This is a Food Channel original story, provided as a gift to our site users and friends. It is available for download in book form with large photos, and as a narrated video. You’ll get the best experience by downloading the free book (go to the bottom of the page), with full illustrations by David Nehmer, or watching the video. Both are easily accessed here.
Ella loved parties. In fact, there was only one thing better than a party.
Can you guess what that one thing was?
Oh, yes, Ella loved Christmas.
She loved trimming the tree.
She loved placing the presents under the tree.
And she especially loved the baking.
The smell of cakes, cookies and other goodies filled her house at Christmas time.
And, since Ella loved parties, Christmas was, of course, a great time to have a party with her friends.
There was Marsha, the Bear, all soft and round and white.
There was Rudy the Reindeer, ready to light up the sky if Santa needed him.
And, there was Polly the Penguin, able to help Ella get through the coldest of winters.
Each of these friends had a place at the Christmas party table at Ella’s house.
This year, Ella was planning a really special Christmas Eve party for Marsha, and Rudy, and Polly. And she hoped that Santa Claus might—just might—join them.
On the days leading up to Christmas Eve, Ella thought about the perfect cookies to set out for Santa.
On the day her mother baked Lemon Snowball cookies, Ella carefully chose the one that was almost perfectly round, and tried it out on Rudy’s plate.
“Wouldn’t it be fun,” she whispered to Rudy, “to have Santa’s reindeer join our party this year?”
Rudy nodded and stomped his front hoof.
On the day her mother baked her favorite Chocolate Almond Cookies, Ella looked for the one that had just the right amount of snowy white powdered sugar on top of it, and then checked to see how it looked on Marsha’s plate.
“Wouldn’t it be fun,” she whispered to Marsha, “for Santa’s elves to taste our cookies?”
Marsha nodded her head and clapped her paws together.
On the day her mother made the delicious Orange Marmalade Cookies, topped with yummy icing, Ella chose the one that had the most creamy icing and placed it on Polly’s plate.
“Just think,” she whispered to Polly. “This could be the cookie that Santa takes back to Mrs. Claus!”
And, when her mother made her famous Sleigh Ride Cookies with peppermint sticks and loads of candy on top, Ella selected the big one that looked like it would go the fastest, heaved a great big sigh, and said, “It’s perfect for Santa’s plate.”
Each day she got a little closer to deciding the perfect combination of cookies to set out for Santa on her beautiful Christmas plates.
Finally, the tree was trimmed.
The packages were ready for Christmas morning.
And all of the cookies were baked and ready to eat.
It was Christmas Eve.
So, Ella carefully set the party table with her selection of delicious homemade Christmas cookies.
She had the Lemon Snowball Cookies.
She had the Chocolate Almond Cookies.
She had the Orange Marmalade Cookies.
And she had the perfect Sleigh Ride Cookie on a big red tray, all ready for Santa.
When she was done, she twirled around in happiness. She picked up Marsha, the Bear, and twirled with her, too.
Ella twirled, and twirled, and twirled, until . . .
She got too close to the party table.
And Santa’s special Sleigh Ride Cookie crashed to the ground!
When Ella saw what had happened, she cried out, “Oh, no! The Sleigh Ride Cookie is broken!”
Sure enough, there it was, in pieces. The candy was scattered everywhere.
It was too late to bake a new one. Santa would be coming soon!
She was so sad. What was she going to do?
Finally, Ella decided the party just needed to go on. So, she carefully picked up the pieces of the broken cookie, and all the scattered candy, and did her best to put it back together again.
She told her friends, “I hope Santa will understand.”
Then, she hugged each of them, and went off to bed, leaving Marsha, and Polly, and Rudy to watch for Santa.
Ella slept soundly all night, dreaming of the laughter of friends. In fact, she was quite sure she heard the crunch of a cookie!
The next morning, as soon as she was dressed, Ella ran to the table.
The plates all had cookie crumbs on them—her friends had obviously enjoyed them. But the Santa plate still had a cookie on it! Had Santa not come after all?
She looked a little closer, and saw that what was left was just half of the Sleigh Ride Cookie—Santa had apparently eaten half of it, and left the other half. And there was a note.
Thank you for the perfect cookie. It was made to share. Half for me, and half for you. Because when you share, you make magic!
Ella was so happy she started to twirl again, but stopped herself very quickly! Instead, she sat down at the party table with her friends, and ate her half of the Sleigh Ride Cookie left by Santa.
And every year after that, when Ella set up her party for Santa, she included a nice selection of cookies . . . with one broken exactly in half.
And every year, Santa left behind Ella’s half just to remind her that Christmas was for sharing.
For another Food Channel original Christmas story, click here for The Christmas Chimney.