Ho! Ho! Ho! The 9th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

⭐️Deck the Halls! ⭐️ Light the menorah! ⭐️ Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja! ⭐️

It’s time for . . .

THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Holiday

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday TREAT!

Your treat can be any kind of treat – a delectable holiday food specialty – Grandma’s Sugar Cookie Reindeer, or the Brown Family Gingerbread House; an event or experience that is a treat – the town Holiday Parade, attending the Nutcracker Ballet, or getting to light a candle on the menorah; making a treat for someone else – baking peppermint crunch brownies for the residents of a local shelter, or doing something special for a favorite teacher or neighbor – sky’s the limit 🙂

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 Wednesday December 11 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 don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below (please include your byline! If your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight I can’t identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the topNO ATTACHMENTS!  Please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!  Please submit your entry only ONCE! If you add it to the blog link list, and the comments, and email me to post it, things get very confusing!  I try to stay as glued to my desk as possible, but sometimes I have to get up so if I don’t respond to your email or approve your post immediately, don’t panic!  I’ll get to it as soon as I can!

 

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 Monday December 16 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 18 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 Thursday 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 Treat! – the rules state a Holiday Treat story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about a treat of some kind that is specific to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate.  The story must center on the treat  – the treat must not be just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else.
  • 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!:  OMG! So much awesomeness!!!

 

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of your picture book manuscript plus a 10 minute phone call to talk!!!

MG/YA First 1500 Words Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of the first 1500 words of your MG or YA manuscript!!!

Melissa Richeson

Literary Agent Melissa Richeson

Melissa is currently looking to build her client list and is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind

.

 

 

Art of Arc Writing Course from writer and editor Alayne Kay Christian!

Art of ArcArt of Arc is an independent-study picture book writing course. Most stories have some sort of arc. Many successful picture books are built around an arc. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your story order and the tension that will energize it from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading.

The purpose of this course is to deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and to introduce you to many other picture books structures. The course also addresses a number of common issues that weaken a story and common writing mistakes that authors make.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

fb844-penny 495eb-penny A Cooked Up Fairy Tale

Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019)

Young headshot hi res for blog - jacket

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017)

Picture2 Picture1 gorilla

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019) and the forthcoming YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020) and LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020)

julie abery Yusra Swims

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover Little Monkey Little Hippo

Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction

Signed Copies of multiple star- and award-winning picture books

SONNY’S BRIDGE: JAZZ LEGEND SONNY ROLLINS FINDS HIS GROOVE (Charlesbridge 2019) and A PLACE TO LAND (Charlesbridge 2019)

and

A PLACE TO LAND: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE SPEECH THAT INSPIRED A NATION (Charlesbridge 2019) by Barry Wittenstein

barry-wittenstein-photo Sonny's Bridge A Place To Land

 

Book Bundle #2 – Two By Tara Plus One

Personalized, signed copies of OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019) and I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019) by Tara Luebbe

Tara Luebbe Operation Photobomb I Used To Be Famous

and a personalized signed copy of MOTHER TERESA: THE LITTLE PENCIL IN GOD’S HAND (Spork 2019) by Patricia Saunders

patricia-saunders_orig  Mother Teresa cover

Children's Writers And Illustrators 2020

(Charlesbridge 2019)

Making A Living Writing Books For Kids: Tips, Techniques, and Tales from a Working Children’s Author – by Laura Purdie Salas

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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

 

This is the part in the proceedings where I would normally post my sample to entertain and encourage you, but I’m afraid today, without burdening you with the details, my heart just can’t be in it.  Bad timing, I’m sorry 😦

But I know you guys are going to come up with great stories, and I’m so looking forward to reading them all.  I know they will lift my spirits! 😊

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  With so many great prizes up for grabs I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And you’ve still got a couple days to write, so you can squeeze in under the wire if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)

Eager Readers – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories!

 

Happy Writing and Happy Holidays!!!🎄⭐️ ✡️❄️☃️🕎

And don’t miss the 77!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments below!  The titles are linked and will take you directly to the stories!

