The BetterWorld Kids Save Christmas
A BetterWorld Kids Adventure
by Robert Alan Silverstein
(not yet illustrated)


Chapter 1. Kitty Christmas

Hi! Kitty Christmas, here. Santa's Numero-Uno-Cat, at your service.

I must say, it's about time they put me in a Christmas tale! I mean, they've got hundreds of Christmas specials, but have they ever even once shown a single scene with Santa and Mrs. C's kitty in the picture? Not once!

Now I ask you, don't the Claus's seem the kind of folks who'd have a cat cuddled up in their lap by the warm fire up here in the cold North Pole? Of course they do ... two in fact ... Me and Mrs. Kitty! So, what's up with that?

Personally, I think it's a reindeer conspiracy. Some kind of union thing -- won't ever see a Santa special without those reindeer sticking their antlers in the picture. But don't get me started on that.

THIS story is narrated by Santa's cat. Me, Kitty Christmas. And don't be thinking that it's strange for a cat to be talking, either. You can't catnap in Santa's lap without a little magic rubbing off here and there. And I'm a heavy-duty lap-napper so you can bet I'm REALLY magical.

Why, there was this one time I had so much magic dust on me that I... Oops, that's a totally different story. I guess I should start this story already before the commercials come. But before I do, I just want to say that I'm not too happy with the title of this here Christmas special. I mean it's a great story and all -- how could it not be since I'm narrating it? But they've got the title all wrong. It's ME that saved Christmas that year. The BetterWorld Kids helped, I'll give them that. But without me, Christmas would have been cancelled that year. Actually it would have been cancelled forever!

Yessiree, Bob, this is a Christmas tale like none you've ever heard! So fasten your seat belts, and hold on to your thinking caps, 'cause this story'll make you think. There's some real meat to it. Or tofu, anyway, since we're all vegetarians up here in Christmas Town. (Yet another thing those Christmas specials never mention!)

As I recall, it was particularly gloomy that whole year. Even up here in the North Pole where everyone is ALWAYS cheery. There was a nasty dark cloud that had peaked its head over the distant mountains before Santa had even gotten back from his Christmas deliveries the previous Christmas Eve. And it just kept creeping closer as we turned the calendar to a new year.

I remember Santa shaking his head in sadness as we sat together on the Bench of Dreams at the edge of the North Pole, way back at the start of the year.

Santa and I always loved to take a walk together and stop there to watch the lights of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky. You see, from the Bench of Dreams, Santa can see Forever. All the things that are taking place now, in the past and in the future, too.

Usually we'd sit in a peaceful silence for a while, with me cuddling up in his lap. Santa would point out at the forever sky, and I'd look up sleepily, but in the dancing lights I could clearly see an especially good girl or boy doing some kind and compassionate act. But that time when we sat on the Bench of Dreams, the lights only danced faintly, and Santa sighed softly, "There's too much sadness in the world." He didn't speak another word.

As the months passed by the lights didn't even dance at all in the Forever Sky, and all we saw over the edge of forever was a soupy grey fog.

The dark cloud kept creeping closer and closer trying to throw Christmas Town into darkness. Of course there's mighty powerful magic up here in Christmas Town, so we were pretty confident it wouldn't reach us, at least that's what we hoped. And yet, I guess the cloud caused everyone's spirits to be dampened a bit. Usually there's a lot of humming and singing going on all the time up at Christmas Town. But that year you hardly ever heard a happy tune being whistled. Yep, it's safe to say everyone was feeling more than a little down.

Santa did his best to keep our spirits up, you can count on that. But it wasn't an easy thing to do.

Things went on that way until one particular morning in the middle of July, when the holiday cheer should have been really picking up steam at the North Pole. That's when Santa does the pre-check on his list, to make sure he's got enough toys scheduled for production for all the good little girls and boys. Usually the elves have to go into some heavy-duty overtime over the next six months till Christmas, because, well, Santa's a real softy and he's notorious for giving everybody the benefit of the doubt. A little too much if you ask me. And believe me, I've told him on quite a number of occasions, although he's never specifically asked for my advice on the matter.

But that year, well, I didn't have to lecture him about the state of the world. Because that year, Santa checked his prelist. Then he checked it twice. He checked it a third time. He just couldn't believe his eyes. "It's worse than I even imagined!" he gasped.

Mrs. Claus hurried over to have a look. "Oh my, seems like practically everyone's so naughty this year," she sighed.

"Yes, Mama, the world's a mess. The worst I've ever seen it. I guess this explains why that dark cloud won't go away…" Santa mumbled, scratching his head. "Mama, I think we've got big troubles brewing…"

Now the truth is, while Santa was checking his list, I had my eye on the window because I knew that Santa had more troubles coming than he knew. I jumped up onto the windowsill and took a peek outside. Sure enough, trouble was getting closer and closer.

