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!!!


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


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]

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

  1. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    By Royal Baysinger
    250 words

    Some folks call me “Never-Miss” Rita, but I prefer “Sheriff.” I’ve always kept Winterland a peaceful, law-abidin’ town…till Old Man Santa created his newfangled holiday.


    Everyone took to it like white on snow: town elves, hill fairies, even tundra reindeer. But not our mayor, Jack Frost. He got so upset, a clear sky flurried snow.

    Then there was trouble.

    Jack nipped the noses of a few elves for talkin’ toy-makin’ in the Cocoa Saloon.
    I issued him a fine.

    He turned the entire post office into an ice cube when the new sleigh arrived.
    I threw him in jail.

    But once Santa got them reindeer flying with pixie dust, things got downright nasty.

    An avalanche hit the fairies’ pixie dust mine.
    Sleet turned Santa’s runway to a frozen lake.
    And a tempest blew reindeer from the sky.
    …On the same day.

    It weren’t happenstance. It was Mayor Jack Frost. Sure as sunshine!

    I had no choice.

    “Jack! Showdown. Noon. Tomorrow!”

    I saw his little heart freeze.

    “Please, no, Sheriff! I’ve been naughty, but I never meant to hurt anyone! Christmas is such a good idea, they’ll make Santa mayor, for sure! Then I’ll be driven out, with nowhere to go!”

    “You could just join the town and lend a hand.”

    Jack took my words to heart. He apologized to everyone. And when they forgave and forgot, why, he beamed so hard, it lit up the sky!

    Perttiest thing I ever saw! The Northern Lights…born on Christmas day!

  2. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    By Royal Baysinger
    250 words


    “Look, Dr. Basil, sir! I’ve invented the Sleigh-Bells-Ring.”

    “Boris, I must insist you rid yourself of that racket-inducing accessory. It reminds me of that bearded buffoon! The blight of Christmas!”

    “With you hating Santa, I’m surprised you like Christmas at all…”

    “Come, Boris! I adore Christmas! The luminosity of lights! The dexterity of ice skating! The delicacy of roasted chestnuts!”

    “But not Santa.”

    “Precisely! Which is why I have created this! Behold! The Out-of-My-Headgear, complete with broadcasting tower! Its electromagnetic waves will erase Santa from the minds of humanity!”

    “Won’t that ruin Christmas?”

    “Nonsense! He shall not be missed!”

    Stepping into his cross-country skis, Dr. Basil sped into town.

    He drifted by decorators, coasted past carollers, glided by gift-givers, bombarding everyone with the Out-of-My-Headgear.

    [No Santa. No Santa. No Santa.]

    But all at once, Christmas cascaded to nothingness.

    [No Santa…No presents…No tree…No lights…No music…]

    [No Christmas. No Christmas. No Christmas.]

    With Christmas gone, everyone hurried home to get warm, leaving Dr. Basil in shocked isolation, until Boris arrived.

    “Boris, I don’t understand…”

    Boris gently removed Dr. Basil’s Out-of-My-Headgear. Then lifting his voice, he filled the empty streets with a song of Christmas long ago. And suddenly, his Sleigh-Bells-Ring jingled.

    That’s when Dr. Basil felt something. Something beyond the wonders of lights, or skating, or chestnuts.

    Soon there were townspeople: greeting and giving, skating and smiling, cooking and caroling, until the Christmas spirit was shining brightly once more.

    “Well done, Boris!”

    “Merry Christmas, Dr. Basil, sir.”

  3. Vashti Verbowski (@VashtiVerbowski) says:

    by Vashti Verbowski
    (250 words)

    Captain Whitebeard wasn’t your typical pirate. Instead of black sails, he decked his ship in cranberry red. He had a weakness for festive carols. And his pet cat, Sugarplum, was his first mate.

    Most of the year, Whitebeard and Sugarplum pilfered from port-to-port. And together, they feasted and made merry. But when the snow began to fall, Whitebeard steered seaward, for he had sworn the pirate oath:

    Pillage or plunder any prize or jewel, except on Hanukkah, Christmas, and Yule.

    “’Tis the season ‘o torture!” thought Whitebeard. But pirates weren’t all bad, and it was important to keep his oath. Or was it?

    This year, when the townsfolk lit their candles and sang in the streets, Whitebeard couldn’t stop himself. He dropped anchor and brought Sugarplum ashore. “Har! I’ll be the worst sort ‘o pirate!”

    However, pirating at Yuletide proved difficult…

    When he stole a swig of spiced wine, the priest blessed him. When he nicked a latke, the rabbi offered him another. And when he snatched a satchel from outside the merchant’s shop, it was labelled: “For someone in need.”

    In his new cranberry-colored coat, Whitebeard realized he hadn’t pillaged or plundered a thing.

    But then he spotted Sugarplum—she found treasure!
    Before Whitebeard could raid the tree, a mob of children cheered, “Old Man Winter!” and pilfered the bejeweled boxes for themselves.

    “Shiver me timbers!” exclaimed Whitebeard, and then he laughed, “Yo ho ho! Ye be the worst sort ‘o pirates!”

    And together, they feasted and made merry.

  4. Heather Kinser says:

    by Heather Kinser
    250 words

    It was Christmas Eve. Santa would soon arrive.

    “Bah. Humbug!” rumbled the rickety house on Holly Street.

    Inside, by a cozy tree, Natalie and Noel arranged cookies for Santa to nibble.

    “How will Santa find us?” Natalie wondered, using a moving box as a table.

    “He’ll come down the chimney, of course,” said Noel.

    “It’s too small and sooty,” Natalie worried. “Let’s leave the door unlocked, just in case.”

    “And slide a window open,” said Noel.

    That’s exactly what they did.

    Off the siblings went, to bed.

    But the house…the house had heard every word.

    “Allow an intruder to enter? Never!” creaked the house. “Santa has never been here before. Santa will never barge through my door.”

    The door locked.

    The window shut.

    The flu snapped.

    The house groaned, “Now, without a doubt, I’ve locked that sneaky Santa out!”

    Soon, a distant Ho-Ho-Ho drifted on the snowy air, growing closer.

    “I’ll show him!” said the house.

    It battened down its hatches, shuttered its stovepipe, and scooted its attic floorboards together.

    “If Santa Claus arrives, away he’ll be sent! He won’t slip through my crack or vent!”

    All through the night, the house stood alert—a fortress.

    But in the dawning light of day, it found…

    pretty packages under the tree.

    Santa Claus had found a way!

    For somehow, Santa is received in any house where kids believe,
    and any house where children roam accepts a gift—

    a home.

    “Welcome Christmas day!” squeaked the cozy new home.

  5. seschipper says:

    Ho Ho OH, The Tale of Dusty, Crusty and Musty
    By Susan E. Schipper
    WC 250

    In the tiny town of Sleighville
    near the North Pole,
    Elves were hard at work in Santa’s shop on the hill.
    Making children’s dreams come true was their goal!

    Down the lane, around the bend
    lived three elves who never smiled.
    Dusty, Crusty, Musty couldn’t comprehend
    why any Elf and Santa would want to help a child.

    Oh the things they planned to do!

    We’ll blow out Christmas candles.
    Make snowflakes disappear.
    Get rid of all the happiness,
    forget about the cheer!

    Let’s sprinkle wrinkles everywhere!
    Each smile becomes a frown!
    We’ll make everything unfair.
    Elves from Sleighville… get out of town!

    The naughty elves were about to start
    the mischief they designed.
    Suddenly they heard a sound
    they didn’t recognize!

    Coming through the crack
    right beneath the door,
    could it be the howling wind?
    Or is it something more?

    “You check”, said Dusty.
    “No, you should, Musty”.
    “I think we all must look”, stammered Crusty.
    Not one of them could move!

    The noise was causing something strange.
    They tried to figure out
    why suddenly they felt a change
    within their own hearts!

    Creeping slowly towards the door
    should they peek and be prepared?
    Their heads began to swirl
    fighting smiles, they WANTED to share!

    Cautiously, they opened the door.
    Whoosh! Elves from Sleighville appeared
    sprinkling Christmas cheer-y dust!
    Three mischievous elves disappeared!

    Stories from that special day
    spread both near and far.
    Some believe they changed their ways
    becoming Santa’s Stars!

    Ho, Ho, Oh, what do you imagine happened?

  6. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    The Most Famous Chicken of All
    Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
    248 words

    Scratchy, Santa’s head chicken, asked if the chickens could pull the sleigh this year.

    “Are you kidding?” asked Santa. “Absolutely not. Never.”

    Scratchy glared and ruffled his feathers. This year, he clucked quietly to himself, it will be different.

