Ho! Ho! Ho! The 12th Annual Holiday Writing Contest Is HERE!!!

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

It’s time for the . . .

12th 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 Bad Guy – think along the lines of The Abominable Snow Monster (aka The Bumble), Heat Miser/Snow Miser, Burgermeister Meisterburger, the Winter Warlock, The Grinch, Scrooge, etc…, but make up your own – someone you can have some fun with! An elf who laces Mrs. Claus’s cookies with Argu-mint so that everyone who eats them starts fighting! A Candle Kidnapper who holds all the candles for ransom just before Hanukkah! A pair of zebra gangsters who dress up as reindeer, planning to sneak onto Santa’s team and then steal the sleigh and keep all the toys for themselves! A taciturn girl who is found responsible for removing lights and ornaments from all the village displays…but turns out to have brought them to the Nursing Home to cheer the residents. Anything and everything you can think up – the badder the better 😊

  • Your bad guy can be human, animal, or any made-up creature you like.
  • They can wind up punished, or redeemed, or they can escape to attempt their mischief and mayhem another day.
  • They can be the main character or the antagonist, but they should play a significant role in the story.
  • Their badness can be due to extenuating circumstances that make them sympathetic, or they can be just plain naughty! 😊
  • We are aiming for lighthearted and entertaining so we don’t go down too dark a path – these are holiday stories for children, after all! – but you can be serious if you like as long as it’s not too grim!

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 must be posted between right now this very second and Sunday December 11th at 11:59 PM EST, and must be posted in the comment section of this post which will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists.  There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debut 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 (using the handy Contact button in the menu bar above or at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com) 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. Please put CONTEST ENTRY in the subject line (the amount of email I get during contests is impressive and it is helpful to be able to see what’s what!)

The Judging: My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 14 finalists.  Due to the nature of life at the moment I am not going to hazard a guess as to when the finalists will be posted – they’ll be up as soon as I can get them up.

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 Bad Guy! – the rules state a Holiday Bad Guy story, so it must be crystal clear that the story, including your holiday bad guy, in some way relates to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, or whatever seasonal winter holiday you choose.  Your bad guy must be central to the story  – not just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else. Have fun creating your bad guy! Make him or her a real character whose wickedness we can enjoy 😊
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc.  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! A typo may be the difference between being considered and being set aside.
  • 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 WOW!!! Do we have amazing, talented, and generous people in the kidlit community or what???!!!

⭐️ Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course – Renee LaTulippe Renée M. LaTulippe is the author of The Crab Ballet (Cameron Kids/Abrams, 2022) and Limelight: Theater Poems to Perform (Charlesbridge, 2024) and has poems published in many anthologies including No World Too BigNight WishesSchool People, National Geographic’s The Poetry of USOne Minute Till BedtimePoems Are TeachersThankU: Poems of Gratitude, and A World Full of Poems.

⭐️ Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat with Sandra Sutter, author of THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL (Spork, March 2019) and STAN’S FRIGHTFUL HALLOWEEN (Spork, September 2020) and the Owner/Publisher/Editor of Gnome Road Publishing)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (author, illustrator, or both) from author/illustrator Julie Rowan-Zoch author/illustrator or I’M A HARE, SO THERE! (Clarion Books 2021), illustrator of LOUIS (written by Tom Lichtenheld, Clarion Books, 2020) and illustrator of NOT ALL SHEEP ARE BORING (written by Bobby Moynihan, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, September 2022)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (written/Zoom) OR Ask Me Anything 1 hour session about author websites from author and website creator Stacy Jensen (stacyjensen.com – currently undergoing revision), author of BEFORE I LIVED HERE (coming Fall 2024 from Neal Porter Books)

Author and website creator Stacy Jensen

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), SADIE’S SHABAT STORIES (Spork, 2020) and PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat AND Signed PB from Janet Johnson, author of HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (Capstone 2020), BRAVER THAN BRAVE (Capstone, July 2022), and A BAD CASE OF THE ALMOSTS (Capstone, December 29, 2022)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Zoom Chat (especially STEAM) from Sue Heavenrich, author of 13 WAYS TO EAT A FLY (Charlesbridge 2021) and many nonfiction books for older kids.

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique 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) as well as the forthcoming SPIDER LADY: Nan Songer and Her Arachnid WWII Army (Astra/Calkins Creek 2025) and another as yet unannounced 😊

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Roxanne Troup, author of MY GRANDPA, MY TREE, AND ME (Yeehoo Press, March 6, 2023)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rosanne Kurstedt, author of KARATE KID (Running Kids Press, September 2019) and AND I THINK ABOUT YOU (Kids Can Press, September 20, 2022)

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything with Rebecca Gardyn Levington, author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022), WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW (Barefoot Books, Mar 7, 2023), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024), and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? (Penguin/Rocky Pond, Spring 2024)

⭐️ Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat and signed book from Cindy Schrauben, author of THIS COULD BE YOU (Cardinal Rule Press, April 2022) and the just announced HANK’S CHANGE OF HEART (scheduled for February 2025 from The Little Press)

⭐️ Signed copies of LISTEN (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books July, 2021), COUNT ON US (Barefoot Books, September 20, 2022), and the new TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE board book (Harry N. Abrams, October 18, 2022) – 1 prize 3 books from author Gabi Snyder

⭐️ 15 minute AMA with Teresa Robeson, award-winning author of QUEEN OF PHYSICS: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Union Square Kids 2019), TWO BICYCLES IN BEIJING (Albert Whitman 2020), and the forthcoming CLOUDS IN SPACE: THE NEBULA STORY (scheduled for Spring 2024 from Candlewick/MIT Kids Press)

⭐️ A signed copy of SLEEPY HAPPY CAPY CUDDLES (Page Street Kids, October 18, 2022) by Mike Allegra AND a signed copy of DIWALI IN MY NEW HOME (Beaming Books, September 27, 2022) by Shachi Kaushik

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! 😊

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. Old Man Santa’s Holiday Ruckus – Royal Baysinger