Meanwhile Mrs. Kitty was watching me carefully and she hopped up onto the sill next to me. "You didn't go and get the elves all riled up this year like you normally do … did you …?" she whispered.

Gulp. "I'm afraid so. Except this year they actually listened to me."

Mrs. Kitty covered her eyes with her paws. "Kitty Christmas, you didn't! Not this year, what with that dark cloud practically ready to pounce on us."

Unfortunately, I sure did.

What the Mrs. was referring to of course, was my annual Peace-In over at the Toy Factory.

Every year I'd get all decked out in my peace beads and bellbottoms and sandals and go around trying to get the elves to sign a petition to cancel Christmas until the world agreed to put some action behind the "peace on earth ... goodwill to all" Christmas lyrics folks sing at Christmastime. Then I'd march around outside the Factory singing, "Let there Be Peace On Earth," while I carried a picket sign, declaring "We Want Peace On Earth!"

But usually no one ever pays much attention to me. Normally every year the elves would roll their eyes and wait for me to be filled with the Christmas spirit, just like everyone else. And of course, after hearing Santa's July 1st Pep Rally, every year even I truly believe that the Christmas Spirit would convince the world to try to get along better in the coming year.

But that year, because everyone was feeling so glum anyway, the elves seemed to think my protests made sense. Gulp.

Meanwhile, back at Santa's place, Santa was sadly placing the list on the coffee table. "Mama," Santa exclaimed, "it's so bad out there that I don't know if there's enough magic left in Christmas town to keep that dark cloud from crashing down on us. We're going to have to shut down the Toy Factory and everything else in Christmas Town that's draining our magic supplies. We're going to need all the magic we can muster to build up defense against the storm that cloud's threatening to bring. It could destroy Christmas forever if it hits!"

"Oh, my!" Mrs. Claus gasped. Mrs. Kitty gasped, too. I would have, had I been paying attention. Instead I was staring out the window watching the elves getting closer.

"You'd better get the elves," Santa was saying. "We'll have to tell them the news."

As if on cue, the elves knocked at that very instant.

"Come in," the Claus' said at the same time.

A hundred and one elves, all decked out in peace beads and sandals, burst through the door.

"Santa, we've decided that you should cancel Christmas, unless there's peace on earth," the elves exclaimed, certain that Santa would talk them out of their decision and fill them with the Christmas Spirit.

Santa looked at them all with teary eyes. "You're right. We've got to shut down Christmas Town right away!"

The elves' mouths fell open in disbelief.

Chapter 2. Storm in Christmas Town

When I heard Santa say that Christmas would be cancelled and Christmas Town closed down, I felt awful. I thought it was all my fault for talking the elves into standing up to Santa.

I snuck out the door in a hurry. My first thought was to go and hide before Mrs. Kitty told Santa that I was the one who'd put the elves up to this. But instead I headed round the back and up the fire-escape to Santa's study.

I turned his computer on, and logged on to surf the web. I figured if I could find lots of good things that people were doing, then I could convince Santa the world wasn't as bad as he thought. Then he'd change his mind about canceling Christmas.

I did find a lot of really wonderful things that people were doing to try to make the world a better place. Granted, there was an awful lot of bad stuff, too, but I only printed out the good things.

I was just about to take the stack of printouts downstairs to show Santa, when my Google Search turned up one more website I just had to check out. "The BetterWorld Kids Club," I read in the description. "Wow, looks like these kids are really doing a lot to spread peace!"

I clicked on the link to visit the website. Just in the nick of time, I should point out. Because at that very moment, the dark cloud broke through the magic barrier and everything in Christmas Town went black. Not only that, but everything and everyone in Christmas Town was suddenly frozen solid.

Fortunately, I'd already clicked the link. And the most amazing thing happened - I suddenly found myself pulled into the computer screen!

Chapter 3. The BetterWorld Kids Club meeting

Whoa! This was definitely the strangest thing I'd ever experienced. For a second I was floating in the misty nothingness of Cyberspace, staring out from inside the computer screen. In horror I saw that Christmas Town had become an icy wonderland frozen in time. Before I could even call out to frozen Santa and Mrs. C, Mrs. Kitty and the hundred and one peace elves, I found myself hurtling through Cyberspace and everything was a complete blur.

Next thing I knew, I heard voices calling out, "Hey look up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane … it's … it's a cat!"

That's when I crashed down, right into the center of their circle, landing on my feet, of course.

"Oh, how cute - he's wearing a Santa cap. Hi, kitty," the children in the circle called, making annoying little, "here kitty, kitty…" motions.

"Hi yourselves," I said, standing up and dusting off my paws, quite put off by the way they were addressing me.