  1. Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed – Sue Lancaster
  2. The Popcorn Tree – Lindsey Hobson
  3. Christmas Vacation Anticipation – Glenda Roberson
  4. A Great Treat – Deb Sullivan
  5. Santa’s Selfie – Sue Lancaster
  6. Mountain Magic – Deb Buschman
  7. The Great Cookie Escape – Katrina Swenson
  8. Elves Need Treats Too – Alicia Fadgen
  9. And One For Me! – Priscilla Merryman
  10. Gulab Jamuns – Shariffa Keshavjee
  11. Xmas Surprise – Shariffa Keshavjee
  12. The Candy Cane Con – Maryna Doughty
  13. Santa’s Sweet Treats – Lu Pierro
  14. Flavor Favor – Dorothy Wawa
  15. Gingerbread House UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Liz Sites
  16. Earl’s Christmas Gift – J. Gray Frye
  17. How NOT To Sit On Santa’s Lap – Chelsea Tornetto
  18. Vinarterta with Amma – Anne Lipton
  19. A Present For Grandma – Susan Drew
  20. Fudge – Johanna Speizer
  21. Never Too Old For Grandma Soo’s Pie – Bru Benson
  22. Where Light Can Reach – Kristen Loughlin
  23. Santa’s Cookies – Megan Hoffman
  24. Broccoli: The Best Holiday Treat – Taylor Gardner
  25. The Big Bad Wish – Roo Parkin
  26. Treats From Trash – Geraldine Jones
  27. Dinosaur Dress-up – Roo Parkin
  28. Christmas Cake Hero – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  29. Even Trolls Deserve A Treat – Jill Lambert
  30. Christmas Kitchen Chaos – Deborah Bence Boerema
  31. Home For The Holidays – Penelope McNally
  32. The Choice Of A Tree – Tracy Curran
  33. The Gingerbread Sleigh – Tracy Curran
  34. The Cookie Competition – Lisa Cloherty
  35. Santa’s Favorite Treat – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  36. Hero Cat’s Treat For Christmas – Lily Erlic
  37. Three Treats For Santa – Dawn Young
  38. Emma’s Turn – Beverly Warren
  39. A Sweet Escape – Tara Cerven
  40. How the Kvetch Hijacked Hanukkah – Paul Kurtz
  41. Best Christmas Ever! – Paul Kurtz
  42. Jungle Bells – Donna Kurtz
  43. My Bubbie’s Special Hanukkah Recipe – Donna Kurtz
  44. Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
  45. Santa’s Millionth Cookie – Heather Pierczynski
  46. Recipe For A Snowman – Kelly Pope Adamson
  47. A Fairy Tale Treat – Stacey Miller
  48. All I Want For Christmas – Laurie Carmody
  49. Double The Christmas Waffle Recipe – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  50. A Surprise For General Gingerbread – Brenda Covert
  51. Christmas Magic –  Kristy Roser Nuttall
  52. Special Report – Augusta McMurray
  53. The Reindeer Farm – Carrie Williford
  54. The Greatest Latke Topping – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
  55. That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles – Amy Flynn
  56. Believe In Christmas Magic – Linda Staszak
  57. Tortellini Day: A Family Holiday Tradition – Mona Pease
  58. Gingercats!– Amy Duchene
  59. Twinkle Twinkle Little Candle – Lisa Hutcheson
  60. Christmas Cookie Cuties – Kathy Mazurowski
  61. Biscuit’s Christmas Treat – Gabrielle Cardwell
  62. A Treat For Nana – Deborah Holt Williams
  63. Gobblewolly’s Gingerbread Goof – Jenny Buchet
  64. An Indigestible Treat – Jill Proctor
  65. Uh-oh, What Happened To The Dough? – JC Kelly
  66. Nutty Nut-Cracking – Ledys Chemin
  67. The Greatest Gift – Valerie Bolling
  68. Grandma Goodsnacks– Abbi Lee
  69. A Taste Of Peace – Pat Finnegan
  70. Andrés SAVES la Navidad – Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD
  71. The Case Of The Disappearing Candy Canes – Kristen Donohue
  72. Goodnight Zoolights – Kelly Pope Adamson
  73. With A Puff Of Snow – Yara C
  74. Santa’s Treat – Judy Sobanski
  75. A Wondrous Treat – Michelle S. Kennedy
  76. Hodgepodge – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  77. Little Bot’s Crunchy Latkes – Deborah Bernick

 

418 thoughts on “Ho! Ho! Ho! The 9th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KRISTY

    Double the Christmas Waffle Recipe
    By Kristy Roser Nuttall

    Sawyer dreamed all year about having the biggest Christmas morning waffle party ever.
    On Christmas Eve he zipped to the store and bought TONS of ingredients.
    He invited every dog in his neighborhood. .
    But on Christmas morning, only Marco showed up.
    1 FRIEND = A SMALL PARTY.
    Sawyer snuffled a sad sniffle.
    He looked at his recipe for Woofolicious Christmas Waffles.
    1 cup oil
    2 cups bacon bits
    3 cups milk
    4 large eggs
    5 cups Dog Treat Christmas Waffle Mix
    Yield: enough Christmas waffles for 2 hungry dogs
    SAWYER + MARCO = 2 DOGS
    But then the doorbell rang. . .
    Two new friends begged to join the party. Sawyer wagged his tail and rolled over.
    MORE FRIENDS = MORE WAFFLES
    A BIGGER PARTY!
    Time to . . .
    DOUBLE THE RECIPE!!
    Now Sawyer needed:
    2 cups oil
    4 cups bacon bits
    6 cups milk
    8 large eggs
    10 cups Dog Treat Christmas Waffle Mix
    Sawyer started mixing the ingredients for his Woof-olicious Waffle recipe.
    But when he finished cooking the waffles, he realized there was a BIG problem.
    ZERO SYRUP!
    Ears drooped.
    Howls filled the air.
    Sawyer panicked.
    Waffles – syrup = boring waffles
    But then Sawyer opened the refrigerator.
    “EUREKA!” he woofed. “I don’t have syrup, but I do have ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, jam, pickle juice,whipped cream, soy sauce, and salad dressing.”
    “Hmmmmm. . . . . .”
    “MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!”
    It’s a good thing dogs aren’t picky eaters.
    2 dogs + 2 dogs + waffles + ketchup + mayonnaise+ mustard + jam + pickle juice + whipped cream + soy sauce + salad dressing = THE BEST CHRISTMAS WAFFLE PARTY EVER!!

    • Brenda Covert says:

      A Surprise for General Gingerbread
      by Brenda Covert

      General Gingerbread is a smart cookie who loves Christmas. His favorite game is to guess what’s inside wrapped gifts!

      Two years ago Ginny gave him a gift. It wobbled, and he grinned. “It’s a basketball!” He was right.

      Last year, a quiet “yip” came from the gift box. “I know what that is!” the general exclaimed. A gingerbread pup jumped out and licked his face.

      “There is no fooling General Gingerbread,” Ginny said. “But I’m going to keep trying.”

      Ginny wandered through a store and saw some nesting dolls. An idea popped into her head.
      On Christmas morning, Ginny gave General Gingerbread a big box. He shook it and listened.

      Jingle jingle.

      “Is it a reindeer?” he asked.

      Ginny giggled. “Open it!”

      Inside the box, the general found a smaller box and a jingle bell.

      “You tricked me!” he said. “Maybe now I can guess what it is.” He shook the box.

      Rattle rattle.

      “Is it maracas?”

      No, it was a smaller box and a handful of tiny pebbles. “You tricked me again!” he told Ginny.

      The third box didn’t jingle or rattle. The general opened the box and peered inside.

      “It’s bubble wrap!”

      Ginny burst out laughing. “Your gift is inside the bubble wrap!”

      General Gingerbread tore away the bubble wrap and found a framed photo of Ginny and himself. “What a wonderful surprise, Ginny. Thank you!”

      Ginny placed the bubble wrap on the floor. “For more Christmas fun, let’s do the bubble wrap stomp!”