    And he hatched a cunning plan.

    He put a sleeping potion in Santa’s dinner. As Santa snoozed and slumped into the

    mashed potatoes, Scratchy flapped his wings and crowed.

    Next, Scratchy broke into the safe and ran around sprinkling flying dust over everyone’s wings.

    Finally, he asked the reindeer to hang some Christmas lights.

    “But they’ll get all tangled up!” said a chick.

    “That’s just what I’m counting on,” snarled Scratchy.

    After the reindeer wound up struggling in a flashing, colored heap, he rubbed his wings together.

    “Now…where’s the list of who’s naughty and nice?”

    “Santa memorized it and ate it,” said a voice behind them. It was Rudolph, who had broken free. “It’s too long to bring.”

    “Buck-buck-buck…” squawked Scratchy.

    “Your featherheaded little spree is over. Into the henhouse. Now!”

    “Wait!” said Scratchy. “Do you want me to tell Santa about your secret candy cane business with the Finnish reindeer?”

    Rudolph’s nose turned white.

    “Okay. You win. But I’ll sit in the sleigh and direct you — I memorized the list, too.”

    “Deal!” said Scratchy.

    After their fluttering, magical trip around the world, Rudolph warned,

    “You’ve had your fun. Now, never do it again.”

    “Never!” echoed Scratchy.

    But under his feathers, his toes were crossed. History was calling.

  7. melissamiles1 says:

    How the Elf Wrecked (then Saved!) Christmas
    by Melissa Miles
    250 words

    Quirky Elf twisted her wrench.

    WHIZ. An egg zoomed past.
    CRACK. The shell split.
    SPLAT. It hit the skillet.
    SIZZLE. For 80 seconds.
    FLIP. 20 seconds on that side…
    WHOOSH. A perfect over-easy egg glided onto a plate.

    She pictured herself offering a hearty breakfast to Santa before his long Christmas Eve journey. Until…

    “Breaking rules again?”

    Ugh. Head-Elf Zillow.

    “It’s a breakfast machine. For Santa.”

    Zillow checked her clipboard. “Out of bed, unauthorized use of workshop equipment, bringing food into the toy-making bay—”

    Quirky fumed. Why bother explaining?

    On naming day, Zillow handed out official elf names to the entire class. “Merry, Twinkle, Sparkle, Snowflake.” Then, Zillow’s tone changed. “Quirky.”
    The other elves snickered. They’d always treated her differently.

    It wasn’t fair! She only wanted to be herself.

    I’ll show them all, Quirky thought. I’ll be the trouble-maker they expect.

    At dawn, toys littered the workshop floor. Carefully packed bags were upended.

    Panic-stricken elves cried, “We’ll never make our deadline!”

    Guilt twisted inside Quirky’s stomach. Her sabotage would leave millions of children broken-hearted. Mischief and mayhem didn’t feel so good anymore.

    Tears filled Quirky’s eyes.

    Then, Santa’s booming voice filled the room. “Quirky Elf?”

    Did he know?

    Quirky stepped one pointy-toed shoe toward him. “Yes.”

    “If anyone can save Christmas, it’s you. Do you have an invention to handle this mess?”

    Her heart exploded with joy. “I do!”

    With her swifty packer contraption repacking bags, Santa’s eyes twinkled.
    “Quirky, you’re a genius! If only I had some breakfast…”

  8. Emily Durant (@emilydurwrites) says:

    By Emily Durant
    WC 214

    He dropped down the chimney and shook off the soot.
    The first house of many—the night would be long.
    He filled up the stockings, set gifts by the tree.
    All seemed in order… but something was wrong.

    Something was missing—the smell of fresh cookies.
    A glance at the hearth proved his worry was valid.
    Water instead of a big glass of milk
    and the cookies replaced with a colorful salad!

    The next house presented the same strange conundrum.
    Someone had made all the treats disappear.
    He held up some kale chips and celery stalks,
    cried out to his reindeer “What’s happening this year?!”

    House after house filled with fresh fruits and veggies.
    No morsel in sight—someone clearly had planned it.
    They hustled and rolled from one house to the next.
    At last, they caught up with that mean goodie bandit!

    “I’ve caught you red-handed, there’s nowhere to flee.
    Release all the treats from your sly little paws.
    Now turn around so I can see who you are!”
    But he never supposed it would be… Mrs. Claus?!

    “Why in the world are you sneaking around,
    Stealing my milk and the sweets from each plate??”
    “My dear, please don’t fret, I was just trying to help.
    You told me this season you’d like to lose weight!”

  9. Mike Catalano says:

    by Mike Catalano
    250 words

    Luke the Elf was swinging awkwardly on the McClane family’s Christmas tree and broke off his hand. He was an older ornament and knew there was a glue tube in the kitchen top shelf next to the oven. Since no one was home, he hitched a ride there on an iRobot vacuum.

    Luke jumped off the vacuum, grabbed the oven’s handle and swung onto the counter beside a platter and two long carving utensils. His swing forced the oven door open.

    Luke retrieved the glue and reattached his hand. Suddenly, something large and round slid up behind him. He turned to find a gigantic turkey standing over him, dripping with grease.

    “What?!” Luke shouted.

    The turkey’s stump leaned forward and spoke!

    “That oven was too hot,” it said.

    “A talking turkey?” Luke gasped.

    “Don’t look surprised,” Turkey replied. “YOU’RE a talking ornament! Now, move it so I can take revenge upon the McClanes for trying to cook me!”

    The jerky Turkey grabbed the carving knife and aimed it forward. Luke snatched up the fork. Loud clangs rang out as the utensils continually connected with each other.

    “You fight well,” Turkey said. “You should join me on the Dark Meat Side.”

    “Never!” Luke hollered.

    “Then your goose is getting cooked!”

    Turkey stepped forward, but slipped on its broth. Luke knocked it off the counter. Turkey landed on the vacuum and was zipped into the oven. The impact forced the oven’s door to shut.

    “You first,” Luke smiled.

  10. Peter Rogers says:

    Milo The Miserable
    by Peter Rogers
    250 words

    Milo the Miserable never received Christmas presents or Christmas cards. Then again, he didn’t send any, so he never expected anything in return and that’s just the way he liked it.
    Everyone called Milo a misery, a miser, a meanie and a mystery for not enjoying Christmas and it made him cross. So, he decided to get rid of Christmas.
    Being a miser meant that Milo had loads of money. In fact, he had so much money that he was able to buy every calendar making company in the land. When the next year’s calendars were produced, he made it so that none of them had December 25th. Nobody noticed there was no Christmas Day until they turned their calendar to December. Everyone was shocked.
    Milo was so happy that he stopped being a misery. He had used most of his money, so he could no longer be called a miser. He was so pleased his plan had worked that he wasn’t mean anymore. And he was in all the newspapers and on the telly, so everyone knew who he was, meaning he was no longer a mystery.
    Milo was now no longer Milo the Miserable, and he didn’t like it.
    With the very last of his money, Milo bought enough stickers for every calendar and sent them out to everyone. Each sticker said December 25th (Christmas Day) with instructions as to where to stick it.
    Christmas was back and Milo was miserable again. Just the way he liked it.

  11. Deborah Foster says:

    Felix and the Christmas Tree by Deborah Foster
    250 words

    Felix eyed his reflection in the shiny red ball.
    Why did the humans ruin a perfectly good climbing tree with all these tinsel-y,, glittery things, he thought.
    “No, no kitty. No touching the tree,” the littlest human said. “You don’t want to be on Santa’s naughty list, do you?”

    All day long, Felix tried to ignore the luscious, scratchy spruce.

    His tail twitched.
    His paws scritched.
    But, when the lady human magically lit the tree, the shining star called like a beacon.

    That night, when all the human’s toes were safely tucked away, Felix crept to the tree.
    He jumped…
    He stretched…
    to the very top!

    “I did it,” Felix cheered. But his cheerfulness withered when the tree began to wobble.
    “Oh no! ABANDON TREE!”


    Felix landed on all fours as sleepy humans raced into the room.

    “Our tree!”
    “My Ornament!”
    “Naughty Kitty!” they all yelled.

    Felix cowered under the couch.
    Would Santa really put him on the naughty list, he wondered.
    “I need to fix this,” he said.

    Felix scoured the bedrooms,
    the neighbor’s garden shed,
    and even the city park, for anything that sparkled.

    The next night, as the humans hosted their holiday party, Felix waited for that magical moment.
    “Don’t turn the tree on mom. Remember, Felix ruined it.”
    “Wow! What an interesting tree!”
    Felix beamed.
    “Are those my fishing lures, Bob?”
    “Honey, is that my diamond necklace?”
    “Oh, Felix! Maybe you won’t be on the naughty list after all!” the littlest human said.

