Ho! Ho! Ho! The 11th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

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

It’s time for . . .

The 11th Annual Holiday Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

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

Your contest can be anything you want! Baking, wrapping, decorating (tree or home), raising money or collecting gifts for those in need, ice skating, sledding, caroling, fancy dress, snowman or fort building. . . sky’s the limit! But it must be about a holiday contest!

Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season, 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 between right now this very second and Thursday December 9th at 11:59 PM EST, and must be posted below in the comment section of this post. All entries should include a title, byline (people always ask what this is – it means who the entry was written by, so, by Suzy Q. Writer or whoever 😊) and word count. You are welcome to also post your entries on your own blogs and include your blog address with your entry here if you’d like to encourage people to come visit your blog, but your entry must be posted in the comment section of this post or it will not be counted because we won’t see it. This post will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists.  There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or Perfect Picture Book) for the duration of the contest so everyone will have plenty of time to visit and enjoy.  If you have trouble commenting, you can email your entry to me and I will post it for you. Please copy and paste your entry with word count and byline into the body of the email NO ATTACHMENTS please.

The Judging: My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 12 finalists.  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 Tuesday December 14th for you to vote on for a winner.  (But it almost always seems to end up taking us longer. . . so it might be a day or two later.) The vote will be closed on Thursday December 16th at 5 PM EST.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to twelfth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Friday December 17th. (These dates are subject to adjustment if it takes the judges longer than we anticipate to get the judging completed.)

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 Contest! – the rules state a Holiday Contest story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about a contest that in some way relates to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, or whatever seasonal winter holiday you choose.  The story must center on the contest  – the contest 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. Please proofread!
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
  • 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.

The Prizes!: Oh! Such wonderful prizes! All I can say is, how lucky are we to be part of such a talented and generous community that offers such amazing prizes!

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 birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with written feedback AND a 30-minute Zoom Chat with children’s author Vivian Kirkfield, author of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate, 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Clarion Books, 2021), and SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING (MoneyPenny Press Ltd, 2010)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with a recording of first read-through by children’s author and poet Sarah Meade, contributor to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, 2020!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique/Zoom Chat (Non-rhyming) from children’s author Janie Reinart, author of WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN (Blue Whale Press, 2021)!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming) PLUS Zoom Chat from developmental editor Lou Piccolo! Lou studied English Literature, creative writing and teaching at university in South Africa. After working as an EFL teacher in France for twenty years, she studied proofreading and editing before becoming a developmental editor of children’s and young adult’s literature for independent authors. She is a graduate of Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab – Punching Up Prose With Poetry course and Making Picture Book Magic, the in-house writer for Editions Entrefilet’s language-learning magazine ‘Go English Kids’ for children of 8-12 in France, and a traditionally published author of MG and YA fiction with Burlington Books.

Developmental Editor, Lou Piccolo

⭐️ Connecting With School Librarians! Fabulous Opportunity for published or soon to be published authors! Winner’s Choice of either a Zoom or phone chat about how to connect with school librarians and get their ear or an Ask Me Anything Zoom or phone chat about K-8th grade author visits from a librarian’s POV from Kathy Halsey. Kathy Halsey is Storyteller Academy’s Community Manager and Ambassador. She enjoys writing picture books, humor, and nonfiction. Kathy’s active in SCBWI and blogs with other kid lit writers on the GROG. She serves on the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and speaks at educational and literary conferences. Kathy’s a former K-12 school librarian and children’s bookseller. She writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month along with Keila Dawson.

Writer, librarian, bookseller, blogger Kathy Halsey

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, fiction only) from children’s author Shelley Kinder! Shelley is the author of NOT SO SCARY JERRY (Spork 2017), THE MASTERPIECE (Spork 2018) and GOD AND ME AND THE SEA (Kregel Children’s Books, May 17, 2022)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (written) PLUS 15 minute Zoom Chat (no nonfiction) from Cindy Williams Schrauben author of THIS COULD BE YOU (Cardinal Rule Press, April 1, 2022)!

⭐️ Zoom Visit to a classroom or to kids at home by children’s author Ellen Leventhal! Ellen is the author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork, 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork, 2018), HAYFEST: A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press, 2010), and A FLOOD OF KINDNESS (WorthyKids, 2021)

Author, Ellen Leventhal

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Heather Gale, author of HO’ONANI: HULA WARRIOR (Tundra Books, 2019) which was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids 2019, one of the Ontario Library Association’s 2019 Top Ten Titles, Featured on the 2020 Rainbow Book List, Featured on the 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, and received a Booklist Starred Review!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Maria Marshall! Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature fun for children. She’s a judge for the Cybils Awards and the #50PreciousWords competition. Four of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. The Picture Book Buzz  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Maria Marshall

⭐️ A Reversible Handmade Christmas Stocking or Other Winter or Holiday-Themed Gift Bag from Karen Gebbia PLUS a Personalized Signed Copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY by Nancy Derey Riley to fill it!

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of either QUEEN OF PHYSICS:How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) or TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING (Albert Whitman 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Teresa Robeson

PLUS!!!

a Personalized Signed Copy of either LISTEN (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 2021) or TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE (Harry N. Abrams 2020) (Winner’s Choice!) by Gabi Snyder

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⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England (Albert Whitman 2018) by Nancy Churnin PLUS a Digital Copy of THE STAR IN THE CHRISTMAS PLAY (Beaming Books 2018) by Lynne Marie

⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel July 2021) by Becky Scharnhorst PLUS a Kindle or Audiobook Copy of either FUNNY JIMMY (AuthorHouse 2011) or THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF RIDDLES (Avid Readers Publishing Group 2011) (Winner’s Choice!) by Vanessa Rose Lee

⭐️ Winner’s Choice of 2 of the following 4 picture books, kindly donated by Dee Knabb!

With so many great prizes up for grabs I hope there will be a lot of entries – 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 you MUST post your entry in the comment section below and include title, byline, and word count.

Eager Readers – just go along the list of links below, click on them (they’ll take you directly to whichever story you click on), and enjoy the stories!

So let the Holiday Contest begin!

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

I can’t wait to read your entries!!!

THE ENTRIES!

