Ho! Ho! HO! The Eighth Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!

Deck the halls!

Light the menorah!

Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!

It’s time for…


Super Santa.png

~for children’s writers~

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero!  Your hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked loaf of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift Of The Magi where two people give up the thing most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday.  Your hero can be obvious or unlikely.  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 right now this very second and Saturday December 8 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists.  There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debuts, Perfect Picture Book, or Would You Read It) 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 below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is midnightwriter1 or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!)  If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post your entry for you. But please don’t send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story including byline into the email.  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list or by emailing me and asking me to post it.  Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing.


The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 10 finalists (depending on the number of entries – if we get a lower turnout we’ll post fewer finalists, a higher turnout possibly one or two more.)  In the interest of finishing up the contest in a timely fashion so everyone can go about their holidays, we will do our best to post the finalists here by Friday December 14 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Sunday December 16 at 5 PM EST.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Monday December 17 (how’s that for ambitious?! 🙂 )

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 Heroism! – the rules state a Holiday Hero story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, and it must contain a hero and act of heroism in some form! 🙂
  • 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!:

Magic Happens When You Make Every Word Count Writing Mentorship with Author Vivian Kirkfield!

Vivian will:
1. Read through your body of work (3-5 PB mss)
2. Skype chat with you to discuss your dream/vision/direction and her general thoughts about your work.
3. Help you choose which manuscript to move forward with/work on with her.
4. Critique that ms and then set up a Skype chat to go over it.
5. Help craft a cover letter and pitch for your ms which will then serve as a template for you as you move forward with your other work.

This is a truly amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with a talented author and critiquer to get you submission-ready for an editor or agent!

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 10.39.16 PM

Vivian Kirkfield

Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. She’s got a bucket list that contains many more than five words – but she’s already ticked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she is not looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books that she hopes will encourage young kids to become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate(Holiday House, Feb 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book(PomegranateKids, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah(Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). You can visit Vivian on her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar, where she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge every March. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest,Instagram, Linkedin, and just about anywhere people are playing with picture books.

cover on amazon   four otters cover amazon   sweet-dreams-new-on-amazon

A Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique by prolific author Diana Murray!

diana-murray  One Snowy Day

A Non-Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author Amy Dixon!

amy-dixon  Maurice

A 2-Pack of Personalized, Signed Picture Books by Tara LuebbeI Am Famous and Shark Nate-O

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O I Am Famous

a spot in my online picture book writing class Making Picture Book Magic (in any month mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)


Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)

Children's Writer's Guide 2019

– Yes You Can Learn How To Write Beginning Readers And Chapter Books – by Nancy I. Sanders AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card
nancy sanders 2
laura salas educational market
Making A Living
Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂




The time has come for my sample.  I wrote it between midnight and 2 AM, so that’s my excuse for how bad it is and I hope you all appreciate the fact that I am willing to make a complete fool of myself just for you! 🙂  But this should be very comforting because you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ANYthing you wrote is better than this! 🙂

So.  Are you ready? (Be forewarned you might need a little chocolate to help you through… I’m going to need a LOT! 🙂  I have taken dreadful writing to a whole new level and should probably write a new sample tomorrow!  Also because this one is a few words over the limit 🙂  )


The Christmas Rescue

‘Twas the night before Christmas
The sleigh was packed high.
The team shook their jingle bells
Eager to fly!

Santa and Elsie Elf
Boarded the sleigh
And quick as a wink
They were up and away!

As they soared over rooftops
That glittered with snow
Elsie said,
“Look at that shooting star go!”

Santa leaned forward
And peered through the night.
“That’s no shooting star!
It’s a meteorite!”

“Pretty!” said Elsie.
And Santa said, “Yes…
But it’s going to wreak havoc
With our GPS!”

The NAV screen went blank
A search icon spun round
Because Magnetic North
Could no longer be found!

They tapped at the screen
Turned it off and back on
But it was no use
Their directions were gone!

The meteor’s metal
Messed up Elsie’s phone
So she couldn’t call Tech
At the workshop back home.

“Maybe star navigation?”
said Santa with doubt.
But clouds had moved in
And they blocked the stars out.

“We have no direction
We can’t find our way
To get gifts to good girls and boys
Christmas Day!”

