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. sequinsue says:

    Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed (232 words)
    by Sue Lancaster
    Twitter handle @WritesSue

    Grandpa Ted has a garden shed, but the door stays firmly closed,
    Whenever I visit, I try to peek in, but he won’t even show Granny Rose.
    Whatever it is Grandpa keeps inside, he will not let me see.
    I beg to him: “pleeeeease let me in,” but he keeps it a mystery…
    Maybe Grandpa’s a super hero, and it’s where he keeps his cape?
    Then, when he thinks no-one’s looking, he quickly makes his escape…
    Maybe Grandpa’s a time-traveler, and his shed is a time machine?
    Transporting him far in the future, the things he must have seen…
    Maybe Grandpa’s a secret spy, and it’s where he keeps his tools?
    Night vision goggles, invisible ink – now, that would be really cool…
    Maybe Grandpa’s an astronaut, and his shed is a rocket ship?
    Whenever he steps inside, he takes an intergalactic trip…
    Then, one afternoon when I visit, Grandpa opens the shed door wide,
    “Come in,” he says, “I’m finished. Let’s see what’s hidden inside.”
    Grandpa has made me a playhouse, as a special Christmas treat!
    “It’s filled with all my favourite things! Oh, Grandpa, you’re so sweet!
    A train track with a wind-up train… a doll’s house with four floors…
    Jigsaw puzzles… board games… and picture books galore!”
    So now the mystery’s over, but something’s made me pause:
    A suit so bright tucked out of sight… is Grandpa…

    Santa Claus?

  2. lbhobson says:

    The Popcorn Tree
    By Lindsey Hobson
    250 words

    Elsie’s favorite thing about Christmas was decorating the Christmas tree. Every year on the first day of December, Elsie and her mom and dad would watch Christmas movies and make a popcorn garland to hang on the tree. 

    This year was extra special because it was Elsie’s little brother’s first Christmas! 

    When Elsie got home from school on December first, she ran into the kitchen. “Can we make the popcorn?” she asked her Momma.

    “We can’t this year. Your brother is too little and he could choke on the popcorn. I’m sorry, Elsie” said Momma.

    Elsie pouted by the window in her room. She watched the snowflakes fall. Then she saw it, a Christmas tree!

    “Momma!” Elsie cried. “Come quick!”

    Momma hurried into Elsie’s room.

    “Can we put the popcorn garland on that tree?” 

    “What a great idea, Elsie!” said Momma.

    During her brother’s nap, Momma and Elsie made the popcorn garland. When Daddy got home, he helped Elsie hang it on the tree outside.

    When her brother woke up from his nap, Elsie showed him the tree through her window. 

    Birds flew all around the tree and landed on its branches to have a popcorn snack. Her brother laughed and clapped his hands.

    Elsie’s family watched the birds until it was time for dinner. While they ate, they talked about the different birds they saw.

    Now every year, on the first day of December, Elsie’s family makes two popcorn garlands. One for their tree, and one for the birds. 

  3. Glenda Roberson says:

    Christmas Vacation Anticipation (230 words)
    By
    Glenda Roberson

    ‘‘Twas two days before break now.
    There’s chaos in class.
    My poor teacher is cranky,
    The kids full of sass.

    I am certainly dreaming
    For school to be out,
    And no longer attentive.
    Of that there’s no doubt.

    The students are spacey.
    We want more fun treats
    And we beg for no class work…
    Won’t stay in our seats.

    Seems that nothing will calm us.
    Our teacher is tired.
    Every mind is on Christmas.
    All kiddos are wired.

    I was thinking of recess,
    When what do I hear?
    An announcement: Tomorrow’s
    A test for mid-year!

    Mrs. Gilbert starts laughing,
    “I’m kidding you guys!
    There’s no testing tomorrow,
    That wouldn’t be wise.”

    Then our teacher informs us
    She’s got a surprise.
    The kids stop what they’re doing,
    All ears and big eyes.

    “I’ve made bags for each student
    With candy galore.
    So it’s time for a party.”
    She adds more decor.

    The class party was great, but
    One day still remains.
    Can I work up an illness?
    I feel some sharp pains.

    I retire to my bedroom
    So tired I could weep,
    But I’m feeling so anxious,
    It’s hard to find sleep.

    In my dream I envision
    A long Christmas break
    That has already started,
    But then I awake.

    I am feeling reluctant,
    But what do I see?
    A deep blanket of white and
    A snow day for me!

  4. Deborah Agranat Sullivan says:

    A Great Treat (228 words) By Deb Sullivan

    Cece was ready to explode!
    Hanukkah starting.
    Gramps arriving.
    A great treat coming….
    Her heart raced with anticipation.
    Scrambling to the holiday box, Cece pulled out decorations.
    Gramps loved Hanukkah too. He put ice cream on his latkes, sang “Oh Hanukkah” with
    abandon, and hid gifts in the wildest places.
    “What would you like for Hanukkah?” Gramps had asked Cece on the phone.
    “A great treat!”
    “Come again?” asked Gramps.
    Cece sometimes had to say things twice for Gramps. She never minded.
    “A great treat!” she repeated.
    “Ah yes, “ said Gramps. “Perfect.”
    Cece bounced from room to room, thinking about her great treat.
    Would it be puffy stickers? New markers? A scooter?
    She pulled out the menorah, imagining 8 great treats!
    Then she rehearsed a “great treat” dance, including dreidel twirls.
    Ooops. The gelt coins.
    Cece picked the chocolates up and put most of them back in the bowl.
    DING DONG!
    Cece whizzed to the door.
    Gramps gave the best hugs.
    Cece led him to the living room and showed off her seasonal display. And her dance moves.
    “Fabulous!” said Gramps.
    “As requested, now it’s time to rest your feet!”
    Cece looked at Gramps.
    Rest your feet. Great treat.
    Ahh!
    Cece smiled.
    “Care if I join you?” asked Gramps.
    “Not at all,” Cece replied.
    Then Grandpa and Cece plopped on the couch to enjoy their great treat. Together.

  5. sequinsue says:

    Santa’s Selfie (248 words)
    by Sue Lancaster
    Twitter handle @WritesSue

    It’s the night before Christmas, the house is all quiet,
    Mum and Dad are sound asleep… but wide awake is Violet.
    She tiptoes down the creaky stairs, as silent as can be,
    She peeks out of the window – are those snowflakes she can see?
    The garden path it sparkles, where this afternoon she’d spread
    Reindeer dust for Rudolph, so he knows just where to head.
    Then Violet’s in the living room, all lit up by the tree,
    Its fairy lights are shining bright, allowing her to see.
    Her Christmas sack hangs by the fire, looking rather bare,
    But Santa Claus will be here soon, with lots of gifts to share.
    She sits down on the sofa, pulls a blanket to her lap,
    In her hand is Mummy’s phone, all poised to take a snap.
    But next thing, she is waking up, to morning light outside,
    How dismayed poor Violet is, she really could have cried.
    Then she sees her sack of gifts and cannot help but smile,
    A picture book… a tea-set… and a cuddly crocodile!
    The mince pies she had left out, are now nowhere to be seen,
    Where they were is Mummy’s phone, with black soot on the screen.
    She picks it up with wonder and her eyes light up with glee,
    A photo of the man himself – a Santa Claus selfie!
    His round red face and big white beard, fill the tiny frame,
    It is the best treat ever, knowing Santa really came!

  6. Deb Buschman (@DebBuschman) says:

    MOUNTAIN MAGIC
    By Deb Buschman
    “But Mom, what about skateboarding at the park?” asked Jake and Luke.
    “Boys, you know we always take Christmas treats to the nursing home,” said Mom.
    They trudged into the home and were met with “Merry Christmas” greetings. The boys handed out treats and skateboarded down the hall. Soon they were laughing and singing Christmas songs.
    Until, they spied Mr. Miller, alone in his room.
    “Hey, you want some treats?” asked Jake.
    “NO!”
    “Everyone likes treats.”
    “Ummph,” Mr. Miller grumbled.
    Then Luke noticed his pictures. “Wow, these are cool.”
    “That’s my family, skiing in the mountains.”
    “We’ve never seen mountains or snow. Where’s your family now?”
    “Skiing without me, because I’m too old.”
    “What’s it like to ski?”
    Mr. Miller closed his eyes. “You fly down the mountain, sucking in ice cold air as your skis glide through the snow. It’s like magic. You’re free.”
    Suddenly, his hand thumped his wheelchair. “Now, take your treats and leave me alone.”
    Jake and Luke skateboarded away.
    But they couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Miller and skiing.
    At the park, Luke got an idea. Jake rounded up all their boarding buddies.
    “We need snow, cold and mountains.”
    After collecting their supplies, they set to work.
    The boys went to get Mr. Miller. “We have a Christmas treat for you.”
    “I don’t want your treats.”
    They rolled him outside anyway. On top of the mountain they handed him goggles and poles.
    “Hang on!”
    WHOOOSH!
    “Yahoo! Great treat! Let’s do it again,” shouted Mr. Miller.

