The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

I can barely contain my excitement because IT’S HERE!!!

The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

I look forward to these contests so much, because everyone who enters is so creative and writes such terrific stories that it’s like Christmas morning – or maybe like each new day of Hanukkah – clicking over to new entries as they go up, full of anticipation for another entertaining read!  I literally cannot wait!  (It occurs to me that I sound like a five year old :))

For those who are just arriving on the scene and might want to take a crack at it, here are the rules:

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing through the [any substance you choose] in a [conveyance of any kind].”  For example, “Dashing through the sand in a two-wheeled donkey cart” or “Sloshing through the swamp in a green and white canoe” or “Flying through the air in a striped hot air balloon…”  You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂  But “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” is completely acceptable too – whatever works for you 🙂  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet,  religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (because I have to read them all in the week before Christmas! :))
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog any time between today and Wednesday December 19 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Wednesday December 19 (there will be no new post on Monday December 17 to get in the way :)).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)
The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to seven (or possibly a couple more :)) finalists which will be posted here on Friday December 21 (no PPBF that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Christmas Eve and the winner(s) will be announced on Wednesday December 26.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to fifth place.
The Prizes!:  When I said the prizes were fantastic, I wasn’t kidding.  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st – 5th place, and will each receive a picture book manuscript critique AND a $20 Amazon gift card to spend on the reading material of your choice AND the incredible fame of being able to say you won (or placed in) the Pretty Much World Famous 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!  The critiques have been generously donated by the following fabulous children’s authors (in alphabetical order by first name :)):
Alison Hertz: author and illustrator of FLAP! (Magic Dreams Publishing, November 2012)
Amy Dixon: author of MARATHON MOUSE (Sky Pony Press, October 2012)
Corey Rosen Schwartz: author of Hop! Plop! (Walker Children’s Books, April 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam Juvenile, September 2012), and the forthcoming GOLDIROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and NINJA RED (both coming from Putnam).  Corey also writes the Meter Maids blog with Tiffany (below).
Sarah Frances Hardy: author and illustrator of PUZZLED BY PINK (Viking Juvenile, April 2012)
Tiffany Strelitz Haber: author of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN (Henry Holt, July 2012).  Tiffany also writes the Meter Maids blog with Corey (above).

So!  With prizes like that on offer are you…

…Ready, set, GO!

Here is my pathetic and clearly hurriedly composed sample 🙂  It requires that you sing it to the tune, and even then there are a couple places where I may have taken some liberties with the meter 🙂  The good thing is, I’m sure everyone else’s is way better than this, so you can all take comfort in knowing that and feel brave about posting your entries! 🙂

Christmas Eve Travel Trouble
(341 words)

Flying through the air in a sleigh pulled by eight deer
Santa and his elves were filled with Christmas cheer
When suddenly the sleigh gave an unexpected pitch
“Look out!” warned Comet from the front, “we’re heading for that ditch!”


Lying in the snow, presents scattered everywhere
The reindeer tangled up, the sleigh needing repair,
Santa’s Right-Hand Elf said, “This will never do!
We’re only halfway ’round the world and it’s quarter to two!”


Cleaning up the mess, Santa said “I’ve got a plan!
If our sleigh won’t fly, we’ll use this gift for Dan.
Help me load the pack.  Everybody climb on quick!”
Soon they were bouncing on their way aboard a pogo stick!


Hopping through the snow, they got to France’s shore
But then old Santa gasped, “I can’t jump any more!
Let’s find a better way.  There’ve got to be a few.”
His Right-Hand Elf said, “How ’bout this?  A bicycle-built-for-two!”


Cycling through the drifts, they reached Saskatchewan
Then Santa said, “That’s it.  I simply can’t go on.
What else is in the pack?  We need a better choice.”
They took a look and settled on the gift for Jen and Joyce.


Rowing through the snow, in a fiberglass canoe
Their arms soon tired out.  They switched to something new.
But traveling by kite, it’s very hard to steer!
When heading for the USA they landed in Zaire.

Flailing ‘cross the ice in a plastic wading pool…

Sailing o’er the plains in a LEGO pirate ship…

Riding through the hills on a wooden rocking horse…

Santa sighed.  “I miss my sleigh.  There’s got to be a better way!”

They reached the final stop at three minutes ’til dawn
“We made it!” Santa said, with a gigantic yawn.
Just then the sleigh caught up, hitched to the flying eight.
Comet said, “I fixed the sleigh.  Why didn’t you just wait?”

Jingle bells
Santa’s swell
He will find a way
To get the toys to girls and boys
In time for Christmas Day!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Please remember to check the comments for entries!  There are stories there from Linda, Yvonne, Jill, Marci, RJ, and 2 different entries from Bara (also one from Deborah, but hers is on the link list now)!

165 thoughts on “The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

  1. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Oh my goodness, Jill…this is awesome…the ending brought tears to my eyes…and so appropriate with many servicemen and women away from their families at Christmastime. So nice to connect via Susanna's fabulous holiday contest. 😉

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I've read them all, Alayne, including #38 which slid in under the wire, and it will be worth your time to come back and finish when you can – so many great stories! But I hope you'll at least be able to get online to vote this weekend once I put the finalists up tomorrow! 🙂 It's going to be a tough competition and we're going to need all the votes we can get! Have a wonderful holiday!

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    So glad you slid in under the wire with this cute and original entry! I love the different POV of a forgotten ornament – such a great idea! – and I love the message of the story – great for anytime of year but especially for Christmas! Great last line 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun! 🙂

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Great beginning, Deb! One we can totally relate to in our house of wild Christmas morning chaos 🙂 I'll look forward to reading the rest whenever you write it. It's been so great getting to know you, too! I hope 2013 has lots of good in store for you and that we'll get to spend lots of quality time together in this wonderful writing community and maybe even get to meet in person somewhere! 🙂

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