At this precise moment
From out of the blue
A small caped crusader
Flew into their view.

“My goodness!” said Santa.
“Whatever is that?”
The crusader said proudly,
“I’m Super Bat!

I just couldn’t help
Overhearing your plight.
The Bat Squad and I
Can assist you tonight.”

“How?” wondered Elsie.
“Without navigation.”
“No problem,” said Bat,
“we use echolocation!”

With Super Bat skillfully
Guiding the sleigh
The gifts were delivered
By dawn Christmas Day.

“We couldn’t have done this
Without you, you know.”
Santa smiled and said,
“Bat, you’re a Christmas Hero!”


So now!  Is everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you guys 🙂  It just proves how much I love you 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And you still have until Saturday midnight to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  If you just want to enjoy reading, that’s great too!  We need all the readers we can get, so feel free to spread the word to parents and teachers!  And what better way to entertain yourself and your kids while waiting for the holiday goodies to bake?  Or get someone to read aloud while everyone else wraps presents 🙂

Rejoice! and let the festivities begin!!! 🙂

Happy Holidays to All! 🙂


And don’t miss the additional 49 fabulous entries in the comment section below!
(Titles are not links – sorry! Scroll through comments to view)

  1. The Super-Invisible Snowgirl – Anne L
  2. Toby Saves Christmas – Sherry H
  3. The 12 Days of Christmas With Noni – Johanna
  4. Saint Bernard Savior – Sandra
  5. The Cookie Defenders – Darcee
  6. Nippynose Flu – Jennifer
  7. Santa’s Gift – Barbara
  8. I’m Santa – Sarah
  9. Manger Mayhem – Susan
  10. Cat Called Hero – Lily
  11. All By Myself – Jessica
  12. Surprise On The Sleigh – Sarah
  13. Ozzie Owl To The Rescue – Judy
  14. Come Back Santa – Lisa
  15. Christmas Presence – Angelique
  16. Papa Bear’s Rescue – Dianne
  17. Santa Tryouts – Amy F
  18. Just One Bean – Kristy
  19. Merritt Mouse – Saves Christmas – Patricia
  20. Jesse The Pup Saves Hanukkah – Amy B
  21. Sammy, the Skillet Saves Hanukkah – Amy B
  22. UH-OH. OH NO. HO HO – Jill
  23. The Christmas Boots – Sherry F
  24. Christmas Cookies – Kami
  25. Christmas In The Park – John
  26. A Christmas Scent-sation – Jill
  27. A Christmas Prayer – Michelle
  28. A Special Nest – Beverly
  29. Tent City Christmas – Anne B
  30. Who Was The Real Hero The Night Baby Jesus Was Born? – Carmen
  31. The Cookies That Saved Christmas – Jamie
  32. Fox And The Red Wagon – Kathy
  33. Listen To Libby – Nannette
  34. The Soldier’s Little Girl – Beth
  35. Momo The Xmas Hero – Shariffa
  36. The Santa Kid – Mega
  37. Dasher Saves The Day By Night – Tara
  38. Alex & Apple Save Christmas – Nicole
  39. Sparkle’s Special Christmas Wish – Lucretia
  40. Santa’s Beard – Linda
  41. Christmas Kindness – Beth B
  42. A Neighborly Christmas Eve – Mona
  43. Ellen – Priya
  44. The Christmas Pick-Up – Laura
  45. Christmas-time Tea – Elizabeth
  46. The Holiday Hero – Ranessa
  47. The Little Reindeer – Debora
  48. The Hay – Anna
  49. Happy Rose For Christmas – Liz

472 thoughts on “Ho! Ho! HO! The Eighth Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!

  1. Beth Gallagher says:

    The Soldier’s Little Girl

    By Beth Gallagher
    220 words

    We ate turkey and pie and pretended to laugh.
    In December we put up the tree.
    We trimmed it with tinsel and popcorn,
    only this time just Mommy and me.

    I am ten and my Dad is deployed
    to a place in the rippling sand.
    In my pocket I keep a smooth wooden heart
    that my Daddy has made me by hand.

    I hold it as tight as I’d held his hand
    when he took me on rides at the fair.
    I kiss it as soft as I kissed him goodnight
    after our hugs and a prayer.