  1. It Takes A Forest – Lucretia Schafroth
  2. The Kelpie Challenge – Bonnie Kelso
  3. The Cookies Of Holiday Hollow – Royal Baysinger
  4. Elf Off The Shelf – Anne Lipton
  5. The Trolls: A Winter Tale – Royal Baysinger
  6. Upon A Winter Solstice – Royal Baysinger
  7. So You Think You Can Prance – Amy Leskowski
  8. The Festive Flying Race – Nicola Beach
  9. Birdie’s Song – Beth Stillborn
  10. The Holiday Homework – Sue Lancaster
  11. How Tiny Won A Seat On Santa’s Sleigh – Elizabeth Westra
  12. The Claus’ Candy Cane Contest – Susan Schipper
  13. He Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good – Colleen Murphy
  14. Olive, The Other Reindeer – Lindsay Moretti
  15. Go Green For Christmas – Margaret Zotkiewicz
  16. Tree Number Nine – Lindsey Hobson
  17. Christmas Boots – P.J. Purtee
  18. Ellarose’s Sweater – Marta Cutler
  19. A Fourth Grader’s Poster Problem – Jennifer Vose
  20. A Buggie Tradition – Kay Inglis
  21. Kendy And The Solstice Solo Show – Sarah Meade
  22. Elsie And The Christmas Comedy Contest – Sarah Meade
  23. The Better Elf On The Shelf – Molly Ippolito
  24. Ernie And The Science Fair – Deborah Foster
  25. Mr. Tweedy’s Christmas Trees – Colleen Fogarty
  26. Best Wrapped Surprise – Sara Dean
  27. Christmas Eve Ride Along Contest – Dawn Young
  28. The Christmas Tree Contest – Dorothy K. Kohrherr
  29. Alfredo Learns The Secret Of Greatness – Joan Leotta
  30. The Pretty Ugly Sweater – Pamela Swanson
  31. Jamie’s Holiday Surprise – Diana Sussman
  32. Katie’s Snow Creation – Marty B.
  33. The Tasty Treat Christmas Contest – Katie Brandyberry
  34. Santa’s Secret Contest – Linda Staszak
  35. Phoebe’s Snowperson – Kelly Clasen
  36. THAT’S Not A Christmas Cookie! – Vanessa Konoval
  37. Candy Pies – Sharon McCarthy
  38. Solstice Skaters – Allison Strick
  39. The Best Gift Ever – Pen Avey
  40. The Most Christmassy House – Jen MacGregor
  41. Candy Caribou – Steena Hernandez
  42. A Christmas Pickle Story – Daniella Kaufman-Schloss
  43. Shining Star – Sarah Hawklyn
  44. Grumpy Snow Pants – Stephanie Maksymiw
  45. The Best Reading Contest Of Winter, 1959 – Beth Schmelzer
  46. Playground Games – Colleen Dougherty
  47. Simply The Best – Nicole Loos Miller
  48. Bear’s Christmas Cookie – Marta Cutler
  49. Happy Everything! – Laura Barens
  50. Dancing With The Elves – Jill Lambert
  51. A Creature Was Stirring – Judy Sobanski
  52. The Monster On Christmas Eve – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
  53. What Christmas Means To Me – Marty Findley
  54. A Miscalculation – Emily Durant
  55. Lily And The Winter Festival – Karen J Moore
  56. 2021 Monkey Merry Xmas – Shariffa Keshavjee
  57. The Ginger Friend House – Kelly Swemba
  58. Gingerbread House Extravaganza – Elaine D’Alessandro
  59. Parol: This Little Star Of Mine – Lynn Grace Wong
  60. Christmas Song – YauMei Chiang
  61. Reindeer Games – Tiffany Hanson
  62. The Cookie Contest Caper – Kelsey E. Gross
  63. The Clean-Out-The-Clutter Contest – Sarah Demarest Guthrie
  64. The Contest – Amanda Sherlock
  65. Asher’s Chanukiah – Dina Silverberg
  66. Best Hanukkah Ever! – Paul Kurtz
  67. Cinder-Latke – Paul Kurtz
  68. Bunny Claus – Donna Kurtz
  69. Jangle Shells – Donna Kurtz
  70. Spin – Cheryl Simon
  71. Fantastical Fairytown Christmas Snowflake Contest – Ellen Crosby
  72. The Winning Recipe – Judy Abelove Shemtob
  73. The Greatest Display Of All – Barbara Kimmel
  74. Sparky’s Wish – Ingrid Boydston
  75. The Night After Christmas – Abby N. Wooldridge
  76. The Claus’s Hawaiian Vacation – C. S. Boyll
  77. Gifts For Grandma – Cindy Sommer
  78. Keep Christmas Coming – Jeannette Suhr
  79. The Most Special Ornament – Timothy Hicks
  80. Santa’s Workshop Winners – Polly Owen
  81. Elfie Selfie Contest – Stephanie Henson
  82. The Great Holiday Bake Off – Jamie Donahoe
  83. Laughing All The Way – Sarah Hetu
  84. The Perfect Christmas Star – Jennifer Lowe
  85. A Sack Full Of Presents – Patricia Nozell
  86. Fairy Tale Houses – Jim Chaize
  87. Christmas…By A Nose – Jesse Anna Bornemann
  88. Reindeer Sing…Are You Listening? – Katie Schwartz
  89. Christmas Carrots – Vashti Verbowski
  90. Being Santa Lucia – Cindy Greene
  91. Nun, Gimel, Hei, Shin – Who Will Win? – Stephanie Wildman
  92. ANDRÉS BLUE RIBBON – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  93. The Chubby Bunny Champion – Alicia Meyers
  94. Up And Away! – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  95. Christmas Isn’t – Ingrid Boydston
  96. The Christmas Pirate – Julianna Kurtz
  97. Maryam’s Happy Persian Christmas – Shadi Kafi
  98. The Most Beautiful Snowflake Of All – Cassie Silva
  99. Fire And Ice – Jyn Hall
  100. The Santa Spectacle – Mary Cathering Amadu
  101. A Jarring Contest – Bru Benson
  102. Everything – Sandhya Acharya
  103. Similarity Despite Diversity – Eva Felder
  104. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree – Becky Goodman
  105. Solstice Wars! – Phoebe Browning
  106. Gingerbread Surprise – JC Kelly
  107. Squirrels Christmas – Charlotte Boyer
  108. The Holiday Contest – Denise Seidman
  109. The Witch’s Gingerbread House – Lauri Meyers
  110. Elf Rivalry – Michelle S. Kennedy
  111. Dream Big, Little Pip! – Sally Yorke-Viney
  112. An Extraordinary Elf – Becky Kimbrough
  113. Jasmine Jingletoes And The Christmas Stocking Contest – Brenda Covert
  114. Let There Be (MORE!) Lights – Judy Carey Nevin
  115. Laughing All The Way – Samantha Gassman

1,729 thoughts on “Ho! Ho! Ho! The 11th Annual Holiday Contest Is HERE!!!

  1. Lucretia Schafroth says:

    It Takes a Forest

    by Lucretia Schafroth

    Birds twittered and tweeted with holiday glee
    announcing the contest for “Best Christmas Tree.”

    Just two days to fashion the forest’s top prize—
    to serve as a beacon for Santa’s old eyes.

    A clamor erupted when each critter heard
    the challenge of where the tree judging’d occur.

    Each masterpiece had to stand tall in the Square
    for all to enjoy—and be seen from midair!

    Fox fretted though sure he could find the best one,
    “I simply can’t move it—I can’t get it done!”

    “I’ll help you,” said Beaver, “‘cause I’m good at chopping—
    but don’t think that I’m the ideal one for propping!”

    Bear offered assistance to join for the win—
    “That pine’s but a twig,” he exclaimed with a grin.