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KRISTY

    Christmas Magic
    By Kristy Roser Nuttall

    MOM: On Christmas Eve in a magical land far away there lived a boy named Jack.
    KATIE: NO, his name was not Jack, it was a girl and her name was Katie.
    MOM: Right, Katie’s mom gave her a cow to go sell at the market to get money to make Christmas cookies, but along the way Katie met a man selling magic beans.
    KATIE: NO, not just any old beans, he has to be selling magical jelly beans.
    MOM: Of course, the man was selling magic beans, and Katie traded the cow for the beans. When Katie brought the beans home, her mom was so mad that she had sold the cow for jellybeans instead of money, that she threw the beans out the window.
    KATIE: And then that night the beans grew into a magic jelly bean tree!
    MOM: And the magic jelly bean tree swirled and stretched outside her window. Branches bounced and jiggled drooping in a kaleidoscope of colors.
    KATIE: The flavors dazzled her tongue: mango, pineapple, raspberry, chocolate, mint, marshmallow, caramel, and hot cocoa.
    MOM: Katie filled buckets of beans and sold them to buy ingredients for Christmas cookies.
    KATIE: But she saved one bucket full of her favorite jelly bean flavors.
    Mom: And they spent the rest of Christmas day making scrumptious Christmas cookies decorated with magical jelly beans.
    KATIE: And Katie made sure to save a secret bag of magical jelly beans. . .because they really come in handy for good stories.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR AUGUSTA

    SPECIAL REPORT
    By Augusta McMurray

    The radio too old fashioned. Social media too new. Mrs. Claus suggests a television announcement for you.

    Listen up! A mischievous elf has spread the word that if you are naughty a sock full of coal awaits you. Have you heard?

    Not true! I’m here to announce that I care for you all.

    Don’t fear of you make mistakes while you play. Practice being a better friend everyday.

    Oh what a feat! Off I go in my flying sleigh to deliver to every girl and boy a delicious treat!

    Rest easy. Sleep tight. Santa will deliver presents tonight.

    This is Santa reporting, signing off with Christmas cheer, to last throughout the merry year.

    Ho! Ho! Ho!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Carrie Williford (@carrietimes) says:

    The Reindeer Farm
    By Carrie Williford (@carrietimes)

    Today Vera is going to the reindeer farm! There’s a campfire and hot chocolate – yum! Vera likes hers with marshmallows. Everyone climbs into a big sleigh to get their picture taken. Grandpa has his eyes closed – everyone laughs (even Grandpa).

    The reindeer are huge! Vera feeds them reindeer food. Her hands get a little wet but that’s ok. Vera gives each of them a pat on the head. The reindeer love it.

    She learns a lot about reindeer. A group of reindeer is called a herd. They’re the only deer where the boys and the girls both have antlers. They shed their antlers every year and then grow a new pair! Vera holds a shed antler; its heavy.

    Reindeer run very fast, up to 50 miles per hour. Vera races her mom to the car when it’s time to go home. She can’t get up to 50 but the car can!

    At home Vera hangs her new reindeer ornament on the tree. She names him Marshmallow. The lights bounce off the bells around his neck. Every time she sees Marshmallow she can think about her fun day at the reindeer farm.

  5. RebeccaTheWriter says:

    THE GREATEST LATKE TOPPING
    By Rebecca Gardyn Levington
    240 words

    Each Hannukah, the latke toppings have their own tradition:
    head-to-head, they battle in a lively competition.

    For Applesauce and Sour Cream, the rivalry is vital —
    each jockeying to win the “Greatest Latke Topping” title!

    “Good luck to you!” says Applesauce, perhaps a tad too sweetly.
    Sour Cream just scowls at her and not at all discreetly.

    Applesauce continues: “Don’t be bitter. This is fun!
    I promise we’ll be buddies even after I have won!”

    Sour Cream explodes at her: “Hey, Applesauce, just HUSH!
    No one wants to eat your soupy, soggy, slushy mush!”

    The kitchen door flies open and the Latke Judge skips in.
    “Hey Mommy, let’s eat latkes!” And like that, the games begin.

    He lifts the one with Applesauce and takes a hearty bite.
    “Yummy,” says the Judge who scarfs another with delight.

    He tastes the one with Sour Cream. “Oh, that’s delicious too!”
    Sour Cream and Applesauce exclaim: “Well, this won’t do!”

    Thankfully, the Judge’s mother suddenly steps in.
    “But honey, if you had to choose, which condiment would win?”

    Sour Cream and Applesauce both hold their breath and wait.
    “That’s a hard one,” says the Judge. “I think they both are great!

    “But if I had to pick the topping I most like to eat…
    Latkes dunked in KETCHUP are my very favorite treat!”

    Sour Cream and Applesauce let out a baffled sigh.
    “Ketchup always wins with kids. What is it with that guy?”

  6. amyflynnnd says:

    THAT’S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES
    By Amy Flynn
    Word Count: 74

    Grandma, Mom, and little me.
    Kitchen, baking, recipe.

    Flour, eggs, and loads of sugar.
    Chocolate chips and sticks of butter.

    Mixing, rolling, cutting shapes.
    In the oven. Wait and wait.

    Beeper sounds, now time to cool.
    Party guests begin to drool.

    Icing. Sprinkles. Decorations.
    Christmas cookies! Celebrations!

    Plate them up, and walk them out.
    Oof! A trip. A fall. A pout.

    All are crumbs. Sigh. All but three.
    Just for Grandma, Mom, and me.

  7. Linda Staszak says:

    BELIEVE IN CHRISTMAS MAGIC
    by Linda Staszak 192 words

    ‘Twas the morning of Christmas and all through the town
    Every stocking hung empty, each face wore a frown.
    On all of the rooftops, no hoof prints were seen.
    Santa’s sleigh hadn’t landed, so what did this mean?

    When they checked radar records, a sad fact was clear.
    Santa’s sleigh had gone missing with all the reindeer.
    A search party set out to find the lost sleigh,
    Hoping Santa and reindeer had just lost their way.

    They searched far and wide when they heard someone shout,
    “The sleigh’s in a snowbank. Let’s go dig it out!”
    Santa’s ho-ho was jolly. “We came in too low.
    Equipment malfunction. Got stuck in the snow.”

