12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar – December 16

December 16 – Kelsey Quinn

I’ve always loved the story of the first Christmas, Jesus being born in a manger surrounded by animals. Horses have always been my favorite animals and, even though the song doesn’t mention any horses, I’ve always felt a real connection to the song The Friendly Beasts. Every other Christmas song worries about the people. Joseph and Mary, the three wise men, and modern-day celebrants either gathering loved ones close or traveling to visit said loved ones. The Friendly Beasts shows how animals made that first Christmas possible.


Every Christmas morning, I go out into the stable and I play Christmas songs while I make the rounds. I admit, I sing along. But I always sing a little bit louder when The Friendly Beasts comes on, and I really think the horses understand and appreciate it.


This Christmas, again, I’ll bundle up and head out to take care of the kids while Christmas carols play. The only difference will be this year, I’ll force Andy to come out there with me. She hates the cold, so she tends to stay inside and make cocoa to thaw me out when I come back inside. But I’ve impressed on her that it’s an important tradition for me, and I think she’s willing to make the sacrifice to be with me. Maybe we’ll even open our presents out there… or probably not. Baby steps, baby steps.


From me, Andy, and all of our beasts, merry Christmas and a joyful new year.


Kelsey Quinn appears in short stories Alive Day and A Little Gossip, as well as the forthcoming novel Only Flame and Air.