    Each morning I wake to the bright morning sun,
    and open my eyes to the day.
    I remember his smell and the warmth of his voice.
    Dad says where there’s will there’s a way.

    I’d heard Mommy cry and I hid in my room
    while she murmured her love on the phone.
    Then I knew we would have to endure it —
    another Christmas alone.

    Christmas Eve we sat near the tree,
    drank cocoa and left Santa a note.
    “I’d love a new bike, or a dog, or a doll,
    but bring Daddy instead please.” I wrote.

    We heard jingling outside and some footsteps.
    At the doorbell we stood with a start.
    Santa had brought us a treasure —
    My hero, my Daddy, my heart.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Momo The Xmas Hero

    This is Momo’s first Xmas. They are all excited.
    The Xmas tree has grown tall in its pot.
    They decorated it with snow flakes, silver baubles and gold and
    lights that flicker off and on. But the golden star was missing!
    What could Geno and Alid do? Where could they get a golden star?
    In the mean time, in the vast open skies of the Athi Plains, Santa was busy. He collected the bright stars for Xmas trees in town. There was one star that never got chosen. It was sad. It lost it’s glimmer. It slid down the Athi horizon and landed on a avocado tree. On Xmas morning, Momo was out. He saw the bright star on the avocado tree. He climbed up, gently picked the star.

    At the house, the children were coming down to see what Santa had brought. They saw Momo with the shining star, they clapped and laughed. Mama joined in in delight. Momo jumped onto the shelf and placed the shining star on the tree. Family and friends arrived. They admired the shining star. Momo’s story was told over and over. Momo was quite the star.

    by Shariffa Keshavjee

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Love this wonderful story all the way from Nairobi, Shariffa! It reads like a folk tale, almost. Original and beautifully written. So glad Momo saved the little star from sadness and ensured the tree was perfectly topped! A hero indeed! Thanks for joining in the contest fun!

  3. Megan Walvoord (@mjwalvoord2) says:

    The Santa Kid
    By Megan J. Walvoord
    243 Words

    Max always loved Christmas! The lights, the cookies, Santa and especially the presents. He asked Santa for a race track this year. He couldn’t wait to VROOM his cars down the track.

    During December, his school had an angel tree with toy wishes from students. His teacher explained that some kids do not have enough money to get presents for Christmas.
    What? No presents. This made Max sad. No one should be without on Christmas.

    He talked to his parents about buying some kids at his school presents. He had just one request, he wanted to do it in secret like Santa. His parents agreed to the request.

    Max decided to use his allowance and birthday money to buy gifts. His family, friends and church donated some items when they found out about his wonderful idea. Soon every student at his school had a gift for Christmas. Max and his parents wrapped the gifts in beautiful paper.
    His principal allowed him to go to school a little late, so he could bring the presents to the principal’s office without the other students knowing.

    At the end of the school day, the children on the list were told to drop by the principal’s office. Their eyes filled with wonder and joy as they unwrapped the presents.
    “Who gave us the gifts?” asked the students.
    The principal smiled and said, “A humble and kind super hero who I like to call…
    ‘The Santa Kid’.”

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Tara Cerven
    250 words


    Once upon a time a reindeer saved Christmas. And his name wasn’t Rudolph.

    Christmas Eve was here again, and elves scurried to help Santa and his reindeer. Every reindeer, except Dasher, who was quite sick. Sadly, Dasher could not help Santa this year.

    Alabaster, the tiniest elf, loaded the last sack onto Santa’s sleigh. But just as Santa headed skyward, Alabaster spotted one last toy sack! He shouted to Santa. Too late. Oh no! Alabaster’s shouting had woken Dasher. All thoughts of aches, pains and sniffles disappeared. Dasher had a job to do.

    Alabaster and Dasher sorted the gifts. Three each for Louisa in France, Caden in China, Mary in Ireland and Marco in Spain. Dasher was grateful for his good sense of direction.

    Alabaster strapped the sack onto poor Dasher’s feverish body. Off he flew, into the snowy night. China first. The temperature dropped and Dasher’s fever rose. Spain was next. Tired and achy, Dasher struggled to find Marco’s house. But he pushed on, sweating, all the way to Ireland. Mary’s cottage delivery was complete. One stop left. The snow made it difficult for Dasher to see. Luckily, the lights of Paris lit the way. Once Louisa’s gifts were nestled under her Christmas tree, Dasher headed home and right to bed.