2. Dr. Basil Discovers The Wonders Of Christmas – Royal Baysinger

3. The Yuletide Pirate – Vashti Verbowski

4. The Humbug House – Heather Kinser

5. Ho Ho OH, The Tale of Dusty, Crusty and Musty – Susan E. Schipper

6. The Most Famous Chicken of All – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

7. How The Elf Wrecked (Then Saved!) Christmas – Melissa Miles

8. New Year’s Resolution – Emily Durant

9. Ornament vs. The Jerkey Turkey – Mike Catalano

10. Milo The Miserable – Peter Rogers

11. Felix and the Christmas Tree – Deborah Foster

12. The Christmas Curmudgeon – Deborah Foster

13. The Evil Elf – Jim Chaize

14. The Christmas Sisters and the Tunnel Troll – Sarah Meade

15. Sally’s Bad Christmas – Sarah Meade

16. Manta-Claws – Laura Bower

17. Dr. Coal & The Gaggle of Geese – Kris DeCaro

18. The Christmas Tree Bandit – Christi Blevins

19. Stinky Baxter Reforms. . .Sorta – Marty Bellis

20. Who’s Been In The Bakery – Marty Bellis

21. The Candy Crook – Marta Cutler

22. ‘Twas The Climb Before Christmas – Laura Polasek

23. Mommy’s Winter Monster – Cindy Sommer

24. The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care – Katie McEnaney

25. Frankie – Linda Jacobs

26. Bumble The Bad, Bad Elf – Marty Findley

27. Sneaky Simon, The Sinister Sprite – Marty Findley

28. Please Santa – Susan VandeWeghe

29. Dimwit – Matthew Lasley

30. The Holidays’ Heist – Ryann Jones

31. The Christmas Dragon – Anne Lipton

32. Definitely-Nice-Nora – Jenna Elyse Johnson

33. The Salty Gingerbread Man – Patricia MacMillan

34. The List – Jill (P.J.) Purtee

35. Jingle Jail – Dwight Evans

36. The Santa Clauset – Dwight Evans

37. The Really Grumpy Christmas Elf – Kathleen MacEachern

38. The Christmas Cloud Team – Kelsey E. Gross

39. The Pinch – Emily Holewczynski

40. He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good – Colleen Murphy

41. Ryder The Elf Has To Go – Krista Legge

42. South Pole Shenanigans – Tiffany Hanson

43. Rudolph’s Comedy Roast – Jessica Milo

44. Reindeer Games – Nancy Derey Riley

45. The Most Horrible Christmas Monster – Jessica Strahan

46. One Last Christmas – Una Belle Townsend

47. Gingerbread Fred – Bridget Magee

48. The Noodle Art Turns – Stephanie K. Mena

49. The Rat King – Andi Chitty

50. The Snotgorgle – Brenna Jeanneret

51. Bad Box – Jennifer Lowe

52. Hanukkah Treasure – Melissa Rafson Friedman

53. Auld Lang Syne – Melissa Rafson Friedman

54. The Christmas Naughty List – Elizabeth R E

55. The Silver Dragon – Erik Ammon

56. Cookies For Gert – Rebekah Hoeft

57. Oh, Christmas Tree – Sarah Atherton

58. Dental Damage – Luce Williams

59. Diablo and the Fat Man Plan – Gale Strathdee

60. The Jealous Elf – Jill Lambert

61. Straightening Out Christmas – Laura Wippell

62. Comet, Another Red-Nosed Reindeer – Nicole Garnett

63. The Naughty Star – Rebecca Woodall

64. Elvis, The Reluctant Toymaker – Denise Seidman

65. Raccoon, Does Not Like Christmas – Janey Parkinson Bryce

66. The Grumbledy Bear’s Christmas – Deana Darmack

67. Gnome In My Home – Donna Kurtz

68. How The Kvetch Hijacked Hanukkah – Paul Kurtz

69. Soured Cream – Russell Wolff

70. Lily And Dora Are Best Friends – Ellen Reichman

71. Cats Against Christmas – Bri Lawyer

72. The Ice Dragon – Laura Hollister

73. The Snitch On The Shelf – Kelly Kates

74. The Christmastime Rhyme Crime – Jason Peterson

75. The Hannukah Hand – Sasha Harris-Lovett

76. Moose And The Mountain – Katie Brandyberry

77. The Christmas Tree Critic – T. Clarke

78. The Last Candle Standing – Marcia Berneger

79. Santa Ate His Veggies – Tarja Helena Navala

80. A Holiday Welcome – Sharon McCarthy

81. Oopsie Poopsie Christmas – Judy Caldwell Hughes

82. Grimble’s Grumble – Kellie Tune

83. The Revenge of Count Cursive – Linda Staszak

84. Christmas is Hiss-tory! – Ashley Sierra

85. Yeti Yell! – Lauri C. Meyers

86. NOT EVEN – a Mouse – Elizabeth Muster

87. How The Gift Stole Christmas – Lori Sheroan

88. A Wicked Christmas Bash – Katie Lee Reinert

89. It’s A Wrap! – Maria M. Sutanto

90. The Ornament Thief – Arlene Dowd

91. Cat Claus – Bru Benson

92. Silent Night Caper – Ally Piper

93. The Evil Gnome Cookie Jar – Mary Rudzinski

94. A Visit From Slush – Alex Price

95. Christmas Witch – Patricia J. Franz

96. Olive the Accidental Villain – Maria P. Pope

97. Santa and Little Pea Dickle – Sally Yorke-Viney

98. The Wrong Song – Joy Pitcairn

99. Bah! HumBUG! – Daniella Kaufman

100. Elf On The Shelf Says ‘No’! – Jaime Bree

101. The Revenge of the Gingerbread Man – Judy Valko

102. New Year’s Bandit – Mia Geiger

103. Meanie McGreenie – Sharon Jackson

104. The Case of the Missing Christmas Books – Lisa Lowe Stauffer

105. The Humbug Family Christmas – Amy LaMae Brewer

106. Solstice At Stonehenge – Fran Moldashcl

107. The Naughty List – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

108. Wolfish Christmas – Charlotte Roed

109. Elf’s Workshop Disaster – Laura Maney

110. ‘Nuff With The Nog! – Kari Ann Gonzalez

111. Pawprints In The Pie Crust – Marlee Fuller-Morris

112. Lulu and the Stolen Stockings – Susan Schwartz Twiggs

113. Sassy Cat – Rosemary Basham

114. A Neglected Elf’s Revenge – C. Louise Donovan

115. No Hanukkah Harry Hates Hanukkah – Lisa M. Horn

116. South Pole Santa’s Christmas Takeover – Alicia Meyers

117. Christmas On Planet Phlorp – Isabel Rodriguez

118. No Cookies For Santa – Andrew Fairchild

119. Beware The Cracking! – Kathryn S. Powell

120. Rudy, the Rude Nosy Reindeer – Tonnye Williams Fletcher

121. Santa’s Dragon Sleigh and the Silent Knight – Reed Ambrose

122. The Wicky Workers – Grace E. Jones

123. Grizwold, The Christmas Candy Grinch – Lucretia Schafroth

124. Santa’s Nightmare – Abby N. Wooldridge

125. A Christmas Catastrophe – Author Unlisted (SEAHORSECOFEEELEKTRA79018)

126. The Christmas Burglar – Annette Bethers

127. Moon Beams – Katie Schwartz

128. Naughty Nelly, Pampered Poultry – Armineh Manookian

129. New Year’s Eve Thieves – Julie Fruitticher Schroeder

130. A Bite Before Christmas – Josh Monken

131. Horace Vargus Stealer of Sweets – Sharon Korzelius

132. Simon Pie Takes The Cake – Judy Sobanski

133. Season’s Greetings – Sarah Marhevsky

134. Butchie Finds His Way – Patricia Corcoran

135. Holly Jolly Folly – Ally Piper

[136. Bad Elves – Jess Freeman]

974 thoughts on “Ho! Ho! Ho! The 12th Annual Holiday Writing Contest Is HERE!!!

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JAIME

    241 words
    Elf On The Shelf Says ‘No’! by Jaime Bree

    Elf on the shelf kept falling off
    Was it a deliberate act?
    Maybe he couldn’t help himself.
    Was the shelf intact?
    Morning came, kids laughed & pointed
    At him lying on the ground.
    That naughty, mischievous Elf on the shelf
    Obviously messing around.
    But ‘No-Shelf-Elf’ was angry,
    He was tired of being used,
    Prodded, bent and thrown around.
    His body felt quite bruised.

    ‘There’s so much more I want to do than be just a comic prop’.

    So, with determination in his heart,
    He decided this must stop!

    As the sun came up, the kids ran down,
    No-Shelf-Elf was out of sight.
    In his place a tiny sign read

    ‘This Elf has gone on strike!’

    The children laughed, because, of course
    They thought it was a game,
    But, as advent days passed them by,
    The elf just never came.
    All over town there was a ruckus.
    Elves on shelves had disappeared.
    But, whilst the children were disappointed,
    Their parents silently cheered.

    Soon advent calendars made a comeback
    On every household shelf.
    It seemed opening little windows
    Was more fun than any elf.
    Traditions restored, kids happy again,
    Parents had a new lease of fun.
    And, far away, where Santa lived,
    A new business had begun.

    ‘No-Shelf-Elf Advent Calendars ‘
    Flew off supermarket shelves.
    Kids opening tiny windows
    Of tiny, performing elves.

    So, everyone was happy
    The elves had found a brand-new way.
    Of entertaining kids across the world
    On every advent day..

    • LuciaMF (@Lucia_Flevares) says:

      Stealing Christmas Joy

      No one hated Christmas more than Frank N. Sense
      Everything about it made him quite tense

      Even as a very young boy
      He just didn’t like Christmas or joy

      If his Christmas wouldn’t be fun
      He wouldn’t allow it for anyone

      His hero the Grinch stole a village’s things
      But became happy with a pull of heartstrings

      Frank declared, “the Grinch was a simple thief
      His grinchy effect really quite brief”

      Christmas needed to be ruined forever
      But how to achieve such an endeavor?

      He hated Christmas so much
      Its holiday sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch

      “I will not steal each dish, bell, and toy
      I will take the feelings of Christmas joy!”

      So a new machine he would make
      And each of five senses he’d take

      Frank worked and he toiled
      For holiday joy to be foiled

      He’d make December off-kilter
      When the senses he’d set to filter

      People’s eyes still worked fine
      Ears and nose still in line

      But every single light
      Looked much less bright
      A hot cocoa sip
      Felt flat on each lip
      The chime of a bell
      Dulled like each Christmas smell

      Frank stood there to bask
      At his success at the task

      Rowdy kids gave the machine a bump
      And it fell with a thump

      All his evil hard work now shattered
      His reward for thinking only his joy mattered

      In a blink it was undone
      People again feeling the fun

      Frank’s efforts were spurned
      But was his lesson learned?

    • Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

      I like the tiny sign which would have ASTOUNDED me as a child! I like that the elves decided to re-instate the advent calendars! Those tiny windows brought me such joy when I was younger, and as I am too old to have experienced Elf on the Shelf, I can’t say that I am too disappointed that they’ve gone on strike. 😉 Good job!

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JUDY

    The Revenge of the Gingerbread Man
    By
    Judy Valko
    (222 words)

    A little old couple mixed up some dough,
    formed a small cookie, then baked it real slow.
    They opened the oven and looked with delight,
    at a gingerbread man cooked yummy that night.
    They licked their lips slowly and started to grasp,
    but the gingerbread man evaded their clasp.

    Without waiting longer, he hopped from the pan.
    “They won’t get me, I’m the gingerbread man.
    They wanted to eat me. They wanted a bite.
    I’ll teach them a lesson this fine Christmas night!”
    He ran through the village while having his fun
    and stole all the cookies, taking each one.

    He grabbed the biscotti. He nabbed all the fudge.
    He captured the cheesecake and left not a smudge.
    He swiped all the shortbread and spice cookies too
    and stashed them away like he wanted to do.
    Villagers followed him along with a dog,
    a couple of ducklings, a cow, and a hog.

    The gingerbread man ran as fast as he could.
    “They’ll never catch me. It’ll do them no good.”
    Loaded with cookies, he looked back with glee,
    tripped on a root, then banged into a tree.
    He broke into pieces, delicious and yummy.
    A fine Christmas treat for everyone’s tummy.

    The moral my friend: Please try not to fumble,
    Beware what you do, or your cookies will crumble!
    Merry Chriestmas!