  12. Deborah Foster says:

    The Christmas Curmudgeon by Deborah Foster
    193 words

    Legend says there is one in every family…
    that one person born without the holiday spirit.

    The Christmas Curmudgeon!

    They always begin to grumble when the whipping winds turn cold.
    And when the white flakes fall they long for warmer weather.
    “Florida, here we come!”

    But no matter where they go, they can’t escape the cheer.
    “Happy Holidays”

    They’ll avoid the Christmas shops and change the radio at “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Ji-“
    “Honey, I loved that song!”

    They’ll tolerate the tree with its ornaments and tinsel.
    But don’t ask them to place the star at the very top.
    “That’s not where it goes.”

    They’ll probably grumble when the neighbors light up the entire block.
    But when there’s a Christmas light competition – they refuse to be left behind.
    “What happened to all of our lights?”
    “Congrats Carl! Looks like you won first place!”
    “Tehe. I mean, Hurumph”

    As the holiday draws near – it may seem that their holiday spirit will never be found.
    Don’t lose hope!
    Because we know the only way past the Curmudgeon’s tough façade….
    “Merry Christmas, Grandpa! We brought you kisses and hugs!”

  13. jimchaize (@jchaize1) says:

    The Evil Elf
    By Jim Chaize

    “Extra! Extra!” shouted a young elf. “Read all about the only villain in the North Pole’s history!”

    Elf after elf grabbed a copy of The New Elf Times and started reading.

    One Christmas Eve morning long ago, Santa prepared to announce his annual Sparkle Awards to the elves who best spread cheer and good will. Kurt, the elf barber, was sure he would win, so he donned his fanciest suit and headed to the ceremony. When Santa handed the last award to Festivus, the reindeer groomer, a fake smile hid Kurt’s anger. A plan of revenge seeped into his thoughts.

    It was well known, that Santa traditionally took a long nap on Christmas Eve afternoon. So, with scissors hidden in his cap, Kurt slipped silently into Santa’s bedroom. Santa’s snores shook the blankets, as Kurt snipped away at Santa’s willowy white whiskers. When finished, he stood back and laughed. Kurt’s belly shook like a bowl full of jelly.

    Santa awoke with a start, and seeing the blankets all covered in white, he reached for his beard. His fingers grazed over the short stubble as Kurt continued to roar.

    Kurt was immediately banished from the North Pole.

    Santa fearing that children would be alarmed by his beardless face, wrapped a wooly, white scarf around his neck to hide Kurt’s villainous deed, and flew off to deliver joy around the globe.

    Years later, Kurt reportedly found a job shearing sheep in Hawaii.

  14. Sarah Meade says:

    The Christmas Sisters and the Tunnel Troll
    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 250

    The Christmas sisters can’t wait to celebrate with Nana!
    Holly bakes tasty treats.
    Ivy sews a cozy quilt.
    Little Noelle makes a special storybook.
    On Christmas Eve they pack their presents and lumber through the snow.
    The road to Nana’s is closed!
    “Look!” Holly points. “A tunnel!”
    She hurries ahead.
    “Halt!” A tall troll hollers.
    Holly gulps. “Please, may I pass?”
    “Ho-ho-NO! Unless you pay the toll to Cole.”
    Holly blinks. “I only have treats.”
    Cole sniffs. “Gingerbread? Lucky for you, I’m hungry.”
    Holly pays the toll and hurries ahead.
    Ivy appears.
    Ivy gasps. “Please, may I pass?”
    “Ho-ho-NO! Pay the toll to Cole.”
    Ivy swallows. “I only have a quilt.”
    Cole quivers. “Fleece-lined? Lucky for you, I’m cold.”
    Ivy pays the toll and scurries ahead.
    Little Noelle approaches.
    Noelle whimpers. “P-p-please, let me through!”
    “Ho-ho-NO! Pay the toll to Cole.”
    “I only have a storybook,” Noelle whispers.
    Cole considers. “Lucky for you, I can read. A little.”
    He reaches for the book.
    “No!” Noelle cries. “It’s Nana’s Christmas present!”
    Cole scowls.
    Noelle shivers and hugs her storybook.
    Then she smiles. “Hey, Cole? Want to come to Nana’s?”
    Cole stares. “Really?”
    Noelle nods. “It’s Christmas.”
    Cole beams. “Lucky for me . . . I love Christmas.”
    They hold hands and tromp through the tunnel.
    “You’re here!” Nana cheers.
    “This is Cole,” says Noelle.
    “Ho-ho-ho!” Cole returns the tolls to the Christmas sisters.
    Holly shares treats.
    Ivy spreads the quilt.
    Nana reads to everyone by the twinkling tree.
    They celebrate . . .

    Holiday Writing Contest: The Christmas Sisters and the Tunnel Troll & Sally’s Bad Christmas

  15. Sarah Meade says:

    Sally’s Bad Christmas
    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 250

    Sally was always a good girl . . .
    until one Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.
    “We’re playing BAD GUYS,” said Sally’s cousin Leonard.
    “You can’t play,” said her cousin Leah. “You don’t know how to be bad!”
    All the cousins laughed.
    Sally sulked. She’d show them she could be bad.
    All December she plotted.
    On Christmas Eve, Sally slunk inside Grandma’s house with her sack of supplies– like Santa, if Santa was a bad guy.
    Sally gave the holiday punch a glug-glug of vinegar.
    She sprinkled the sugar cookies . . . with salt!
    Sally felt like a bad Mrs. Claus.
    She stuffed the stockings . . . under the couch!
    She pillaged the presents and tipped the tree.
    Sally giggled like a bad elf.
    Finally, she hid the gingerbread houses out in the treehouse.
    Like a bad reindeer, Sally strutted back inside.
    Her cousins tasted the sugar cookies.
    They slugged down holiday punch.
    Sally covered her smile.
    The cousins looked around.
    “The tree!”
    “No stockings?”
    “What about the gingerbread houses?”
    “Not THE PRESENTS?!”
    Grandma grimaced. “Oh dear.”
    Sally’s smile slipped.
    “Who did this?” asked Leonard.
    Sally sprinted outside to the treehouse to hide . . . and cry.
    “Knock, knock.”
    Grandma climbed inside.
    Sally told her everything.
    They carried the gingerbread houses back inside.
    The cousins gaped.
    “I wanted to show you how bad I can be,” Sally said. “I’m sorry.”
    “We are too,” they said.
    It took all night, but Sally and her cousins made it right.
    On Christmas morning they all played GOOD GUYS together.
    Even Grandma.

    Holiday Writing Contest: The Christmas Sisters and the Tunnel Troll & Sally’s Bad Christmas

  16. Laura Jensen Bower says:

    By Laura Bower
    246 words

    The Praying Mantis hated cheer
    He did bad deeds, instilling fear.
    He tortured crickets, moths and bees
    and brought down geckos to their knees.
    The holidays were his worst time.
    A month of foul, green-collared, crime.
    And mantis’s most cheerless act?
    Breaking the Bug Christmas Pact
    (that every bug deserves a gift)
    a new Fly-Pad or weights to lift.
    On Christmas Eve he dressed in red
    from overcoat to hat on head.
    He drove a sleigh pulled by nine flies
    and faked a twinkle in his eyes.
    He landed on each mud-packed roof,
    then found the loot and with a poof!
    He made off with the gifts he stole
    and left his victims with just coal.
    Reported in the New York Slime
    “A Santa Phony Did This Crime
    This has to stop. He needs to pay.
    Please find him. Catch him. Don’t delay.”
    The bugs all met at Insect Hall.
    “It’s time for Manta Claws to fall!”
    They gathered honey, rope and dill.
    The spiders spun a web with skill.
    They put the dill out as the bait.
    The trap in place – they had to wait.
    “Ooh dill, my favorite tasty plant.”
    “It’s time!” yelled moth to waiting ant.
    Ant pulled the rope – caught Manta Claws.
    Stuck in the web, he used his jaws
    to chew the threads. He fell down fast.
    “This heinous crime will be your last.”
    The final words they heard him say.
    “Bah HumBUG. I’ll be back some day!”

  17. musingmommumble says:

    Dr. Coal & The Gaggle of Geese
    By Kris DeCaro 246w (sorry I realized I just posted this on LAST years – sigh) here it is on the correct post.

    Deep underground in his dark dingy lair
    Christmas was coming, but he didn’t care. 
    He looked down on Santa – that silly old elf 
    Who never bothered to better himself. 
    “Just laughing and gifting with glitter and cheer
    “HA no brains at all!” He said with a sneer.

