A Special Saturday Surprise For YOU!


May I have your attention for one second please?

I know it’s Black Friday Weekend, and also the Official Kick Off of Holiday Decorating, so you are all no doubt charging through the aisles of Target and Home Depot at this very moment draped in tinsel and brandishing menorahs with multicolored bulbs at anything that threatens your forward progress, your wallet significantly lighter and your thoughts single-mindedly focused on the left-over pumpkin pie that’s going to sustain you through seven hours of blowing up inflatable Santas and hanging from the roof edge by your fingernails whilst you string lights when you get home, and heaven knows I do not want to interfere with any of THAT!

But it occurred to me that you might want something helpfully distracting to think about whilst you were trying desperately not to think about what airspeed velocity you might attain should your fingernails lose their grip on that roof edge and send you hurtling toward the ground, and whether all that pie you ate would be enough to cushion your landing or simply act as ballast to speed your descent . . .

And you know how much I like to be helpful to you. . . 🙂

So. . .

. . . how about we get the old noggin on the job of thinking up your story entry for the


Kangaroo sleigh

Isn’t that a great idea???!!! 🙂

Here are the Official Contest Rules! 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) about A Holiday Surprise!  Any kind of surprise – anything at all! – the more unexpected the better! 🙂  Squirrel in the Christmas Tree?  Snowstorm in Jamaica?  Santa delivering toys from an excavator pulled by a herd of worms?  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 250 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 🙂 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 🙂 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 250!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)


Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between 12:01 AM EST Thursday December 7 and Sunday December 10 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Thursday December 7 and remain up through Friday December 15 for your reading pleasure.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section of my December 7th post when it goes up.  If you have trouble commenting, you can email me.  (We’ll go over this part in more detail on the December 7th post! 🙂 )


The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Friday December 15 (or, if we’re desperate for a little extra time, Saturday December 16) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Sunday December 17 at 5 PM EST (or Monday December 18th if we need that extra time.)  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place, and the winners will be announced on Monday December 18 (or Tuesday December 19).

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Holiday Surprise! – the rules state a Holiday Surprise story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, and it must contain a surprise! 🙂
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.


The Prizes!:  Ok, I’m leaving the country Monday (seriously! – the day after tomorrow! – I am not making that up! 🙂 ) and have yet to finish getting the prizes organized, so I apologize for not including them in today’s post.  But I wanted to get the guidelines up so you guys would have as much time as possible to work on your stories!  Stay tuned for the prizes.  I promise they will be as good as I can make them! 🙂

So there you have it!  Fire up those brain cells!  After you hopefully don’t fall off the roof stringing lights or sprain your ankle barreling through Target with your shopping cart, grab a cup of hot chocolate, plonk your tiny hiney into a comfy chair, and get to writing your potentially prize-winning Holiday Surprise story!!!

On your mark…

…get set…


I am SO looking forward to getting to read all your stories!!!

Have a great rest of the weekend and really try not to fall off the roof! 🙂


17 thoughts on “A Special Saturday Surprise For YOU!

  1. viviankirkfield says:

    Hurray!!! What would the winter holidays be without Susanna’s Holiday Contest!!!
    And I’d be happy to add a picture book critique to the prize pile, Susanna!
    Thank you so much, dear lady…your contests challenge us to exercise our writing muscles and get our work out there. 😉 😉

  2. Diane Tulloch says:

    You must have a looking glass over there. Or detectives following me around the aisles. Okay I confess I have been picking up ingredients for my Christmas cakes, sweet-filled stockings for the little ones and tinsel and bubbles oh yes and new hooks to hang the lights up outside. 🙂 I’m so looking forward to joining in the Holiday Contest. How do you fit it all in dear lady. You rock!

  3. Deborah Boerema (@Deborah_Boerema) says:

    Well Susanna, you accomplished your goal. I’ve got an editing deadline I need to focus on, and now my mind is distracted in a dozen surprise-oriented directions! 😉 Have a safe trip and thanks for the writing prompt. I look forward to reading all the great stories!

  4. yangmommy says:

    Woohoo! Thanks Susanna for bringing up another brilliant contest to have fun with! Once I survive my daughter’s sleepover party, I’m hitting the creativity button! And the shops, and the Christmas tree farm, and the grocery store for the holiday party…you get the gist! 🙂

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