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MIA

    New Year’s Bandit
    By Mia Geiger
    218 words

    Jimmy and Timmy and big sister Kimmy
    were ready to party, to get down and shimmy!
    Their basement was decked out in fabulous style
    to welcome the new year in just a short while.

    But before they got started on this festive night,
    they froze upon seeing a terrible sight.
    “Where are the streamers?”‘ asked Jimmy at last.
    “Where are the cupcakes?” asked Timmy, aghast.

    And then from the hallway they heard someone sigh.
    They found their young brother, who started to cry.
    “I don’t want the new year to happen so soon!
    So I swiped all your things in the late afternoon.

    A new year will make me much closer to ten.
    And next year and next, it will happen again!
    I like being nine. I get to have fun.
    Older might mean all my fun days are done.”

    Kimmy came closer. “I don’t think that’s true,
    ’cause you will have plenty of NEW things to do!”
    A few seconds later, they heard a loud chime.
    “Hurry!” said Jimmy. “That sound means it’s time.”

    The boy sat up straight but he had a wry look.
    “I can’t give you back all the things that I took.
    I ate those great cupcakes,” he said with a grin.
    “But if there are more, then for sure, count me in!”

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SHARON

    MEANIE McGREENIE
    By Sharon Jackson
    WC 195

    I’m Meanie McGreenie, the elf who hates Christmas.
    And here’s what I’ve got planned for you.

    I’ll put rats in your trees, fill your stockings with bees,
    and frost all your cupcakes with glue.

    I’ll stomp on your snowman, and yank down your lights,
    and twist every one of your sleds.

    I’ll mix up hot chocolate, add whipped cream to top it,
    then pour it all over your beds.

    And when you are playing your video games,
    while munching on goodies and snacks,

    I’ll cause a big glitch, you’ll get stuck in a ditch.
    GAME OVER… you’ve just been attacked.

    Oh look over there! A gingerbread house,
    that’s coated with candies and more.

    A poke with my finger, and then I’ll yell, “TIMBER!”
    as gumdrops explode on the floor.

    I’ll un-slip your slippers, put peas in your punch,
    and lock every cookie jar shut.

    Add logs to the fire, to make the flames higher,
    so Santa gets burned on his butt.

    I’ll plop down your cat and your dog on a rug,
    then roll them up into a ball.

    After having such fun, I will smile when I’m done.
    Guess I like Christmas day after all!

    • Katie Schwartz says:

      There’s always one…and in this case, it’s Meanie McGreenie! Love the visual when he pokes the gingerbread house, and causes it to collapse. He definitely is a meanie, doing just about every despicable thing imaginable. Fun to read, good job!

    • Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

      A fun cadence you’ve given crusty Meanie McGreenie! And such humorous naughty antics you came up with! I particularly liked “fill your stockings with bees,” “un-slip your slippers,” and his adding logs to the fire to burn Santa’s butt! Such a GREAT Christmas BAD GUY! Well done!

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LISA

    The Case of the Missing Christmas Books
    By Lisa Lowe Stauffer
    239 words

    The library had a problem. The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, The Grinch–all these books and more were missing.

    Maybe it was a prank, thought the librarian when she heard children giggling.

    Or a thief? A gaggle of teens hurried past, hands in their pockets.

    “I’m sorry,” she said for the umpteenth time. “A Visit from St. Nicholas is missing . . . “

    Betsy sighed. Maybe she’d misplaced the books herself. Her eyesight wasn’t what it used to be. After thirty years as the town’s librarian, she was retiring.

    At closing time, Betsy walked through snowy streets, feeling defeated. The library had somehow lost a hundred books in one day.

    As she reached her front door, it suddenly swung open.

    “Merry Christmas!”

    Betsy dropped her keys. Her house was full of people–giggling children, sneaky teens, and all their parents.

    Little Josi took Betsy’s hand, “Here’s your surprise!”

    The crowd parted.

    In her living room stood a Christmas tree made entirely of stacked-up books—all the missing titles–decorated with lights and paper snowflakes.

    The mayor chimed in. “You recommend books that make every day special for us. We wanted to make this Christmas memorable for you . . . “

    “Party on!” said the teens, handing out hot chocolate.

    Not only was the mystery solved, the book thieves promised to reshelve each book properly after the holidays.

    For a librarian that was the best gift of all!

    • Teacher on Hiatus says:

      I love how you set up the teens – hands in pockets – then call them sneaky teens later, but have them handing out hot chocolate. Book Christmas trees are beautiful; I’d love to see this Christmas mystery illustrated. I particularly like the line the mayor says about the books, how the librarian recommends books that make every day special, but they picked books to make Christmas special. It’s a nicely balanced idea. Nice work, Lisa!

  6. Amy Brewer says:

    The Humbug Family Christmas

    By Amy LaMae Brewer
    word count 250

    Every year the Humbug family turned a little, more rotten.
    Downright mean every one, except for Tiny Limb.
    All year long the Humbug family tried to be grumpier than the last.

    Brother Humbug ate more than his share, every crumb.
    He sang their happy humbug song,
    “Bah-humbug…bah-humbug I’m the only one,
    I won’t share, Bah-hum-bug. I’m the only one.”

    Sister Humbug always took the last rug
    and Tiny Limb never slept snug.
    “Bah-humbug…bah-humbug” she sang,
    “I’m the only one, I won’t share,
    Bah-hum-bug. I’m the only one.”

    Even Mrs. Humbug shared bitterness everywhere.
    While Mr. Humbug made everyone work harder,
    And never gave a bonus.

    “Bah-humbug…Bah-humbug…I’m the only one,
    I don’t give any more than none.”

    Surely, they could change their lowly state, but how?
    Tiny Limb thought bringing cheer with a song, “Fa-la-la-la…”
    “BAH!” interrupts Brother.

    “Fa-la-la-la-la-la…”
    “BAAAHHHH!!!”

    He made cookies but Sister wrecked every, one.
    Still, Tiny Limb wanted them to care,
    he wanted them to share.

    Christmastime?
    What’s this manger thing? A lowly stable.
    A rotten space. A musty, dirty, stink.
    No place a baby should be.
    No place at all.

    How is this fit for a King?
    But Mr. Humbug began to smile.
    “It looks just right to me.

    I’m not so good.
    I’m no better.
    This is surely the King for me.
    A humble King who shares a lowly state.

    Perhaps I can be a humble bug for Thee, who cares for me.”
    Tiny Limb saw their hearts begin to glow.
    “God bless us, everyone!”

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY MOVED TO ITS OWN THREAD FOR FRAN

    Solstice at Stonehenge
    By Fran Moldaschl
    WC 248

    The stars crest the stones –
    The proud circle stands.
    Around the edge,
    Crowds start to disband.

    Feasting for solstice
    Is definitely done
    Because everyone’s wondering,
    “Where is the sun?”

    The sun set last night
    Behind great Welsh stones,
    to the usual chorus
    Of disgruntled moans.

    No one wanted to sleep
    So fires were lit
    And dancing began
    Round the enclosure ditch.

    Then folk went to bed
    (they eventually do)
    And woke up refreshed
    to a day bright and new…

    But who stole the sun?!
    The sun isn’t here!
    Will darkness remain
    throughout this new year?!

    Then Uma pipes up
    From just behind mum
    “Look to the sky,
    You’ll still find the sun.”

    “His light has gone out.
    Moon took it away
    So we’ll have no more light
    During the day.”

    Mum looks at Uma
    And starts to think fast,
    “We’ll talk to the moon,
    But how…?” Mum asks.

    The druid makes potions
    and gives one to Mum
    So Uma can question
    Moon about Sun.

    Uma drinks up,
    Moon soon returns
    Grinning a grin
    Through a bright light that burns.

    “Why steal the sunlight?”
    Uma asks Moon
    “This morning at breakfast
    I couldn’t see my spoon!”

    Moon lets out a sigh
    “I was jealous,” she says,
    “You never have fun
    When Sun’s gone to bed.”

    Sun pipes up
    From the dark morning sky
    “I wouldn’t mind sharing
    my light – I’m quite shy!”

    So now Moon glows
    And people can see
    By moonlight
    and get home safely for tea!

  8. Bevin Rolfs Spencer says:

    244 words
    The Naughty List
    By, Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    Once upon a Christmas Eve, Groot the Gremlin lost the Nasty Contest.
    He wasn’t used to losing what every gremlin wanted: the number one spot on Santa’s Naughty List.
    Groot fumed. He gnashed his teeth. And vowed to get his spot back with the ultimate scheme.
    “Ruin Christmas!”
    First, Groot snuck into town torpedoing twinkle lights and knocking out nutcrackers.
    Next, he ran over reindeers and spray-painted snowmen.
    At Santa’s mall workshop, he tripped the elves and stole their candy canes.
    “I’ll hide them in that red Santa mailbox!”
    Groot crammed himself into the narrow slot.
    He stomped on the candy canes, smashing their sweetness to smithereens, when a letter dropped inside.
    Delighted to turn Christmas wishes into a spitball, he opened wide his gaping mouth. Too late, he noticed something amiss. On the envelope was BOO SANTA and an angry bug face.
    Groot gulped it down.
    An eyeball appeared. Then a voice. “Wait! I didn’t mean it!”
    A hand reached in. Groot was yanked out of the mailbox. A boy stared at him.
    “Where’s my humbug letter?”
    Groot burped. “I ate it.”
    “Yay! Thank you!” The boy hugged him. “You saved me from the naughty list!”
    “No!” Groot yelled, his body glowing.
    Good deeds did one thing. Activated Christmas magic. Groot’s scaly body turned furry. He grew a pointy hat, feet and ears. Kindness pulsed through him. Groot became his worst nightmare. An elf!
    “Ho, ho, ho,” Santa called. “Welcome to my team!”