    But clearly brute strength wasn’t all that it took—
    ‘cause even with Bear’s help, the tree swayed and shook.

    “It’s easy to fix that,” the Badger declared.
    “I’ll just get a stable foundation prepared!”

    A Deer wandered over to share her collections
    of garlands and berries and other selections.

    Then Squirrel arrived with his acrobat skills—
    “I’ll dress up this pine tree with all Deer’s nice frills!”

    Raccoon came to ponder the beautiful sight,
    suggesting “My topper would make it just right…”

    …a tree’s not quite “Christmas” until it’s star-kissed!”
    So Crow volunteered with a careful assist.

    The critters admired their lovely creation,
    a symbol of teamwork and cooperation.

    “It’s perfect!” the head judge proclaimed, eyes aglow—
    when “Everyone’s” entry was picked “Best in Show!”

    Word count: 248

  2. Bonnie Kelso says:

    The Kelpie Challenge
    by Bonnie Kelso
    (247 words)

    Three young Kelpies crawled from a crystal clear creek.
    Silver birch trees twinkled in the rising moonlight.

    “Tonight’s the winter solstice and the longest night of the year!” cooed Misty.

    Crash challenged. “Let’s see who can stay awake until sunrise.”

    “I want to play, too,” chirped Glitch.

    They lit a Yule log to warm themselves.

    After only a few minutes, Crash was snoring.

    Misty teased Glitch. “Feel like giving up, too?”

    “That depends. What’s the prize for winning?”

    Misty broke a twig from a tree. “You’ll win this!”

    “A stick?” asked Glitch.

    “It’s not just any stick, it’s special.”
    Misty snapped the twig in half and handed a piece to her friend.

    “Chew it!” she said.

    “Mmmm. It tastes sweet!”

    CRUNCH-MUNCH-SLURP!

    “I guess there’s no more prize,” yawned Glitch.

    “What if the real prize is knowing you did something you set out to do,” suggested Misty.

    “Or maybe, it’s spending time with a good friend,” added Glitch.

    The two snuggled shoulder to shoulder and were soon fast asleep.

    As the first rays of sun kissed the Kelpies’ quivers, Crash squealed with delight.

    “I won! I won!”

    “But you fell asleep,” said Misty.

    “You were snoring,” added Glitch.

    “I was pretending! I tricked you both!” laughed Crash.

    “That’s cheating!” said Glitch.

    Crash shrugged. “What did I win?”

    “What do you want?” asked Misty.

    “I want to go to sleep!” said Crash.

    So the three young Kelpies
    slipped back into the crystal clear creek
    for a long winter’s nap.

  3. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    THE COOKIES OF HOLIDAY HOLLOW
    By Royal Baysinger
    250 words

    Santa couldn’t be merrier! His final stop that Christmas Eve was Holiday Hollow, where the fairy founders of all our festivities live. They were holding a competition to see who could have the best cookie waiting for him and his tummy positively tickled with excitement!

    In the Hourglass House, sat a simple snickerdoodle. Santa bit into the soft yet firm goodness. It was perfect! He left Father Time the “Most Perfectly Baked Cookie Award.”

    In the Love Nest, Santa savoured a macaron with an exquisite filling – fluffy and sweet. It was perfect! He left Cupid the “Most Perfectly Sweetened Cookie Award.”

    In the Rainbow Bungalow, he had a golden butter biscuit and delighted in how well it filled his ample stomach. It was perfect! He left the Leprechaun the “Most Perfectly Sized Cookie Award.”

    In the Hidden Burrow, Santa marvelled at a sugar cookie, bedazzled with colourful frosting and elaborate sprinkles. It was perfect! He left the Easter Bunny the “Most Perfectly Decorated Cookie Award.”

    In the Haunted Hovel, he was impressed with the gingerbread cookie’s intricate design. It depicted Santa in his sleigh with all nine reindeer. It was perfect! He left Jackie Lantern the “Most Perfectly Carved Cookie Award.”

    Santa headed home, where he tiptoed quietly to bed. But not before finding the chocolate chip cookies Mrs. Claus had left for him in the hall. As he ate them, Santa’s belly shook with silent chuckles. They were perfectly perfect! The best cookies of all are made with love!

  4. Anne Lipton says:

    Elf Off the Shelf
    by Anne Lipton
    (241 words)

    Attempting to expand his biz,
    Nick called on his concept whiz.
    Ms. C was a dynamo,
    shaping plans like cookie dough.

    Businesslike, but sweet and kind,
    she maintained an open mind:
    “It’s time to think outside the shelves,
    and hear ideas from the elves!”

    A contest rolled out workshop-wide,
    and it became a point of pride
    for every elf across the Pole
    to throw a hat in Christmas Bowl.

    The prizes proved an elfin dream
    with free sleigh rides and mint ice cream.
    The applications piled up
    in hopes to win the Cocoa Cup.

    Leading off was Glitter Glitch
    and his innovative pitch.
    He had the ear of all the elves
    with “Toys so smart they build themselves!”

    Next came Sunny Brighton Beams,
    who dreamed a dream of streaming dreams,
    but Santa would not make that leap
    since Sandman ran the world of sleep.

    Last on deck was Elf Sno-Cone
    plugging Robo, the Rein-Drone.
    “Sno-no-no,” good Saint Nick teased.
    “I fear my flight crew won’t be pleased.”

    Sno said, “The deer may work or rest,
    but drones will boost our mission best.
    Our future’s written in the stars.
    Think of children born on Mars!

    “Greenlight me, and have no fear,
    our next gen will be rocket-deer!
    Santa, with your nose for hype,
    won’t you fly my prototype?”

    Santa gave first place to Sno,
    eager to see where she’d go.
    Sno-Cone raised the cup to Mars,
    and snowflakes fell like little stars.

  5. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    THE TROLLS: A WINTER TALE
    By Royal Baysinger
    249 words

    High in the alps of some forgotten country, four troll siblings were hiking the steep trails to visit their grandmother for Christmas, when their path disappeared into a loose mass of snow, clinging to the icy mountainside. It was much too dangerous to cross.

    The trolls agreed, whoever could clear the path would get to sit next to Grandmother for Christmas Dinner.

    The older troll brother was biggest. He pounded his fists and stomped his feet upon the frozen ground. A tremor shook the moonlit hills. But the snow did not move an inch.

    The older troll sister was a powerful thrower. She packed massive snowballs and hurled them against the snow-covered ridge. But the snow did not move an inch.

    The younger troll brother had prodigious lungs, capable of blowing kites out of sight on windless days. He huffed and puffed with gale proportions. But the snow did not move an inch.

    The younger troll sister was cleverest. She knew the reverberations of her mighty yodelling would never move the snow, not even an inch. So she suggested they work together.

    As one, they pounded and stomped, huffed and puffed, packed and hurled, and yodelled mightily, until – with an audible groan and a thunderous crash, the mountain heaved its blanket of snow off its shoulders and into the valley below.