"Oh my gosh, you can talk!" they gasped.

"Of course I can talk!" I laughed. "But where am I?" I gasped as I looked around at the emptiness that surrounded us.

"You're in Cyberspace," one of the children said as he looked up from his laptop. "Somehow you've logged on to join our weekly BetterWorld Kids Club meeting. Welcome."

The BetterWorld Kids told me how they somehow magically appeared together in Cyberspace each week for their meetings. They never could figure out how or why, but they didn't think about it anymore, they just did it.

Now I've experienced lots of magic, of course, but this was definitely one of the strangest magical experiences!

The children all introduced themselves and told me where they were from. They were from all over the planet! They waited for me to tell them who I was.

"I'm Kitty Christmas, of course," I declared. "Santa's Numero Uno cat. Straight from Christmas Town," I added proudly. Then I remembered what had happened to Christmas Town and I felt so sad I could cry.

"You mean, Santa's real?" Maria gasped, and all the others began talking at once.

"Of course he's real, but, all of Christmas Town has been frozen in time!" Then I told them about the dark cloud that had covered Christmas Town. "Santa says it's because of all the fighting that is going on around the world."

"Yes," the children agreed. "The world does seem to be worse than usual this year." Some of the kids lived in countries that were at war. Living in fear all the time seemed to cause people to treat each other worse in their towns and communities.

"The world will be even worse if Santa doesn't come this year," the smallest boy named Johnny said.

"The Christmas season is practically the only time left that people even talk about goodwill and peace on earth," Cheyenne sighed.

"My family doesn't celebrate Christmas," Jamal said, "but where would the world be without the hope that Santa brings the kids who believe in him."

"What can we do?" Ming asked.

"We have to bring peace on earth, of course!" I said. It seemed the obvious solution, considering that the cloud was caused by all the fear and gloom.

"That's not so easy to do," Solomon sighed. "Believe me, lots of people have been wishing and working For a Culture of Peace for, well… since time began."

I sat down and rested my head on my paws. "It is a terribly big thing to accomplish, isn't it," I sighed, completely depressed.

"Maybe you can help us with our campaign to bring a day of peace," Maria suggested. "Maybe this year the world will see how much peace really is needed…"

"A day of peace …" I muttered. It might be a much easier goal to achieve. "But we don't just want a day of peace, we need peace on earth…" I sighed.

"You have to start somewhere," Amir declared. "If we can convince the world to create peace for a day, people will realize that we can work together to make peace on earth last, one day at a time."

"Yes," the kids all agreed.

"Peace isn't something that will come in a magical moment," Indira pointed out. "It's something we'll have to work hard to keep, even if we can make it happen for a day."

"That's right," Juan exclaimed. "But it will be possible, if the world agrees that it is a goal that we should work together to achieve. The world doesn't have a common goal right now. This is the perfect one!"

I was really psyched. This sounded like a great plan to save Christmas Town, and to save the world from itself in the process! But how could we ever choose a day to try to make this happen. With 365 days in the year, surely we could find an argument to aim for any one of them.

"Every day is a good day for peace," Maya agreed, "but actually, we're already working on a campaign to help bring a day of peace on the International Day of Peace - that's on September 21. The governments of the world already agreed that we should honor it as a global day of peace and ceasefire."

"They did?!" I gasped unbelievingly.

"Yes!" the kids all chimed at once.

"The United Nations declared a resolution calling for the observance of the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day," Cheyenne told me.

"And it was unanimously adopted by all of the more than 190 nations that belong to the UN," Juan added.

"We just have to get them to honor their word," Jamal sighed.

"And let the people of the world know about it," Indira pointed out. "After more than 20 years, most people have still never even heard of Peace Day."

"There's also another important peace day," Johnny added.

"Yes," Ming nodded, "One Day in Peace, January 1. After we save Christmas, the world will be inspired to create another day of peace on January 1 - that way we can begin the new year on the right foot…"

"For peace!" everyone shouted.

"We've got two months," I gasped. Not a moment to lose. Let's do it!"

Chapter 4. We Want Peace on Earth!

That was the longest two months of my life, believe me.

After we had hugged, the weekly BetterWorld Kids Club meeting was adjourned and everyone went back to their own homes.

Everyone except me.

I tried to get through Santa's computer screen, but it was frozen solid, like everything else back in Christmas Town.

I made the best of the situation and started surfing the web, spreading the word about a day of peace on the International Day of Peace.

I never realized how big the world was. Santa definitely used powerful magic to visit everyone in the world on Christmas Eve. The little magic that I had back in Christmas Town seemed to have been frozen along with everything else there, because I had to visit each website the old fashioned way - one link at a time.