  9. Charlotte Roed (Boyer) (@cleeroed) says:

    Wolfish Christmas
    By Charlotte Roed
    211 Words

    The pigs knew I was coming.
    They had all heard the tale.

    I’m the Big Bad Wolf’s son
    Seeking revenge on everyone.

    With their stockings hung, their lights a-blare,
    They didn’t think I would dare!

    But I came one night with wolfish ease
    To suck the joy from their breeze.

    I drank all the color in the night
    While they were curled up, sleeping tight.

    They awoke to a world of black and white.
    No reds, no greens, no twinkling light.

    Weighed down in black and gray
    I watched their Christmas spirit fade.

    Until one day, someone shouted,

    “Joy is in our hearts, not the colors on our walls.
    We cannot give in to the sadness this befalls!”

    “You are right!” another said.
    “How dare he take our joyful might.”

    And one by one I saw their spirits lift,
    With a pep in their step and silly little grins.

    But it’s no fun to be bad, without sadness to be had.
    Plus, this overload of color made my stomach feel bad.

    So, I huffed, and I puffed,
    And I blew it all back.

    All the reds, the greens, and the twinkling light.
    The town went into an uproar of pure delight.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LAURA

    Elf’s Workshop Disaster
    250 Words
    By Laura Maney

    The workshop was full
    The presents were done
    But one little elf
    Was ready for fun

    He tiptoed right in
    When the lights were all out
    All others were sleeping
    No one was about

    He untied the ribbons
    He ripped all the bows
    He even took off
    Poor snowman’s nose

    The elf didn’t stop
    He kept on all night
    Bashing and smashing
    The teddies and kites

    But why did he do it?
    Read on and see
    Why causing this chaos
    Gave our elf such glee

    It would seem that the elf
    Was under a spell
    From drinking the water
    From a magical well

    He wasn’t a bad elf
    In fact he was good
    But the magical spell
    Put him in a mood

    He didn’t quite know
    The damage he’d done
    Until it was morning
    And up came the sun

    The spell had worn off
    It was now Christmas Eve
    The elf looked around
    And couldn’t believe

    The mess that he’d made
    Of all the toys
    The presets all opened
    For the girls and boys

    The elf gave a cry
    At seeing the sight
    Of the gifts that santa
    Would deliver that night

    He picked up a broom
    And picked up a pail
    ‘I’ll clean up this mess’
    He said with a wail

    He worked hard all day
    Until it was clean
    And no one would know
    What a state it had been

    Then our little elf
    Let’s call him Ted
    Went back to his home
    And went straight to bed.

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KARI ANN

    ‘Nuff With The Nog!
    By Kari Ann Gonzalez

    Christmas? I’m in!
    Cookies and cocoa? Sign me up.
    Santa? Yes, please!
    Presents? Gimme!
    But…

    Mom’s sweetened yolk? What a joke!
    I hate eggnog!
    “Another glass, Sweetie?”
    “No! Please!”
    My barf-o-meter’s blaring, but…
    Mom’s beaming at her best-ever-batch.
    Sigh.
    “Okay, Mom. Just ONE more glass.”
    But, by Christmas eve…

    “It’s in my French toast?”
    “You used this on the roast!”
    “The frosting on my cookie?!”
    I’d rather have a noogie!
    Last straw. This has to stop.
    I’ll risk the naughty list!
    Oops, I left-it-in-the-car-nog.
    Spilled-it-on-the-breakfast-bar-nog.
    Shared-a-treat-with-the-ants-nog.
    ‘Watered’-the-houseplants-nog.
    Gifted-to-our-scout-elf-nog.
    Oh, you think I’m wicked?
    Have a glass of worry-about-yourself-nog!

    “Another glass?” Mom asks.
    Ahhhhh!
    “I HATE NOG!”
    “Sweetie?”
    “Sorry! It’s true. I’ve been pretending to like it for you! But…
    ‘nuff with the nog!”
    “Oh, Sweetie. Should’ve just told me! Maybe it IS time for something new…
    I know! Peppermint pancakes!”
    Sigh.
    “Thanks, Mom.”

    P.S. I hate peppermint, too.

  12. M. Fuller-Morris says:

    Pawprints in the Pie Crust
    By Marlee Fuller-Morris
    Word Count: 178

    Pancake pretended to be asleep when her mom left the house on Christmas Eve. “Don’t mess with the tree, Pancake,” she said on the way out.

    The door closed and one eye opened. A tail twitched. Four paws stretched. Then…

    SMASH! Pancake snagged the stockings.
    CRASH! She sent ceramic angels flying.
    SLASH! Pretty presents were no match for kitty claws.

    “Havoc makes you hungry!” meowed Pancake. She hopped onto the kitchen counter and helped herself to some roast turkey leftovers. It was a shame, she thought, that the pie wasn’t cooked yet. Then…

    BAM! Pancake batted down the candy canes.
    WHAM! She toppled the Christmas wreath.
    SLAM! So long, Santa statues!

    Mischief complete, Pancake lay back down on the floor vent.

    “Pancake! What have you done?” her mom gasped when she opened the door.

    “It wasn’t me,” protested Pancake. But she was grabbed around the middle and hauled off to the kitchen.

    “Proof,” snapped her mom. There, in the unbaked pie crust, were four perfect pawprints.

    “Well,” Pancake replied, “At least I didn’t mess with the tree.”

  13. setwiggs says:

    Lulu and the Stolen Stockings
    by
    Susan Schwartz Twiggs
    246 Words

    All year Lulu waited for Saint Nicholas to fill her stocking. After Halloween her feet itched, after Thanksgiving her nose twitched, and by December she counted the hours until Saint Nick appeared.
    This year there was a glitch. Pairs of Lulu’s socks were missing. She blamed the washing machine. Washers eats socks though not matching pairs. She blamed her mother. Mama did not take this well and announced Lulu could do her own laundry. The socks still disappeared. Lulu blamed her big brother except he missed socks too.
    Lulu’s favorite socks were gone. Her fuzziest, fanciest, flame-colored socks.
    Lulu fell into a funk.
    “Use an old sock,” her brother advised.
    Lulu’s temper flared. “St. Nick knows my red sock. I’ll find the thief and reclaim what’s mine.”
    Lulu went through the trash. She searched the family’s Lost and Found. No socks.
    She searched the closets. Each was full. No socks though she did find her favorite boots.
    Lulu set a trap using a laundry basket full of clean socks. Ultra-thin fishing line tied to her toe. She would catch the thief in the act.
    A gentle tug on her toe jerked Lulu awake. She crept quietly. There was her cat, Midnight with a pair in her mouth. Lulu followed her down the basement steps.
    Behind the furnace, nestled on the cold cement floor were six kittens cozy in a bed of stolen socks.
    Lulu smiled. Fluffy kittens were the best St Nick’s gifts she’d ever had.
    THE END

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ROSEMARY

    Rosemary Basham
    130 words

    SASSY CAT

    Sassy Cat is ready, waiting
    All the year, anticipating
    Christmas decoration time.
    Eleven months she’s calm and quiet
    Wouldn’t think to start a riot
    But come December—she smells pine!

    It’s Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde
    When the tree is brought inside
    Sassy’s alter ego rules.
    Sharpened claws are quickly flexed
    Her humans are completely vexed
    Out come all her evil tools.

    Batting bulbs and bangles ‘round
    Till they all fall on the ground
    Swinging on each strand of lights.
    Her reflection in a bauble
    As the tree stand starts to wobble
    Shows a surprised look of fright!

    Down the balsam tumbles—crashing!
    Bells and balls and boughs all smashing
    Sassy Cat is underneath.
    Out she crawls, nine lives intact
    As her humans make a pact
    “Next year we’ll just get a wreath.”

  15. C. Louise Donovan📕🏇🐾 (@cld2cents) says:

    A NEGLECTED ELF’S REVENGE
    By C. Louise Donovan
    218 words

    Look at Miss Goody-Goody Girl.
    Writing her letter to Santa.
    Thanking him for last year’s gifts.
    Asking for things for her sister.
    NO mention of me!

    I work hard all year, keeping an eye on her family.
    I zoom back and forth, reporting to Santa.
    Do I get a thank you letter?
    Do I get cookies and milk?
    NEVER!

    “Surprise me,” she writes.
    She’ll be surprised when she ends up on The Naughty List.
    I’ll tell Santa about those times she didn’t eat her dinner.
    My report will include her lost mittens, and that fight with her sister.
    She’ll see how it feels to be left out.

    “I’ll try my best to keep being good,” she tells him.
    She almost always listens to her teachers and parents.
    She usually shares and plays nicely with other kids.
    But I never tell Santa EVERYTHING.
    This year, I’ll leave out the good stuff.