    They all worked together but without much luck.
    It was too late for Christmas. The sleigh was still stuck.
    They were ready to give up and start the trek back
    When “Wait! We forgot what we put in our pack.”

    They brought out the cookies (their magic is strong).
    “I can turn back the clocks so that nothing is wrong.
    What a wonderful treat.” Santa gobbled them down,
    And the sleigh lifted up and it zoomed off to town.

    T

  8. mona861 says:

    Tortellini Day
    A Family Holiday Tradition
    by Mona Pease

    Our family gathers round today.
    To pass tradition on today.
    It’s Tortellini Day today.
    Nonna says it’s good.

    Aunt Anna gathers eggs today.
    Dad brings flour sacks today.
    Mom cooked chicken broth today.
    Nonna says it’s good.

    The little ones can’t play today
    They all have jobs to do today
    Mix flour and eggs for dough today
    Nonna says it’s good.

    Bigger kids pitch in today.
    Crank to stretch the dough today.
    It’s perfect paper thin today.
    Nonna says it’s good.

    Cut little squares of dough today.
    Place filling in each one today.
    Her secret recipe today.
    Nonna says it’s good.

    Nonna shows us how today.
    Seal and twist and flip today.
    One pepper corm tucked in today.
    Nonna says it’s good.

    We sample just a few today.
    Slip and slurp and taste today.
    I get the “hot” surprise today.
    Nonna says it’s good!

  9. Amy Duchene says:

    Gingercats!
    By Amy Duchene

    There once was a boy who made cookies.
    Oh, how he liked their sweet, chewy taste.
    He loved to ice them with frosting;
    He smeared it on like paste.

    But the cookies he made were all circles.
    Yummy, but boring to see.
    He wanted to cut shapes and angles.
    Snowflakes, candy canes, and a tree!

    “A gingerbread dough will do well here.”
    His mother and sister agreed.
    “It rolls and it cuts and it bakes flat;
    You can decorate with grace and with speed.”

    First, the boy started making gingerbread men.
    Women and kids, ginger, too!
    But something was definitely missing…
    He didn’t know quite what to do.

    Just then he had an idea.
    He thought of all life on this earth.
    “I need to make us some critters;
    Big, small, some skinny, some with girth.”

    He began crafting faces and tails;
    Pointed ears, dainty noses, and paws!
    He made a veritable litter.
    His creations roused oohs and ahhs!

    Then something magical happened.
    The brood, it came to life.
    The cookies turned into real kitties,
    Formed from dough and frosting and knife!

    “It can’t be! Impossible! What happened?”
    What to his wondering eyes did appear?
    All those cats were gingerbread cookies…
    Now alive! Real fur! Real ears!

    The kitchen was teeming with kittens.
    Perched on counters and tables and chairs.
    With their whiskers and purrs, he was smitten.
    Should he make more dough—does he dare?

  10. lisawrites4u says:

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Candle

    By Lisa Hutcheson

    Once upon a December, Christmas and Hanukkah arrived together. And one special family celebrated both holidays. They put up a Christmas tree in the corner and decorated it with beautiful strands of twinkling lights and all sorts of glittering decorations. And when Hanukkah came a few days before Christmas, they set a festive Hanukiah, the special candle holder for the eight nights of celebration, in the widow sill.

    As was their custom on the first night, they said a special blessing and the youngest child in the family lit the candle in the middle and then used it to light the candle on the far right.

    The little candle looked over at the strand of lights on the tree. “Oh, I wish I could be like you. You last for a long time, night after night. My light only shines for a short time.” 

    The little strand of twinkle lights on the tree blinked. “I wish I could be like you. Your flame burns so bright!”

    Up in the sky, a big star looked down through the window at the two. “Long ago, a baby was born and his crib was straw in a barn…the Light came into the world and it was a miracle the world has never forgotten. People may not notice me any more, but Hanukkah candle and Christmas tree light, when they see you, they are reminded that miracles happen.”

    And with that in their hearts, candle and light burned brighter than ever before.

  11. Kathy Mazurowski says:

    Christmas Cookie Cuties

    by Kathy Mazurowski

    Pepper and Ginger earned the nicknames, Christmas Cookie Cuties when they were adopted by the Winter family last December. They arrived just as all the holiday preparations were beginning- gift wrapping, tree trimming, and the best part of all… making cookies!

    They watched as the family gathered ingredients, measured, and mixed the doughs. The smells interested the puppies. After the chilling and rolling they waited and waited for the baking and cooling. Then the decorating with sprinkles and icings. Cookies that were not perfect and any crumbs always seemed to end up within the puppies reach.

    Later that evening, Pepper and Ginger whimpered. The puppies had a few too many Christmas cookie treats and ended up with tummy aches. No one wanted that.

    This year as the Christmas preparations were underway, the family wrapped and trimmed, but Pepper and Ginger were locked out of the kitchen at cookie making time.

    Chocolate, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves filled the air, but there were no cookies or crumbs for Pepper and Ginger this year.

    When the kitchen quieted, doors opened, and a spicy scent filled the room. The family sang carols to Pepper and Ginger. They brought two plates filled with Special Christmas Cookie Cuties treats just for the puppies.

    They gobbled down the tangy holiday treats, made with love, just for them.

    “No tummy problems for Pepper or Ginger this year!”

  12. Gabrielle Cardwell says:

    Biscuit’s Christmas Treat
    by Gabrielle Cardwell

    Biscuit the bulldog is taking a nap,
    snoring and drooling on Oliver’s lap.
    She rolls to the floor but continues to snooze
    as he wipes off the slobber and laces his shoes.

    She opens her eyes as he tickles her chin,
    “Let’s go for a walk, it’s too nice to stay in.”
    He strolls down the path, through the gate to the street.
    She waddles behind, smelling good things to eat.

    Turkey with stuffing at house number four.
    Ham at the place with the wreath on the door.
    Warm apple pie at the home with the tree.
    Pudding with custard at house number three.

    Gingerbread stars at the home with the lights.
    Biscuit inhales all these Christmas delights,
    Roasted potatoes and mixed berry crumbles.
    Her tummy is hungry. It growls and it grumbles.