  7. Katrina Swenson says:

    The Great Cookie Escape (250 words)
    by Katrina Swenson @KS_Scribbles

    Two little hands placed the treats on a dish.
    “Santa will love all these cookies! Delish!”
    “Bedtime, my darlings!” another voice called.
    Click! went the door, and the treats stood… appalled.
    Gingerbread whispered, “That elf has one goal:
    To plunge us in milk and devour us whole!”
    “This can’t be the end!” A Brownie protested.
    Oatmeal sobbed, “We can’t be digested!”
    Gingerbread lifted his round little hand.
    “I think we’ll be safe if you heed my command.
    First we have got to get off of this table.
    We’ll need to be cushioned. Meringue, if you’re able…”
    Meringue nodded grimly. She knew what to do.
    Bravely, she stepped off the edge, out of view.
    One at a time all the treats took a leap
    Landing on Fluffy Meringue, in a heap.
    “We made it!” they shouted. “Quick, to the door!”
    But creaks on the roof made them silent once more.
    “He’s coming!” they whispered. The cookies stayed put.
    CRASH! There was Santa, all covered in soot!
    He put out some toys and he yawned a great yawn.
    That’s when he noticed…the cookies were gone!
    The cookies all huddled. They trembled to hear:
    “How did my scrumptious sweet treats disappear?”
    He guzzled the milk. He emptied the cup,
    stepped to the chimney and winking, flew up.
    The cookies exhaled. “We’re out of harm’s way!
    And Santa has left us a place we can stay!”
    They climbed in the box. “A suite for us sweets!”
    Imagine! That Santa! A treat for his treats.

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ALICIA

    ELVES NEED TREATS TOO
    By Alicia Fadgen

    Christmas Eve and the lights glisten.
    Carols are sung for all to listen.

    Johnny sprinkles glitter feed for the reindeer.
    “I need some milk and cookies for Santa,” he cheered.

    Johnny can’t help but wonder if he is leaving someone out.
    “Elfie my elf! And all the others!” He shouts.

    “My elf on the shelf always brings me such joy!” All of Santa’s elves work so hard making all these toys!”

    “Why do we not leave them any treats?”

    “You are right,” his mother responds. “But what do they eat?”

    Maybe candy? Or cake? Or maybe both?
    A bowl of sugar? Or jelly-filled toast?

    Maybe they don’t have a sweet tooth at all.
    Maybe an avocado? An apple? Or broccoli that is raw?

    What do they prefer to drink?
    A milkshake? A juice box? Or water from the sink?

    “How about we leave it all and let them pick.”
    So they put it all out super quick.

    Johnny goes to sleep and nutcrackers dance in his head.
    It is now Christmas morning! Johnny jumps out of bed!

    With absolutely no food in sight.
    He reads a note from the elves with delight.

    Elfie loves candy. Rosie loves cake. Sparkle loves sugar and so does Jake.

    Randy loves avocados. Shelly loves fruit. The raw broccoli was eaten by silly old Toot.

    The drinks we all decided to share. Thank you for showing that you care.

    Johnny smiled as he felt complete.
    Thank goodness the elves enjoyed his holiday treat.

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PRISCILLA

    Title: And One For Me!
    author: Priscilla Merryman

    It’s Christmas time,
    with oodles of glee.
    A gingerbread house,
    and gobs of candy!

    So…
    One for the house,
    and one for me!

    One for the cat,
    and two for me!

    One for my brother,
    and three for me!

    One on the floor,
    and four for me!

    One for my cousin,
    and five for me!

    One out the door,
    and six for me!

    One in the air,
    and seven for me!

    One for my mom,
    and eight for me!

    One in the sink,
    and nine for me!

    One down the crack,
    and ten for me!

    One big tummy ache,
    and NONE for me!

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SHARIFFA

    Gulab Jamuns
    by Shariffa Keshavjee

    Ayla, Geno and Alid were ready

    The diva lights were lit and steady

    The saffron colour in silver cask

    Waiting to do their divine task

    Blessing their new home with prayers

    The family from far and near gathers

    The sweets home made were a treat

    Gulab jamuns were their favourite

    Mama had powdered milk in the room

    Geno was ready with a seive and spoon

    Alid helped Ayla poured milk into a flask

    This is going to be a very special task

    Round and round the flour and milk

    The children took turns and mixed

    It formed a lovely creamy dough

    Each made a ball round just so

    The oil is hot, ready to fry the balls

    The jamuns plop down and sink

    Then float back up to the brink

    Golden brown and shine like silk

    Into the sugary syrup the jamuns go

    Swimming and bouncing to and fro

    When will they cool ready to taste?

    While their family, friends they await?

    Tasting them was the best part

    Mama knew and always took part

    Yummy! they all said with their heart

    The family are here ready to start

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SHARIFFA

    Xmas Surprise
    by Shariffa Keshavjee

    Geno, Alid and Ayla have a pet monkey, called Momo. They did fun things together.

    Xmas eve was here at last
    The tree was lit up so fast
    Momo helped balance the star
    Twinkled and glittered from afar

    The Masai blanket lay bare beneath
    What will Father Xmas to us bequeath?
    Hot chocolate for all four they sipped
    Ginger cookies in to it they dipped

    Night night! Night night
    They all slept so tight
    Xmas day warm sunny
    Children wide eyed ready

    Under the tree was all they wished
    A new bell for Genoa bike clinked
    More LEGO blocks for Alid to build
    A ball of string for Momo to bind

    Excited they went out to try the prize
    On the veranda sill what a surprise
    Laid out equally were guavas in a line
    Clever Momo had picked them ripe

    Surprise! Surprise! What a treat!!

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MARYNA

    Title: The Candy Cane Con
    By: Maryna Doughty

    Dear Children Everywhere,
    This is an URGENT matter. Please read immediately! A candy criminal has escaped, and I need ALL HANDS ON DECK!

    I was supposed to be watching him. But I took a break. I couldn’t resist the urge to decorate my gingerbread jailhouse for the holidays (Can you blame me?). That’s when it happened.

    Sugar Hook picked the lock and bolted! Ever since then, he’s been posing as a sweet treat under the name “Candy Cane.” But don’t be fooled. He’s a thief who’s been plundering peppermint! He plans to replace toothpaste completely! But he’s full of sugar!
    Now, he’s prancing around like a beloved symbol of Christmas. He’s wearing a red-and-white disguise to try and cover his black and white stripes! But his minty fresh scent gives him away.

    We need to capture him ASAP before Santa finds out, or else he’ll never let me decorate for the holidays again! Here’s what you can do: pretend you LOVE candy canes. Decorate your tree with them. Hang them on your mantle. Put them in a bowl on your coffee table. INUNDATE YOUR HOUSE WITH THEM! Then, host a “gingerbread-house” decorating contest. After all “houses” are built, call my hotline, and I’ll race over. When Candy Cane is least expecting it, I’ll pop out and throw him (and all his clones) into the gingerbread jails.

    Please, I’m begging you, help me find this fraud so we can keep candy sweet.

    Sincerely,
    Gingerbread Man
    North Parole Officer
    1-800-COOKIEMAN

  13. Lu Bisignano Pierro says:

    SANTA’S SWEET TREATS
    Lu PIerro

    “No more cookies!” said Mrs. Claus to Santa.

    “You are just about fitting into your Santa Suit.”

    “Give up my treats? No way”
    “Well my dear, your poor reindeer have to pull a sleigh full of toys and you too!”

    “Humph,” said Mr. Claus.

    “What am I going to do?” sighed Mrs. Claus.

    “I know,” said Elvira Elf. “We’ll send an email to the children to leave Santa a healthy treat.”

    Dear Children, Santa loves you and the sweets that you leave him every year. This year think of

    other ways to treat Santa.

    On Christmas Eve, Santa wobbled into his sleigh.
    “ “Well we are off dear. I can’t wait to eat some delicious cookies.”

    Santa’s first stop was Franz’s house. Santa pulled out a toy train, a pair of mittens and a soccer

    ball. He looked on the mantel for his cookies. In its place was a plate of celery and carrots and

    a note. Dear Santa thank you for the gifts. Enjoy the healthy snack.

    “Bah humbug,” said Santa, tossing the celery and carrots to the reindeer.