    Will Santa figure it out?
    He always seems to know who’s on The Nice List,
    Even before reports come in.
    If he thinks I’m being unfair, dishonest, NOT NICE . . .
    I’LL be on The Naughty List!

    What’s she writing now?
    “Give my hugs to Mrs. Claus and the elves.”
    This kid is too much.
    She thinks of everybody, even me.
    I’ll just report that to Santa.

  16. Lisa M. Horn says:

    No Hanukkah Harry Hates Hanukkah
    By Lisa M. Horn
    Word Count: 248

    “We don’t need Hanukkah,” Harry told Latke, his dog. “Who needs family to celebrate with, we have each other.”

    The village kids called him “No Hannukah Harry” because he hated Hanukkah. No latkes, no dreidels, no presents = no fun for Harry.

    This year, Harry decided to ruin Hanukkah. He went to work on his list.
    I’ll go when everyone is sleeping.
    On the first night of Hanukkah, he took the chickens.
    On the second night, he moved matzo balls into his mansion.
    On the third night, he chose cookies for containers.
    On the fourth night, he climbed through windows and collected candles.
    On the fifth night, he marched off with menorahs.
    On the sixth night, he spun the dreidels.
    On the seventh night, he loaded latkes.
    On the eighth night, he packed up presents.

    After hoarding all the Hanukkah cheer, Harry had it all – latkes, matzo ball soup, dreidels and more! But he still wasn’t happy. Latke wasn’t happy either.

    The village kids looked everywhere for their Hanukkah cheer. They knocked on doors. “Do you know where Hanukkah went?” No one knew until…

    they got to No Hanukkah Harry’s house. They were afraid to knock. Harry watched them as they cried, “No Hanukkah for us this year.”

    Maybe the village can celebrate with me, Harry thought. I have a mansion and all their Hanukkah cheer.

    “Come celebrate with me!” Harry shouted. He returned everything.
    “Harry loves Hanukkah!” Everyone cheered.

    Every year after that, everybody celebrated Hannukah together.

  17. Alicia Meyers says:

    SOUTH POLE SANTA’S CHRISTMAS TAKEOVER
    By: Alicia Meyers
    WC: 168

    SANTA.
    You’ve heard of him.
    The gift-giving, sleigh-sleighing, cookie-chomping, jolly ol’…

    TRAITOR.

    He was supposed to do business undetected.
    But, of course, his craving for cookies made everything crumble.

    Now, it’s “Santa, this” and “Santa, that.”
    The dude’s picture is plastered everywhere!

    Bet you haven’t even heard of me;
    South Pole Santa.
    The only one good at his job, apparently.

    “HO-HO-HO!”?
    “NO-NO-NO!”

    I’m done waiting in the wings.
    Sitting in the shadows.
    While North Pole Santa gets all the treats.
    All the credit.
    All the praise!

    It’s time for a Christmas Takeover.
    South Pole style.

    Hours upon hours I strategize and execute the sure-fire plan.
    A productive Christmas Eve.
    His annual hair appointment is now a clean shave,
    The elves have been summoned away for a Caribbean vacation,
    and his reindeer have somehow been untied.

    His sleigh? Booted.
    Letters? Shredded.
    Eggnog? Spoiled.
    Red suit? Blue.

    FA-LA-LA-LA…MUA-HA-HA-HA!

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good…

    “Hey, Santa?”

    “WHAT, ELF? CAN’T YOU SEE I’M VERY BUSY?”

    “Umm….It’s November.”

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ISABEL

    Christmas on Planet Phlorp
    WC: 250 Isabel Rodriguez

    Mama and Papa Gork from Phlorp
    Sent their young son Gorky Gork
    To prove his skills in meanness
    By reaping havoc on Planet Earth.

    “This season’s very special”,
    Mama said to her young Gork,
    “To prove you’re an example
    Of a citizen of Phlorp.”

    Landing his Phlorptransport
    Gorky looked around to see
    “Where could I start my trickery
    To spoil Earth’s Christmas Eve?”

    I’ll start with noses to be fair
    By stealing that orange carrot
    And taking the tall black hat
    From that character down there.

    The giant Hanukkah menorah
    I know that they will hate
    If I steal the center candle,
    They can’t light the other eight.”

    The fat guy in a red suit
    Was the target for his goad
    He changed Rudolph’s nose from red to black
    So he couldn’t see the road.

    But alas as he was leaving
    From his trickery and spar
    He heard music from an angel
    And saw a shining star.

    Young Gorky could not help but follow
    Three camels who were near
    A tiny baby earthing
    Where these words did appear.

    PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN
    Was the message that he saw
    Gorky thought: “I’m a disgrace!
    And returned hat and carrot to Frosty’s white face.

    After placing the center candle
    On the town’s giant menorah
    He turned Rudolph’s nose to red
    To help him guide Santa’s Toys Sled.

    Mama Gork proudly said to him:
    “I was hoping you would be
    The one bringing Peace to Phlorp
    And to all Humanity.”

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ANDREW

    No Cookies For Santa
    By: Andrew Fairchild
    WC = 245

    Everyone hummed carols, decorated the tree

    and hung stockings with care.

    Except…

    …Eugene.

    “Christmas, yuck!” he huffed.

    After last year’s gift fiasco,

    Eugene wanted nothing to do with Santa.

    Santa,

    Please skip our house.

    Your presents are not wanted.

    There’ll be NO milk!

    And NO cookies!

    Eugene placed his letter in the mailbox.

    “Hmmm.” He said, “What if my letter gets lost?”

    He raced inside.

    Gathered markers, paper and tape.

    “These will definitely keep Santa away!”

    Go Back to North Pole!

    No Trespassing, that means you Santa!

    Beware! Mad reindeer!

    It was almost Christmas Eve

    when Eugene was awoken by a distant jingle.

    He stomped to the window.

    He stormed to the tree.

    He sprang to the fireplace.

    “GO HOME!” Eugene grunted up the chimney.

    He picked up two small sticks.

    He rubbed them together. Faster and faster.

    “You can’t come down the chimney now.” Eugene snickered.

    But it was no use, when…

    Eugene spotted Santa’s cookies and milk.

    He gobbled up the cookies.

    He gulped down the milk.

    And he waited for the jolly old fella.

    And waited…

    And waited.

    But Eugene’s tummy was so full, he drifted off like snowflakes.

    When he awoke on Christmas morning,

    He found a present waiting for him.

    Attached was a note.

    Dear Eugene,

    Sorry for last year’s mix-up.

    Delivering to millions each year can be difficult.

    Here’s a gift I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

    Love Santa.

    Everyone hummed carols, unwrapped presents,

    and enjoyed cookies and milk — except Eugene.

  20. Kathryn Powell says:

    BEWARE THE CRACKING!

    by Kathryn S Powell
    250 words

    “Tis the holiday season o’ snacking.

    Beware, little nuts, o’ the cracking.”

    Captain Oakton Acorn

    Buster clamped Walnut into his toothy chompers.

    SQUEEZE!

    CRACK!

    Walnut’s shell split.

    PLINK!

    The champion nutcracker dropped the naked nut into a Christmasy snack bowl.

    “Not so tough to crack after all,” he sneered. “Nobody beats Buster.”

    Meanwhile — in the bowl —

    the mixed nuts were having . . . mixed feelings.

    “Poor Walnut,” Hazel Filbert sniffled.

    “Could be worse,” grouched Chestnut. “Try being roasted on an open fire!”

    “Buster’s gotta be stopped!” Pistachio fumed.

    “We need a plan!” worried Cashew.

    “I have a plan!” declared Almond. “In a nutshell. But — I can’t find the shell.”

    “Yes, you CAN!” Pecan encouraged.

    “What’s happening?” Donut cried. “Why am I even here?!”

    SQUEEZE! CRACK! PLINK!

    “Atenção!” called Brazil Nut. “Say hello to Plan B!”

    Everyone looked up — up — up.

    “Whoa!!!!” they gasped. “This might work!”

    SQUEEZE! CRACK! PLINK!

    Macadamia gave the signal.

    The peanut gallery pelted Buster — with words.

    “Hey Buster! You’re goin’ down!”

    “Never, ” snarled the overconfident nutcracker.

    “Ya? Well, say hello to Coco!!”

    Buster’s eyes popped!

    “Go ahead, bite me,” dared the coconut.

    “What’s it gonna be Champ?” heckled the peanut gallery. “Chomp or chump?”

    The nutcracker’s creepy grin opened.

    Wide

    Wider

    Widest

    “I . . . I . . . I . . . can’t.”

    “Yes you CAN!” Pecan encouraged.

    “Not now, Pecan!!!” Everyone yelled.

    SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!

    CRACK!!

    The nutcracker split.

    THUD!

    His levered jaw dropped to the floor.

    “You’ve …. cracked …. your last …. nut, Buster!” Walnut shivered.

    Then —

    a pastry voice screamed,

    “I…DONUT…know…why…I’m…here!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  21. Tonnye (rhymes with Connie) Fletcher (@tonnyef) says:

    Rudy, the Rude Nosy Reindeer
    by Tonnye Williams Fletcher (248 words)
    @tonnyef

    You know Dasher, Dancer . . . and Rudolph? After he made history with his glowing nose, Rudy let the fame go to his head. He forgot how it felt to be left out, laughed at. Now, he was being rude!