    There’s nothing wrong with lots of knowing,
    But when you gloat, people stop showing.
    And loneliness can blacken your soul – 
    That’s the reason he’s called Dr. Coal.
    “Kids should be studying all winter through!
    Merriment can be cut a twinkle or two!”

    So into the forest Dr. Coal sought
    A gaggle of geese for his evil plot.
    Roguishly he spoke with a rattle
    “You’re perfect for my Christmas Eve battle!
    We’ll stop Santa from gifting under the tree

    And fill up stockings with homework from ME!”
    On Christmas Eve up in the sky 
    He found Santa in the wink of an eye.

    Coal’s geese hissed at that jolly old man.
    Santa – bewildered – thought up a plan 
    For Santa was smart and knew a goose hack
    Geese can’t resist a sprinkle-topped snack

    So the Saint flung cookies into the air – 
    “No!” Doctor shouted “That isn’t fair!” 
    Quick as gliding in fresh fallen snow
    Geese joined the Kringle with a “HONK HO HO HO!”

    And Santa called, “On Honker, on Beaky, on Feathers and Swimin’
    On Webber and Biter and Fighter and Hissin!’“

    While Dr. Coal shook his fist to the sky – 
    “I’ll get you NEXT Christmas!! ‘Cuz I’m a BAD GUY!

  18. Christi Blevins says:

    The Christmas Tree Bandit
    by Christi Blevins
    249 words

    The townsfolk of Deweyville gathered together
    On a December evening, in snowy weather
    For the annual lighting of the Christmas tree
    In a field near the public library.

    Lights were lit on the count of three
    To the tippy top of the giant tree,
    While people stared in appreciation
    At the twinkling illumination.

    Ornaments covered each sprig and bough.
    The crowd went home with a solemn vow
    To return each and every night
    To gaze at Deweyville’s festive sight.

    The next evening, like clockwork, the crowd returned.
    That’s when the population learned
    The lights and ornaments had disappeared.
    “It’s a Christmas tree bandit!” the people feared.

    With sadness and anger, the crowd dispersed
    While Deweyvillites assumed the worst.
    They made posters and hung them on every post,
    Describing the criminal they wanted most.

    The Christmas tree bandit must be caught!
    (Or that is what the people thought.)
    Search parties formed. They were on a quest.
    ‘Til the bandit was caught, there’d be no rest!

    The search moved from town into the dark forest.
    “We’ll find you, bandit!” the people chorused.
    But something didn’t seem quite right.
    Instead of dark, the woods were bright!

    Lights and ornaments hung from above.
    Each tree in the forest shone with love.
    Raccoons and squirrels held hands with possums,
    In a Christmas scene entirely awesome.

    Though Christmas tree bandits had been discovered,
    A greater truth had been uncovered.
    The people found they no longer cared.
    For the joy of Christmas is best when shared.

  19. marty bellis says:

    Marty Bellis
    250 wc

    Stinky Baxter worked mama’s last nerve.

    He made papa see red.

    Even Grandma said, “Stinky, you’re incorrigible. But the day’s coming when you’ll straighten up and fly right.”

    Not me! thought Stinky. He liked being rotten and downright dastardly.

    One morning, he was teasing the cat, when a beautiful creature flew straight toward him.

    She looked like — no! That was ridiculous.

    He wanted to hide, but didn’t have time —

    because, when somebody flies straight at you, it takes no time to get there.

    “I need help,” said the creature, who sorta resembled a regular girl.

    “You’re asking the wrong person. I’m no good at helping.”

    “Nonsense. You look perfectly capable.”

    Stinky had three answers on the tip of his tongue.

    One was stinky. One was rotten. One was downright dastardly.

    None of them seemed appropriate.

    “Ummm,” he stalled. “What do you need?”

    “An assistant.”

    “Again, not me,” said Stinky, but she didn’t listen.

    “I’ve collected old toys for the town’s Christmas party. I can’t repair them all alone.”

    Stinky tried. Sorta. Kinda. Not really.

    “Do it this way,” said the girl, “and this way . . . and . . . There! See? You can do it!”

    Stinky cleaned, painted, mended, and delivered the toys to the party.

    The townsfolk gushed.

    “Terribly kind!” “Awfully sweet!” “Dreadfully nice!”

    “Now, aren’t you glad you helped?”

    “Shhh, our secret, okay?”

    “On one condition. . . Help me again next year?”

    “I guess.”

    “You’re an angel!”

    “Me? Never! I’m still Stinky.”

    To prove it, he rushed home . . .

    . . . to work mama’s last nerve.

  20. marty bellis says:

    Marty Bellis
    246 wc

    She tasted the sugar and spice dough. Too sweet.

    She tried the shortbread dough. Too buttery.

    She tested the gingerbread dough. Just right! So good, she took another bite!

    Next, she tasted the mocha frosting. Too gooey.

    She tried the lemon creme. Too tart.

    She tested the caramel glaze. Just right! So yummy, she took another bite!

    Then, she checked the red and green sprinkles. Too roly-poly.

    She munched the pecan crunch. Too nutty.

    She spied the mini chocolate chips. Just right! To be absolutely sure, she took another bite.

    When the bakers arrived for the day, they smelled trouble.

    “Someone’s been in my cookie dough,” cried Baker #1.

    “Someone’s been in my frostings,” moaned Baker #2.

    “Someone’s been messing with my decorations,” growled Baker #3 . . .

    . . . “and there she goes!”

    He pointed out the window to a fleeing figure.

    The bakers grumbled, but they had too much to do, with the holidays coming, to

    think about running after the culprit.

    All day long they baked, filling orders and display cases with their sweet treats.

    They’d barely finished when it was time to close for the night.

    Weary and ready to head home, they trudged to the back room to grab

    their coats.

    And there they found, tucked in the pocket of each jacket, a smiling gingerbread girl . . .

    . . . with caramel-glaze hat and sweater,

    and mini chocolate chip eyes and buttons.

    A festive note, taped to the wall, said,

    “MERRY CHRISTMAS to my three favorite bakers! Love, Goldie.”

  21. Marta Cutler says:

    The Candy Crook
    By Marta Cutler
    (250 words)

    The mayor straightened his gumdrop buttons and beamed. It was a fine morning in Gingerbread Town. Frosty icing sparkled in the sun. Sugar glistened on trees. Just then Aunt Cinnamon burst into the town square, icing skirt flapping.
    “I’ve been robbed!” she cried. “Somebody pinched my peppermint windows!”
    Mrs. Butterscotch sprinted up behind her.
    “Someone’s taken my twizzler trees!” she said.
    “And our jellybean roof!” It was Mr. and Mrs. Lemondrop and their children.
    “And our gumdrop shutters!” cried the Sprinkle sisters.
    “And my candy cane fence!” shouted Professor Licorice.
    “Great gumballs!” yelled Miss Lollipop. “Our Christmas tree!”
    Everyone looked at the enormous gingerbread tree that graced the town square. Not a single candy was left, not even a gummy bear. Suddenly, Farmer Brownie galloped into the crowd.
    “Look who I caught licking my door!” he said. A tall man in shiny silver was sitting on his ginger horse.
    “And look what he had!” said Farmer Brownie.
    He dropped an enormous bag of candy on the ground.
    “You’re no gingerbread man!” cried the littlest Lemondrop. “You’re a ginger bad
    “I’m sorry!” said the thief. “But we don’t have candy in Tinsel Town.”
    Everyone gasped. One of the Sprinkle sisters fainted.
    “Christmas without candy?” said the mayor. “Nonsense! What do you say
    “Keep the bag!” they yelled.
    The man from Tinsel Town wiped a silver tear.
    “I don’t know what to say,” he said.
    “Say you’ll share it with all your tinsel friends,” said the mayor.
    And he did.

  22. Laura Polasek says:

    ‘Twas the Climb Before Christmas
    By Laura Polasek
    238 words

    [With all respect and thanks to Clement Clarke Moore!]

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring – EXCEPT – for a kitten named Mouse;
    The stockings were hung, but Mouse did not care,
    For the Christmas tree stood, shining brightly, right there!

    Mouse should have been nestled all snug in her bed,
    But visions of tree climbing were stuck her head;
    For days it had been, “Mouse, don’t touch! It will break!”
    But now was her chance, there was no one awake.

    She rushed to the tree, scattering gifts as she went,
    And sprung into its branches, which then were quite bent.
    Higher she climbed, taking no care to go slow,
    Each bauble she bumped soon smashing below.

    But the star – how it sparkled! She was getting so near!
    And with no one to catch her, there was nothing to fear!
    She planted her paws for one more big leap,
    And was so very happy she had not gone to sleep.