    When Christmas Day dawned, the trolls were all safely tucked inside their grandmother’s cottage, eating their broth upon the warm hearth and seated around her in a circle.

  6. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    UPON A WINTER SOLSTICE
    By Royal Baysinger
    250 words

    Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, was rarely celebrated by the animals of Farshadow Forest. They were usually hibernating before it arrived in late December.

    But one year, Fox convinced her forest friends that they should have a long party where they would stay awake to see this marvel of nature.

    “We could each bring the most scrumptious food from our winter reserves and the last one awake can take home the leftovers,” said Fox.

    “What a great idea!” said her friends.

    They excitedly finished their chores before the leaves changed colour, then hurried to Bear’s den where they would await the Winter Solstice together.

    Fox brought a neckerchief filled with glistening acorns, Bumblebee brought a jug of sweetest honey, Frog brought a pot of wriggling earthworms, Hedgehog brought a basket of fragrant apples, and Bear pulled out a little wagon brimming with blueberries.

    They ate.

    And waited.

    They played games.

    And waited.

    But in early October, Bumblebee couldn’t stay awake any longer. She flitted away to fall asleep.

    In early November, Frog couldn’t stay awake any longer. He hopped away to fall asleep.

    In early December, Bear couldn’t stay awake any longer. He lumbered away to fall asleep.

    And two days before the Solstice, Hedgehog couldn’t stay awake any longer. She waddled away to fall asleep.

    Fox slyly loaded the remaining food into Bear’s little wagon and she slinked away.

    Her sleeping friends had no idea…that foxes don’t hibernate. It was her best Winter Solstice yet!

  7. Amy Leskowski says:

    SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE
    By Amy Leskowski (250 words)
    https://motherhoodblockparty.net/so-you-think-you-can-prance/

    “Places, Rudolph. Jump in line.”
    (That’s me! Contestant #9.)

    “Welcome back to North Pole Live:
    ‘So You Think You Can Prance,’ season five.
    I’m your host, the famous Prancer.
    Please welcome back our champion dancer!
    He’s shimmied chimneys—Seoul to Atlanta:
    the man, the myth, the legend—SANTA!”

    Santa’s back? Last season’s best!
    His reindeer too? I should’ve guessed.
    Dasher coasts. Dancer whirls.
    (Prancer hosts.) Vixen twirls.
    Comet? She was born a star.
    Cupid is on point, so far.
    Donner brings the beat, the boom.
    Blitzen’s jig ignites the room.
    Maybe I’ll sit out this year.
    With four left hooves, I’m bottom tier.

    Eight contestants soar. I sink.
    They float. I flail. They curve. I kink.
    They sway. I swoop. They strut. I stop.
    They spring. I sprawl. They dip. I drop.
    Showing off, they’re busting moves,
    I spin and—
    SPLAT.
    I’ve busted hooves!

    “Oh, DEAR!” I hear.
    Yes, I’m aware—
    my spill was broadcast on the air.
    The crimson of my well-known nose
    extends until my body glows.
    Someone whispers, “not a dancer.”
    Reindeer snicker—even Prancer!
    “Can klutzy caribous compete?”
    My antlers shrink. My legs retreat.

    Halfway out the door, I hear,
    “Rudolph! I need YOU this year!
    Ho-ho-ho! That grit! That glow!
    Prancer, change my choreo’:
    Substitute those samba mixes.
    No more formal foxtrot fixes.
    Rudi’s riffs will spark my set—
    a glow-in-the-dark-breakdance duet!”

    *North Pole Live rewrote its jingle
    to feature Ru’ and Kris-Kross-Kringle,
    the prime-time prancing pair sensation,
    who tours one eve—to every nation.

  8. Expatorama says:

    THE FESTIVE FLYING RACE – Nicola Beach 232 words.

    Tomorrow is Christmas. Rudolph’s called in sick.
    What a massive headache for poor old St. Nick.

    St. Nick hosts a contest, a festive flying race.
    The lucky winner gets to fly in Rudolph Reindeer’s place.

    Who is at the starting line? …Dumbo, …Superman,
    Dragon, Fairy, Pegasus, Witch, and Peter Pan…
    Wait a minute, here comes Elf. There’s something on his back.
    Goodness gracious, Elf has made a homemade rocket pack.

    “When I blow the whistle, fly up in the sky,
    zoom once around the world and back across the line!”

    The racers push, shove, and dive, desperate to win,
    But all that jostling just means they end up in a spin.
    Determined little Elf, flies low, straight, and fast.
    It’s his first time flying, but he will not come last!

    They race towards the finish line and have a big collision,
    Crash landing in a tangled heap, a crazy magic vision.

    Elf has won the race! His rocket pack is smashed.
    It must have happened when all the crazy fliers crashed.

    St. Nick smiles and puts his hat on Elf’s little head.
    “I’m not feeling great. You drive the sleigh instead.
    All the other racers will have to pull the sleigh,
    For now, all the reindeer have fallen ill today.”

    So tonight, this Christmas Eve, be sure to watch the sky,
    To spot Elf and his zany crew flying way up high.

  9. Beth Stilborn says:

    BIRDIE’S SONG
    by Beth Stilborn
    (242 words)
    https://www.bethstilborn.com/birdies-song-my-entry-in-susanna-hills-holiday-writing-contest/

    This year, Birdie was determined to win the Christmas Singing Contest. Every year since she’d been five, Annabelle had won. Not this year. Birdie had practiced until she knew her song forwards, backwards and sideways. She could even sing it in her sleep. She had to win!

    Annabelle stood on stage. Her notes soared.

    Couldn’t she squeak just once? Birdie thought.

    Ms. Ringly said, “Now Birdie will sing for us.”

    Birdie opened her mouth to sing.

    “Bingle jells, bingle jells,
    Fill the sleigh with hay!”

    What was going on?

    “Help old Santa with his sack
    And send him on his way-ay!”

    Wrong words! People were laughing!

    “Reindeer fly through the sky –
    He will soon be here!
    Eat some cookies, leave some toys,
    And come again next year!”

    Birdie wanted to race off the stage and out the door. She ran back to her seat and hid her face in Mom’s coat sleeve. Would people ever stop laughing?

    Ms. Ringly stood on the stage, towering over everyone. “Attention, please. The winner of this year’s Christmas Singing Contest is, of course, Annabelle! Her singing was dazzling, as always.”

    Birdie slumped even further. Annabelle won. Of course.

    Ms. Ringly looked down at the audience. “This year, though, we have a special extra prize. For most original song, Birdie!”

    Birdie couldn’t believe it. She practically flew onto the stage to get her prize.

    As they drove home, Birdie started thinking up words for next year’s song.

  10. Sue Lancaster says:

    The Holiday Homework
    By Sue Lancaster (250 words)

    “Your holiday homework,” announced Wendy’s teacher, “is to write a story about a holiday contest. The winner will receive a special prize!”

    The school children erupted into excited chatter as they left the classroom.

    Wendy rushed straight home to get started.