    Santa enjoyed Christmas day, careful not to wake Dasher. He thought Dasher had slept through the night and was happy he rested. Meanwhile, Dasher dreamt peacefully about four very happy children around the world whose presents awaited them!

  5. Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

    By Nicole Loos Miller
    249 words

    Alex watched in wide-eyed horror as Papa ate the cookie meant for Santa before heading to bed.

    Ducking back behind the couch, Alex lamented that the Santa-stakeout had instead led to witnessing a crime! And now, it was up to Alex to replace the cookie before Santa arrived and decided the Yusef family belonged on the Naughty List!

    Alex groaned. Apple, feline best friend extraordinaire, meowed in sympathy.

    Where to get a cookie now? The whole family had come over earlier in the day to bake and decorate but everyone had taken cookies home! The cookie left out for Santa was the last one in the whole apartment.

    Alex took a deep breath. “No time for pity parties.” Apple twitched her tail in agreement.

    Alex and Apple padded ever so quietly into the kitchen, picked the least-squeaky chair and stealthily pushed it to the kitchen counter. They took stock of their supplies:
    – Open tub of white frosting
    – 1 slightly burnt gingerbread woman (behind the coffee maker)
    – 3 Graham crackers
    – 4 Cinnamon candies

    Alex looked at Apple. Apple looked at Alex. Oh yes, they could save Christmas.

    “Oh Alex,” sighed Mama, waking Alex with a start. “Did you sleep behind the couch all night?”

    Without answering, Alex and Apple rushed to the tree. Their Christmas-race-car (with cinnamon wheels and a slightly burnt driver) had a large bite taken out of it and a note laying next to it.

    The most creative treat I’ve enjoyed all night. Nice save. Love, Santa

  6. Lucretia Schafroth says:

    Sparkle’s Special Christmas Wish
    by Lucretia Schafroth

    Christmas was around the corner.

    But instead of getting gifts, Sparkle wanted to make a difference in the world.

    Tired of being admired only for her glittery, glowing horn, the young unicorn confided to her friend, Pony, “I’d rather be known and appreciated for something I do.”

    “Everyone’s unique in their own special way,” exclaimed Pony. “You’re already famous!”

    Shaking her head, Sparkle responded, “Not for something truly important.”

    Privately, she dreamed of helping pull Santa’s sleigh.

    Each day, Sparkle prepared ambitiously, studying world maps, practicing short take-offs and landings, and improving her endurance.

    Every night, before falling asleep, she whispered her special wish to Santa.

    On Christmas Eve, Sparkle sadly admitted to herself—it certainly seemed her wish wouldn’t come true this year.

    An urgent whisper interrupted her dream—“Rudolph’s too sick to fly! We’ve nearly crash-landed…twice!”

    Sparkle startled awake. “Who’s talking?” she wondered.

    “It’s me—Santa!” responded the voice in her head. “I need a strong flyer to guide my sleigh!”
    “Can you join us—NOW?” he pleaded.

    Sparkle couldn’t believe it.

    “I’ve been watching you prepare…admiring your effort and dedication,” Santa reassured her. ”I know you’re ready!”

    “I’m on my way!…” Sparkle hurried to meet the sleigh stranded on a distant rooftop.

    Harnessing Sparkle, Santa performed a quick test flight. Then, the toy-laden sleigh completed its annual worldwide mission—led by Sparkle and her illuminated horn.

    Back at the North Pole, Santa smiled, “Thank you for helping me this year, Sparkle! You’re everyone’s Christmas hero!”
    (Word count: 250)

  7. Linda Staszak says:

    What fun!!