    Every home Santa visited had a healthy snack and a note.

    As Santa read the notes, he began to see that Christmas is not about cookies and sweet treats,

    but the love that is shared with one another.

    “Well how was your run?” asked Mrs. Clause when Santa came home.

    “Wonderful,” he said, “full of the best treat of all, LOVE.”

  14. Dorothy Wawa says:

    FLAVOR FAVOR
    By Dorothy Wawa
    dorothywawa@aol.com
    Word count: 227

    Applauses fill the classroom.
    Brandy walks-in with goodies,
    James displays his plates,
    Jeffry carries some cookies,
    Blakes parades his cakes.
    Rose marches in with some kind of slippery-sloppery-crumbery-brownery-gooey stuff.

    Giggles bounce around the room.

    “What have we here?” asks the teacher.
    “Pen Patat!” Rose proudly replies.
    “Go on, start with your presentation.” adds the teacher.
    “Gulp! I love “Pen Patat”. It represents some of the things I cherish about Haiti, where I was born.
    During the End of Year Holiday Celebrations, the air fills up with the smell of sweet potatoes and cinnamon. Children behave better because they want a piece of this delightful pudding…”
    The teacher gets distracted by a knock at the door.
    “Are you going to eat that?” says Lynn
    “Of course,” answers Rose, “it is delicious!”
    “I saw you scooping it up from the floor this morning!” shouts Sophia.
    “The floor was just cleaned.” replies Rose.
    “Yuck!” screams Lynn with a wince.
    Rose spoons some of the slippery-sloppery-crumbery-brownery-gooey stuff.
    “I eat anything like Santa.” says Rose. She opens her mouth wide.
    “Rose!” calls out the teacher, “do me a favor, come get your pudding.”
    “You left it behind this morning. The bus driver just brought it in.”
    “THANK YOU!” replies Rose with a sigh of relief.
    I’m happy to do this favor for a much better flavor.

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LIZ

    Gingerbread House UNDER CONSTRUCTION
    by Liz Sites

    Ginger had plans. Her own house plans.

    She’d had it with her parents’ rules like No licking walls and No chewing on door handles.

    She drove her backhoe till she found the perfect spot.

    She laid the gingerbread foundation.

    She raised the gingerbread walls.

    She frosted the corners, sealing everything in place.

    Ginger started up her licorice ladder for roof work when Giovanni appeared.

    “You’re building too close to my house!” he said.

    Ginger said her house was just fine. Giovanni said it was too close to his. They shook and yelled so much they started to crumble.

    When Ginger went to the Candy Cane Forest to cut down lumber, Giovanni roasted marshmallows on Ginger’s roof.

    When Giovanni went to get food for his Christmas party, Ginger drew all over his house with chocolate sauce.

    When Ginger went to put peppermints on the walkway, someone had eaten the whole bag, already.

    When Giovanni’s Christmas party guests arrived, someone had sealed the door shut with icing.

    One night, Ginger crept over to Giovanni’s house and ate every gumdrop from his windows. She had almost crept safely home when—BUMP! She ran smack into Giovanni. His mouth was full of gumdrops from her windows.

    Ginger chewed. Giovanni chewed, too.

    They giggled. They grabbed more gumdrops. They ate and laughed all night long.

    The next morning, Ginger and Giovanni built walls joining their houses. As sprinkles snowed down, they wrote out their one house rule: Taste anything, but build it back even tastier.

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JORDAN

    Earl’s Christmas Gift
    By J. Gray Frye

    Earl the squirrel yawned and stretched awake. Christmas morning had come. He’d waited all year.

    Earl lived in the pine tree overlooking the farmer’s house. And this Christmas, Earl aimed to do something big—really big. While the farmer’s wife was busy baking, he’d swipe a pie from the kitchen windowsill for his Christmas dinner.

    Earl crept his way up to the window and peered inside. A fat basset hound began howling at him.

    “No, Clyde!” hissed the farmer’s wife. “Out you go.”

    This was his only chance, but Earl slipped on the sill and went tumbling to the ground. Splat! The pie landed right on his head.

    “Grr!” Clyde howled again as Earl tore off through the cabbage beds.

    “Stop!” yelled the farmer’s wife. Then everything went black.

    Earl felt around frantically. He was inside a burlap sack. “Please, let me out!” he wailed.

    The bag suddenly opened.

    The farmer’s wife scooped Earl up and sat him on an old tree stump. She pulled a napkin from her overall bibs and placed it on the stump, too.

    Earl couldn’t believe it. Inside was a piece of pecan pie!

    The farmer’s wife chuckled, “If the good Lord shared his supper, I reckon it won’t hurt to share mine.”

    Earl didn’t know what to say. After all the trouble he’d caused? Earl blinked up at her. He wished the farmer’s wife could understand him.

    “I know,” she said quietly. “I know.”

  17. Chelsea Tornetto says:

    How NOT to Sit on Santa’s Lap
    By: Chelsea Tornetto

    Sitting on Santa’s lap is a golden opportunity. No more writing letters or trusting elves. You get to talk to the big guy himself!

    First timer?

    Don’t worry. I’m an expert. I’ve been doing this for 5 years…in a row!

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Rule #1: No squirming!
    No matter how much his beard tickles. No matter how bad you have to tinkle. Sit. Still. If Santa’s worried about dropping you, he might forget which toy you want for Christmas.

    Rule #2: No spilling!
    We all love a good sippy cup. But the best way to ruin your chances of getting the toy of your dreams is getting a chocolate milk stain on Santa’s red suit. Don’t risk it.

    Rule #3: No sneezing!
    The poor guy deals with enough germs as it is! He will not appreciate baby boogers in his beard!

    Rule #4: No snoozing!
    We’ve all been waiting in this line longer than it takes Dad to change a diaper. I know it’s past nap time, but stay strong! If you fall asleep before it’s your turn, you’ll miss your chance to tell Santa how good you’ve been this year!

    And the most important rule of all, Rule #5…..

    Wait…

    You’re not ready!

    “W-w-waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

    Rule #5 was…No SCREAMING!

    Huh…look at that. Did he just give her…a toy? And a candy cane? BEFORE Christmas?

    I may have met my match.
    Thanks for the tip, kid.

    Santa, here I come!

    W-w-waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  18. anneuro says:

    Vinarterta with Amma (250 words)
    by Anne Lipton (@AnneLipton)

    Góðan daginn! Hello from New Iceland!
    Amma and I are making vinarterta for Þorláksmessa, Saint Thorlak’s Day, and Christmas.
    We cream sparkling sugar into fluffy butter and sprinkle in spicy cardamom for warmth.

    Crack! Each egg yields a yolk as precious as the winter sun,
    which shines for only a few hours each day
    in Manitoba
    and Iceland.

    Whoosh! Flour sifts into the bowl
    like the drifts of snow
    in Manitoba
    and Iceland.

    We roll the dough into seven pans and bake them in the oven.
    Why seven?
    Wait and see.

    We hum “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as the dried plums bubble into glossy jam.
    Amma lifts the pans from the oven, two by two, and then the last, odd one out.
    “Are we Icelandic or Canadian?” I ask.
    “Já,” says Amma.
    “Yes?”
    Amma smiles, her blue eyes twinkling, and squeezes my fingers in her warm palm. “Two hands, one heart.”

    I spoon the plum filling on top of each layer.
    It flows like lava over the warm cake.
    We stack the seven layers,
    pressing them paper-thin,
    making stripes of fire and ice,
    as red and white as the Canadian flag,
    or the red and white cross of the Icelandic flag.

    We slather the cake in icing and wrap it like a present.
    Gleðileg jól! Merry Christmas!
    Takk! Thank you for coming.
    We hope you enjoy our vinarterta.
    But you must wait a week before you eat it,
    letting the seven layers soften
    over seven long short days.

  19. Susan.drew (@_susandrew) says:

    A Present for Grandma
    By Susan Drew
    Susan.drew@comcast.net

    A long time ago I lived in a land of Ladies and Gentlemen. Gentlemen wore ties and hats. Ladies wore gloves and carried handkerchiefs.
    The year I was six, I had my own purse with my own money in it. I had been helping around the house. I washed dishes, and I swept the kitchen.
    One day in December I waited for Grandpa to come home from work so that we could walk to town.
    He held my hand as we looked around the variety store.
    “What are you looking for Anna?” Grandpa asked.
    “A present for Grandma,” I said.
    “Do you know what you want?” he asked.
    I shook my head no.
    We continued up and down the aisles. I stopped at the display of ladies’ handkerchiefs. Each one came in a pale blue box.
    I opened each box and unfolded each handkerchief.
    Finally, I found just the one. It was made of lace, with a little ribbon that ran around the hem, and a little bow in the corner.
    I handed my purse full of pennies, and the box, and the unfolded handkerchief to the sales lady. She smiled at me. She refolded the handkerchief and put in the light blue box.
    “This will be a special treat for someone,” she said to me.
    “Yes,” I said. “It’s for my Grandma. It’s the first present I ever bought.”
    Grandpa and I held hands as we walked home. We smiled all the way. I couldn’t wait for Christmas!