    “It’s time to go home for it’s getting quite late.”
    They turn and walk back to the house through the gate.
    In Biscuits blue bowl – surprise! It’s a bone,
    a fabulous Christmasy treat of her own.

    After the feasting is done for the night,
    Biscuit is tucked in her bed, snug and tight.
    She snuffles and snorts while she dreams of her treat
    and all of the wonderful scents from the street.

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DEBORAH

    A Treat for Nana (73 words)
    By Deborah Holt Williams

    I really love my Nana,
    so I made her a holiday treat.
    She’s on a special diet,
    She can’t have anything sweet.

    I thought about sugar-free cookies,
    But wait—she has no teeth!
    I took some selfies and printed them out
    And glued the pics on a wreath.

    I tied on sticks of cinnamon
    And pinecones, one, two three.
    She hung the wreath by her favorite chair.
    She says her treat is—ME!

  14. yangmommy says:

    Merry Greetings, ya’l! Warning: I wrote this story in just a few hours. I thought I had another week but–haha–I had just one day! As I’d be eternally mad at myself for not trying & entering, I wrote something. Hope it makes you smile a little–I enjoyed the frenzy of creating something new, much like my character 🙂

    Gobblewolly’s Gingerbread Goof (250-w)

    Gobblewolly marched into the arena
    A creature on a kitchen mission
    He stared down all the bakers…
    There was simply no competition

    For after months of long planning
    Sketching, tasting and slicing
    Gobblewolly’s secret ingredient
    Was sticky toffee icing!

    The starting bell rang.
    He zipped around his station.
    Measuring. Mixing. Making the
    Ultimate gingerbread creation!

    Gobblewolly cut out shapes
    A few walls and at least two floors,
    A big tiled a roof and
    Of course, a marvelous door.

    He sucked his breath in
    And counted to three
    Then squee–eezed out his icing
    So. Very. Stead-i-ly.

    He used gumdrops and peppermints
    And oodles of chocolate dots
    Licorice and gummies
    And two special lollipops

    Gobblewolly stepped back to admire
    All that he’d done
    His house was truly amazing,
    Simply second to none!

    But the kitchen was hot
    With all those bakers baking
    Things took a turn for the worst
    That left Gobblewolly shaking

    His toffee hadn’t quite dried!
    What was once sticky and gluey
    Had now actually turned
    Incredibly, terribly, gooey!

    In an avalanche of sprinkles
    His gingerbread house tumbled
    His dreams of winning a trophy
    Vanished in peppermint crumble

    His house was ruined!
    Candy scattered everywhere
    All his work was for nothing…
    Unless…

    He grabbed up his cookware
    Mixer, spoon, and pan
    He stirred more ingredients together
    To the oven he ran

    Since there wasn’t any time
    To have a brand new house set
    He simply gathered all that candy
    Atop a crusty gingerbread baguette!
    ~~
    Blessing of the season to all, and to all, happy writing!

  15. Jill Richards Proctor says:

    An Indigestible Treat (111 Words)
    By Jill Richards Proctor

    My Auntie Em brought fruit cake
    to my house on Christmas day.
    “Thanks for the sweet
    and colorful treat,”
    was all that I could say.

    Dried cherries topped the pastry,
    in neon green and red.
    To be polite,
    I took a bite,
    then to the sink, I fled.

    The cake clung to my tonsils,
    refusing to let go.
    “Detestable!
    Indigestible!”
    I sputtered through the dough.

    “Where’s the icing? Where’s the gooey
    center of this cake?
    It’s not a treat
    that I can eat.
    I simply can’t partake.

    Before the sun went down, that day,
    I climbed the garden wall.
    That fruit cake flew
    far from my view –
    a sweet treat, after all.

    • Jill Richards Proctor says:

      Thanks, Laurie! Not so much a muse, but more of a bad memory! There’s no wonder it has such a bad reputation. 🙂

  16. writestuff99 says:

    Uh-oh, What Happened to the Dough?

    JC Kelly
    250 words

    Every year we bake gingerbread men.
    We make six dozen, or maybe it’s ten.

    Mom carefully makes the yummy dough.
    She measures the ingredients just so.

    Then we patiently wait overnight
    With the dough in the fridge, out of sight.

    The next day, Mom grabs her rolling pin,
    To roll the dough so flat and thin.

    Every year we use the same old cookie cutter,
    And scraps of dough begin to flutter…

    As the gingerbread men come to life,
    We only make men; none have a wife.

    Every year there’s no surprise:
    One cinnamon nose and two raisin eyes.

    But this year…things were a little different.

    This year, we had a snow day,
    While mom had a workday.

    The dough was chilled…
    And we were thrilled …

    TO BE A LITTLE CREATIVE!

    This year we made gingerbread dogs, cats and pigs,
    And gingerbread girls wearing gigantic wigs.

    We made gingerbread aliens from outer space,
    And a creature with fangs upon its face.

    We made gingerbread snakes, spiders and ants
    And gingerbread kids wearing silly underpants.

    We meant to make a man or two,
    A regular gingerbread man, just a few.

    We meant to do our mom a favor
    With cookie shapes that she could savor.

    But she came home early to quite a mess,
    And our unique designs did not impress.

    Her lips were pinched tight
    As she took her first bite.

    She said, “These are quite good, but I miss my men.
    Let’s make more dough and begin again.”

  17. Ledys Villasmil Chemin says:

    Hello! Thank you so much, Susanna, for this fantastic contest! Thank you also to my dear Story Sculptors for all their help and inspiration to get my little tale into shape 🙂

    NUTTY NUT-CRACKING
    By Ledys Chemin
    232 words

    Nutcracker wanted to be happy. He really did. But nut-cracking left him sore and cranky, and there were still so many nuts to crack.

    Sugarplum danced in. “A waltz would set you to rights,” she said.
    But Nutcracker was too achy to keep time and he tripped and fell.

    Snowflake drifted in. “Ice would soothe the soreness.”
    But the ice spread the crack in Nutcracker’s back.

    Blossom swayed in. “A bouquet will lift your spirits.”
    But flowers made Nutcracker sneeze and wheeze.