    SANTA’S BEARD 231 words
    By Linda Staszak

    Evil Elf Elvin scowled as he cleaned the reindeer stables. It wasn’t fair.
    He waited until Santa Claus took a nap, and he did the most despicable thing imaginable—he shaved off Santa’s beard—on Christmas Eve!
    Santa yawned and stretched and rubbed his chin. “Gaaawk!” he sputtered. “Whaa, what happened?”
    Mrs. Claus came running. “My stars, why did you do that?”
    “It wasn’t me, my dear,” said Santa with a glance toward the stable.
    Head Elf Eddie’s lips formed an ‘O’, and he froze mid-step.
    Even the reindeer snorted and pawed at the sight.
    “I’ll have to use a fake beard,” said Santa.
    Mrs. Claus stuck sticky cotton candy on his chin, but the reindeer licked it off.
    Elf Eddie grabbed paper and scissors and snipped furiously. He fastened his creation over Santa’s ears, but it ripped when Santa moved.
    The reindeer brought mouthfuls of hay, but nobody could fasten it together.
    Santa sighed and collapsed.
    Elf Elvin peeked through the stable door. He eased outside and crept over to Santa.
    His eyes were on the ground as he muttered, “I’m sorry, Santa.”
    “Humpf,” snorted Santa. “It’s Christmas Eve. I need a beard.”
    Elf Elvin whispered and Santa smiled.
    The elf climbed next to Santa and held Santa’s cut-off beard in place.
    “Looking good,” said Elf Eddie.
    “Ho, ho, ho,” called Santa and the sleigh took off right on time.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I think Elvin was a little more evil than he intended to be! 🙂 Yes, he was certainly naughty, but I think he repented, and Christmas is certainly a time for forgiveness. I’m guessing a cold night on the sleigh holding Santa’s beard in place was enough of a consequence 🙂 Thanks for joining in the contest fun, Linda!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Christmas Kindness by Beth B

    Chloe jumped out of bed and skipped to the window. She reached out and rubbed the cold, foggy glass and wiped her wet hand on her pajamas. “It’s snowing,” she whispered. She noticed Mrs. Smith outside with a shovel.
    Chloe ran to the kitchen. “Mommy, Mrs. Smith is shoveling her sidewalk. Can we help her?”
    Mommy walked to the living room and looked out the window. Mr. Smith, who had always shoveled their sidewalk, had died recently.
    “Get dressed. Yes, we can help Mrs. Smith.”
    Chloe wiggled her right leg out of the left pant leg and fell back onto the soft pink rug. She pulled her favorite Christmas sweater over her head and replaced her slippers with socks.
    Mommy opened the hall closet and grabbed their coats, hats and gloves. Chloe brought her small shovel.
    Along with shoveling, she made a snow angel.
    Mrs. Smith invited us inside for hot chocolate with marshmallows.
    “Thank you for the hot chocolate,” said Chloe. On the way to the front door, Chloe wrapped her arms around Mrs. Smith. Both looked at each other and smiled. “Thank you for shoveling the snow,” said Mrs. Smith.
    At home, looking at the Christmas cards strung across the wall, Chloe had another idea. She took out colored paper and crayons and made a card for Mrs. Smith. Later with cookies in a tin container and card in hand, Chloe and Mommy walked over to their friend’s house.

    • Traci Bold says:

      Beth, this story hit close to home as I have a WWII veteran and his wife living next door. We are great friends and often my husband and I help them out with chores, when they ask and even when they don’t (they both enjoy working outside as much as possible, they say it keeps them young). May Chloe and her mother continue to spread the spirit of Christmas for many years to come. Loved this story!

  9. mona861 says:

    A Neighborly Christmas Eve
    Mona Pease

    ‘twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
    not a person was stirring, because…everyone had the flu!
    Curled up in fleece blankets, Santa shivered and shook
    and elves coughed and, hacked and sneezed- ker-choo!

    Word spread like a snow squall across frozen land.
    Then kind hearted neighbors cooked soup.
    They’d already celebrated their holidays
    but wanted to help Santa’s crew re-coup.

    They spotted a family traveling by foot
    so piled on each other to make more space.
    With sacks full of Kwanza fruit they hopped aboard,
    thankful because time was Christmas Eve’s race!

    Santa and his sick elves sipped soothing warm broth
    and nibbled fresh fruit slices too.
    Right then magic happened when Santa jumped up
    and said, “ I’m done with the flu and it’s all thanks to you!”

    The clock struck the twelfth chime as reindeer soared high
    and Santa called out to his neighbors below,
    “Joyous Kwanza,
    Happy Hanukkah,
    Merry Christmas to all, and to all it’s a very good night!
    Ho! Ho! Ho!”