  20. Johanna Speizer says:

    Fudge
    by Johanna Speizer

    Fingers are dusty and chocolatey brown from breaking up all those chocolate bars.
    Bup Bup Bup Bup
    Unsweetened, Milk, German, Semisweet, and Dark Chocolate.
    Momma says we must use them all to make it perfect.
    Shiny big bowl
    Strong red spatula
    “How much marshmallow fluff can you get out of that jar?” Momma asks.
    A pinch of salt and 2 spoons of vanilla
    We pour cup after cup of sparkly white sugar into the big pot on the stove,
    Shhhhhhhhhhhhh
    POP goes the can of evaporated milk.
    Stirring Stirring with the whisk until all the sugar melts into the hot milk.
    Butter on a paper towel to coat the baking dish.
    Rrrrrip, lay down the wax paper.
    Now for the Magic… Momma pours the hot sweet milk into the bowl full of chocolate.
    Sloop Gloop.
    Round and round with the wooden spoon, everyone takes a turn, it’s a lot of work.
    Slowly, stickily, all the chocolate melts and transforms into my very favorite Christmas treat.
    Momma scrapes the confection into the baking dish.
    Whack! The freezer door shuts.
    We lick the strong red spatula, the wooden spoon and even the big shiny bowl.
    Yum…. Fudge.

  21. Bruce Benson says:

    Thank you for posting this on your site for the “treat” contest
    Bru Benson readmybook2002@yahoo.com

    Never Too Old For Grandma Soo’s Pie
    By Bru Benson

    Feeble fingers sifting flour,
    Turn Turn Turn, the handle around
    Float on down snowy white
    Round, Round, Round into a mound

    Egg drop center placed just so,
    Fork in hand, mix to dough
    Wrinkled palm press into place
    Roll, Roll, flour on your face

    Rolling pin, rolling pin, make it thin
    Cut round, cut cross, cut cross again.
    Strips of lattice, strips of thin
    Pie pan glass, ready to begin.

    Place dough around inside the plate,
    Press here, press there. Make it great.
    Squish up sides with finger and thumb
    Now filling to make, combine as one.

    Wash green apples, one, two, three
    Shed their skins, stem, seed.
    Thin cut, slice, pile. Almost done.
    Sprinkle top with cinnamon fun.

    For an hour, put in oven hot.
    Clean-up time is it not?
    Fork in hand while you wait
    Pie is done. Let’s celebrate!

    Must let it cool, too much heat.
    All her pies are a Christmas treat.
    Hurry up so I get fed
    “Never too old for Grandma’s pies,” grandpa said.

  22. Ms. Kristen Loughlin (@KristenLoughlin) says:

    Where Light Can Reach
    by Kristen Loughlin (email: loughlinkristen@gmail.com)

    “Alright – Operation Cheer-Up Mom is a go. I repeat, we are a go.”

    I rolled my eyes. Freya’s optimism was sweet, but I’d given up hours ago. Mom wasn’t budging from the couch.

    Yet Freya skipped across the room.

    “Hey Mom! Wanna bake the saffron buns? It’s December 12th, St. Lucia’s Day is tomorrow!”

    But Mom shook her head. She left without a word.

    “It probably reminds her of Gran.” I ruffled Freya’s hair. “Not your fault.”

    “Well, there’s got to be SOME way to make Mom stop being sad. And besides,” she said, “baking the buns is a holiday tradition.”

    “I know…wait. What if we baked them for her? It might brighten her day,” I said. “And hey, that’s the point of St. Lucia’s Day – light during the darkest time of year.”

    Ten minutes later, Freya had egg in her hair, and butter was smeared across my cheeks. After a mildly catastrophic milk incident and some confusion with the oven, I pulled out our slightly-burnt saffron buns.

    Mom and Gran usually lit candles on St. Lucia’s Day. But since I couldn’t use a lighter, Freya and I grabbed flashlights from the emergency kit instead.

    When we walked into her room with the flashlights and saffron buns, a smile pushed its way onto Mom’s face. Light shone across her hair and her clothes, spilling into all the places it could reach.

    As Mom hugged us, I thought of her heart, dark with sadness.

    Maybe we’d helped light reach there, too.

  23. Megan Hoffman says:

    Megan O. Hoffman writes children’s books after bed, in the grocery line and sitting in her car at Target.

    SANTA’S COOKIES
    Cookie lay perfectly still on the plate.
    She had done it, landed THE job, and tonight was the night.
    She would be, Santa’s Cookie.
    Cookie had heard stories of others who had been chosen.
    But they were always gingerbread men or store-bought sugar cookies.
    Not this time.
    Cookie was just an average Break’n Bake cookie.
    Icing spread thick over her by Marian,
    Sprinkles added with a flourish by the tiny yet troublesome Peter.
    Sure she was somewhat misshapen by tiny hands,
    And Peter may have nibbled on her a bit,
    But out of all the cookies the Mosleys made that morning,
    they chose her.
    Now she lay on the shiny plate perfectly still.
    Waiting.
    And then…
    The smell of peppermint filled the room.
    He was here!
    Santa’s face appeared over the plate.
    Cookie held her breath.
    “Well, you are too special to eat!” He said with a wink and a smile.
    Cookie felt the plate spin,
    She heard jingle bells and the sounds of Christmas.
    “Okay then, off of that plate and into the sleigh,
    We have work to do new little elf.”
    Cookie hopped up grabbed a stocking from Santa.
    A new elf was born, and Cookie’s life would never be the same.
    So whatever you do, don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa this Christmas Eve!
    He needs all the help he can get.

  24. Taylor D Gardner (@greenietaylor) says:

    BROCCOLI: THE BEST HOLIDAY TREAT
    By: Taylor Gardner @greenietaylor

    December 10, 2019

    To the Honorable Santa Claus,

    I’m writing with a most urgent request—I need you to name me, Broccoli or Broc for short, the Number One Christmas Treat. My stinky friend Onion said there has never been an official “best” treat. Sure, Candy Cane and Gingerbread gave it a decent run, but they lack my nutritional-staying power. No parents willingly make them for dinner, but parents, grandparents, and everyone loves me.

    I’m the perfect choice for the job. My lush green coloring blends perfectly with holiday decorations. I can be adorned like a Christmas tree, given in a vase like a flower, or blanketed in cheese for an extra special treat. I don’t stick to anything, stain clothes, or hurt teeth. And don’t even get me started on my health benefits.

    I realize most kids don’t see me as a treat, but that’s a marketing problem. Once you name me the Number One Christmas Treat, everything will change. Kids will ask for me in their stockings instead of yucky sugary things like chocolate and cookies. Who knows, maybe they’ll even name you a national hero if you do this. Parents will no longer have to force kids to eat me—I’ll be known as my true self, a real holiday delight.

    I know you’ll make the right decision for the world.

    Sincerely Cruciferous,
    
Broccoli

  25. Roo Parkin (@RooParkin) says:

    THE BIG BAD WISH
    By Roo Parkin (@RooParkin)

    Pencils clenched
    in scaly fists,
    three little dragons
    made Christmas lists.

    “Santa, sir,”
    wrote dragon number one,
    “I’d like a sledge
    for tobogganing fun.”

    “Mr Claus,”
    wrote dragon number two,
    “I’d like a truck
    with a horn: TOOT-TOOT.”

    Dragon number three
    gave a desperate sigh;
    his request was a test
    for the Big Red Guy.

    His topmost want,
    from his outside in,
    was to breathe real fire
    like his dragony kin.

    But try as he might
    (and he did every night)
    he coughed a lot
    and his burps didn’t light.

    A plan went BANG
    In dragon’s wee brain.
    It fizzed’n whizzed
    ‘til he felt quite faint.

    There on the side,
    all perfectly iced,
    Mom’s holiday treats –
    ten gingerbread knights.

    He scoffed the lot!
    He licked the dish!
    That bad dragon babe
    and his Christmas wish.

    The big day dawned –
    had he reached his goal?
    His stocking looked sad …
    YESSS!
    ONE DELICIOUS LUMP OF COAL.

    He opened his jaws
    and he popped it in –
    crossed his claws
    for a fiery win.