    “You should lie down, m‘boy!” Ordered Grandfather.
    “No, you should march around!” Said Fritz.
    But it was impossible to do both at the same time.

    Fernanda shared hot cocoa. Kassim set out coffee.
    Ling served lavender tea. Ivan supplied the samovar.
    Nutcracker drank, drank, and drank. His wooden frame swelled, swelled, and swelled.

    Drosselmeyer came in with tools to try and fix him.
    But Nutcracker did not stick around for that!

    When Clara found him, Nutcracker was not in a good mood. So, she smiled and wrapped a blanket around him.

    “This is nice,” he said. “But I am still too tired to crack nuts. And there are so many left!”
    He could not let them all down. But, what to do?
    “Say . . . Godfather Drosselmeyer, do you still have those tools? Care if we use them?”

    . . .

    Nutcracker was happy. He really was. Nut-cracking was easier with helping friends!

    ~the end

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR VALERIE

    THE GREATEST GIFT by Valerie Bolling

    On Christmas morning I wake to see
    Lots of presents beneath the tree.

    Down the stairs I hop, then run.
    Opening gifts is oh such fun!

    Mom says, “Slow down a bit.”
    On the carpet I quickly sit.

    With hands wrapped around my knees,
    I beg, I plead, “Please, Mom, please!”

    “OK, Zorah. You may open your gifts.”
    “But, first, give me my mistletoe kiss.”

    I search for the presents with my name.
    And guess what’s inside, just like a game.

    A stove from Santa. I can bake!
    What yummy-yums will I make?

    Mommy gives me a coat and hat.
    And matching gloves to go with that.

    Daddy gives me a pair of boots.
    And a choo-choo train that toot! toots!

    Brother gives me drums to beat.
    I’ll play with my hands, dance with my feet.

    Nana gives me fancy clothes.
    And, for my pigtails, pretty bows.

    Uncle and Auntie give me a puzzle.
    And a squishy bunny I can nuzzle.

    Which is my favorite gift of all?
    Is it big, or is it small?

    I look at them all but cannot choose.
    Which will I pick? Whose? Whose?

    Train, bunny, stove, drum set.
    I cannot decide yet.

    Coat, hat, clothes, bows.
    I can’t choose among those.

    I glance around the room and start to grin.
    There they are … there … where they’ve always been.

    My loving family is surrounding me.
    Smiling, laughing, filled with glee.

    They’re a gift to me every day.
    “You’re all the best treat!” I say.

  19. Abbi Lee (@abbilee18) says:

    GRANDMA GOODSNACKS by Abbi Lee
    188 Words

    Grandma Goodsnacks has so many Christmas trees, and she decorates each one to show her favorite things. But she has just one ultimate favorite tree. Which one is it?

    Maybe the one sprinkled with colorful, twinkling lights, the branches heavy and dripping with white icing. Metal cookie cutters gleaming, and sugar piled high in snowy, powdered clumps.

    Grandma Goodsnacks shakes her head.

    Perhaps the tree wrapped in red and white ribbon, smelling strongly of all kinds of mint. Cellophane garland shows off a rainbow effect, and circles and hooks cover every spare inch.

    Grandma Goodsnacks wrinkles her nose.

    Or maybe the tree strung with mini marshmallows, with the scent of chocolate dancing through the air. Mugs painted with snowmen, Santa, and reindeer, and spoons clink and clank in a holiday harmony.

    Grandma Goodsnacks lifts an eyebrow, I must be getting close.

    There’s one more, center stage, right by the fireplace. It’s not like the others, it’s full of rectangles and squares tied with ribbon and lace. Look closer. Pictures? Of me and you and mom and dad too. This one? Grandma Goodsnacks smiles and nods.

    Our family tree.

  20. Janet Smart says:

    Thanks so much to everyone – Susanna and all the ones who contributed the prizes! I just posted my story on my blog under the wire.

  21. Patricia Finnegan says:

    A TASTE OF PEACE
    by Pat Finnegan
    246 words

    (Based on true events)

    A miracle happened during my first Christmas away from home. But before the miracle, there was . . .

    Rain,
    Bone-chilling rain,
    Rivers of endless ice-cold rain.

    And noise,
    Ear-splitting noise,
    Cover your ears and duck your head noise.

    And strangers,
    Danger-filled strangers,
    Nameless, faceless, out to hurt you strangers.

    A No Man’s Land of rain and mud and noise separated us from them.

    But, on Christmas Eve . . .

    The rain and noise stopped.
    Snowflakes dusted the newly frozen mud.
    Christmas songs drifted across No Man’s Land.

    The nameless faceless strangers sang and shouted, “Happy Christmas!”
    We sang a song, and they cheered.
    They sang a song, and we cheered.
    When, we sang a song together, we all cheered.

    A few of them appeared in No Man’s Land—
    A very dangerous thing to do.
    Then, a few of us joined them.
    Soon, all of us were in No Man’s Land together.

    We shared cold food,
    And family photos,
    And a game of football.

    Somebody was a barber before he came to No Man’s Land, and he gave haircuts.
    Somebody was a juggler, and he did a show.

    As the sun set, we drifted back to our own sides of No Man’s Land.

    Some people believe a miracle occurred in Bethlehem over 1900 years ago.
    A second miracle happened during my first Christmas away from home.
    On December 25, 1914, sandwiched between days of war, I had a taste of Peace.

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CARMEN

    Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD
    cacegi@comcast.net

    Andrés SAVES la Navidad
    (249 words)

    Three more days till la Navidad! Andrés could hardly wait.
    Every year Grandma Silvia arrived from a faraway place called Spain.
    Every year Abuela Silvia prepared the family’s favorite Spanish Christmas treat, turrón.
    Andrés knew that turrón is the most typical sweet at Christmas in Spain. Without turrón at the Christmas Day table la Navidad would not be the same.
    But this year, Abuela Silvia’s hands hurt and she had trouble doing many things.
    “Can you help make our turrón?” Abuela asked.
    “Sí,” Andrés said. “I’ve watched you many times.”
    Abuela pulled out the ingredients.
    “Miel,” she said.
    “Honey,” Andrés translated.
    “Almendras molidas.”
    “Ground almonds.”
    “Canela.”
    “Cinnamon.”
    “Huevos.”
    “Eggs.”
    Andrés poured the miel into a pan for his Abuela.
    He stirred the almendras molidas into the miel.
    He mixed the huevos and the canela
    Abuela turned on the stove and placed the pan on it. She stirred the mix.
    Then Andrés put wax paper on a dish.
    When the mix was ready, he spread it over the paper.
    Smooth, smooth, smooth.
    Andrés spread the mix as evenly as he could.
    “Now we wait until Christmas Day for the turrón to be ready to eat,” Abuela said.
    At the supper table on Christmas Day everyone asked who had made this wonderful
    treat. The squares of turrón were deliciosos!
    “Abuela and I did!” Andrés shouted with pride.
    Abuela Silvia winked at him and smiled.
    Andrés winked back, but now his mouth was too full of turrón to do anything but chew!