    But as she was nearing the end of her trek,
    She was removed from the tree by the scruff of her neck.
    St. Nick held on to her tight, as he took in the mess,
    And Mouse could tell quick that he was not impressed.

    With a snap of his fingers, the tree was restored,
    The presents all tidy, the chaos no more.
    Then raising her up, Santa pointed and said,
    “Merry Christmas dear Mouse, now get back to bed!”

  23. horsewriterlady says:

    By Cindy Sommer
    250 Words

    Mommy’s winter monster comes each year to ruin Christmas. It’s like a grumpy snowman on her shoulder.
    I want Mommy to help pick out the tree,
    decorate it,
    and bake cookies.
    But Mommy just wants to stay in bed. Her room is like a dark closet where the monster traps her.
    It used to scare me, but now I’m bigger. I’ll help. I draw a plan.
    I bring her tea.
    and read her The Night Before Christmas.
    I sing her Christmas songs. “Jingle bells! Jingle bells!”
    “That’s nice, Casey,” she says. “It goes away in spring. Please go!”
    This is harder than I thought. I can’t wait that long. What are monsters afraid of? They like dark, maybe they hate light? I fix my plan.
    Mommy’s reading.
    I shine a flashlight and our monster-sized camping lantern on her.
    But the monster stretches up to the ceiling.
    “I have enough light!” Mommy yells.
    Sunlight peeks from behind the curtains. But it won’t reach Mommy. It snowed last night. I get an idea.
    Later I sit Mommy in front of the window to see my upside-down snowman. Sunlight wraps around her like a monster-blocking blanket.
    Mommy hugs me and laughs. “I love it!”
    We sit for a while.
    The monster shrinks.
    Mommy’s eyes look brighter. She shows me a lamp. “This will help me. You’re right about sunlight. Let’s go get that tree.”
    Mommy’s winter monster is weaker, for now. I knew I could help. When it comes back, we’ll be ready.

  24. Katie McEnaney says:

    By: Katie McEnaney
    244 words

    Long before washers, long before dryers,
    Before electric lights and gas-only fires,
    There lived a monster.

    His quest? To steal one sock from every pair ever knit.

    No matching sock in your drawer? Indomitable Sock Monster.

    An odd number of socks left hanging to dry? Indomitable Sock Monster.

    What could be done to stop his sock-stealing rampage? The townspeople were at a loss.

    But clever Siobhan had a plan. She knitted the largest, longest, most colorful pair of socks ever seen. Irresistible.

    Siobhan nailed them up near the chimney and tied the loose end of the yarn tightly to the nail.

    That morning, one sock had been stolen! But it left a trail of yarn behind as it unraveled. Siobhan raced out the door to follow the yarn … it wound around town, across the meadow, and up the hill to the abandoned castle.

    There she spied the monster:
    his terrible teeth …
    his horrifying horns …

    his mouse-mittens and squirrel-sized scarves …

    Wait, what?

    The monster was turning stolen socks into gifts for the Winter Solstice?

    The town came together and declared a truce. Every Solstice townspeople hung their largest unmatched sock above the fireplace for the Indomitable Sock Monster. He stole his fill of socks on that night only, leaving the remaining pairs intact for another year.

    Everything worked out perfectly until a jolly old man started interfering and using those single socks for his own purposes …

    but that’s another story.

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    By Linda Jacobs
    250 words

    Frankie didn’t like ANYBODY, and his grumpy face showed it. He didn’t like his 2nd grade teacher, his classmates and especially not Olivia. He hated the way she put her chin down, lifted her shoulders and looked at him when she giggled. He hated her red hair especially on the days she wore it down, so it swirled around her face. He hated how she scooched up to him when they sat criss cross applesauce. He hated her so much that he decided to steal her secret Santa gift before the holiday party. Just once he’d like to see that annoying smile fall.

    On the way to recess, Frankie was the last person to get in line so he could sneak back and destroy her gift. He searched the pile. It was her giggling that broke his concentration.

    “What are you doing?”
    “Uh…” Frankie stammered.
    Olivia plucked out a gift. “I got you,” she whispered and scooched up to him, “here.”
    Her hands briefly touched his and an unfamiliar feeling ran through Frankie’s body. “Open it.”

    On the front of the package, his name was spelled with silver sparkles and a red heart. Frankie opened his gift. Inside were two small cars, one red, one green.
    “You wind them,” she said. “I’ll take this one.”

    Olivia unscooched herself and once she was five feet away, put down the car. It zoomed fast towards Frankie. He wound his and off it went towards Olivia. He didn’t even realize he was smiling.

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Bumble the Bad, Bad Elf
    By Marty Findley
    169 words

    When the elves sang, Bumble was off-key.
    When the elves danced, he stepped on their toes.
    When the elves made toys, he broke them to bits
    When the elves wrote letters, he lost them.

    Finally the elves went to Santa.
    “Something must be done about Bumble!” they said

    Bumble was summoned by Santa.
    “What’s going on?” Santa inquired. “Do you want to be put on the naughty list?”

    “Nooo. Please Santa! I’m sorry. I try, but I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I keep dropping toys and they break. I can’t even remember where I put all the elves’ letters. I never seem to make it to the mail room with them.”

    “Well,” said Santa. “Perhaps someone needs to teach you those things. Come to Santa School tomorrow morning.”

    After two weeks with Santa, Bumble could sing, dance, carry things without dropping them and always got the letters to the mail room on time.”

    “Good job, Evan!” said Santa.
    “Sometimes bad just needs to learn how to be good!”

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sneaky Simon, the Sinister Sprite
    By Marty Findley
    128 words

    Meet Sneaky Simon, the sinister sprite.
    He blows out the fire, then turns out the light.

    He unfills the stockings and hides the warm socks
    Then dumps out the puzzles and knocks down the blocks.

    Food in the microwave freezes instead.
    And each time I see it he’s unmade my bed.

    He steals all the batteries from new Christmas toys;
    When it’s time to be quiet, he makes lots of noise.

    When cold wind blows in, he makes everyone sneeze.
    If you try to skate, you end up on your knees.

    He licks all the candy canes; biting each treat
    By the time you arrive, there’s nothing to eat.

    But when Santa shows up, Simon quivers in fear.
    He knows Santa will send him straight into next year!

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Please Santa
    by Susan VandeWeghe
    Word Count 185

    Dear Santa.
    I promise I’m not really bad.
    See, Tommy told me to put a pine cone on teacher’s chair.
    I said NO.
    But, I thought it would be funny.
    So, I told him to do it.
    Then he dared me.
    So, I just had’ta.
    Well, teacher sat down on that dumb pine cone.
    And ya never heard such a yell.
    She jumped up.
    Backed into the blackboard.
    And fell to the floor.
    Really, I thought she might be dead.
    But after a second, she sat up and what do you think she did?
    She yelled out my name, really, really, loud. I think the whole school must’a known I was in trouble, again.
    And how’d she know it was me anyway?
    It could’a been Tommy.
    When I got home, teacher had already called Mommy. And boy was she mad.
    She sent me to my room without supper. And it’s pizza night.
    Mommy said she was gonna write to you. And I was gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas.
    Please Santa, I didn’t mean to hurt teacher! Really and truly.
    Would you give me one more chance? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  29. matthewlasley says:

    By Matthew Lasley
    243 Words

    Dimwit loved the dark and December used to be the darkest. But now all these flashing, twinkling lights ruined it. So, string by string, he stole the light bulbs and plunged the night into a darkness so deep that even the shadows had shadows.
    One final house lay on the edge of town. It was more of a makeshift shed that didn’t look warm enough. With the tinkle of lightbulbs clicking together in his pockets, he slipped inside.
    This home was different. Small. Dark. There were no presents. No stockings. No warm glow from a fire. Only one tiny light flickered from the top of the sad little tree adorned with a few old broken ornaments.
    As he plucked out the light, the room plunged into darkness and Dimwit felt his victory. The night was as it should be. Lonely. Cold. And dark. Like his heart.
    Tiptoeing to the door, he stopped and couldn’t believe his eyes. At the top of the very sad tree, a small light flickered. Then it burst into a kaleidoscope of color as moonlight refracted off the broken ornaments onto the walls of the ramshackle home.
    And then, just as suddenly as it had come, it was gone, plunging the room into gloom.
    Dimwit felt a sting in his eye and wiped away a single tear. One by one, he filled the empty string of lights from all the stolen bulbs in his pockets, illuminating the darkness inside.

  30. Ryann Jones (@RyannJones117) says:

    The Holidays’ Heist
    By Ryann Jones
    238 words

    At the Complaints Against Christmas committee meeting, all the other holiday mascots whined about how Christmas was always taking over parts of their festivities.