    And lo and behold,
    like a rumbling drum,
    came fearful sounds
    from his terrible tum.

    It gruffed and it growled
    like a band of bears –
    it squirmed and wormed
    like a fat double-dare.

    He huffed and he puffed,
    there were squeaks and snorts –
    smoke rings rose
    from that little dragon’s shorts.

    Out of his snout
    shot a comet on the loose,
    fireballs flew –
    whatta way to cook the goose!

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR GERALDINE

    TREATS FROM TRASH by Geraldine Jones

    A boring cold rainy day at home with my Gran
    With nothing doing and nothing planned.

    In she comes with a whole load of tat
    What on earth are we supposed do with all that?

    “Let’s get creative” says Gran with a grin
    We”ll make something funny for your Uncle Glyn

    Scary puppets from odd socks with holes in the toes.
    Made into woolly monsters with button eyes and nose.

    A drawing of a reindeer for Aunt Mo
    And some home made cookies tied up with a bow.

    A rag doll of soft cloth for a special little person,
    Wrapped in brown paper tied with red ribbon.

    A rocket made from cardboard for a friend at school.
    Who knew this space creation could look so cool?

    Plants from the garden in an old drink can.
    Sharp edges taped over with help from my Gran.

    Twisted newspaper twirled into coaster and mat.
    Decorated with rainbow colours. Who wouldn’t love that?

    Brightly painted treasures from rocks and stones,
    Treasures to hide in the park spreading wishes to unknowns.

    An old ball cleaned and shiny, thrown for the dog next door.
    Roll on the next rainy day so we can make some more

    Gifts needn’t to be expensive if given with care.
    It’s the thought behind the treat and the smile you share.

  27. Roo Parkin (@RooParkin) says:

    One for the older kids!

    Dinosaur Dress-up
    By Roo Parkin

    Suzy Snootysaurus
    filled with Yule gloom –
    her wardrobe was a monstrous mess
    and party season loomed.

    Her racks were stacked with dated tat,
    she’d nothing for her feet.
    She needed fashion CPR,
    a full-on festive treat.

    The item that she most desired?
    A super-sassy hat!
    To keep her warm on Christmas morn
    and maybe get her papped.

    Her quest was long and full of woe,
    she roamed the world on foot.
    But Suzy’s spike upon her head
    meant nothing would stay put.

    Milliners from every land
    rummaged through their stocks:
    berets, hats, tweedy caps,
    bonnets trimmed with fox.

    ‘The problem, Miss,’ they did declare,
    ‘is thorny – hard to alter.
    Thrusting from your pretty skull’s
    a horny headwear halter.’

    ‘Your head just isn’t made for hats,
    and though it’s a heart-breaker,
    consider this, oh Suzy girl –
    a feathered fascinator.’

    ‘Poo to that,’ our Suzy cried,
    ‘I could lose my composure.
    I don’t want trashy, fluffy tack
    banned from royal enclosures.

    Style is upmost in my mind
    and grandeur, warmth and fit.
    I know my hat exists for sure,
    I’ll have to pray for it.’

    Madame Saurus went to church
    to seek divine assistance –
    choir and clergy gaped at her
    (they’d rubbished her existence)!

    And then a mini miracle,
    an insta-trend igniter –
    emerging from the cloisters came
    the bishop in his mitre.

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KRISTY

    Christmas Cake Hero
    By Kristy Roser Nuttall

    Hank always knew he was a little different.
    While other dinosaurs ran naked through the forest, Hank sported an apron and whipped up muffins, cakes, and brownies faster than most dinosaurs could swallow a pterodactyl egg.
    But the neighborhood dinosaurs teased Hank and squashed slugs into his pies and squished swamp slime into his cookies.
    Hank fretted, but kept baking.
    He even entered the Christmas Baking Contest.
    On the morning of the contest judging, he skipped along with a freshly baked cake in his wagon.
    But suddenly,
    “Aaaahhhhhh Choo!”
    “Your sneeze catapulted our cake into the swamp! Now our Christmas picnic party is ruined!” whined a neighborhood T-Rex to a sheepish stegosaurus.
    Hank looked at the other dinosaurs, glanced at his cake, and stewed in a swirling stupor of thought.
    He imagined winning the baking contest and feeling the blue ribbon being pinned to his apron.
    But he knew this picnic would be a disaster without a special treat.
    Maybe his Christmas cake could save the day.
    He took a deep dino breath and said, “Special cake delivery for the Christmas picnic party!”
    They gasped. Then they all cheered.
    “Stay for our party Hank!””
    Now Hank gasped.
    “Really?”
    “We promise we won’t ruin your cake,” said the T-Rex “we’ll just eat it!”
    Everyone licked frosting, gobbled the gooey chocolate center, and grunted with delight.
    And even though Hank didn’t win the blue ribbon at the contest, he did get the best Christmas cake hero hug ever from his new friends.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      So sorry, Pam! If you tried to post directly it didn’t work for some reason – I don’t see any comment from you before this one. If you emailed, I have not received an email from you – checked spam/jumk as well and don’t see anything. Yes! Please resubmit!

      • Pam Webb says:

        OMA’S SECRET INGREDIENT
 by
Pam Webb
(207 words)

        “What makes your Christmas cookies taste so good, Oma? Do you use a secret ingredient?” 
        Oma laughed. “I use nothing but what you see here in my kitchen,” Then, as if a thought had tickled her, she smiled just ever so. “Actually, Engelin, I do use a secret ingredient. You guess what it is.”  
        Greta looked at all the different spices and canisters in Oma’s kitchen, wondering which ingredient it could be that made the cookies ever so delicious. 
        The next day, after Christmas Eve dinner, Greta brought out the dessert tray. Glancing at Oma, Greta saw the happiness reflected on her grandmother’s face as she watched everyone enjoy the baked treats. Realizing then what the secret ingredient was, Greta selected a heart cookie from the dessert plate. She quietly made her way over to Oma, presenting it to her. “I know what the secret ingredient is,” she whispered.
         Oma whispered back, “Is this so?”
        “Mmhmm,” Greta nodded. “It doesn’t come from any of your spice jars. And I know you put it in all you do, not just cookies,” she added, giving her grandmother a measured hug of love.
        “Yes, my little angel, love makes everything taste that much better.”

  29. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    Even Trolls Deserve a Treat
    By Jill Lambert
    (250 words)

    Littlest Billy Goat trip-trapped
    over the bridge, after school.
    By a riverside shack, he had a flashback
    when Troll bubbled out of a pool.

    Littlest Billy Goat tip-toed.
    Troll had no clue he was spied.
    The goat streaked up the hill, never stopping until
    he reached home, out of breath, petrified.

    He bore the bad tidings to Biggest,
    who was baking with Middle-Sized Goat.
    “Troll must be back! Time to attack!”
    Biggest blasted a bleat from his throat.

    The goats charged ahead to the river,
    then marched down the bank to face-off.
    They acted tough, but Troll looked so rough,
    they froze when they heard his deep cough.

    “Why are you back here?” they scolded.
    “This bridge blocks the wind,” the Troll said.
    “I’ve nowhere to go in the cold and snow.”
    He whimpered and sniffed as he pled.

    “Forgive me for trying to eat you.
    I was tired and hangry that day.
    Your trip-traps on top kept going nonstop.
    I bellowed to scare you away.”

    The goats reconsidered their ambush.
    They huddled together to plan.
    “Poor Troll needs to eat. Our holiday treat
    is cooling at home in a pan.”

    They raced back to pile up the wagon
    with presents and food for the Troll.
    It was filled to the brim and on top, just for him,
    a spectacular chocolate cake roll!

    Finally, that Christmas, the rivals
    found peace on the bridge–life was sweet.
    The goats understood even trolls could be good.
    Their gift was an evergreen TREEt.

  30. Deborah Boerema (@Deborah_Boerema) says:

    Christmas Kitchen Chaos (231 words)
    By Deborah Bence Boerema

    Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the kitchen
    Mom was so flustered; I just had to pitch in.
    Church potlucks, class parties, and family dinners . . .
    This volume of baking was not for beginners!

    Treats for teachers and neighbors and coaches and sitters . . .
    The list kept on growing. It gave us the jitters!
    We Googled ideas for cookies and breads,
    While lists of ingredients danced in our heads.

    We spoke not a word, but went straight to our work.
    Things started out fine, then they just went berserk!
    The counter dusted with flour like new-fallen snow;
    We were getting it ready to roll out the dough.

    When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But our KitchenAid mixer, jammed in high gear!
    I looked on in horror as eggs splashed everywhere
    On the floor, on the walls, and of course in my hair!

