out her window.
She couldn't see anything, but she did hear a man's deep voice say, "Oh no!".
Oh, no? What could that mean? What if someone was out in the barn? Someone who might take Snowball? Daisy put on her warm winter coat and boots and hurried outside.
She couldn't believe her eyes. Between the barn and the house, there was a big sled with eight horses.
Daisy ran to the horses, but suddenly noticed they weren't horses at all. "Daisy, look!" yelled her brother. He must have woken up too, because he ran out behind her.
"Those horses have antlers!" Max said.
Daisy shook her head. "Max, those are reindeer!" she explained.
"Reindeer? That must mean--"
Suddenly a man came out of the barn. He had a fluffy white beard and a red suit on.
There was only one person he could be. "Santa!" both kids whispered.
"Well, what are you two little ones doing awake?" Santa asked with a smile.
"I heard a noise out here and wanted to make sure my horse was okay."
"Aha," said Santa. "Your horse is fine, but my reindeer are not! They've had a cold for the last week. They've been trying so hard to get presents to all the children. But now, they're just too tired."
Daisy looked at the reindeer. Their eyes looked tired and their noses were running. Santa took big tissues and wiped each of their noses. Some of the reindeer were shivering.
Santa shook his head. "They need to get in a warm stall or they'll get even sicker."
"We have a stall," Max said.
"Right, you can put them in our stall. There's enough room for them and it's nice and warm," Daisy explained.
"Well that certainly is nice of you kids, but there's one problem. This town – your town – is the last one we needed to visit. We still haven't taken the presents to each house yet."
No presents? thought Daisy. You can't have Christmas with no presents!
"But," Santa continued. "You're right. My reindeer need some rest."
Max and Daisy helped lead the exhausted reindeer into the stall. They lay down immediately on the soft straw and cuddled together for warmth.
Max fished out several bowls, and he and Daisy filled them with water. Then they gave the reindeer fresh hay and a handful of chestnuts each.
Santa sighed. "I just wish there was some way I could deliver all those presents left in your town."
Max and Daisy looked at each other. They had to do something! They had to help Santa.
Snowball whinnied. She saw the reindeer eating their chestnuts and wanted a snack for herself. Daisy gave her a carrot. Then she got a great idea.
"Santa," she said, "Snowball could help you deliver the presents!"
"Who is Snowball?" asked Santa.
Max answered, "Our horse!"
"She can't fly, like your reindeer," Daisy explained, "But she can run all through town."
"She could take you to all the kids' houses," Max finished.
Santa scratched his chin and thought. "Yes, children, I think you're right. I think your Snowball could help me after all."
Daisy lead Snowball out the stall, then hooked him up to Santa's sled. Luckily, almost all the presents were already delivered, so the sled was not very heavy.
Max and Daisy stood watching Santa, but he suddenly said, "Well, are you going to help me take these presents to all the houses, or not?"
"You mean," asked Daisy, "We get to come too?"
"Well, without my reindeer, it would be awfully lonely for me."
Max and Daisy were beaming as they climbed into Santa's sled. Santa even let them hold the reins sometimes.
They drove to every house in town. Santa used his magic dust to get them inside. Silently, they placed presents under every tree. Santa even let them eat milk and cookies at some of the houses. Yum!
The sky was just beginning to lighten, when Santa brought them back to their own house. Daisy and Max yawned so big, they thought their faces would split open. They'd been awake most of the night.
"Could you kids take Snowball back into the stall? And check on my reindeer?" Santa asked.
Of course, the kids did as Santa requested. As they pet each of the reindeer and gave Snowball a drink of water, Max said, "Daisy, do you know what?"
"What?" she asked.
"We stopped at every house in town. Except ours!"
Daisy looked at Max. "Oh no, do you think Santa forgot us?"
"Let's go ask him."
Daisy and Max ran out of the stall, but they didn't see Santa's sled. They walked all around the house to see if he was in front, but they didn't see him there either. They hurried back to the stall again.
The reindeer were missing! Only Snowball was there.
"Snowball, where did they go?" Max asked.
Snowball just whinnied and lay down to rest.
Max and Daisy were so sad when they went back into their house. It had been so much fun to help Santa deliver the presents, but, of course, they wanted presents of their own too.
The kids hung up their coats and hats and put their boots away. They started to trudge up the stairs to their bedrooms, when their mom and dad came down.
"What are you two doing up so early?" Dad asked.
"Aren't you worried you'll scare Santa away?" Mom asked.
Daisy and Max both frowned, and Max thought he might cry. "Santa didn't come to our house," Max said.
Mom walked past the kids on the stairs and went into the living room. "What are you talking about?" she asked.
"The reindeer got sick," Daisy said.
"And we helped as best we could - Snowball too - but Santa forgot us," Max added.
"Oh, really?" asked Dad. "Come on in here, you two."
Daisy and Max walked into the living room. The Christmas tree looked beautiful. The lights sparkled and the ornaments were bright and colorful.
And there were presents. Lots of presents.
"If Santa forgot our house, where did all these come from?" Mom asked.
"Oh, boy!" yelled Max, and he ran to the tree.
Daisy grabbed some boxes and started passing them out.
Each child had one particularly big box. There was a note on them, that said, "Daisy and Max: Thank you so much for your help today. Because of you, a whole town full of children will have a very Merry Christmas. Love, Santa."