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Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
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'Tis the Season
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From the Editor -
Violet Nesdoly
The Tree House
Featured Article

Welcome to the Tree House
By Violet Nesdoly

Hi kids! Where do you go when you want to get away by yourself? Your room? A special clubhouse? Up in a tree?

When I was a kid, I went to the log cabin bush. It was across the yard, through the pasture, and just beyond the dugout on the farm where I grew up. I spent hours there. Sometimes I went with my brothers and sister. We’d make shacks with boards and logs, then play gangs, naughty children, or war.

Sometimes I went by myself. I’d read a book or write in my diary. It was a great kid-place to hang out! I hope you find "The Tree House" is that kind of a place for you.

This month we have some stories and puzzles about Christmas. What do you do when you just HAVE to know what's in those parcels under the tree? Read what Carla learned in "Carla and the Case of Christmas Craving."

Enjoy "A Christmas Fairy Tail," the wonderful story about Marge, the fairy who has more than just a big mouth.

Learn about Christmas carols from "Carols in the Air" - and take the quiz.

Welcome to "The Tree House." And have a JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!

Christmas Favorites Poll
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Christmas?
A: Jesus’ birth, of course.
What’s your second-favorite thing?:

 getting presents

 giving presents


 holiday from school


 Christmas concerts

 time with family

Carla and the Case of Christmas Craving
Glenn A. Hascall

"This is so utterbly silly," Carla said sadly. She gazed at the Christmas present with her name on it as baby Amy threw her pacifier from the ever clicking baby swing.

"What does ubberly mean, Carla?" her brother Ty asked.

"Utterbly is a word that is too hard for four-year-olds to understand," Carla said in her best grown-up voice.

"You don’t know, do you, Carla?"

"Of course, I do. After all, I am seven years old, Ty," Carla responded with an upturned nose.

"Well then, what is so silly?"

"It’s just silly that Mom won’t tell me what she got me for Christmas," Carla said with one eye squinted as she tried to peer past the folds holding her present together.

Read Complete Article...

A Christmas Fairy Tail
By Bill Shurkey

"Ow, Max! What are you doing?" Marge unwrapped her tail from the doorknob. "I told you to slam the door on my tail – when I yelled 'ready!'"

"Sorry," Max said.

"Quiet," I have an idea. The flagpole would…"

"The tall flagpole by the courthouse?"

"Of course the tall flagpole," Marge said, "What sense would it make to jump from a short flagpole?"

"You're going to jump?" Max asked. "There's too much stretch in your tail."

"What do you know about tails? You're an elf. Elves don't have tails. Of course fairies don't either." Marge sighed. "Except me."

Read Complete Article...

Carols in the Air
By Violet Nesdoly

What do you do when you’re happy? Smile a lot? Skip? Laugh? Or maybe you sing? If so, you’re not alone. People have expressed joy by making music for thousands of years. It’s no wonder that one of the most joyful celebrations of the year, Christmas, has a collection of happy songs all its own – the Christmas carols.

The first carols were not singable songs at all, but ring dances. They were used to celebrate many occasions as well as Christmas, but were not allowed in church.

As carols changed and became songs to sing, many of these joyful folk songs and tender lullabies were written about Jesus’ birth. Story has it that St. Francis of Assisi first allowed carols to be part of a Christmas midnight service in the 1200’s.

But carols were never only for church. Watchmen who sang as they patrolled the streets, sang carols. Sometimes special bands, called waits, were organized just to sing Christmas carols outside people’s homes. And so for hundreds of years, from Wales (Deck the Halls) to Germany (Silent Night), to America (Go Tell It on the Mountain) to France (O Holy Night) to England (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen), people have been celebrating Jesus’ birth with Christmas carols.

Carols still fill the air during December. You may hear them at the grocery store, in the mall and on the radio. You’ll probably see them performed in concerts and on TV. When you sing them at parties or in church, which is your favorite?

Some Carol Stories

O Little Town of Bethlehem:

In 1865 Bishop Phillips Brooks took a trip to the holy land. Three years later, he wrote the words to this carol, remembering how Bethlehem had looked. He asked the church organist, Lewis Redner to set it to music. The morning of the concert, Mr. Redner woke with "an angel strain" singing in his head. He wrote it down, and that evening the Sunday School children’s choir sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem" for the first time.

Jingle Bells:

This song was written for a Thanksgiving program in James Pierpont’s church in Boston in 1857. It was called "The One Horse Open Sleigh." It was so well liked, the children were asked to repeat it at Christmas. Later it was published as "Jingle Bells."

Silent Night:

The organ was broken in Pastor Joseph’s Mohr’s church in Austria. On Christmas Eve 1818, he gave a poem he had written to his organist, Hans Gruber. Mr. Gruber composed a melody for the poem and arranged it for two voices and guitar. That night "Stille Nacht" was played for the first time at midnight mass.

A Carol Quiz

How well do you know the Christmas carols? Match the carol fragments on the left (all taken from the first verse of well-known carols) with their titles on the right.

A. ... let earth receive her king... 1. Away In a Manger
B. ...’tis the season to be jolly.... 2. Silent Night
C. .... holy Infant so tender and mild... 3. Jingle Bells
D. ...echoing their joyous strains... 4. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
E. ...come and behold Him... 5. Joy To The World
F. ...bells on bobtail ring... 6. O Come All Ye Faithful
G. ... the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay. 7. Angels We Have Heard On High
H. ...from angels bending near the earth... 8. Deck the Halls

ANSWERS to "A Carol Quiz":

A.5. / B.8. / C.2. / D.7. / E.6. / F.3. / G.1. / H.4.