    She stared at the blank page, hoping an idea would pop into her head. But nothing came.

    She scribbled a couple of lines. But they felt silly, so she screwed them into a ball.

    Soon Wendy had a mountain of discarded words.

    “This is hopeless,” she groaned.

    Wendy asked her mother: “What makes a good story?”

    “A likeable character?” suggested Mum. “Someone the reader really cares about.”

    Wendy asked her father: “What makes a good story?”

    “An obstacle to overcome?” offered Dad.

    Wendy asked her brother.

    “A twist at the end,” replied Paul. “Something the reader doesn’t see coming.”

    Wendy returned to her desk.

    “Ok… I need a character, a problem, an unexpected ending…”

    “Anything else Teddy?” she giggled.

    “Maybe a sprinkling of magic,” replied the stuffed bear. “It is a Christmas story after all!”

    Wendy started writing. This time the words tumbled onto the page like the settling snow outside!

    On the first morning back after Christmas, the children handed in their stories.

    “It’s been so hard to judge,” said Ms. Hill later that day. “But the winner of the holiday contest is… Wendy! What a wonderful story with an unexpected twist!”

    The class cheered. Wendy beamed.

    And the unexpected twist?

    Well, it’s the story you’re reading now!

  11. Elizabeth Westra says:

    How Tiny Won a Seat on Santa’s Sleigh
    Elizabeth Westra
    250 Words

    Tiny wanted to ride Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, but the other elves said, “You’re too small.”

    Santa announced, “There will be a contest for the seat near me. The elf who paints the most creative toys in one week wins the spot.

    Tiny said, “I want to win that spot.”

    The other elves mocked him. “You won’t make the most creatively painted toys. You’ll mess up.”

    Tiny knew he needed to make his toys stand out. He dipped his finger into yellow paint then into blue. “What a lovely color!” he said. Then he dipped his finger into blue again and added red. “Such an unusual color.” Tiny mixed colors and painted toys in vivid hues. He avoided the elves so they wouldn’t see.

    He watched the other elves. None copied his idea. They painted with basic colors; red, yellow and blue. He found an elf examining his toys, but the elf only noticed the strange colored puddles on the floor.

    He told the other elves, “He’s just playing with colors. He won’t win.”

    Tiny painted and painted, and soon had toys piled high. The deadline was near.

    Next day Santa inspected their toys. Tiny didn’t have the most painted toys, but his were spectacular. While the others painted in red, blue and yellow, Tiny’s toys flashed in neon orange, aqua, lilac and juicy watermelon.

    “I’ve never see those shades before,” an elf said. “Where did he get them?”

    Santa smiled. “He used creativity mixing the basic colors to make new ones. Tiny wins the ride in my sleigh. He didn’t paint the most toys, but he showed creativity by blending the old colors and creating radiant new ones.

  12. seschipper says:

    The Claus’ Candy Cane Contest
    BY
    Susan Schipper
    WC 247

    You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph, the best known of all of the Candy Canes. However, did you know how Rudolph the red nosed candy cane won Santa’s contest…..
    “Ho Ho Ho! Let’s begin this contest”, chuckled Mr. Claus! “Which candy cane will the elves select to guide my sleigh tonight!”
    Mrs. Claus was organizing the elves. Alabaster (better known as Al) was in charge of lining up the Candy Canes by size, which was a sizable task! Humphrey checked if the candy canes googly eyes were equipped with precision night vision. Pipe cleaner inspection was Holly’s focus! No unnecessary curves or bends were acceptable. Mario A., known for his shooting star speed, lined the candy canes up to inspect their speed and agility! Elf Sugarplum Mary had to judge the candy canes’ pompom noses.
    All of the candy canes paraded in front of the judges. Dasher knew he was the most debonair, tallest cane. Dancer and Prancer’s googly eyes twinkled and sparkled! Vixen, Comet and Cupid, why they could zig, zag, zoom and fly no matter how full Santa’s sleigh was! Perfectly shaped pipe cleaners created quite a look for Donner and Blitzen!
    The candy canes all laughed at Rudolph! “Look at that shiny, pompom nose! You’ll never win! Ha,Ha,Ha!” Sobbing, Rudolph darted towards the forest.
    BRRRING…Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer turned his alarm clock off! Rubbing hoof to eye, he thought, “Wow! I just had the silliest dream ….”

  13. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    HE KNOWS IF YOU”VE BEEN BAD OR GOOD
    by Colleen Murphy
    246 words

    “The envelopes sit on the top of the shelf,
    and each is inscribed with the name of an elf.
    The challenge is simple, to sew and to stuff
    a dozen brown teddy bears filled full of fluff.
    The first one to finish,” said Santa Claus, “wins.
    At the sound of my sleigh bells, the contest begins!”

    As soon as he signaled, assembly commenced,
    except with Cassandra (as Santa Claus sensed).
    She wielded her needle with purpose and flair,
    but never inserted it into a bear
    while other elves easily crafted with thread.
    (As Santa suggested, they’d practiced ahead.

    “I didn’t see value in such an endeavor;
    there’s more to explore for a pixie so clever.”)
    She slyly kept count of the projects completed.
    At ten bears apiece she thought, “Action is needed.”
    “Dear Elfmates, excuse me, a personal matter
    behooves me to run and attend to my bladder.”

    In minutes Cassandra came running and screaming,
    “The bathroom is flooding; the toilets are teeming.”
    Everyone rushed to attend to the mess–
    (except for Cassandra who praised her success),
    then came back to notice their stores had diminished.
    Before they could protest, Cassandra said, “Finished!”

    By touching his nose Santa calmed down the crew.
    “We must give Cassandra the credit she’s due.
    Now open this envelope bearing your name.
    They’re longing to hear the reward you will claim.”

    “Your prize,” read Cassandra while wiping a tear,
    “is to clean out the stalls in the barn for a year.”

    He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good 

  14. Lindsay Moretti says:

    OLIVE, THE OTHER REINDEER
    (To the tune of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)
    By Lindsay Moretti
    220 Words

    We have Rusher and Tapper and Swagger and David,
    Haley and Sweetie and Thunder and Lightning.
    But do you know the most epic reindeer of all?

    Olive, the other reindeer,
    Was shrouded in mystery, (like Atlantis)
    And in this very moment
    She will remake history. (Like Allyson Felix.)

    Today begins the contest
    Of who will lead Santa’s sleigh. (Like ol’ Rudolph.)
    Olive approached the start line.
    Other reindeer clicked and brayed. (Like the Stooges.)

    On the morn of Christmas Eve,
    Santa had to say,
    “Students of the foremost nine,
    Let’s see who will fly tonight!”

    After the whistle sounded,
    They dashed ahead joyfully. (Hoo-wee!)
    Some of them got the munchies
    And three strayed off instantly. (They were hungry.)

    And then they had to climb up
    A treacherous mountain pass. (Like Mount Everest.)
    Three reindeer had a fear of (wait for it…)
    Heights that ruled them out quite fast. (Who knew?)