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Ellen (235 w)

    ‘Tis was the night before Christmas
    The dorm room was empty except for Ellen
    She followed the raindrops on the window
    and thought of her father who was at sea

    Domi and Mevli peeped from their tiny hole
    and knew they had to help her out this year
    “What can we do?” Mevli wondered out loud
    “She’s obviously too big to fit into our tiny home”
    “And we can’t bring her father to her”
    “No – we can’t but maybe we could do something else”

    Domi sprinted away and yelled ‘follow me’
    They escaped outside and found Rave
    whom others called the wonder bird

    “Hey, help us out and bring Ellen to her dad”
    “Got anything for me in return,” Rave asked.
    Domi and Mevli shook their head
    Rave laughed, ‘Nothing is for free’

    ‘Don’t you have a Christmas heart?’ Mevli begged
    Rave flew away, laughing harder.
    “I bet you can’t even find her dad” Domi yelled
    Rave’s pride was hurt.
    “I am better than any bird here in the neighborhood”

    He flew to the window and pointed with his wings to open it
    Ellen had never seen such a beautiful bird.
    What was it? She thought
    Before she could do think of a name, she was shrunken
    and put onto his back

    They flew high into the sky
    On their way to visit her father
    Domi and Mevli smiled and waved

    By Priya Gopal

  11. Laura Jensen Bower says:

    The Christmas Pick-Up
    By Laura Bower
    242 words

    With a sack full of gifts and some fresh fallen snow,
    Santa started his journey with “Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho!”
    The sleigh chugged along like a train on a track.
    It was all going smoothly until he heard CRACK!
    Underneath the soft snow was a pond filled with ice.
    Santa grabbed for his list (both the naughty and nice).
    He wrangled his sack and held all the toys tight,
    and the nine deer pulled hard, using all of their might.
    But the sleigh wouldn’t budge. It was sunken and stuck.
    Just then, through the woods, came an old pick-up truck.
    “Hi Santa, I’m Rusty. I heard your deer yelp.
    I see you’re in trouble, so I’m here to help!”
    Rusty revved up his engine. His wheels found their groove.
    Then he heard Santa shout, “The sleigh’s starting to move!”
    CRICK, CRACK went the ice. But with one final push,
    Santa’s sleigh was on track with a SWOOSH and a WHOOSH!
    There was no time to stop. He flew high in the sky,
    and shouted to Rusty with twinkling eyes,
    “You saved Christmas for all of the good girls and boys.
    Thanks to you they’ll be getting their trinkets and toys.”
    Rusty woke Christmas morning and found a wrapped gift,
    with a note from the big guy, “Thank you for the lift.”
    What came on the next line made him start to tear,
    “I’ll pay you a visit the same time next year.”

  12. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Christmas-time Tea
    by Elizabeth Steffenson
    240 Words

    It was a bright Christmas morn
    when I was feeling sad and grey,
    for a fever had forced me
    to my room for the day.

    But when I opened my door,
    I startled with glee,
    for my table was all set
    for Christmas-time tea!

    My teddy bears said,
    “Oh, please, please, come in!”
    Then offered me a mint
    from a red and green tin.

    They led me to the table
    (it was an elegant affair)
    Then introduced me to guests
    as they pulled out my chair.

    My dolls were all dressed
    in red linen and lace;
    sitting primly they smiled,
    full of manners and grace.

    Even my dog proudly sat
    at the table with a cup.
    Aside from his tail,
    he didn’t look like my pup!

    And my cat looked so cute
    in her hat and her pearls,
    she’d even painted her nails
    like she was one of the girls!

    Christmas cakes were served
    on fine china dishes–
    they were frosted and sprinkled,
    and oh-so-delicious!

    We listened to music
    from the Teddy Bear Band–
    “Jingle Bell Rock” and
    “Winter Wonderland.”

    “Shall we dance?” asked my dog
    placing his paw on my hand.
    “How lovely!” I replied,
    “That would be grand.”

    Soon the dolls and the cat
    joined in on the fun–
    we twirled and we dipped,
    we shimmied and we spun.

    My bears and my dolls,
    my cat and dog, too,
    made my Christmas special,
    in spite of the flu!