    He also got ALL up in Santa’s business. Nosey, nosey, nosey! His glowing reputation had gone dim.

    He’d crossed the line from hero – to . . .
    VILLAIN!

    Santa had more problems than a foggy Christmas Eve – when Rudolph walked in, the reindeer walked out. When Rudy began to talk about THAT Christmas, they rolled their eyes. When he shared stories of his greatness, Comet coughed, and the reindeer rallied.

    “We’ve gotta turn Rudolph around!” said Vixen.
    “Yes! We need to put the T back in teamwork!” Agreed Donder.
    “But how?” asked Prancer.
    “I have an idea . . .” whispered Cupid.

    When it came time for the practice run, all of the reindeer hid.

    “Rudy, I guess it’s just you and me,”
    “No problem, Santa, I’ve got this!” Rudolph boasted.

    Tug . . .
    Heave. . .
    Ho. . .
    Ho ho ho . . .
    No, no, no . . .
    The sleigh wouldn’t budge.

    The reindeer snickered from behind trees.

    Hearing them, Rudy said, “I’m sorry if I acted like I could do it all on my own. It takes ALL of us. We all have something special to contribute. My nose is my special gift, but it’s not the only one that counts. When we work together, we can accomplish great things. Alone, not so much . . . please accept my apology! Let’s pull the sleigh. . .
    together!”

  22. Reed Ambrose says:

    Santa’s Dragon Sleigh and the Silent Knight
    By Reed Ambrose
    250 Words

    Oh, how painful it is to recall
    The most flameless dragon of all—

    That would be me, Charkle the Gray,
    Like a chimney on Midsummer’s Day.

    Don’t you know who flew Santa around
    Before all of the reindeer were found?

    But no one believes me when I say
    It was MY fire guiding the sleigh!

    It was MY fire keeping us warm
    When we entered a cold winter storm!

    And I’d still be with Santa in flight
    If it wasn’t for that Silent Knight!

    He held up a curse on a sign
    With a HORRIBLY written last line:

    “You’ll be flameless by Christmas next year
    If you don’t find your Christmas cheer!”

    Bah, humbuck! I thought it said “deer!”
    For months they were all I would hear,

    And I knew they would end my career
    If their fame were to reach Santa’s ear.

    You know Asher and Lancer and Nixon,
    Collins and Connor and Dixon?

    No you don’t, and you won’t know their names.
    I roasted their fur with my flames.

    Every deer that I burnt was to blame
    For the fading and loss of my flame.

    You may find this hard to believe,
    But the night of the next Christmas Eve,

    I unleashed my last flame on a deer,
    Like a snowflake you see but can’t hear.

    It’s as if all of history froze
    When my flame was absorbed by its nose.

    My fire still guides the sleigh every year,
    But it glows on the nose of a deer.

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR GRACE

    The Wicky Workers
    by Grace E. Jones

    In the workshop you can hear “WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!” The elves are busy building doll houses.

    Blink, Blink, Blink the red lights on the toy trucks are shining. Elves are testing the toys to make sure they light up and make the sounds they are supposed to make. Excitement is in the air as everyone is getting ready for Christmas, everyone except the Wicky Workers. They are looming in the shadows scheming, “How can we ruin Christmas?”

    “Yeah, too much happiness around here,” said another wicky worker. “I know what to do,” and he whispered in another’s ear.

    The next morning the elves were running around, “Oh dear, oh dear, what will we do?” “Someone has taken our nails,” said one of the elves.

    Another elf hollered out, “Batteries! Where are the batteries?” The elves were all upset.

    “Clam down everyone.” Santa said as he walked into the room. “The wicky workers are at it again, trying to steal our happiness.”

    “What can we do?” the elves asked.

    “Follow me,” said Santa. Santa unlocked the door to a big room and there were all the supplies the elves needed to complete their work.

    “HOORAY!” the elves cheered.

    Santa said, “Remember that the wicky workers might steal your happiness for a while, but they can never steal your joy. Joy is what is deep inside of you. It assures you that you are loved and that all will be okay. And so, we sing Joy to the World.

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LUCRETIA

    GRIZWOLD, THE CHRISTMAS CANDY GRINCH
    by Lucretia Schafroth
    Word count: 250

    Z-Z-Z…Grizwold snuggled his tail.
    Visions of sweets danced in the chipmunk’s head, until—
    CRRR-INKLE! CRRR-RUNCH!

    He startled awake.
    Grizwold sniffed wrinkled wrappers. “Nothing? Stockpile’s… empty?!”
    His sweet tooth twitched. “OWWW! Getting cranky…surveillance time!”

    Outside, he stared, sniffing.
    Snowy night! Sparkly lights! Sweet delights!
    A house broadcast festive sounds.
    Grizwold peered inside…
    Candy canes, chocolate balls—a bounty of candy confections!
    “Gotta have some!” he decided.

    More guests arrived—
    “I’m in!” he smirked. “Hmmm, security’s tight. This’ll be tricky! Need decoys, a disguise—plus a counter-surveillance hideout…An indoor tree? Perfect!”

    Grizwold criss-crossed through branches.
    “Hey, Elf, I’m going undercover. Gonna borrow your hat—and sweater!” he proclaimed.

    Just then—
    JINGLE! JINGLE!
    “A feline security guard?!”

    CRASH!

    Ornaments shattered.
    “Fluffy! No mischief-making!” scolded a voice.
    “Position’s compromised. New hideout needed!”

    A nearby gingerbread decoration caught Grizwold’s eye.
    He scrambled inside—and nibbled.
    “YU-U-U-UCK!” Griz groaned. “Tastes like fossilized fruitcake!”
    His ‘safe house’ shook then shifted.
    “Back off, Furball!”
    MRRR-OWWW!

    SMASH!

    Grizwold skedaddled.
    “Uh-oh! This’s my last chance to restock until…” Grizwold gasped. “Could be months! Gotta outmaneuver this mission-deterring kitty.”
    His sweet tooth trembled.
    He scanned for a secure, new position.
    “The mantle!”
    Griz maneuvered into place…
    and waited, imagining his cheeks stuffed with treats.

    His eyelids slipped shut until—
    Hours later, kids’ grasping fingers grazed Grizwold’s feet.
    He leapt—
    “MERRR-RRRY CHRIST-MAAAS!”

    “AAAAH!”
    “CRAZY ELF!”
    “RUN!”

    Grizwold gnawed on a candy cane, swirling the minty sweetness in his mouth—and thought,
    ‘OPERATION CHRISTMAS CANDY’… SUCCESS!
    His sweet tooth tingled.

  25. Abby Wooldridge (@ANWBooks) says:

    Santa’s Nightmare
    220 words
    Abby N. Wooldridge

    It was Christmas Eve morning, and Santa was in a deep sleep.
    Until the elves woke him with their yelling.
    “The reindeer are missing!”
    “The sleigh has been stolen!”

    Santa threw off his covers and dashed out the door. “Who would do such a thing?” he cried.

    “I would!”

    “Easter Bunny!” Santa gasped. “What are you doing here?”

    “Something I should have done a long time ago!” He held out a carrot. “Come on, Rudolph! Let’s see how Santa likes hopping from house to house! It’s my turn to fly.” He jumped in the sleigh. “And I’ll be taking all these presents, too.”

    “But Easter Bunny!” cried Santa. “What about the children?”

    “They’ll be fine! Here. Give ‘em some eggs.”

    “Eggs?! What am I supposed to do with eggs?”

    “Decorate ‘em. Hide ‘em. Throw ‘em in a basket. Who cares? They’ll be rotten by New Year’s anyway. But you’d better make some chocolate. Everyone expects chocolate! No more milk and cookies for you!”

    Santa screamed.

    “Santa!” shouted Mrs. Claus. “Wake up! You’re having a bad dream!”
    Santa’s eyes shot open. He ran to the window and sighed with relief.
    There was his sleigh…
    and there was Rudolph…
    munching on —
    a carrot.

    “I’d better get moving,” said Santa “I’ve got a special stop to make at Easter Bunny’s house tonight.”

  26. seahorsecoffeeelektra79018 says:

    A Christmas Catastrophe
    He hisses, he growls, he doesn’t want to play. Crabby kitty, it’s almost Christmas Day. The stockings are hung, the tree is lit so please be good for just a little bit. Rudy turns his nose toward the ceiling as if saying why should I care? Sometimes he’s a naughty kitty. What am I to do? This is his first Christmas and he should be happy too. But no! He’s jumped into the tree, breaking branches. What are the chances the tree will survive, stay alive until Christmas Day?

    Tonight is Christmas Eve. Everyone’s asleep but Rudy. He’s curious, exploring is his duty. Rudy wonders what to do. He hears a sound. He turns around. It’s mouse! It’s time to play. They run and run. It’s so much fun. They are buddies. They chase each other around the room, wreaking havoc, breaking ornaments, wrecking wrapping paper, crashing into furniture. I peek inside. Oh my!

    Then they spy the plate left out for Santa. It’s cookies and milk. Mouse do you believe, it’s MILK! Nestled in the corner of the plate is a big piece of cheese. Rudy’s so very happy. They eat and eat. They tip the glass and drink the milk until they fall fast asleep. I tiptoe in and cover them with a soft small blanket. Merry Christmas little ones.