    “Why does Santa get so much love?” cried Cupid. “He stole my color!”
    “And mine!” lamented Leprechaun.
    “Decorating eggs used to be fun, but now kids would rather decorate tree ornaments,” boomed Easter Bunny.
    “Costumes and candy were my thing until Santa stepped on the scene,” jeered Jack-O-Lantern.
    “Well, I’m stuck with your leftover decor and am just a rehearsal dinner for Christmas!” trilled the Thanksgiving Turkey.

    After all the commotion, a plan was put in motion—to take over Christmas!
    The mascots were determined to make Christmas awful for everyone.

    So, they sneakily followed Santa from house to house.
    Cupid removed all remnants of red.
    Leprechaun locked up anything green.
    Bunny hid all the ornaments.
    Jack-O-Lantern snatched all the cookies and candy.
    And Turkey gobbled up their feasts tucked safely in the fridge.
    What a delicious disaster!

    The crew left each house feeling destructive and jolly.
    Justice had been served.

    “Merry ValPatEas-O-ThankMas!” Cupid cheered.
    “Why not PatEasVal-O-ThankMas?” Leprechaun wondered.
    “Yeah Cupid, what makes you think your holiday should go first?” asked Bunny.
    “Yeah!” agreed Jack-O-Lantern, flickering furiously.
    “All in favor of forming a Complaints Against Cupid committee say ‘aye.’”

    “What do you say, Turkey?”
    “Wait . . . where’s Turkey?”
    “Uh oh . . .”
    “Oh no . . .”
    “He’s being eaten . . .
    . . . by SANTA!!!”

    “Seriously, why do people love this guy?”

  31. Anne Lipton says:

    The Christmas Dragon
    by Anne Lipton
    249 words

    The carols in our town weren’t joyful and loud.
    No, our Christmas markets foreshadowed a cloud.
    Come blackest Friday to bright New Year,
    our skates scraped on thin ice; we traipsed out in fear.

    Bells clanged in alarm from the tall chapel spire
    warning us all of the high chance of fire.
    The dread Christmas Dragon would roar through our streets
    scaring small children and stealing sweetmeats.

    He’d batter the bells and crash the church steeple,
    trailing ash flakes and melting snowpeople.
    He’d fleece our poor sheep in a run-reindeer game,
    whilst playing at setting the cow chips aflame.

    He lit up the fir trees, scared each stirring mouse,
    and burned down the prize-winning gingerbread house.
    His temper was famous, his tantrums ablaze,
    but, one day, roast chestnuts POP-POPPED from his haze.

    “Perhaps he is peckish,” suggested a lad.
    “It might be his hunger ’tis driving him mad.”
    So that Christmas Eve, we offered a truce
    and welcomed the dragon as he cooked our goose.

    He sat at our table and joined in our feast
    with wings of an angel and laugh of a beast.
    He huffed puffy wreaths to halo our heads
    and heated clay bricks to warm our cold beds.

    Hark! How our dragon may drown out our choir
    so long as he labors to rein in his fire
    and makes only candles and Yule logs blaze bright
    like stars in the clear skies on each Christmas Night.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a lovelight!

  32. jennaejo says:

    Written By Jenna Elyse Johnson
    246 words

    Dear Santa, December 15
    I’ve heard you check your list twice, but you may want to look again.
    I have an addition to the naughty side.
    My baby brother, Simon.
    I know it’s not nice to tattle. But it’s for your own good!
    He’s ruining Christmas!
    And you have a reputation to uphold. 
    I mean, it wouldn’t look good if you gave a naughty kid presents, now would it?

    Dear Santa, December 20
    I forgot to tell you why Simon belongs on the naughty list.
    First of all, he broke another ornament. 
    I hate to break it to you, but it was a Santa. (He’s a rebel without a Claus!)
    Then, he crumbled ALL the Christmas cookies. (Even the ones I saved for you.)
    I hope you like store-bought.
    The last straw came when he POOPED during our Christmas play!
    Who’s ever heard of a stinky baby Jesus?
    If all that’s not naughty, I’m not sure what is.

    Dear Santa, December 23
    If you’re still checking your list…. maybe add Simon to the nice side?
    I know. It goes against everything I’ve already said. 
    But Simon just spoke his first word. Ever!
    Guess what it was? 
    If that isn’t nice, I’m not sure what is.

    Dear Santa, December 26
    Thank you for the presents.
    Simon really loves his blocks. They don’t break as easily.
    And I love my new stationary! Perfect for letter-writing.
    You sleigh-ed Christmas!
    Merrily-Ever-After Nora

  33. Patricia MacMillan says:

    The Salty Gingerbread Man
    By Patricia MacMillan
    Word count: 246

    He looked like any other gingerbread man. A wide icing smile. Red candy buttons down his front. Little arms and legs ready for a nibble. But when Susie did just that…


    Why did salt have to look so much like sugar, she grumbled.

    Disgusted, Susie left in search of a candy cane.

    The gingerbread man lay seething on the plate, hotter than he’d been at 350 degrees. He should have been delicious. This was Susie’s fault!

    “I’ll show her YUCK,” he huffed to himself.

    He stood and looked around the kitchen. On every surface sat scrumptious foods. Then, an idea took shape. He headed for the refrigerator.

    Into the stuffing, he crammed a whole jar of sardines.

    He worked quickly to dice jalapeños into tiny pieces, mixing them into the gravy.

    Last was the chocolate pudding. A hefty helping of whipped cream concealed a layer of sauerkraut underneath.

    Suddenly, the sound of approaching footsteps. The gingerbread man hobbled behind a canister and climbed to the top where he could watch Susie’s family come and go with dishes for the Christmas feast.


    Down the gingerbread man tumbled into the canister, landing on a surface as soft and white as snow.

    That’s when he heard it…

    “BLECH!” came Susie’s revolted cry. “This dinner is SO gross.”

    The gingerbread man kicked out arms and legs, imprinting an angel into the mound of sugar beneath him.

    His icing smile widened even further. Revenge is sweet indeed, he thought.

  34. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Jill (P. J.) Purtee
    249 words

    For the past two hundred years, Elfin has honored his award: Number One Elf.

    Every year Number One Elf prepares Santa for his trip around the world on Christmas Eve. He buffs Santa’s boots, buckles his belt, and spiffs his spectacles.

    Most importantly, the elf guards The List. One side lists naughty children—nice on the other side.

    Last Christmas Eve, Santa scooted into his sleigh. “Elfin, it’s time to go. Hand me The List.”

    Santa gasped. “Elfin, you naughty boy. You listed nice children under naughty and naughty children under nice. Tomorrow, nice children will wake up to no toys.”

    Elfin should have known better—the entire month of December, he sat on shelves, watched children, and updated Santa’s list. “I can fix this.”


    Elfin erased the word ‘nice.’ Every child in the world appeared on the naughty list.

    Santa’s shoulders dropped. “Cancel my trip. Elfin, I must rename you Elf Number Two and add your name to the naughty list, too.”

    “No. I’ll add my own name. I deserve it.” He squinted. “But, could I borrow your spectacles? The list looks blurry.

    “Easy fix, Santa. I changed the list to . . .

    nice. It’s true. From the shelf, I watched all the girls and boys.”

    Elfin spiffed Santa’s spectacles again. “You’ll need these for your trip.”

    That Christmas morning, Elfin prepared Santa’s bed for a long winter’s nap, found brand new spectacles for himself in his stocking, and hung his newest award in the workshop: Number One Elf.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Jingle Jail
    By Dwight Evans
    242 words

    Raven crashed through the cat door.

    “Abra,” he meowed, “Why are you singing a Christmas song after Santa boasted that Christmas was kids’ favorite holiday. We love Halloween!”

    “You will love this song, Raven. Listen! ♫ Jingle jail, jingle jail, jail time all the way, ♫ Oh what fun it is to make, a cell for Santa’s Day. ♫

    “Wow, a jail cell. Santa will miss Christmas. Maybe the kids will reconsider their favorite holiday. Just don’t put a cauldron in the cell, it might burn the hay.

    So, Abra K. Dabra built a cell from hay just for Santa.

    A week later, Abra dialed Santa. “Hi Santa, this is Abra. Can you visit our Halloween clubhouse built from hay?”

    “I like recycling. I will stop by tomorrow.”

    The next day Santa came to see the clubhouse. He peeked in. “It’s bit small for me.”

    “There are milk and cookies in there,” Raven teased.

    Santa tightened his belt two notches and pushed through the door. Raven slammed the door and Abra rolled a giant pumpkin against it.

