Long ago in Germany there lived a little old lady whom everyone called Tante. That means “auntie” in German. Tante lived in a tiny cottage at the edge of the forest with her animals to keep her company. There was her canary for singing, her cat for purring and a dog who slept by the fire. In a barn beside the cottage she kept a small donkey for riding and pulling, a rooster who crowed to wake her up in the morning, a hen who laid eggs for her breakfast and a goat who gave her milk to make cheese.
Christmas time was Tante’s favorite time of year. She loved to create Christmas magic for all the children of the village and the animals too. As Christmas time approached she scrubbed and cleaned her tiny cottage until it shined. With all her dusting and sweeping, though, she not only cleaned out all the spider webs from the ceiling corners and from under the furniture but she chased out all the spiders too who fled to the attic.
When the cottage was clean and ready for the Christmas tree, she rode her donkey into the woods and found a tree just the right size. Once she brought it back and set it up inside, she began making decorations for it. She baked sugar cookies the shape of stars and moons to hang on it and gingerbread boys and girls with raisins for eyes and buttons. And she polished small red apples until they glowed like glass and hung them on the tree too.
Once everything was ready, she invited the children from the village to come see the tree and share the cookies and apples. What a lovely party they had!
Then, when the children left, Tante spread gifts under the tree for the animals, her own as well as those from the forest. There was a bone for the dog, catnip for the cat, corn for the chickens and squirrels, birdseed for the birds and oats for the donkey and deer. It was another fine party!
Tante then sat down in her favorite rocking chair to rest. Soon she fell fast asleep and began dreaming of how she loved the magic of Christmas.
Now that the cottage was quiet, the curious spiders in the attic, who had heard all the excitement, decided they wanted to see the Christmas tree too. So they climbed down the walls and swung from the attic to take a look. Those curious spiders swarmed happily up the trunk of the Christmas tree and out onto all the branches from bottom to top, leaving trails of sticky grey spider webbing from one limb to another before they returned to the attic.
It was Kris Kringel, on his way to put gifts in the shoes children had left out for him, who noticed that Tante’s front door was ajar. When he peered in, he saw her Christmas tree covered in spider webs.
How upset Tante will be to see her beautiful tree all covered with dull grey spider webs, he thought. Then, knowing how Tante loved creating Christmas magic for everyone else, he decided to create some Christmas magic for Tante, herself. He touched his finger to the webs, which instantly became shimmering strands of silver.
When Tante woke up, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The Christmas tree was aglow with more Christmas magic than she had ever dreamed of, just for her! It is a kind of magic we can still create today when we decorate our Christmas trees with tinsel.