    Only three reindeer remained
    To finish the final test. (Here we go!)
    Sidling through the dense fog,
    Olive’s nose guided the rest! (Like a bright star.)

    As they came out of the fog,
    The reindeer had to say,
    “Olive, with your handy light
    You should fly the sleigh tonight!”

    Oh how ol’ Rudolph cheered for
    This fearless girl so joyfully! (Yahoo!)
    “Olive, the red-nosed reindeer,
    Fly that sleigh tonight proudly!”

  15. Margaret Zotkiewicz says:

    Go Green for Christmas

    “Due Monday- Go Green for Christmas contest entries,” said Mrs. Denton. “First place is fifty-dollars. Recycled materials only.”
    “Fifty bucks?” Jake shouted. “I’ll take it!” Everyone laughed.
    “Psst! Sam!” Jake whispered. He held a note.
    “Not now, Jake,” Sam said.
    Jake wasn’t the best listener: his note flew onto Sam’s desk.

    Zotkiewicz, page 2
    “My house. Tomorrow morning. To create the WINNER!”
    “I …work for my mom on Saturdays.”
    “I’ll be there!” Alex said.
    “Sam, breakfast!” Mom said.
    “Do I have to help you collect garbage today?”
    “Yes. Junking is how I get supplies.”
    “Most artists buy supplies, Mom,” Sam said.
    “I’m not most artists. I’m The Junk Lady- ‘Making Garbage Artfully Useful.’”
    “Look at that!” Mom said fifteen minutes later. Her pick-up truck was soon filled with construction cones.

    Zotkiewicz, page 3

    Mom turned left. “Doesn’t Jake live on this street?”
    Sam crouched down. Maybe Jake wouldn’t notice him.
    “There’s your friend now.”
    Alex stood in Jake’s driveway.
    Jake burst out of his house.
    “You made it!” Jake said.
    Alex snickered. “Your mom collects garbage?”
    “Uh…yeah,” Sam said.
    “Go ahead, Sam.” Mom said. “I’ll manage alone today.”
    Mom hit the gas. A cone fell off the truck and landed straight up. Jake threw the basketball to Alex.
    Alex missed.
    Sam ducked. The ball settled on the cone.
    “Wow!” Alex said.
    “It’s a…funky Christmas tree,” Sam said.
    Jake opened the recycling bin. “Just needs decorations.”
    “Being The Junk Lady’s son is pretty great,” Sam said Monday, as the principal placed a blue ribbon on the tree.

  16. Lindsey Hobson says:

    TREE NUMBER NINE
    By Lindsey Hobson
    250 words

    Sofie could barely contain her excitement. Today was Noel Knob’s first ever Christmas Tree Decorating Contest!

    She had been gathering decorations for weeks —

    Berries from the holly bush next door.

    Strings of garland strung with white, fluffy popcorn.

    Bows made from leftover ribbon.

    She packed everything in her backpack and headed to the town square. 

    There, evergreen trees lined the lawn. The smell of fir, spruce, and pine tickled her nose.

    At the sign-in table, Sofie was assigned tree number 9.

    She got right to work — a bow here, berries there, garland wrapped around and around, and a big pinecone right on top!

    Proudly, she stood beside her tree. But soon her shoulders sagged.

    Around her, trees twinkled with tiny lights, dazzled with store-bought decorations, and on top of each tree was a shining star.

    She glanced at the ceramic teapot on the prize table and felt her hopes evaporating like steam.

    Zipping up her bag, Sofie headed home. 

    Behind her, the judges were ready to announce the winners. 

    “Third place goes to… Tree 21, for most decorations!”

    Everyone clapped. Sofie kept walking.

    “Second place goes to… Tree 7 for most sparkly!”

    Everyone cheered. Sofie kept walking.

    “And first place goes to… Tree 9 for most creative!”

    Everyone celebrated. Stunned, Sofie hurried to the stage.

    “Which prize would you like?”

    “The teapot, please.”

    When she got home, Sofie carefully wrapped the teapot in red and green paper. 

    Then, she filled out the gift tag —

    To Mom
    From Sofie
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  17. Jill Purtee says:

    Christmas Boots
    by P. J. (Jill) Purtee
    249 words

    Every Christmas, Rudy said, “Mom, I want cowboy boots. That’s all I want. Just the boots. I’ll wear them to the Rope-A-Reindeer Christmas Rodeo Contest.” Last year he added, “I’m twelve now—men’s size 8.”

    Every Christmas, his mom patted Rudy’s worn out cowboy hat. “Sure. And I’ll ask Santa for a nice man to marry so I can quit my second job.” She joked, but she meant it.

    Boots were pricey. His mom couldn’t afford one pair of boots and Rudy needed two pair. He was born with two different sizes of feet. He donated his spare shoes to soldiers who had lost a leg in combat.

    Mr. Nicholas, a soldier who held the record for Rope-A-Reindeer, always thanked them for the shoe donations, especially the one that fit his left foot last year. In return, he taught Rudy how to tie rope knots for the rodeo. Rudy’s fingers fumbled.

    A few years ago, Rudy said, “Mom, Mr. Nicholas is nice. Let’s invite him for Christmas dinner.

    So they did—every year. And after dinner, Mr. Nicolas and Rudy roped the dog . . . for practice. Rudy’s rope always slipped.

    Last Christmas, Mr. Nicholas married Rudy’s mom, she quit her second job, and Rudy found something special under the tree . . . two pair of cowboy boots! He donated the right boot to a soldier. His new dad wore the left.

    Rudy won third place in Rope-A-Reindeer dressed in new boots and . . .

    a new cowboy hat.

  18. Marta Cutler says:

    ELLAROSE’S SWEATER
    By Marta Cutler
    (250 Words)

    Everyone in class had signed up for the Ugliest Christmas Sweater contest. Not Ellarose. She didn’t feel very holiday-like. Until she saw the prize. It was the most beautiful snow globe she’d ever seen. Her mom would love it. Maybe it would make her feel less sad that they’d had to move in with Gran!

    To keep it secret, Ellarose decided to make her sweater. Gran had taught her to knit. Could she do something this big? She had to try.

    She collected Gran’s wool and hid it under her bed. She knit after school and at night. As she knit, Ellarose started remembering Christmases when they were a family. Picking out the tree. Making chocolates with her dad. Singing carols in the car.

    The sweater grew and grew. So did Ellarose’s memories. The more she knit, the better she felt.

    The day of the contest, Ellarose wore her coat so no one would see her sweater. She lined up with the other children. Each sweater was uglier and funnier than the next. Finally, it was her turn. She took off her coat and stepped onstage.

    “Ooooo,” said the judges.
    “Ahhhhh,” said her classmates.

    Ellarose’s sweater wasn’t ugly. It was magical. It glowed with her memories. Looking at it made you feel all the best and warmest feelings. Someone started to sing. Someone else started to cry.

    The judges were unanimous. And when her mom saw the snow globe, she smiled for the first time in months. So did Ellarose.