  27. Annette Bethers says:

    The Christmas Burglar
    by Annette Bethers
    249 words

    It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s not jolly. He’s worried.

    From the moment he dropped down Molly’s chimney,
    he’s suspected that her home is the scene of a Christmas crime.

    The ribbons have been nabbed from the wreath,
    the tree’s tinsel’s been taken, and…
    the Christmas angel’s been kidnapped!

    “Who’s done this?” says Santa. “Who is this Christmas criminal?
    I must investigate.”

    While looking for clues, Santa sees a tray of cookies and milk.
    “Ah, Molly’s left me a tasty treat,” says Santa. “Time for a break.”

    Santa eats a chocolate chip cookie then tips the mug of milk to his lips.
    It’s empty. Someone’s drunk every drop!
    Santa moans. “Good grief. The culprit’s even made off with my milk.”

    A figure slinking through the shadows catches his attention.
    “Stop, burglar!” calls Santa. “Christmas is a time for giving, not taking!”

    Cautious, Santa tiptoes across the room. He spots a trail of ruined ribbon, follows it to a large armchair, and stoops to peer behind.

    There’s the burglar! He’s tangled in tinsel, and drops of milk are dripping from his chin. The abducted angel lies on the floor, still beaming her blissful smile.

    “I’ve caught you, rascal!” Santa says. “Confess your crime.”
    Sounding very sorry, the busted burglar simply says, “Meow.”

    Santa smiles. “Ho ho! I should have recognized the work of a cat burglar!”

    He pats the kitten’s head. “Let’s clean up your Christmas crime before Molly awakes.”
    The cat burglar says, “Meow.”
    Santa knows he means, “Merry Christmas!”

  28. Katie Schwartz says:

    Moon Beams
    By Katie Schwartz
    WC – 249

    “Christmas Eve is almost here.”
    Moon’s sweet face became a sneer.

    “So Santa’s cool because he flies?
    Soon he’s gonna realize…

    “I’m the one who shines and glows.
    It’s ALL ME………(and Rudolph’s nose).

    “Santa should respect my space…
    or he’ll be gone without a trace!

    “I’ll find a place, my glow won’t show.
    Santa won’t know where to go.”

    Moon rose fast and found a cloud –
    climbed inside and laughed out loud.

    Santa agonized, “This wait
    means that Christmas may be late.”

    Cloud thinned out. Moon couldn’t hide.
    Santa boomed, “Ho-ho! Let’s ride!”

    “Rats!” Moon fumed. “What can I do?
    Something sneaky, through and through!”

    Moon flip-flopped, his dark side showing,
    “This will dim my awesome glowing!”

    But his angle was awry.
    Waving – whooooossh – they passed him by.

    “They’re too merry!” Moon obsessed.
    He was super-duper stressed.

    Moon’s dark thoughts snuffed out his light!
    Santa’s sleigh dropped out of sight.

    What followed next – a great commotion –
    Santa’s sleigh – splash! – in the ocean!

    Toys, elves, reindeer turned and tossed.
    Even Santa thought, “We’re lost.”

    Moon’s axis spun! “Yippee-yahoo!
    “I won! I won….why am I blue?”

    Listen! Waves and wind…swish-swish…
    And a zillion jellyfish!

    Their tentacles stretched every way.
    lifting all back on the sleigh.

    Moon hung his head. “I’m sorry guys.”
    He amped his light and helped them rise.

    So if you watch on Christmas Eve,
    as Santa’s crew prepares to leave…

    you’ll see them soar. The night is bright.
    Moon beams! And calls, “To all, goodnight.”

    • Jill Lambert says:

      Such an unexpected, but clever take on the holiday villain theme–Moon’s desperation to outshine Santa is evident in its spot-on voice, until it sees that winning isn’t all there is. I love the visual at the end with the jellyfish! A lunar delight, Katie!

      • Katie Schwartz says:

        Thank you Jill! And do you know there is a ‘moon jellyfish’? I came across this bit of information somewhere, it almost showed up in the story… but you know, word count! Fun, and challenging to write a story within certain parameters. I must like it, I keep doing it. I so appreciate the individuals who present these opportunities!

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      Katie, what a fun and imaginative story. I love moon’s personality and multiple attempts to sabotage Santa. Great images and very satisfying ending. Well done!

      • Katie Schwartz says:

        Thank you Michelle, you are an excellent cheerleader! It was kind of fun to write…after having quite a slow start. I kind of got in the groove, after encouragement from- who else – my critique partners.

    • Nancy Riley says:

      Wow, great idea making Moon the villain. Love all your descriptive language. Glad Moom had a change of heart to help Santa. Well done!

      • Katie Schwartz says:

        Thank you Royal! Yes, sorry to make the moon out to be a bad guy, since we usually think of him as having a big smile. But we all have a ‘dark side’, don’t we? 😁. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ARMINEH

    Naughty Nelly, Pampered Poultry
    By Armineh Manookian
    236 Words

    “Nelly, you’re not laying eggs,” Patricia said. “On purpose!”
    “Lay off–I’m still molting.”
    “Molting?!” Betty cackled. “Your feathers are thicker than mine!”
    Doris said, “You’ll be on Santa’s naughty list.”
    “He’s not even real. Anyway, I’m already getting lots of presents from my human.”
    Farmer Henry cuddled Nelly. “I’m taking such good care of you, you’ll lay eggs in no time.”
    He wrapped Nelly in a shimmering scarf, gave her egg-stra peppermint worm treats, and read Nelly’s favorite bedtime story, Charles Chickens’ A Christmas Cluck.
    On the night before Christmas Eve, Nelly held her stomach.
    Patricia squinted her eyes. “Ready to lay now?”
    “I need more rest.” Nelly sighed.
    Betty cackled. “You’re not being nice to Farmer Henry.”
    Later, Farmer Henry added aromatherapy treatments to Nelly’s bedtime routine.
    But on Christmas Eve, Nelly felt physically foul.
    “You poor thing,” Farmer Henry said.
    He brought in a bright light to help Nelly lay eggs.
    She sunbathed instead.
    “A lump of coal,” Doris said. “That’s all you’re getting from Santa.”
    “I’ll believe him when I see him.”
    That night, Nelly woke to a terrible SCREEEECH.
    “What was that?!”
    STOMP STOMP STOMP
    Nelly’s feathers shivered.
    CREEEEK
    The coop door opened.
    In stepped a red-furred human. “HO HO–”
    “SQUAWK!!!!”
    THUMP
    Nelly dropped a gigantic, oval-sized surprise.
    On Christmas morning, Farmer Henry cried, “A most perfect egg. The best present ever!”
    Nelly’s cold, coal heart felt just a little bit warmer.

  30. juliejelliebean says:

    NEW YEAR’S EVE THIEVES
    By Julie Fruitticher Schroeder
    249 Words

    “I wish I may, I wish I might, wish upon that star so bright!” said Olivia, pointing up thru her bedroom window on New Year’s Eve. “I wish for no horrible loud POP! POP! fireworks to scare me!”

    An owl hooted in agreement, “Whoo-hoo-hoo!” And several little birds chirped their approval from the tree outside.

    Olivia watched in delight as several more owls and dozens of birds flew in, twittering to join the others.

    Excitedly she climbed out into the tree, joining her new friends.
    They whispered, chittered, and hatched a plan.

    Olivia smiled. “Let’s go!” she said and skipped with her flock of friends down Main Street toward the crowds that had gathered at the Lakefront Pier Park to watch the fireworks.

    She stopped in the center of the garden at the foot of the pier and slowly spun in a circle with her arms raised like a conductor while all of the birds chirped in harmony, flying in a whirlwind around her.

    The crowds watched in amazement, and those on the pier preparing to set off fireworks wandered away from their explosives to see the remarkable sight.

    While everyone was distracted, the owls quietly swooped down, grabbed fireworks, and flew out, dropping them all into the water.

    Olivia stopped, bowed, and skipped back up the street toward home, surrounded by feathery friends.

    The town never discovered who stole the fireworks, but they all agreed Olivia’s performance was remarkable, and everyone enjoyed a quiet and happy new year.

  31. Josh Monken ✍️ #VerseShow 🎙️ (@JoshMonkwords) says:

    A BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
    by Josh Monken
    WC 244

    ‘Twas the bite before Christmas,
    When it all went bad
    All the creatures were stirring
    Cookie batter with dad.

    The plate was laid down
    By the chimney with care
    And they all went to bed
    Thinking Santa’d be there.

    But out from the cracks
    Rose a minuscule foe,
    Who laid down a trail
    Of pheromone woe.

    It wasn’t quite midnight.
    The time wasn’t here,
    But, approaching the cookies,
    Anta Claus did draw near.

    “Now Skittle, now Skattle,
    “Now Critter and Bee,
    “On Pincer, on Thorax,
    “On Gary and Flea!”

    The ant drones emerged
    All lively and quick,
    Led by an ANTagonist:
    They called him St. Ick.

    A masterful villain
    Was great Anta Claus.
    They swarmed Santa’s plate,
    Using insectile maws.

    Crumbs were purloined,
    The cookies consumed.
    Away from the fire,
    With snacks all subsumed.

    This colony fed,
    Anta went on his way,
    To the house down the street
    With a cookie display.

    Home after home had
    No snacks for the man.
    Santa took the last chimney,
    Landing right on his can.