  13. ranessadoucet says:

    The Holiday Hero
    By Ranessa Doucet

    Elfie was a hero among Santa’s elves. He was a member of a squad of elves who flew around solving problems. They used magic to stop fights among siblings and fix broken ornaments too. One day, Elfie soared above a playground. There was a crowd gathered. As he flew closer, he could hear two girls yelling.

    “Christmas is better!”

    “No, Hanukkah’s best!”

    “We get Santa!”

    “We get eight days of celebrating!”

    “We get a Christmas tree!”

    “We get a Menorah!”

    The girls got louder as they argued which holiday was best. Elfie was about to use his magic to stop the fight when suddenly a boy stepped in. His voice was strong as he said: “Stop, you are wrong!”.

    Everyone looked, and the boy continued “Both Christmas and Hanukkah are special” he said. “Both are filled with lights, food, presents, and most importantly love. I know this for sure because I celebrate both. I want to invite you to my house to see the joy for yourself. I celebrate with friends, so friends you must be.”

    The girls looked at each other, one smiled and held out her hand. They decided to stop fighting. They would learn from each other and celebrate both holidays together that year.

    Elfie flew back to Santa to report on the day. “Santa,” Elfie declared “the real hero today was a child who showed peace and love.”

    Santa smiled with glee. He knew what was important in the end; that holidays are shared among friends.

    • Traci Bold says:

      Took me back to my elementary years when I fight broke out in the lunchroom two days before Christmas break (as it was then named in 1972). Our teacher decided to make our last day a holiday day for all and bring in a treat or activity that had to do with whatever holiday we celebrated. Thank you for this story and stirring up that memory for me. 🙂 Good luck!

      • ranessadoucet says:

        Thanks, Traci! What a great teacher you had! I’m glad my story helped stir up that memory for you:)

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      What a nice story, Ranessa! If only everyone could have such open-mindedness, tolerance and kindness! I love that the boy tells the fighting girls they must be friends in order to come to his house. He was a hero indeed! Thanks for joining in the contest!

  14. Debora Hoffmann says:

    By Debora Hoffmann
    (250 words)

    “But I asked Santa for a horse!” Laila said, stomping her foot in the snow and frowning at the little reindeer.

    “A horse is not practical in the far north,” Papa said, looking up from chopping wood.

    “God is wise. He gave us reindeer instead of horses,” Mama said, stacking wood.

    “Reindeer don’t get cold, and they have great smellers,” Papa added, smiling.

    Laila looked at the reindeer. He gazed back with his deep blue eyes and snorted with a puff of steam. Laila laughed. “OK, I’ll call you Herko.”

    Soon Uncle and Auntie arrived in their sleigh. “Merry Christmas!” They all greeted one another with hugs and unloaded the sleigh.

    Laila led Herko toward the barn but then heard loud voices. The ham and gingerbread cookies were missing—her favorite parts of Christmas dinner!

    Shaking their heads, the adults entered the house, saying they’d never find the food, wrapped in white, in the fresh snow.

    Laila turned to Herko, but he was gone! She spied him on the road and rushed to catch him, but each time she got near, he trotted away. Laila finally reached him in a snowbank, nudging something with his nose. She bent down. “Our food!”

    Later, Laila burst into the house shouting, “Herko found our Christmas dinner!”

    That evening, Laila gave Herko a carrot. As he munched, she looked at the night sky. The Northern Lights shimmered above! “Thank you, God, for Herko,” she said and ran to share the lights with her family.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Aw! I’m glad Laila came to appreciate her little reindeer 🙂 Love your names and descriptions, Debora – I felt like I was in Scandinavia and it gave your story the feel of a folk tale! I was imagining Jan Brett style illustrations :). Thanks for joining in the contest fun!

      • Debora Hoffmann says:

        Thank you for your great comments, Susanna! I am so glad you felt like you were in Scandinavia experiencing a folk tale. 🙂 And Jan Brett illustrations? Perfect. I would be thrilled to pieces!

        By the way, I LOVED your holiday hero story! You need to submit it somewhere! My favorite part:

        “How?” wondered Elsie.
        “Without navigation.”
        “No problem,” said Bat,
        “we use echolocation!”