    And then, in a twinkling, I thought I smelled smoke.
    Oh no! Not burned cookies! This must be a joke.
    It was time for the icing, confetti, and such.
    Slather, squirt, sprinkle! Oops! Did I use too much?

    When the last gift was packaged, Mom plopped on a chair,
    Asking, “Which Christmas treat is your favorite to share?”
    I said, a bit puzzled, “I thought that you knew . . .
    The best treat for me is just baking with you!”

    As always, thanks so much Susanna for hosting this fun contest. I’m so very sorry for whatever you’re going through right now. Sending hugs and prayers.

  31. pmmcnally says:

    HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (246 words)
    Penelope McNally
    @pennymmcnally

    “I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Ann said. “Nana’s coming and it’s the Home for the Holidays Parade.”

    “I love walking down the middle of the street!” said Ann’s little brother Will. “I can only do that once a year.”

    All of Main Street remained closed after the parade for everyone to walk around the shops, enjoying hot chocolate and cookies, meeting up with friends.

    “I love the marching bands playing holiday songs,” said Ann’s mom.

    “I love all of it,” said Ann, “the whole street sparkling with holiday lights, the music, the food… everyone is happy. I can’t wait for Nana to see it.”

    But Ann woke up with a terrible sore throat. She felt even worse when Mom said she couldn’t go to Home for the Holidays.

    Tears rolled down Ann’s face. “But I wanted to show Nana everything; the music and lights, drink hot chocolate…” Ann stopped. It hurt to talk.

    When Nana arrived Will announced, “Ann’s sick and can’t go to the parade and walk down the middle of the street!” Mom explained everything to Nana. “I’ll stay home with Ann. We’ll have our own holiday fun,” Nana winked.

    Ann fell asleep on the couch, visions of a Christmassy Main Street dancing in her head. She awoke to hot chocolate and cookies on the coffee table. Twinkling lights and holiday music filled the room. “Oh Nana thank you,” Ann’s eyes sparkled.

    “Cheers to you and me, ‘Home for the Holidays’ together,” said Nana.

  32. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR TRACY

    The Gingerbread Sleigh by Tracy Curran

    The day is drawing nearer,
    for our yearly Christmas treat.
    We’re heading off to Grandma’s
    to whip up something sweet.

    A gooey, sticky biscuit house,
    with walls of gingerbread.
    And a roof that’s draped in icing;
    white and green and red.

    We cover it in sweeties,
    Pipe windows on, then doors.
    And roll some golden marzipan
    to carpet all the floors.

    But my brother is not happy.
    “We do this every year!”
    So Granny gives him full control.
    “Make something else, my dear!”

    My brother looks delighted
    (though I am not too keen).
    He cuts out complex templates
    and pipes a background scene.

    Till, finally, I come on board
    and help to mix and weigh
    and bake and glue his good idea…

    a jolly Christmas sleigh.

    It stands so proud and regal
    Piped with gleaming gold.
    But still, it’s needing something more
    and so we start to mould…

    We sculpt and shape the marzipan,
    we work till they appear.
    We paint, then add the antlers…
    a fleet of nine reindeer.

    Our holiday treat is finished;
    a sleigh of gingerbread,
    but we never get to eat it…

    for next day the sleigh has fled!

    And still the neighbours whisper
    about the strange-shaped sight…
    a biscuit sleigh with reindeer
    flying out into the night.

  33. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LISA

    The Cookie Competition
    By Lisa Cloherty @cloherty_lisa
    12/10/19 250 word count

    Grandma Grace is holding the 10th annual Friedman Family cookie competition.

    “I’m definitely going to win this year,” I tell my Dad.

    “Our family may celebrate the holidays in different ways but one thing always remains,” Dad laughs, “Our fierce competitive spirit. You’re a Friedman for sure.”

    “Let’s get down to business,” Grandma Grace shouts. “The most creative cookie wins. Start Now!”

    Cousin Connor quickly snips his dough into shapes. He checks over his shoulder then shakes some blue and white sprinkles.

    Uncle Matthew mushes his dough into a giant round driedel.

    “Done,” he shouts plopping it onto the cookie sheet.

    Great Aunt Annette carefully flattens her dough. She cuts her cookie into a Christmas tree.

    Baby Braydon bashes his dough against the table. Then he wipes a booger across his cookie.

    Grandpa Morty hides behind the couch. He licks bits of green and red dough off his fingers.

    I sprinkle the flour like Grandma Grace taught me. Then I roll a driedel, just like Uncle Matthew. I carefully flatten the dough then secretly sprinkle just like Cousin Connor. When I’m done, my fingertips are green and sticky just like Grandpa Morty’s.

    BEEEP BEEEP! Time’s up.

    When the cookies come out, Grandma Grace gasps.

    The menorah has mushed with the Christmas tree. The driedel has crashed into Santa. All the cookies and holidays have smushed together.

    “A tie,” Grandma Grace calls in disbelief, “It’s a Friedman family first,”

    We all laugh as we dig into the giant winning cookie.

  34. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DEBORAH

    Santa’s Favorite Treat

    Deborah Dolan Hunt

    “Mama,” said Lucy. “I want to make Santa a special treat.”

    Mama smiled. “We can bake cookies.”

    “But everyone gives Santa cookies,” said Lucy.

    “We can make meatballs,” said Tommy.

    Lucy giggled. “Santa doesn’t eat meatballs.”

    Tommy pouted. “I bet he does.”

    “I think we should make him a cake,” said Lucy.

    “He can’t eat a whole cake,” said Tommy.

    “He can share it with his reindeers,” said Lucy.

    Tommy stamped his feet. “Reindeers eat carrots.”

    Mama nodded.

    Lucy looked in the pantry. “We can make him oatmeal.”

    “It will be cold and yucky.” Tommy snapped his fingers. “We can make him a pizza.”

    “That’s silly,” said Lucy.

    Mama nodded.

    Lucy pouted. “We have to think of something special.”

    Mama went to the shelf and took out Grandma Kay’s old recipe book.

    Lucy and Tommy sat down next to Mama.

    Mama opened the book and out fell a piece of faded yellow paper.

    Lucy shouted. “Look at all these special recipes.”

    Tommy said with glee. “And there’s even one for meatballs.”

    Mama wiped a tear from her eye. “Every year Grandma and I made a special treat for

    Santa.”

    “But which one should we make?” asked Lucy.

    Tommy pointed to the middle of the page and read. “This one because its Santa’s favorite.”

    Lucy read it out loud. “Santa’s Favorite Treat.”

    “How do we make it?” asked Tommy.

    Mama smiled. “We mix cookies, meatballs, cake, oatmeal, and pizza.”

    “Yummy,” shouted Lucy and Tommy.

    Mama nodded.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LILY

    Hero Cat’s Treat for Christmas by Lily Erlic

    Hero Cat wanted more candy cane treats in his stocking this year but he would always just get one.

    “I’m writing a letter to Santa to complain!” said Hero Cat.

    “You say that every year!” said Mot Mouse.

    Dear Santa, Give me more candy canes in my stocking!”

    Hero put the letter in the mailbox and waited. An Elf wrote him back.

    Dear Hero, Santa does not accept letters that are rude!

    So, Hero wrote another letter.

    Dear Santa, If you don’t give me more candy canes, I won’t write to you anymore!

    Hero put the letter in the mailbox and waited. An Elf wrote him back.

    Dear Hero, Santa does not accept letters that are threatening!

    So, Hero wrote another letter.

    Dear Santa, I would really like it if you could put more candy canes in my stocking, please?

    Hero put the letter in the mailbox and waited. An Elf wrote him back.

    Dear Hero, Santa will accept this letter but it doesn’t mean you will get more candy canes. It all depends on how good you treat others!

    Hero tried to be on his best behavior. He opened doors. He served tea. He even said please and thank you.

    On Christmas Eve, when all the other cats were asleep, Hero stayed awake for Santa.

    He peeked and saw the best sight he ever saw! There was a giant stocking with hundreds of candy canes! He shared the treats with all his friends. It was the best Christmas ever.

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DAWN

    THREE TREATS FOR SANTA by Dawn Young
    (206 words)

    “Mom, tomorrow night is Christmas Eve,” said Jasper. “It’s time to leave treats for Santa!”

    “Don’t worry. We have plenty of cookies and milk.” said Mom.

    “Santa needs three treats this year,” Jasper said.

    “One is plenty,” said Mom. “Mrs. Claus has put Santa on a diet.”

    “A diet? But his belly needs to wiggle like a bowl of jelly when he laughs. That’s what is in the story Gramps reads us every year?” Mom smiled.

    “He needs three treats!” said Jasper.

    “Why three?” Mom asked.