    “It’s dark in here,” yelled Santa.

    Then, behind them Santa whispered, “The cookies were great.”

    Abra and Raven whirled around. They shouted, “How did you get out?”

    “There was a chimney over the cauldron. I laid my finger aside my nose and up the chimney I rose.”

    Raven glared at Abra. “I told you not to put a cauldron in a clubhouse made of hay.”

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The Santa Clauset
    By Dwight Evans
    89 Words

    Santa criticized the spookiness of Halloween.

    Abra K. Dabra, the witch, was appalled.

    “I’m locking Santa in the toy clauset.”

    And, foregoing the details, she did.

    He was gone the next day, leaving Legos strewn about and one tiny replica of Biltmore house.

    Abra confronted Claus. “How did you get out?”

    “I lay my finger aside my nose, and up the chimney I rose.”

    “There is no chimney in my toy clauset!

    “Correct. But the Biltmore house has sixty-five fireplaces and more than enough chimneys for me to escape.”

  37. kathleenalexis29 says:

    The Really Grumpy Christmas Elf
    By Kathleen MacEachern
    Word Count: 245

    Silly hat, silly socks, silly pointy shoes, and silly gloves! Thought Johnny.

    “Come downstairs, we’re waiting!” shouted his Mom.

    Johnny went down the stairs. But he walked very slowly, hoping everyone would feel as grumpy as he did about the whole elf costume thing.

    But they did not feel grumpy.

    They laughed and cheered and smothered him with Christmas hugs.

    That only made Johnny feel even more grumpy.

    He decided to try something else.

    Johnny slowly stashed away all the Christmas cookies.

    That’ll teach them. Thought Johnny.

    But it did not teach them.

    In fact, when Uncle Neil found out what Johnny was doing, he thought it was the funniest thing ever!

    “Everyone look!” said Uncle Neil… “Johnny’s a cookie stealing elf!”

    Everyone laughed and cheered and smothered him with Christmas hugs.

    Johnny was now feeling REALLY grumpy.

    He needed to find a way to ensure that next year he wouldn’t have to be the silly Christmas elf.

    Johnny slowly stashed away all the Christmas presents from under the tree.

    That’ll teach them. Thought Johnny.

    But it did not teach them.

    In fact, when Aunt Louise found out what Johnny was doing, she thought it was the cutest thing ever!

    “Everyone look!” said Aunt Louise… “Johnny’s a present stealing elf!”

    Everyone laughed and cheered and smothered him with Christmas hugs.

    It was now very late and the party was over.

    He would have to try again next year.

    He had a whole year to plan!

  38. kgross2 says:

    By Kelsey E. Gross
    WC 250

    Claudia gathered her cloud cousins. “It’s Christmas Eve – LET IT SNOW!”

    “Then kids can sled!” said Cora.

    “And make snowmen,” said Crystal.

    “And snow angels,” added Clara.

    “Right!” Claudia cheered. “THERE’S SNOW STOPPING US!”

    The cloud cousins puffed and fluffed and filled with flakes.

    But then…


    Claudia’s cousins cowered behind her.

    Claudia gasped. “It’s Thundercloud Thatcher!”

    “Rumble-ahhh-HAHAHA!” Thatcher hurled heavy winds. “This Christmas, LET IT STORM!”

    The cousins shivered. “We’re doomed!”

    Claudia puffed up. “Go away. It’s supposed to be a WHITE Christmas, not a gray one!”


    Thatcher threw lightning. ZAP!

    “Eeek!” The cousins screamed.

    “It’s MY TURN to bring Christmas weather!” Thatcher dropped a downpour.

    “B-b-but… kids wished for a WHITE Christmas,” croaked Claudia.

    They watched soaked children scream and sprint indoors.

    Thatcher dimmed his lightning. “It’s just…no one wants me around on Christmas.”

    “Oh.” Claudia paused. “Well…maybe you could help us.”

    “HUH?” said Thatcher.

    “HUH?” shrieked Cora, Crystal, and Clara.

    “We just need to find you the right job,” said Claudia. “Hmm. Lightning is too scary. Thunder’s too loud…”

    “My wind!” said Thatcher. “I’ll push you!”

    Claudia nodded. “Let’s give it a whirl.”

    That night, Thatcher’s gleeful gusts powered the cloud cousins as they sprinkled snow across the globe.


    The cousins giggled. “Fast is FUN!”

    At sunrise, Claudia and Thatcher watched children sled, build snowmen, and make snow angels.

    “Thanks for letting me join the Christmas Cloud Team,” said Thatcher.

    “You’re welcome!” said Claudia.

    Thatcher grinned. “Christmas is merry with friends – no matter the weather!”

  39. Emily Holi (@EmilyHoli13) says:

    THE PINCH (193 WC) by Emily Holewczynski

    You may have heard of my cousin, the Grinch.


    Anyone can steal presents and break hearts, but me—

    I’m much sneakier.

    It’s true, the Grinch and I share a few fuzzy features—

    but that’s where the similarities


    Who am I?

    I hide in horrible holiday-hose,

    and sneak into slippery shoes,

    and wedge into winter wools,

    and creep into Christmas-y crevices,

    why, I even steal the seasonally-saved present-purchasing pennies from your pockets.

    That’s right.

    I’m THE PINCH.

    And I’m up to no good.

    I have no weaknesses whatsoever.

    [And I absolutely positively do not care for anything “cute.”]

    I’m rotten, mean, positively obscene!

    You could even say I’m bad to the b—

    —hang on a second.

    Is that a—

    teeny tiny,


    little wittle,

    pink-cheeked baby boy?

    I need to take a closer look.




    His skin is like butter.

    Marshmallowy-soft, Chris-Cringle-pillowy, puff-pastry-doughy,

    absolutely heavenly.

    Like an angel, sent from up abo—

    Hang on a second!

    What is happening to me?!





    Okay, little buddy. You win.

    I guess I’ll loosen my grip on Christmas this year—

    these cheeks might take awhile.

  40. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    by Colleen Murphy
    WC: 250 words

    “I’m done with stockings filled with coal.
    It’s time for me to take control.
    My dad’s the keeper of the naughty list.
    I’ll find a way to switch some names
    while Dad’s out reffing reindeer games.
    This year there’ll be a Christmas with a twist.”

    He watched his father disappear,
    then scanned the room. “The coast is clear.”
    He followed every practiced step precisely.
    “Though Santa may not like my ways,
    it seems more often, nowadays,
    what makes me naughty works out rather nicely.

    “Of course the first I’ll flip is me,
    but trade with who? Hmmm…let me see…
    Priscilla’s far too righteous for an elf.
    She puts her nose in everywhere,
    like when I toppled Joey’s chair,
    and thanks to her, spent recess on the shelf.

    “Now, on to Bruce, my mate in crime.
    He’s up for mayhem anytime.
    There really isn’t much we haven’t done.
    I’ll switch him with his sister Jean
    who’s just as nice as he is mean.
    I wish I could be there to watch the fun!”

    “Uh-oh! I heard the whistle blow.
    The games are done; I gotta go,
    but first I got some bus’ness to complete.”
    He swiftly swapped a dozen more,
    then cleared his tracks and closed the door.
    “Oh brother! Won’t tomorrow be so sweet!”

    For once he woke up Christmas day,
    excited for the grand array,
    but saw instead, some coal and Santa’s letter:
    “I recognize your cleverness
    and enterprise, but nonetheless,
    you only get to nice by being better.”

  41. Krista Legge says:

    By Krista Legge
    (WC 248)

    December 1st, the day Ryder the elf would be arriving.
    Ryder took all of Patrick’s attention, but not this time.
    This time there was a plan.

    Ryder the elf flew in and sat next to the frosty snow globe, ready for Patrick to come find him.

    Just as Patrick began down the stairs, CRASH!

    “My favorite snow globe! Ryder, how could you!” Patrick yelled.
    Arlo’s wet nose pushed at Patrick’s leg. Patrick wrapped his arms around Arlo crying.

    Ryder held onto a candy cane the next morning. Right before Patrick came down, someone switched the candy cane.

    “Oooooh, a yummy candy cane!” Patrick exclaimed, ripping open the wrapper. Patrick took three licks before spitting and rubbing his tongue. “Gross Ryder, it tastes like a dirty sock!”
    Arlo wagged his tail next to Patrick as he poured himself a water.

    Each morning, Ryder found a new way to ruin Patrick’s day.
    His favorite cereal spilled all over,
    the card he was working on was ripped in half,
    his favorite Christmas sweater stained with chocolate.
    But Arlo was there each time to comfort Patrick.