Fortunately the Internet is so well connected that I had no problem leaping from one website to the next. I stayed on a promising site long enough to convince the webmaster to spread the message of a worldwide day of peace on September 21, then moved on to the next website.

I also had a ball zipping along the information superhighway aboard emails that I sent out far and wide. What a fun way to meet world leaders, celebrities, great thinkers and all kinds of people in every walk of life.

It wasn't long before I realized there really are a whole lot of wonderful people doing a whole lot of wonderful things to make the world a better place. I felt really hopeful that we might be able to convince the world to join together for a day of peace. And then, the world might really join together to try to make peace on earth our shared goal.

Time seemed to pass both quickly and slowly at the same time. Thank goodness we had the BetterWorld Kids Club meetings each week to keep us motivated. And we really were making great progress. The world was in such a mess, that people seemed to finally be ready to be serious about the wish For a Culture of Peace.

Things were looking so hopeful, in fact, that I guess our efforts were starting to pay off enough to make a real difference in the world. You'll see what I mean.

As you can imagine, I took a lot of sidetrips to the frozen computer-screen that overlooked Christmas Town to have a peek on my loved ones back home. Well, that's what I was doing on the first Friday in September, before I was about to hop on a hyperlink towards our weekly BetterWorld Kids Club meeting. As I peaked out on Christmas Town, who should be staring back through the computer monitor, but jolly old Saint Nick himself.

Chapter 5. Home Sweet Home

Was I ever happy to see Santa. Especially since he was smiling and completely defrosted!

I told him all about the BetterWorld Kids and the global campaign for a worldwide day of peace.

Santa was excited to hear all about it, and he was really proud of me. Boy did that make me purr like crazy.

That dark cloud had lifted off of Christmas Town because of all the hope and goodwill that was going on in the world. But of course, it stayed hovering at the edge of the mountains, because there was still a lot of fear and gloom going on, too.

But up in Christmas Town the Christmas Spirit couldn't have been more alive. Santa didn't shut down the Toy Factory or anything else in Christmas Town cause with all that joy going around, there was plenty of Christmas magic to keep everything running smoothly. In fact, the elves were doing double-overtime, and the elf employment agency was working overtime too trying to find extra workers for the Christmas season.

Yessiree-bob, things were right on schedule for that to be the best Christmas ever.

I kept in close contact with the BetterWorld Kids over the internet. Truth is, I wasn't ever able to join the BetterWorld Kids IN cyberspace again for their weekly meetings. Somehow I just couldn't find the right magic again to enter in through the computer screen. But it was nice to email back and forth and to check their website for the latest developments in the Peace Day campaign.

September 21 came and went, and celebrations and peace activities took place all around the world. Celebrities and world leaders appeared on television asking the world to join in a day of peace. Millions and millions of people joined together for peace in communities all over the world.

To tell you the truth, I was kind of disappointed. I mean, it's true, a lot of people's lives were touched, but there wasn't peace on earth. The world didn't agree to try to make peace on earth a priority, so after Peace Day, things pretty much went on the way they had before.

I told Santa about my feelings. He sighed and nodded his head, then petted me under the chin, just where I like it. "Come on, Kitty," he said softly, "let's go for a walk."

As we walked through the snow, Santa laughed in that jolly way he always does and I started to feel better.

We walked to the edge of the North Pole and sat down together on the Bench of Dreams. We sat there in silence for a while, watching the beautiful dancing colors in the Forever Sky. For a moment I really forgot about the dark cloud off in the distance.

"Kitty, Kitty," Santa sighed after a while. "We're just going to have to try harder. You know we're putting an extra wish For a Culture of Peace in every present we deliver at Christmastime. And more and more people are joining in around the world to work For a Culture of Peace."

I nodded as I snuggled in his lap. I noticed my purring motor was softly humming. Santa pointed up in the Forever Sky. "Look, Kitty, over there. See, someday peace on earth will come."

I looked up into the sky. Santa was right. And gosh, it was going to be beautiful.

Well, that's the story of that special Christmas. I guess it wasn't really me that saved Christmas. It was because of the BetterWorld Kids and folks like you who are doing little and big things to try to make the world a better place. It really is making a difference. If you look all around there's lots of reasons to be hopeful every day.

But if you really need proof that this story's real, and that someday peace on earth will come, keep your ear out for Santa before you drift off to sleep on Christmas Eve. If you listen really hard you'll hear his jolly song, "You better learn to share… Just give it a try... Show the world you care…I'm telling you why…Peace on earth is coming Someday!" And then as his jolly laughter fades off into silence you'll hear him whispering, "May Peace Prevail On Earth…" and you'll know for sure that someday peace on earth will come.



Not yet illustrated.

© 2000, 2004 Robert Alan Silverstein
BetterWorld Kids logo by Ginger Nielson

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