    • M.A. Cortez says:

      It’s nice to see more diversity in the Holiday stories this year. I love how you’ve weaved the Spanish and English into your story so effortlessly. Super cute story. Good luck!

    • Kelly A. says:

      I love this and can definitely see it as a bilingual picture book with the full recipe in the back! I’d love using this with my prek class who are learning Spanish.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Wonderful story, Carmen! Love how Andres steps in to help Abuela, saving la Navidad this year, but also learning how to make the treat himself so he can do it in the future. Lovely job working in the Spanish words! Now I want to try turron! 🙂

  23. Kristen Donohue says:

    THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING CANDY CANES
    BY: Kristen Donohue
    WORD COUNT: 248

    Christmas Eve had arrived!
    Presents were wrapped,
    the sleigh was ready,
    but Jingle had the jitters.

    Santa had put her in charge of the stockings,
    and now the candy canes were missing!
    If Jingle didn’t find them,
    there would be no peppermint treats for Christmas!

    Jingle checked the Workshop.
    The elves were busy making games for the party.
    “Has anyone seen the candy canes?”
    “Not here,” said Merry.

    Jingle headed to the Dining Hall.
    The elves were busy making cookies for the party.
    “Has anyone seen the candy canes?”
    “Nope,” said Snowflake.

    Jingle tried the Wrapping Room.
    The elves were busy decorating for the party.
    “Has anyone seen the candy canes?”
    “No,” said Joy, “Did you lose them?”

    Jingle ran outside and slumped in the snow.
    “No candy canes for Christmas,” she cried. “The children will be so sad.”
    Then, she heard something…

    Jingle crept over to the barn window.
    She peeked in.
    The reindeer sang,
    danced,
    and laughed…
    in a candy cane-decorated wonderland.

    Jingle crashed through the door. “Why did you take them?”
    “I’m sorry,” said Dasher. “But we miss the Christmas Eve party every year because we’re
    pulling Santa’s sleigh. We just wanted a little fun too.”
    Jingle sighed. “You shouldn’t have taken them, but I forgive you. Now, pack those candy
    canes where they belong and find me inside.

    And right before lift-off, the elves AND the reindeer had a party to remember.
    And the next morning, children woke up to a candy cane Christmas!

  24. Kelly A. says:

    Goodnight Zoolights
    By Kelly Pope Adamson

    It’s dark outside but I’m at the zoo gate;
    each night in December my zoo opens late!
    Mom says it’s a special holiday treat,
    to hear each nighttime roar, bark, and tweet.
    We rush through the gate and follow bright lights;
    So many choices–the left path or the right?
    I see lots of bears, bees; even a bunny!
    They all make me hungry thinking of honey.
    Next up are the penguins, sea lions, and seals.
    My stomach still rumbles thinking of meals.
    The lights can’t distract me from my growling tummy–
    even the real animals are starting to look yummy!
    Is it just me or does that bird look tasty?
    Calm down, I think, let’s not be too hasty.
    Yet still I rush forward to a tiger light.
    I cant help myself, I take a big bite!
    I rush to the lions and gobble them up–
    Dunk them in coco cooling in my cup.
    This isnt right, I think, This cant be kind.
    With a sigh of relief I wake up to find
    I just fell asleep at the table and was drooling,
    while all of my cookies for Santa were cooling!
    There are lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!
    Sugar cookie animals rest next to apple pie.
    “I’m glad you’re finally awake,” says my mom.
    “Its time to go!” She gives me her palm.
    “Where are we going so late at night?”
    “It’s a special treat–Christmas Eve zoolights!”

      • Kelly A. says:

        Thank you Susanna! I took my inspiration from a vague memory of a Shirley Temple song about animal crackers. And thank you for continuing to host such fun contests!!

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR YARA

    With a Puff of Snow (218 words)
    by Yara C

    In a puff, the snow sprinkles up

    Around Rees and Vee’s bundled arms and hands

    wildly moving in the shape of wings.

    Standing up and

    dropping back down into the powder snow,

    they laugh as tiny speckles fall from the sky to tickle their nose.

    A bell rings twice like a jingle

    and Ms. Sam sings from the stoop,

    “Hot cocoa! Hot Cocoa!”

    Rees and Vee stood up,

    Dusting the flakes off their bubble-like jacket

    And waddle over to the waiting mugs.

    One, two, three marshmallows

    Float under the steam

    And above the smelling cocoa dancing with the cinnamon.

    “Mmm…” They both say holding the mugs close.

    Just as they go to drink, Ms. Sam cries out

    “Wait! Oh no! How could I have forgot!” Ms. Sam turns and hurries back inside.

    Rees and Vee freeze but not from the cold.

    What could it be, they wondered?

    What is missing in their special treat?

    They count the marshmallows to three.

    It looks and smells right,

    But they wait before taking a sip.

    Ms. Sam comes back and with a wave of a hand

    Two sugar cookie straws dipped in blue glaze

    Sink inside their mug.

    Sticky foam spills over the rim.

    “Oh, that is right,” Rees and Vee say.