  19. Jennifer Vose (@jen_vose) says:

    A Fourth Grader’s Poster Problem
    (248 words)
    By Jennifer Vose

    On Ms. March’s “Go!”, the entire fourth grade made a mad dash for the art closet, but not me. While the other kids carried armloads of supplies back to their desks, I stayed glued to my chair. I didn’t dare raise my hand and ask, “What should I do if my family doesn’t celebrate anything?” This was one art contest I wouldn’t win. But a “creative poster” showing how our family celebrates the winter holidays was part of our grade, so I knew I had to come up with something. No way was I failing art!
    With my blank posterboard stuffed into my backpack, I hurried home from the bus stop so Sally wouldn’t ask me a million questions about my poster. Hers, no doubt, would look as perfect as the tree in her front window. What could I do for mine?
    I knew the answer when I climbed my front steps and came face-to-face with the mountain of food our neighbors had piled under Mom’s hand-written sign, “Food Bank Donation Drop Off.” I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture. OK, so a food drive probably wasn’t what Ms. March had in mind, but this is, after all, what my family does every December. I glued the photo to my poster board and wrote, “My Neighborhood Gives.”
    Sally’s gingerbread village poster did get the blue ribbon. But Ms. March put me in charge of MY class’s food drive, which I thought was a way cooler prize anyway.

  20. kingis8 says:

    A BUGGIE TRADITION
    By Kay Inglis

    Snow Fly is a winter bug.
    They only have one thing to do.
    Winter is kind of lonely and a little boring.
    Ant and Lady Bug are summer bugs.
    Summer is busy with lots of friends and doings.
    Today, Snow Fly hatched early, and Ant and Lady Bug hibernate.
    It’s a first – a winter bug meets a summer bug!
    “Good morning, summery summer bugs! Gotta go. There’s a winter contest to prepare for. It’s tradition!”
    “What contest?!” said both Ant and Lady Bug.
    “Stay and chat,” Ant asked.
    “No way. Winter’s short. I must gather lots of seeds and dried berries to win, win, win.”
    “Who wins?” asked Ant.
    “Why all the summery summer bugs. We prepare your first meal after hibernation. It’s what we do. Have a good sleepy sleep.”
    Snow Fly scampered away.
    “I didn’t know about winter bugs,” Ant said
    “And they think of us,” Lady Bug added.
    We have a little time. Let’s start a winter contest too,” said Lady Bug.
    “Yeah! Where the winter bugs are the winners,” Ant said.
    Soon, Ant created a cavern in a dirt bank.
    Lady Bug carved a slide and erected a jungle gym.
    Then they hibernate.
    In spring, Ant and Lady Bug race to the cavern. Bugs had played on the playground. Piles of seeds and berries filled the space.
    Best of all, a sign read:
    Every Buggie Bug is a Winner
    Now, all summer bugs spend time making their winter contest bigger and buggier.
    It’s tradition.

    Word Count – 249

  21. Sarah Meade says:

    Kendy and the Solstice Solo Show

    By Sarah Meade

    Word Count: 250

    Kendy couldn’t wait!

    It was December 21, the day of the Winter Solstice Solo Show.

    “Ready for tonight?” she asked her best friends.

    Jessa gulped. “I’m nervous singing in front of the judges.”

    Len nodded. “Me too. I forget the words.”

    “But there are prizes!” Kendy cried.

    “Will you help us practice?” asked Jessa.

    “Sorry,” said Kendy, “I have to rehearse my song. It’ll be my best solo ever!”

    That night each singer stepped onstage for their solo.

    Kendy sang out loud and proud.

    Jessa took one look at the judges– and froze.

    Len forgot the words.

    When the winners were announced . . .

    Kendy was one of them!

    She fist-pumped, then picked her prize, a yule log cake.

    “Sweet!” She swirled like a snowflake.

    Kendy found her friends and said, “Let’s go to my house and share it!”

    “No thanks.” Jessa and Len walked away.

    Kendy frowned.

    Victory didn’t feel quite so sweet anymore.

    Later . . .

    Kendy tossed and turned.

    She pondered . . .

    and planned . . .

    It was the longest night.

    In the morning, Kendy set off to deliver invitations.

    “What’s this?” asked Jessa.

    “Please come to Kendy’s Christmas Eve KARAOKE PARTY!” Len read.

    “No judges,” Kendy said.

    Jessa smiled.

    “It’s fine if you forget the words, because they’re up on the screen!” Kendy said.

    Len laughed.

    On Christmas Eve, Kendy, Jessa, and Len sang out loud and proud– together.

    “Best Christmas ever!” Jessa cheered.

    “Let’s do this again on New Year’s Eve!” Len whooped.

    “Sweet!” Kendy swirled like a snowflake.

    She couldn’t wait.

    Holiday Writing Contest 2021

  22. Sarah Meade says:

    Elsie and the Christmas Comedy Contest

    By Sarah Meade

    Word Count: 249

    All December Elsie prepared for the Cows’ Christmas Comedy Contest.

    She jotted jokes and rehearsed with her best friend Heloise.

    “Why does Santa have three gardens?

    So he can ‘HO HO HO’!”

    Heloise chuckled.

    Elsie grinned. “What did the gingerbread man put under his blankets?

    A cookie sheet.”

    Heloise tittered.

    Elsie beamed. “What’s the best Christmas present ever?

    A broken drum– You just can’t beat it!”

    Heloise cracked up.

    Elsie took a bow.

    Surely she’d win Funniest Fruitcake!

    On Christmas Eve, the barn was packed.

    The Fa-La-Ha-Ha Laughter Tracker was ready.

    The Cows’ Christmas Comedy Contest began.

    Lollipop earned lots of laughs with her knock-knock jokes.

    Angus got guffaws for his Farmer Green impression.

    But Bessie and Daisy brought down the barn with their “Moos-on-first?” skit.

    Elsie gulped.

    How could she follow that?

    She stepped onstage, knees knocking.

    “M-m-mooey Christmas,” Elsie stammered.

    Silence.

    “Where does a snowman keep his moolah?

    In a SNOW-bank.”

    Elsie heard one lone laugh.

    “What’s red, white, and blue at Christmastime?

    A sad candy cane.”

    A familiar chuckle.

    “What’s the weather forecast every Christmas?

    One hundred percent chance of REIN-deer.”

    One giggle. Everyone else groaned.

    Elsie skittered offstage . . .

    out of the barn . . .

    to the pond.

    “Hi,” Heloise whispered from behind her.

    “I flopped.” Elsie hid her head.

    “You were udderly hilarious!” Heloise said.

    Elsie brightened. “Really?”

    She didn’t win Funniest Fruitcake . . .

    but Elsie already had the FUNNEST friend.

    “What comes at the end of Christmas Day?

    The letter Y!”

    Heloise fell over laughing.

    Elsie grinned.

    Holiday Writing Contest 2021

  23. Molly Ippolito says:

    The Better Elf on the Shelf
    Word Count: 242

    Santa Claus was coming to town…
    and Wink and Trixie were up to their stockings in holiday horseplay!