    You see, Santa was fueled
    By Mrs. Claus Stew,
    Right up to the point
    Where he took off and flew.

    He needed his snacks
    To keep up his pep.
    The cookies sure helped
    Lend a lively old step.

    Without his baked goods,
    He faltered and stopped.
    Slept under the tree
    Where the presents were dropped.

    So next time you prep
    For a Christmastime snack,
    Please Place Under Glass.
    To avoid Anta’s attack!

  32. Sharon Kristmas Korzelius 🎄🐢 (@SharonKorzelius) says:

    HORACE VARGUS
    Stealer of Sweets
    by Sharon Korzelius
    (WC: 231)

    The day before Christmas,
    all was covered with white,
    icicles were dripping,
    all was merry and bright.

    All the houses were full
    for the parents were home,
    but nobody noticed
    the naughty garden gnome.

    “Horace Vargus’ the name
    and I’m here for the sweets!
    Your cookies and candies
    will be MY tasty treats!

    “Your truffles and gummies,
    peanut butter bon bons!
    Your mints and nut clusters –
    Consider them gone!”

    When the children awoke
    and ran fast from their beds,
    all the gingerbread men
    were missing their heads.

    The boxes of choc’late –
    every one had been pinched!
    Christmas crime had befallen,
    they were wholly convinced.

    Their theory was bolstered
    when they found Santa’s text:
    You left me no cookies;
    I admit I’m perplexed.

    Your treats are delicious,
    I await them each year.
    Horace Vargus just might
    be responsible here.

    He once tried to cheat me,
    tried to steal all my toys.
    When I sent him away,
    he made lots of noise.

    He said he’d get even,
    said he’d settle the score;
    he’d make Christmas bitter,
    steal my cookies and more.

    The thing to remember,
    Santa finished his note,
    this sort of selfishness
    I can never promote.

    Forgive Horace Vargus,
    please forget what he’s done.
    Continue with Christmas,
    be compelled to have fun.

    There may be no cookies,
    but this is Christmas Day;
    it’s never what you keep,
    but what you give away.

  33. Judy Sobanski says:

    SIMON PIE TAKES THE CAKE
    By Judy Sobanski 250 words

    The Christmastown citizens snoozed.
    Not a single soul was awake.
    Except Simon Pie,
    a sneaky young guy,
    who had plans to steal their cakes.

    Each dark, quiet house that he entered,
    had a cake that Simon snatched.
    It was hard to see—
    but it all was Free!
    “What a genius plan I’ve hatched!”

    Was he grabbing vanilla or chocolate?
    Devil’s food cake was his favorite.
    “It’ll soon be just me,
    plus a hot cup of tea.
    Oooooh, how I’m going to savor it!”

    After Simon had swiped a cake
    from each house in Christmastown.
    He opened his sack,
    but was taken aback.
    His smile turned into a frown.

    The cakes were all identical.
    Each loaded with nuts and fruit.
    Sticky and gooey
    and wa-a-ay too chewy.
    Not at all a delectable loot!

    “UGGGH!” said disgusted Simon.
    “My dastardly plan went awry!
    Now what do I do
    with one hundred and two
    Christmas fruitcakes I don’t want to try?”

    Then jingle bells rang in the distance.
    “Santa’s coming!” said devious Pie.
    “I’ll leave him a note,
    and for sure— sugarcoat
    my ever so small, little lie.”

    “Dear Santa, I made all these fruitcakes.
    I was hoping you’d take them with you.
    Please give to the elves
    to enjoy for themselves,
    my thank you for all that they do.”

    Santa saw through the deception,
    and wrote back with a gleam in his eye.
    “Your note is a fake
    I know you TOOK the cakes!”
    He left coal for the bad Simon Pie!

  34. Teacher on Hiatus says:

    Season’s Greenings
    by Sarah Marhevsky
    250 words

    Ker-SPLAT! Ker-SPLAT! What was that sound?
    Dear Santa? A big mouse?
    I raced outside and saw a green
    triangle on the house.

    What a mess! And whom to blame?
    I looked way down the street.
    Two bikes were disappearing in
    the fading light and heat.

    “Be right back, Mom!” I hollered.
    Oh, I would chase them down!
    Those villains shouldn’t get away
    with this in my hometown!

    I pedaled out my fury,
    then squinted up ahead.
    I saw eight limbs on those two bikes…
    one body and one head?

    I skidded to a halt, then froze.
    I gave some fearful looks.
    Spread across the bikes I saw
    a giant octopus.

    “Ho, ho, ho!” the cephalopod
    said by way of greeting.
    “I’d hoped to get away before
    you saw my special greening!”

    Darkness fell, and then I stared.
    Did my eyes deceive me?
    That green triangle glowed, so bright:
    a seaweed Christmas tree!

    “Bioluminescence.”
    “Oh!”
    Her beak curved in a grin.
    “I must be off, but look, at night –
    you’ll see where I have been!”

    I hung my head.
    “What’s wrong?” she said.
    “I’d chased you down to yell.
    But look at this! I misjudged you.
    You’re really just so…swell.

    “How can I hope to bring some joy
    when I see what you’ve done?
    You have THREE hearts, but then there’s me:
    I was born with one.”

    She wrapped her tentacles around
    me, there in the outdoors.
    “It’s not how many hearts you have
    but what you do with yours!”

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PATRICIA

    Butchie Finds his Way
    By Patricia Corcoran
    250 words

    Carlos and Flora were street dogs. They snatched food. They chased cats.
    They were mean to mailmen. Carlos barked at babies and Flora growled at runners.

    They found Butchie when he was cold and frightened. He had escaped from the pound.
    “Come with us!” they called. Butchie was happy to find friends. He didn’t like scrunching in doorways and shivering in the cold.

    “Go up to that lady and whine,” Flora ordered, as a lady was leaving her house. Butchie did as he was told and the lady stooped to pet him.
    Carlos and Flora ran into the kitchen and grabbed hot dogs from the table.

    Butchie didn’t know any better. But something was missing…

    Ruthie dreamed of a puppy from Santa. That was all she wanted.

    Carlos and Flora spied an apple pie on a table and looked for a way to get into the house.
    “Go get us that pie!” Carlos ordered, showing sharp teeth.

    Butchie was scared and cold. He just wanted someone to love and keep him warm.

    He got to the roof but fell down a dark hole.

    “Ow!” cried a man in a red suit. “Watch out!” The man saw the puppy and laughed.
    “Little fellow, are you okay?”

    Butchie licked the man’s face. He had twinkling eyes.
    “I know just the place for you!” Santa said. “Get lost!” he cried to Carlos and Flora, looking in the window.

    Christmas morning dawned. Ruthie squealed. In her stocking slept Butchie, content in his new home.

  36. apipercreative says:

    Holly Jolly Folly
    By Ally Piper
    209 words

    There once was an elf (we’ll call him Wally) who caught a bad case of Holly Jolly Folly.

    This wasn’t your typical virus you see, instead of sneezes and sniffles he was nasty as could be. Mistletoe mischief was one thing, but this was completely another.

    “Can’t you just be of good cheer?” The head elf pleaded for the sake of this time of year. A right naughty old elf, Wally laughed to himself as he kicked a reindeer in the rear.

    As Christmas Eve drew near, the virus kept spreading. Christmas spirit was at an all time low, the elf doctors didn’t like where this was heading.

    We needed a miracle, some magic you see. So Santa called a meeting of his top three. After hours of debating and planning the three could finally agree. The solution was actually simple you see.

    The folly was only so deep. An injection of pure joy was needed and quick.
    Before anyone else got sick.

    The reaction was as the three described. Fun was prescribed. The elves all made merry with games, carols, and candy aplenty.

    As for Wally, the instigator of all this folly, we’re happy to report that quickly his frown turned upside down as he sang along with glee.

  37. jessaroux says:

    BAD ELVES
    By Jess Freeman
    240 Words

    ‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town
    Not a shopper was happy, we all wore a frown.

    The shelves were all empty, the cupboards were bare,
    We hoped new deliveries soon would be there.

    Elves had run through and they’d taken the presents,
    The bows and the toys, the fat Christmas pheasants!

    The children were worried, they hung down their heads.
    “Where are our toys?” The smallest one said.

    Our faces turned ashen, our hearts how they sank
    I wanted to help but my mind was a blank.

    A manager stepped up and he started to shout,
    He was frantically waving his arms all about.

    “I’m sorry!” He called, “It was Santa’s bad elves.
    The ones who’ve been naughty, they cleaned out our shelves!”

    “No treats and no candy?!” “No bright lights a flashing?!”
    “No trippings or trappings!” “No Christmas wrappings?!”

    From up on a hill, those bad elves looked down.
    They saw all the drama and started to frown.

    “We caused all these problems? We made them all sad?”
    “We thought we were helping. We’re really not bad!”

    Then down from the hill came the elves with their sleds.
    They sat down so low you could not see their heads.

    Up they each popped and all peered around,
    “We’re sorry.” They squeaked. “We thought Santa’d be proud.”

    We thought we could make the deliveries this year.
    We just wanted to spread our own brand of cheer.

  38. stephmena7299 says:

    Thank each and every one of you who read and commented on NOODLE ART TURNS. It’s terrific to be included among so many great writers.
    Merry Christmas and Happy 2023

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