    “In Sunday School we learned about three kings bringing three treats to baby Jesus. I think he got a goldfish, franked something, and a marble.” said Jasper”

    “Do you mean gold, frankincense and myrrh?” asked Mom.

    “Yea, something like that,” Jasper said. “If baby Jesus got three treats, I think Santa should too!”

    “I’m proud of you for listening to your Sunday School teacher,” Mom said. “What treats would you like to set out for Santa?”

    Jasper placing his finger on his chin said, “I think he would like a piece of fudge, a cookie, and my stuffed dog, Ralf. He might get lonely flying around with just his reindeer.”

    “Great plan, Jasper,” said Mom.

    Jasper smiled ear to ear.

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR BEVERLY

    EMMA’S TURN by Beverly Warren

    Emma peeked out her bedroom window. The snow fell softly as her feet danced beneath her.

    Tonight, is my night, she thought. After all, it is my turn, but will I find the perfect tree for Christmas? she wondered. “How will I know?”

    “Is it time, Mama?”

    “Yes, Emma. Dress warmly,” she answered.

    Emma climbed in the back of the wagon beside her two brothers. Papa snapped the reigns. The chestnut mare trotted up the logging road.

    “We’ll stop here,” said Papa.

    Benjamin sprung onto the powdery snow and ran from tree to tree.

    “Remember Ben, it’s Emma’s turn,” Papa said.

    Mama handed them hot cider and gingerbread. Papa lit a small fire while they waited, for he knew his daughter.

    Emma wandered among the firs. “This one’s scrawny,” she said. “That one’s thick. The other is short. The rest are huge.” She frowned. “Where is my tree?” She ventured deeper in. “Someone is snoring,” she whispered.

    A small fawn lay curled under a tree. She startled him. “Come back,” she called, but he joined his mother who grazed nearby.

    Emma sat in the warmth of where he had lain. She gazed through the frosty branches to a star above and thought of the birth of a small babe so long ago.

    “Papa,” she yelled. “I found the tree.”

    “It’s ordinary,” exclaimed Jered.

    “It’s perfect,” said Emma.

    The tree was felled, the fire doused. They climbed into the wagon.

    “Mama, let’s sing a carol.”

    And they did.

  38. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR TARA

    A SWEET ESCAPE, by Tara Cerven

    There once was a fun little boy named Paul,

    he had the biggest sweet tooth of them all!

    At Christmas his mom bought colorful candy,

    for eating and decorating, it came in handy.

    This year Paul made a gingerbread house,

    and topped it with a big chocolate mouse!

    He admired the sprinkles and icing of mint,

    the licorice, gummies and truffles by Lindt.

    One small problem was that mouse on the top,

    every so often it liked to flip and then flop!

    First he replaced it with a striped candy cane,

    it didn’t look better- Paul’s work was in vain.

    Then he shouted, “My coolest idea yet,

    a tasty gingerbread man is my best bet!”

    Off with the mouse and the candy cane too,

    gingerbread man was secured with some glue.

    Proudly Paul ran and called for his siblings,

    “Come see!” he floated as if wearing wings.

    One by one they came, including baby Ree,

    and when they got there, what did they see?

    Nada. Nothing. No gingerbread house in sight,

    they held back their giggles with all of their might.

    “What happened? My house was sitting right here!”

    Paul tried his very hardest to hold back a tear.

    Baby Ree just sat there, a binky in her mouth,

    gazing out the window and pointing to the south.

    Paul heard a loud voice so to the window he ran,

    watching his house disappear-as if blown by a fan,

    “YOU CAN’T CATCH ME, I’M THE GINGERBREAD MAN!!”

  39. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL

    How the Kvetch Hijacked Hanukkah
    By Paul Kurtz

    Though Hanukkah brought joy and cheer,
    The Kvetch despised it more each year.
    “This noisy fun must stop right now—”
    Kvetch smirked. “—I know exactly how!”

    A windmill ran the tiny town—
    Kvetch jammed the gears and shut it down.
    He did it quick, not thinking twice,
    His heart was hard and cold as ice.

    The town’s lights flicked off one-by-one—
    “This ends their nights of joy and fun.
    No cell phones, lights or microwaves—
    Their homes are dark and cold as caves.”

    Again he scanned the streets below,
    From each home’s windows came a glow.
    Kvetch frowned and growled—“What can that be?
    I want them grim and cold like me.”

    He quickly sneaked down Cozy Lane,
    And peeked through a cracked window pane.
    A tiny girl smiled back, Eve Gold—
    “Please come inside, you look so cold.”

    Kvetch slowly stepped into the room—
    A small menorah pierced the gloom.
    Eve’s father grinned—“We aren’t through,
    There’s still one candle left for you.”

    Kvetch took the shamas, shining bright,
    And set the final wick alight.
    The candle’s flame shot like a dart
    And melted Kvetch’s hard, cold heart.

    Kvetch laughed and danced, his tears flowed fast—
    “My heart feels soft and warm at last!”
    He set the broken windmill right,
    And once again the town blazed bright.

    Kvetch found the town square jammed with folks—
    He sang and danced and told bad jokes.
    “My heart is filled with joy and cheer—
    I love it—Hanukkah is here!”

    • viviankirkfield says:

      Hello Paul…get rhythm and rhyme…and the story line has heart and humor…that’s a winning combination in my eyes…I love how you adapted the Grinch story for Hanukkah…and Kwetch is a great character. Well done!

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      Paul, this sounds to me like the Kvetch Who (Tried to) Steal Hanukkah. You have done a nice job – if that was your intention – changing up the Grinch story.

  40. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL

    Best Christmas Ever!
    By Paul Kurtz

    “Elfred, the sleigh’s packed,” Santa said. “Where are the reindeer?”
    “Still in the barn, Santa.”
    “Well, get them please.”
    Elfred shoved the door. “Locked.”
    BAMM! BAMM!— Santa’s fist banged. “Come out, it’s late!”
    “We’re on strike,” Dasher answered.
    Santa’s mouth gaped open. “What?”
    Ms. Claus walked over.
    “Yes,” Prancer said. “Everyone leaves hot chocolate and cookies. You snack all night while we’re on rooftops freezing our antlers off. We deserve warm treats too.”
    “No cookies, no work,” Comet shouted.
    Santa threw his hands up.
    Ms. Claus smiled. “You dear deer are right.”
    “What?” Santa yelped.
    The barn door slid open.
    “We are?” all eight reindeer chorused.
    “Yes. Tonight Elfred will bring hot chocolate and warm cookies. And when you come home, there’ll be a special treat.”
    “Done deal, Ms. C!” The reindeer high-fived her.

    Ms. Claus and the elves waved to the returning sleigh.
    Santa’s eyebrows rose. “Where’d that giant-size igloo come from?”
    “We built it,” Ms. Claus answered. “Come inside.”
    They gathered around an enormous, steaming hot tub.
    Vixen giggled. “For us, Ms. C? Thank you!”
    The reindeer kissed Ms. Claus’ cheeks and leaped in.
    Elfred and the other elves hopped over the edge. “Yippee!”
    “Wait for me!” Santa’s belly-flop splashed everyone.
    Ms. Claus served cloudberry fruitcake and hot apple cider, then stepped in.
    The reindeer sang—
    “Down from the rooftops, we soak and pause,
    Here with Ms. And Mr. Claus,
    Finished with hauling our heavy sleigh,
    This is the best-ever Christmas day!”

  41. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA

    Jungle Bells
    By Donna Kurtz

    Jungle Bells, Jungle Bells,
    Jangling in the heat,
    Santa’s in a short grass skirt,
    With flip-flops on his feet.

    Jungle Bells, Jungle Bells,
    Palm trees wave and sway,
    Sun-tanned elves pluck coconuts
    For each kid’s Christmas day.

    Swinging through the trees,
    On a leafy vine,
    Santa bangs his knees,
    He’s not feeling fine.

    Mrs. Claus takes charge,
    Packs up Santa’s sleigh,
    Hitches up the elephants,
    And swiftly flies away.

    Jungle Bells, Jungle Bells,
    Pink flamingos sing,
    Mrs. Claus snaps bamboo reins,
    And seashell sleigh-bells ring.

    Jungle Bell, Jungle Bells,
    There’s the mango moon,
    Mrs. Claus will never pause,
    And we’ll have presents soon!

  42. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA

    My Bubbie’s Special Hanukkah Recipe
    by Donna Kurtz

    On the first day of Hanukkah
    Dear Bubbie gave to me [Bubbie: Yiddish for Grandmom]
    Her very special latke recipe. [latke: potato pancake]

    On the second day of Hanukkah
    I fed my family
    Dear Bubbie’s special latke recipe.