    Wink was all never-not naughty while Trixie was all sugar-and-spice nice.
    But, they couldn’t help but wonder who was the BETTER elf on the shelf?
    There was only one way to find out…

    “How about a little holiday contest?” Trixie asked.
    Without another word, Wink marched to the treat dish and unwrapped a chocolate candy.
    He playfully plopped it in the toilet bowl – a sly grin covered his face.
    “Ha! Wink ONE..and Trixie NONE!” he shouted.

    I better not pout, Trixie thought.
    I can do better…no doubt!
    She hustled to the kitchen and sprinkled handfuls of powdered sugar snow from the canister.
    Lying down, she waved her arms and legs – an angelic smile covered her face.
    “WINNER, WINNER CHRISTMAS DINNER!” Trixie cheered.

    I better not cry, Wink thought.
    I can do better if I try!
    A roll of toilet paper in his hand, Wink shimmied up the Christmas tree branch by branch until…
    “OH, JINGLE BELLS!”
    He tumbled down,
    down,
    down…

    Snow flurries fluttering in her belly, Trixie hurried over.
    “Maybe it’s not about who is better…” Wink said. “I think it’s best if we work together!”
    So, the elves shook on it.

    The next morning, merry footsteps rushed down the stairs.
    Wink and Trixie’s kids discovered them having snow much fun, armed with fluffy marshmallows.
    “A snowball fight!” they all cheered.

    https://mollyippolitowrites429922845.wordpress.com/2021/12/07/holiday-contest-2021-%f0%9f%8e%85%f0%9f%8e%84/

  24. Deborah Foster says:

    Ernie and the Science Fair (249 words)
    By Deborah Foster

    Ernie Elf paced back and forth. The bells on his shoes echoed the clock.
    Tick-tock. Jingle-jangle.
    The Holiday Science Fair was tomorrow and Ernie still hadn’t come up with a project!
    Tick-tock. Jingle-jangle.
    Sandy, a sugarplum elf, created a powdered sugar that erased memory; perfect for when children woke up and saw Santa.
    Sam, Head of Security, boasted that an elf in his department had created a silent device that kept mean dogs from biting Santa.
    Even Ernie’s best friend, Ralph, had finished his project!
    Though he wouldn’t let anyone see it! Not even Ernie. Ralph kept it hidden in the stables.
    What could he, a lowly elf in the happiness department, possibly make? North Pole elves were always happy. As long as the hot chocolate didn’t run out.
    That’s it!
    Jingle-jangle. Jingle-jangle.
    Ernie ran to collect his supplies.
    The next morning, Ernie watched as Santa and the Head Elves judged the projects.
    Ernie crossed his fingers and toes.
    “And the winner is… Ralph and his Reindeer Poop-Scooping Robot!”
    Ernie congratulated Ralph and began to pack up his project.
    “Ahem,” someone coughed.
    Ernie turned to see Santa.
    “I love your project Ernie. Do you think you could install your Never-ending Cocoa Machine on my sleigh? The hot chocolate always runs out and I’m grumpy by the time I get home.”
    Ernie gleamed, “Of course!”
    “One more thing,” Santa said, “I officially name you Apprentice of the Happiness Department!”
    The bells on Ernie’s shoes sang as he skipped home.
    Jingle-jingle-jangle-jangle.

  25. Lucretia Schafroth says:

    What a lovely, engaging story, Kathryn. I liked that the contest transformed the “entire neighborhood from ‘meh’ to merry!” Lillith’s “live action” mailbox display is so clever–and environmentally friendly!

  26. Sarah Meade says:

    I LOVE this story! It is so much fun, and I can just picture all the festive mailboxes and the big reveal at the end. This would be a delightful picture book that I’d definitely buy!

  27. Colleen says:

    MR TWEEDY’S CHRISTMAS TREES
    By Colleen Fogarty Word Count 244

    Mr. Tweedy had grown Christmas trees forever. Now he was tired

    “Boys,” he said to the trees, “I’ve decided to sell the farm.”

    “Noooooo,” they howled.

    DouglasFir, the oldest, pleaded with Mr. Tweedy. “We can’t grow for a stranger. No one would
    care for us like you.”

    Frasier and BlueSpruce agreed. “Mr. Tweedy, who will trim our limbs? Who will cut us down when someone wants to take us home for Christmas?”

    Old Mr. Tweedy pondered this and announced, “We’ll have contest. You have six weeks before the townsfolk come for their trees. You can each be a winner if you make yourself handsome enough to be picked. Those who can’t, will remain on the farm with the new owner.

    The trees didn’t answer. Their branches sloped.

    ScotchPine’s sap started to drip. “I don’t stand a chance; who’d pick me with my crooked trunk?

    The weeks passed quickly. The trees shook their branches getting rid of brown needles, careful not to shake off their prized pinecones. ScotchPine didn’t even have pinecones.

    Opening day arrived. Townsfolk parked their cars and strolled through rows of sweet, spicy Christmas trees. Mr. Tweedy tied DouglasFir, Frasier and BlueSpruce onto the cars.

    A family arrived, pushing a boy in a wheelchair. The boy yelled, “Look,,,that’s my tree!” pointing to ScotchPine.

    “Teddy,” his father said, “It’s crooked and thin.”

    Teddy answered, “Yes, just like me.”

    Mr. Tweedy tied ScotchPine onto Teddy’s car.

    “ScotchPine, you’ re the winningest tree of all!”

  28. Sara Dean says:

    Best Wrapped Surprise
    By Sara Dean
    250 words

    My school’s Christmas wrapping competition
    is finally here!
    I’m going to win.
    I’ve practiced all year!

    I’ve wrapped the same box,
    over and over again.
    It definitely shows,
    I wore a hole in one end.

    Mom says no one will notice.
    It’ll be okay.
    I hope she’s right.
    The contest is today!

    My cat, Fluffy, watches,
    as I gather supplies.
    He’s excited too,
    I can see it in his eyes.

    I drop the paper, ribbon and tape.
    It makes a sound.
    It must have scared Fluffy,
    because now he’s nowhere to be found.

    I wrap the box in blue paper,
    then tie on a bow.
    I tape on gold stars,
    then Mom says, “Time to go.”

    In the gym at school,
    presents cover the floor.
    I nearly trip over several,
    as I walk through the door.

    I set mine down,
    and step to the side.
    It looks like it’s shaking,
    but there’s nothing inside!

    The room gets quiet,
    as the judge walks in.
    This is what we’ve waited for,
    it’s about to begin!

    The judge picks up each present.
    He studies each one.
    Only mine is left,
    then the judging is done.

    He holds it up,
    close to his face.
    What happens next,
    makes me freeze in my place!

    The box begins to shake,
    it rattles, it rocks.
    Then Fluffy bursts out,
    through the top of the box!

    I’m sure I’ve lost,
    until the judge hands me a prize.
    I won a new category,
    for the best Christmas wrapping surprise!