It was a very cold Christmas Eve, and Santa and his elves were about halfway around the world when Santa gasped, "Oh no! Oh no!" Tears sprung to Santa's eyes.
"What is it Santa?" his worried elves questioned. The reindeer had stopped mid-flight and suspended themselves in the air to await Santa's reply.
"I...I forgot to pack enough toys for all of the girls and boys. I meant to grab one last stack of things on my workbench but I forgot them. We don't have enough time to go back to the North Pole because if we did, Christmas would be ruined for all of the rest of the kids in the world."
They were quiet for a moment, when the reindeer looked down at the earth below them. They were above a home with many deer eating outside. The reindeer used their magic to talk to them and explained what was happening in the stars above them.
"Well," the deer responded, "There are some lovely Queens that live in this house. Why, they leave us food out all the time. They might be happy to help out Santa, but you'd better ask the cats outside."
Santa quietly landed his sleigh in the backyard of the Queens and walked up to the stray cats eating outside. "Well, Santa," they said, "The Queens that live here are very special people. They make sure we have food and milk at night. They probably wouldn't mind helping you out."
Santa, his elves and the reindeer whispered among themselves. Their whispers sounded like the softest of breezes drifting through the trees.
Santa used his magic to open the door to the Queens home, for he was very sad to have to do what he had to do and his magic only worked on chimneys when he was jolly. He and his elves quietly began to collect the Queens things that would make other children very happy.
Hank and Erin looked up at Santa and asked him what he was doing. Santa explained his mistake to them and the dogs looked at one another with sorrow in their eyes. They knew that the Queens would be sad to see their things go, but agreed that they would want to save Christmas.
"Better explain that to Babe and Ruth," they said, "Because those cats are mean and they might attack you." Santa found the cats perched on a shelf, waiting to pounce. He explained why he and his elves were in the house taking things instead of leaving presents for the Queens. Babe and Ruth climbed down from the shelf and curled up on the couch, hugging each other as they thought of their Queens.
Santa and his elves gathered up enough things to save Christmas for all of the other boys and girls in the world and walked back out to Santa's sleigh. They were racing across the sky when an elf cried out, "Santa stop!"
Santa stopped his sleigh and looked at the elf. "I made a mistake, Santa. I was just playing with it and meant to put it back, but I was so busy that I forgot." In his little elf hand, he held a baseball.
When Santa reached out and took the ball, a great silence and sadness overcame Santa and his elves, for when Santa held the ball in his magic hands, it allowed those on the sleigh to see what was inside.
They saw ballpark lights, a field with a "D" on it, children on their stomachs in front of TV's, families cheering in stands, sisters jumping up and down with joy, orange pennants and posters on walls and wonderful memories. They saw a childhood inside of that baseball and they knew that the Queen's mom would be very sad that the baseball was gone.
Santa held it for a moment and said, "There is only one thing that I can do, for we cannot stop or else we won't be able to save Christmas."
With that, Santa held the baseball out in front of him in both of his hands and it slowly rose above him, twirling magically. As it began to spin faster and faster, the elves and reindeer watched in wonder as the blue ink spun off of the ball and turned into the blue of the skies and the waters of the earth.
The white on the baseball wove itself into the clouds in the skies and the snow as it fell like a blanket on the earth. The red thread of the baseball intertwined with the most beautiful sunsets and amazing sunrises and the skies when they turn a pinkish red that the Queens love so much.
"Now we've given it to the universe, and the universe will decide if the baseball will make it back there or not. If it doesn't make it back, I'm sure the Queens mom will look out around her and remember all of the good things that were inside of the baseball and smile."
The elves and reindeer felt better and were very happy when they finished delivering the last present to the last family on Santa's route. They all made it back to the North Pole, and although they were tired and cold and couldn't wait to lay down in their beds and stables to sleep for a few days, they were very glad that all of the girls and boys had gotten presents that year. Then they thought of the Queens and made a special place for them in their hearts where they would stay forever.
And that is the story of The Year The Queens Saved Christmas.
----When I finished reading this to Little A and she realized what it meant, with tears streaming down her sweet cheeks, she put her hands on my face and said, for '"Well, if Santa needed 'demda other kids, 'dat's OK with me." She gives me more faith in humankind than I can express.