    “It is our tradition,

    Only on snow days,

    do icicle cookie straws appear!”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Lovely story, Yara! I can picture those two bundled up kiddos making snow angels perfectly, and their hot cocoa treat with marshmallows and cinnamon sounds delicious! Love the idea of icicle cookie straws! Thanks for joining in the holiday highjinks! 🙂

  26. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    Santa’s Treat -196 words

    Santa loves cookies. We all know that’s true—
    frosted and sugared and nutty ones, too.
    But after the ten thousandth house of the night,
    Santa can’t manage to eat one more bite.

    Too many cookies make Santa feel sick.
    It’s way too much sugar for good Ol’ St. Nick.
    He should eat the carrots but that would be rude,
    to deprive all his reindeer their much-deserved food.

    The next house he’s hoping will be cookie-free.
    Sure enough on a Christmas plate next to the tree
    is…WAIT! Oh my goodness—could this be a joke?
    Two slices of pizza and one glass of Coke!

    “Now THIS is a treat,” jolly Santa declares,
    as he sits and reclines in the big easy chair.
    He swallows the last of the drink with a slurp
    and after the pizza, lets go with a “BURP!”

    He loosens his belt and he says with a sigh,
    “I’d sure like a nap, but I can’t—I must fly!”
    “He sets out the toys and returns to his sleigh
    He hasn’t much time for it’s soon Christmas Day.

    “That was enjoyable… quite a delight!
    Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!”

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MICHELLE
    (submitted on time – I’m just late posting it)

    A Wondrous Treat (226 words)
    By: Michelle S. Kennedy

    Chiumbo and Ahma live where it’s warm.
    The heat and sun are their wintery norm.
    No coat required- Their skin’s nice and tanned.
    Instead of white snow, they have gritty-brown sand.

    “I want a blizzard!” Chiumbo cried out.
    Then his toe kicked the beach. His lips made a pout.
    “I’m going to write Santa. Maybe he’ll help.”
    He spoke this to Ahma, who twisted some kelp.

    “What? That’s so silly. He can’t make it snow!”
    said Ahma now laughing, but curious, so…
    She got up to follow Chiumbo right then.
    To help with the letter, she grabbed her best pen.

    Together, they wrote, while drinking their Fanta-
    A carefully crafted letter to Santa.
    They made their request. They said they’d been good.
    Would he make it snow? They hoped that he could.

    They mail out their letter and eagerly wait.
    A tropical Christmas is looking their fate.
    “It’s sweltering hot. I’m dripping in sweat!”
    Chiumbo looked up with saddened regret.

    “I shouldn’t have asked for a snowstorm this year.
    Santa’s not God and he’s no engineer.”
    But, soon as he spoke, Chiumbo felt chilled.
    His heart skipped a beat, all suddenly thrilled.

    “Merry Christmas!” He heard Santa shout with delight.
    “You asked for a blizzard! Now prepare for snow white!”
    Snow fell in the tropics on that Christmas day.
    A wondrous treat from Santa’s big sleigh.

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KRISTY
    (submitted on time – I’m just late posting)

    Hodgepodge
    By Kristy Roser Nuttall

    Santa invited a little witch named Jade to his annual Christmas party. She wanted to surprise everyone with a Christmas treat, but she didn’t know what to make. She looked at her bottles and jars of:

    cyclops eyebrow hair

    werewolf whiskers

    wolf toe jam

    lizard spit

    ogre armpit hair

    dragon snot

    griffin burps

    emerald green swamp slime

    wizard ear wax

    goblin toenail clippings

    witch belly button lint

    . . .and slumped.

    These ingredients would never do.

    She called the Elf Christmas cooking hotline:

    “Help I’m a witch and I need to make a Christmas treat!” said Jade.

    “I’ll send an emergency cooking elf assistant right over,” said the elf.

    The elf arrived with bottles of cinnamon, sugar, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cranberries.

    Jade mixed her ingredients with the elf’s ingredients and whispered a spell. She imagined delicious Christmas cookies, and when she opened her eyes. . .a strange sight awaited. . .

    Giant gingerbread men riding dragons frosted with emerald greed swamp slime and sprinkled with cinnamon. These would have to do.

    Jade sang out, “Merry Christmas!” as she carried them into the Christmas party. A tiny cackle of glee escaped her lips as two elves fought over one of her cookies. Her Halloween hodgepodge had blended with sugar and spice to make a true Christmas baking miracle.

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DEBORAH
    (submitted on time but trouble with blog link so re-posted here)

    LITTLE BOT’S CRUNCHY LATKES
    by Deborah Bernick

    Little Bot loves his Granny’s Hanukkah parties.

    He has eight mechanical arms. Putting decorations on the wall is easy. Spinning a dozen dreidels is, too. Nun. Gimmel. Hay. Shin! . . . I win! I WIN!! I WIN!! I WIN!!!!

    Come help with the latkes, Grandma asks.

    OK. I’ll make my special kind.

    Little Bot dumps tacks, nails, gears, scissors, ladles and metal dreidels unto the batter.

    YUM! All the Bots will love my treat.

    The phone begins to ring non-stop.

    Zing-Zing! Big news! A human boy is coming tonight. He got a Toy Bot for Hanukkah and wants to celebrate the holidays, Bot-and-Human style.

    Little Bot opens up the Bot-opedia. What do HUMANS like to eat for Hanukkah? Grated potatoes. Chocolate coins. Apple Sauce. Doughnuts. Little Bot uses his magnetic super-powers to extract every clunky item out of his old latke concoction. He puts in human holiday foods instead.

    The doorbell rings. DING DONG!! The boy arrives. They all sit down to feast. The latkes are a hit! Little Bot and the boy are just about to burp happily ever after when suddenly they hear a shriek. It’s from Grandma.

    Oy! What happened to the chocolate Hanukkah gelt?

    A pile of round chocolates sits – naked and without any silver wrappers — by the kitchen door.

    Little Bot gives a sly smile. Humans love their chocolates! WE love our metal foils!

    He fills his plate with HIS dessert.

    And the boy visitor fills his plate with his.

    And together, they devour a plateful of jelly doughnuts by the flickering light of the Hanukkah candles.

  30. M.A. Cortez says:

    This is awesome. What a great Hanukkah story. I love how Little Bot is so considerate of his human guest. Very entertaining and also a lot of info about Hanukkah for those who might be unfamilier with the celebration.

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