  15. Anna Marie Castelda says:

    By Anna Castelda (242 Words)

    Everyone was hungry.
    The cows were hungry.
    The sheep were hungry.
    The donkeys were hungry.
    Stomachs growling, longing for the next nibble of golden hay,
    they stared at the empty trough. Grrrooowwwlll.
    The animals were extra hungry the night before, gobbling up the last bit.
    Lev needed to get their food.
    Take the little donkey, go to the field, get the hay, bring it back to the animals.
    So Lev went – determined, with purpose.
    He took the little donkey. Clip, clop, clip, clop.
    They walked and walked. And walked and walked to the field.
    Lev gathered the hay.
    He loaded the hay on the donkey. Oooph!
    Lev and the little donkey were eager to return.
    They walked and walked. And walked and walked.
    Finally, they returned.
    But wait, who was with the animals?
    There was a mama with a very round tummy – a baby inside!
    Since she had no place to stay, his family let her stay in the barn.
    Pressing on, Lev put the hay in the thankful animals’ trough. Mmmmm.
    Later that evening, Lev reutnred to the barn.
    Much to Lev’s surprise, there was the baby! The mama had her baby.
    Wrapped snug and tight, the perfect little baby was sleeping on the hay – the hay that Lev so lovingly fetched.
    This wasn’t just any hay.
    This was the most important hay – a baby bed.
    And this wasn’t just any baby.
    Lev brought hay for baby Jesus, the promised Messiah.

    The enclosed information is the intellectual and personal property of Ms. Anna M. Castelda and
    Moonfire Communications Corp. The contents, concepts, ideas, names, thoughts, stories,
    storyline, narratives, narrations, tales, anecdotes, yams, characters, theme, subject, subject matter, topics, compositions, melodic themes, musical themes, motifs, and/or any and all materials are the sole intellectual and personal property of Ms. Anna M. Castelda and Moonfire
    Communications Corp. You are not authorized to disseminate these materials to any persons or
    entities without the express written permission and consent of Ms. Anna M. Castelda and
    Moonfire Communications Corp. Nor are you authorized to utilize these materials in any manner
    inconsistent with the express written directives of Ms. Anna M. Castelda and Moonfire
    Communications Corp. Any unauthorized use of these materials will result in legal action being
    undertaken. The enclosed materials are being provided for the following express limited


    The materials may not be utilized for any other purposes other then those expressly stated herein and above.

  16. 2cookscraftingbooks says:

    Happy Rose for Christmas
    By Liz Tipping
    (248 words)

    On Monday, Ginger walked home from school with her hands stuffed deep in her pockets.
    “Where are your mittens?” Dad asked.
    Ginger shrugged. “Warm hands make you happy,” she said.

    On Tuesday, Ginger arrived home and shook snowflakes from her hair.
    “Where is your hat?” Dad asked.
    Ginger shrugged. “A warm head makes you happy,” she said.

    On Wednesday, Ginger walked home with her coat collar pulled up to her ears.
    “Where is your scarf?” Dad asked.
    Ginger shrugged. “A warm neck makes you happy,” she said.

    On Thursday, Ginger arrived home and kicked her gym shoes off at the door.
    “Where are your boots?” Dad asked.
    Ginger shrugged. “Warm feet make you happy,” she said.

    On Friday, Ginger was shivering when she walked through the door.
    “This is ridiculous!” Dad said. “This week you lost your mittens, your hat, your scarf, and your boots. And now you’ve lost your coat?”
    “I just want my friend Rose to be happy for Christmas,” Ginger said. “She misses her Dad.”

    Knock! Knock! Knock!
    A woman was standing on the porch. She was blowing on her hands and bouncing up and down.
    Beside her stood a girl wearing Ginger’s mittens, hat, scarf, boots, and coat.
    Through chattering teeth, the woman said, “Thank you for giving Ginger’s old winter clothes to Rose.”
    “But—” Dad started.
    Ginger tugged at his hand.
    “Please come in and have dinner with us,” Dad said. “We just want Rose to be warm and happy for Christmas!”

  17. Traci Bold says:

    I love how Amanda saved the day with her quick thinking and learning the lesson of “the show must go on”. She has a bright future in theater some day. 🙂

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