Remember the Animals
Originally published in FamilyFun magazine
Legend has it that on Christmas Eve, all animals are granted the ability to speak until daybreak. While the following tradition doesn't guarantee you a verbal thank-you from the neighborhood wildlife, it's a nice way to treat your animal friends when food is scarce.
You don't need to be elaborate--putting out birdseed or peanut-butter sandwiches for the squirrels will suffice. But for a truly lovely twist, you can take a cue from the Waterman family of St. Charles, Missouri. Inspired by Eve Bunting's book Night Tree, the Watermans get together each year with friends and family and trek into the woods to decorate a tree for the animals.
The evening begins at home, with the preparation of appropriate goodies: pinecones rolled in peanut butter and birdseed, popcorn and cranberry garlands, orange and apple slices suspended from pipe cleaners. Once the feast is complete, the assembled throng bundles up and heads out into the night. Tree-decking is followed by sharing hot chocolate, holiday cookies and Christmas carols.