    On the third day of Hanukkah
    We burped tremendously
    From Bubbie’s special latke recipe.

    On the fourth day of Hanukkah
    I altered carefully
    Dear Bubbie’s special latke recipe.

    On the fifth day of Hanukkah
    We tooted heavily
    From Bubbie’s altered latke recipe.

    On the sixth day of Hanukkah
    Dear Zaydeh kvetched to me, [kvetched: complained] [Zaydeh: Grandpa]
    “No more of that farshtunken recipe!” [farshtunken: stinking]

    On the seventh day of Hanukkah
    Oy! Heartburn hammered me [Oy!: Oh!]
    From Bubbie’s special latke recipe.

    On the eighth day of Hanukkah
    I tore up secretly
    Dear Bubbie’s special latke recipe.

  43. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JYOTI

    Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story (110 words)
    by Jyoti Rajan Gopal
    @JyotiGopal

    Step 1:

    Measuring
    Pouring

    Sifting
    Turning

    Stirring
    Whisking

    Blending
    Testing

    Batter waiting
    Fire heating

    Ready yet?
    Cooks debating!

    Step 2:

    Ghee simmering
    Boondi dripping

    Batter crisping
    Softly hissing

    Dough balls swelling
    for infusing

    Ready yet?

    Wanting, craving!

    Step 3:


    Water warming
    Sugar melting

    Saffron floating
    Fragrance lifting

    Sweetness fizzing
    Tastebuds readying

    Tantalizing
    oh so tempting…

    Ready yet?
    For soaking, dipping!

    Step 4:

    Boondi sinking
    Syrup steeping

    Cardamom
    and
    raisins
    zinging

    Blowing
    Cooling
    Cooks awaiting

    Ready yet?
    Anticipating!

    Step 5:

    Rolling
    Pressing

    Hands
    are
    shaping

    Luscious
    Scrumptious
    Laddoos
    Forming

    Golden balls
    Mm.mmm…
    Enticing

    Perfect spheres
    for joyful
    tasting

    Ready yet?
    No more waiting…


    Diwali’s here
    Time for feasting!

    The End

    • Katrina Swenson says:

      Jyoti, this is so beautiful. Such great musicality and so descriptive. I am not familiar with Ladoos but now I want to be!

  44. Heather Pierczynski says:

    “Santa’s Millionth Cookie”
    by H. Pierczynski
    @HSPiercz
    233 words

    Every Christmas, Santa got to eat a lot of cookies. But this year, something very special was about to happen.

    “I’m going to eat my millionth cookie,” he told Mrs. Claus. “And it must be my favorite cookie ever.”

    “Oh, Santa,” she laughed. “Which one is that?”

    “That’s easy!” he shouted. “It’s chocolate chip.”

    “…I mean oatmeal raisin…”

    “…I mean sugar with sprinkles…”

    “…I mean peanut butter…”

    “…I mean gingerbread…”.

    “…I mean snickerdoodle…”

    As Santa called out all the cookies, he began to worry. Maybe I don’t know which one is my favorite after all, he thought. Maybe it is going to take a Christmas miracle to figure this one out.

    On Christmas Eve, after flying his sleigh into the night, he remembered each of the 999,999 cookies he had eaten. How special, how scrumptious and how delicious each one had been.

    Just as Santa climbed down the chimney to eat his millionth cookie, something crumbly slipped from his pocket, shimmied down the tree, and landed with a drop, flip, plop.

    And there, under the tree on a plate of treats, Santa saw sat a cookie baked by Mrs. Claus…

    …A chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar with sprinkles, peanut butter, gingerbread and snickerdoodle cookie, all in one.

    “Ho! Ho! Ho!” he chuckled, as the morsels of his millionth cookie filled his cheeks…

    …And somehow, Santa knew he had found his favorite cookie ever.

  45. Kelly A. says:

    Recipe for a Snowman
    By Kelly Pope Adamson
    (248 words)

    Cambria looked out the window and sighed. Another day closer to Christmas and still no white flakes fell from the sky.

    “Da!” her baby sister cooed.

    “I know, Emmy Bo Bemmy, I was hoping for snow, too.”

    In fact, snow for her baby sister’s first Christmas was all she had asked Santa for this year.

    Cambria’s mom appeared in the doorway, her arms full of shopping bags.
    “Did I hear someone wants to build a snowman?”

    “Mooom, you can’t build a snowman without snow,” Cambria told her.

    “That’s what you think,” her mom sing-songed.

    Now Cambria was curious. Could you build a snowman without snow?
    “I’m listening…”

    She watched as her mom pulled one sweet treat after another out of her shopping bags, followed by a paper.
    “All it takes,” her mom said, “is a recipe.”

    “One body, three balls
    of marshmallow treats.
    Two eyes made from
    chocolate chip cookies so sweet.
    A licorice smile
    makes everyone happy.
    Chocolate bar buttons
    are nothing but snappy.
    The arms, hat, and scarf
    are left up to you.
    Grab some sweets and get busy–
    You know what to do!”

    Cambria rolled up her sleeves and got to work. An hour later her masterpiece was finished. She grabbed the snowman’s Twix arms and made him face her baby sister.

    “Hi, I’m Coco, and I like sticky hugs!” Cambria said in her best goofy snowman voice.

    “Coco,” Baby Emmy repeated.

    Her sister’s first word!!

    Cambria hugged her non-snowy snowman.
    “Best Christmas treat ever!”

  46. stacey miller says:

    A Fairytale Treat

    (239 words)

    By Stacey Miller

    @stacey25miller

    Santa hurtled towards the Whispering Woods.

    “Let’s tickle Santa, with our branches,” they whispered.

    “Ho, ho, help!” he cried. “Come Dancer, Come Prancer…

    Santa’s sleigh twisted and turned.

    And landed…

    SPLAT!

    In a burping bog

    “Muddy Christmas, Santa!” The trees whispered.

    Rudolph pulled Santa out.

    “How am I going to get these slime stains out of my suit!” he grumbled.

    Santa squelched and squerched until…

    “Upon my beard…have I come to the wrong house?” he cried.

    The reindeers shook their antlers.

    So Santa slid down the carrot chimney, plodded across the cauliflower carpet and found…

    A magical note written on a potato:

    Dear Santa,

    Since receiving a lump of coal from you last year,

    I decided to change my kid snacking ways,

    Now I only eat fruit and veg, not girls and boys.

    I’m so glad I’m not on the naughty list this year and I get a treat instead.

    The Vegan Witch.

    P.S Hansel and Gretel said hi…they help tend to my vegetable patch!

    Santa gobbled and guzzled his own treat, chocolate Brussels sprouts and a banana smoothie and gladly placed down the Vegan Witches treat…

    A book of 101 Things to Make With A Turnip.

    As Santa rummaged through his sack he was again surprised by what treats he saw, not a lump of coal for the Big Bad Wolf but instead…

    A tool kit and a book on: How To Repair Houses Made Of Straw And Sticks!

  47. Laurie Carmody says:

    ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
    By Laurie Carmody (@laurieecarmody)

    Franny’s Big Front Tooth would not move.
    Not a wiggle or a jiggle. Not a shimmy or a shake.

    Its pearly white neighbor jumped ship on a regular old Tuesday.
    The bottom chompers both popped out with the help of an apple.
    Even the other Big Front Tooth had taken the plunge last fall.
    One by one, each and every tooth bit the dust.
    But not Big Front Tooth.

    Franny tried tugging and tapping.
    Even prodding and pleading.
    Big Front Tooth WOULD. NOT. MOVE.

    “All I want for Christmas is my tooth to come OUT!” Franny begged while sitting on Santa’s lap.
    “Try a candy cane,” said Santa.
    Crunch!…Nothing.
    “…a molasses cookie?”
    Chomp!…Still nothing.
    “Peppermint bark will surely take the bite out of your bite!”
    Crack!…The tooth stayed firmly rooted.

    And so Franny woke up on Christmas morning, frantically feeling with her tongue.
    There it was. Big Front Tooth, parked squarely in her gums.
    She plodded downstairs, wondering if Santa had given her some magical dental equipment or something.

    Instead, she found a package under the tree and a note that read:
    “Dear Franny,
    Please enjoy my famous fruitcake. No teeth can chew it. No glass of milk can soften it.
    -Tooth Fairy”

    “No teeth can chew it?” repeated Franny.

    She took a bite.

    Big Front Tooth wiggled and jiggled.
    It shimmied and shook.
    And POP!

    That stubborn sweet tooth came right out.

    Whistling through the new gap in her smile, Franny cried…

    “Merry Christmas tooth all!”

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