    Patrick had enough! Patrick wrote a letter to Santa, “Keep Ryder! He’s ruining Christmas”

    Santa showed Ryder the letter. Ryder tried to explain that he was being framed but Santa gave him reindeer duty for the rest of the season.

    Patrick came downstairs, he looked around. No Ryder.

    Arlo moseyed to Patrick, rolled over for morning belly rubs with a sneaky grin on his furry face.

  42. Tiffany Hanson says:

    South Pole Shenanigans
    By Tiffany Hanson 248 Words

    “Snowdrift to Permafrost. Do you copy?”


    “Target has been sighted. I repeat, target has been sighted.”

    “That red and white tower?”

    “Negative Permafrost. That’s the North Pole, not a tower.”

    “Smells like candy canes. I’m hungry. Can we stop for a snack?”

    “No. Stick to the plan.”

    “Why don’t we have a South Pole in Antarctica?”

    “We will soon, Permafrost. Taking this one. A triumph for the penguins of Antarctica. We’ll no longer be overlooked on Christmas.”

    “And we’re taking back candy canes too?”


    “What if the Big Guy sees us?”

    “He’s too busy passing out presents to children, not penguins.”

    “How are we going to get it home?”

    “We’re scouts, remember? The rest of the colony is back on the boat with the chainsaws, ice picks, and the shuffleboard table.”


    “It’s a long boat ride back.”

    “I think I see someone coming Snowdrift!”

    “Keep it together. Remember your training.”

    “It’s the Big Guy!”

    “Ho! Ho! Ho! What are you two doing this far north?”

    “Stealing the North Pole.”


    “Sorry. I panicked.”

    “That sounds naughty.”

    “With all due respect, Sir, the penguins just wanted to be noticed at Christmas. With the North Pole relocated we thought you would visit us this time.”

    “How about instead of the North Pole, I offer you something better.”

    “What’s that, Sir?”

    “A South Pole summer home for me and the Mrs. And plenty of candy canes for everyone.”

    “On behalf of the penguins of Antarctica, we’d be honored.”

  43. Jessica Milo says:

    by Jessica Milo
    249 words

    Everyone knows I’m the most famous reindeer.
    There’s even a whole song about me!
    A shiny red nose will do that to you.

    It’s all true.
    The other reindeer laugh at me, call me names and leave me out of their reindeer games.

    Clearly, they’re jealous of me.

    But I’m fed up with their name-calling.

    I grab my notepad and write by the light of my nose.

    I scribble. Scratch. Rip and crumple until . . .

    “YES! Let’s see how much they like being laughed at!”

    This time, instead of me being the butt of their jokes, I’ll be the one making them.

    I’ll roast those reindeer like chestnuts on an open fire.

    After I call everyone to gather ‘round, I begin:

    “Who is a dinosaur’s least favorite reindeer?”

    “Hey Cupid, you must be confused . . . it’s Christmas, not Valentine’s Day.”

    “Why are Prancer’s antlers always so itchy? He has antar-ticks!”

    “It’s easy to scare Vixen—just shout ‘cari-BOO!’”

    When I finish, the others quiver . . .

    . . . with laughter?

    “You’re hilarious!”

    “You sleigh-ed it!”

    “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history!”

    “My jokes make you happy?!” I groan as they giggle and guffaw.

    Then, it hits me.
    For once, I am liked for something other than my nose.

    “Tell us more jokes, Rudolph!”

    Now to break it to Santa that I’m quitting the sleigh team.

    From now on, I’ll be known as the North Pole’s most famous. . .


  44. Nancy Riley says:

    Reindeer Games 2.022
    By Nancy Derey Riley
    249 words

    With one week ‘til Christmas old Rudolph retired,
    leaving Santa the problem of who should be hired.
    A group of young reindeer applied for the job.
    Could Santa choose one from this unruly mob?

    There was Smasher and Crasher, and Thrasher and Cruiser—
    Bluster and Fluster, and Buster, and Bruiser.
    But the one who desired the job most of all
    was Jack, a young buck from the edge of Baikal.

    Then Santa announced all the tests they would face
    to try and achieve Rudolph’s time-honored place:
    “Be punctual, agile, and able to soar.
    Plus, nose navigation will increase your score.”

    At the start of the games all were late except Jack.
    While the others were sleeping, he set their clocks back.

    On the obstacle course, Jack spread grease on the trail.
    He laughed as he watched every deer slip and flail.

    Next was the take-off and sleigh-pulling flight.
    But Jack glued their hooves and the herd was stuck tight.

    One final test—could each make their nose glow,
    as a beacon to follow through rain, fog or snow?
    One by one they attempted to make their nose shine.
    Only Jack’s had a gleam that was simply divine.

    “I win!” shouted Jack, as the rest looked away.
    “Now I am the one who will lead Santa’s sleigh.”
    “Whoa!” shouted Santa. “You trickster and cheat.
    Your nose is a nightlight—you won by deceit.”

    He said, “There’s no winner. These games are a mess.
    I won’t replace Rudolph; I’ll use GPS!”

  45. Jessica Strahan (@jstrahan711) says:

    By Jessica Strahan
    166 words

    Not again! For the second year in a row, the most horrible Christmas Monster tried to ruin my Christmas. It broke my favorite ornament, it pulled my stocking down, it even unwrapped one of my presents.

    As I walked around the room sipping my hot cocoa and surveying the damage, my mom sat on the couch unphased by the festive mess.

    I guess I should consider myself lucky. Last year was much worse! The Christmas Monster tried to steal every ounce of Christmas joy. It wouldn’t let me go ice skating, it wouldn’t let my cousins sleep over, and it wouldn’t let me bake. I had to serve Santa STORE BOUGHT COOKIES. It was awful!

    I picked up my stocking and placed it above the fireplace where it belonged.

    “We have to do something about this Christmas Monster,” I said to my mom.

    “Sweetie,” she sighed, “I told you to stop calling him that. He’s your little brother.”

    “Yeah, but he’s still a monster,” I grumbled.

  46. Una Belle Townsend says:

    One Last Christmas
    By Una Belle Townsend
    250 words
    One Last Christmas
    Jenny and Bill looked at the pine tree near the post office.
    “It’s dying,” said Bill.
    “It’s so pretty at Christmas time,” said Jenny. “Will the city decorate it this year?”
    “No, but we could.”
    They asked the mayor if they could decorate the tree one last time. He agreed.
    Before long, they decided it was too big of a job for the two of them. They asked their friends at school to help. Jenny wrote a letter to the newspaper asking for donations. Soon they had boxes of ornaments and lights. They needed ladders and men to hang the decorations up high. Many volunteered.
    Everyone loved the tree and wanted to help except Mr. Collins. “It’s an eyesore,” he told the mayor. “Cut it down now, or I’ll do it.”
    The mayor tried to reason with the man. It didn’t help.
    Other letters to the paper from the kids mentioned watching parades, eating popsicles, and playing under the tree. One couple was even married under the special tree.
    Mr. Collins objected even more. He hung a sign on the tree. It said, “This town doesn’t need this tree. It’s ugly.”
    As the town continued to decorate the tree, he watched from behind a building.
    Soon, families took Christmas pictures beside the tree. Others hugged it.
    Late one night, a lonely figure lay a new tree beside the old one. A note said, “I didn’t know a town could love a tree so much. Here’s the future one. Merry Christmas!”

  47. Bridget Magee says:

    Gingerbread Fred by Bridget Magee
    250 words

    Snow blew outside while flour flew inside. The final batch of gingerbread cookies were out of the oven.

    In the middle of the cookie sheet sat a cheeky fellow tapping his toes waiting to spread his unique brand of holiday cheer. “I’m Gingerbread Fred. I may be made of sugar and spice, but I’m anything but nice!”

    As he jumped off the cookie sheet, Fred took the hand, just the hand, of the gingerbread man next to him. “I was just trying to give him a hand, but I guess he wanted to give ME one!”

    Fred sprinted across the countertop and took a flying leap, PLOP, into the bowl of icing. He sunk to the bottom. As Mrs. C spread icing on another gingerbread man, Fred popped up and body slammed the other cookie.

    An arm, a leg, and a gingerbread head floated in the icing. “I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles!”

    Fred juggled the rainbow gum drops. Higher and higher, faster and faster the candy flew until it was sticking to the shelves. Fred didn’t know there was someone living on those shelves.


    Elf did not take kindly to Fred’s shenanigans. (And Elf used to be a major league pitcher.)

    Pew! Pew! Pew!

    Elf on the shelf threw the gum drops right back at Fred.

    Fred dashed back to the cookie plate just as Santa’s hand came down.

    With a twinkle in his eye and his mouth open wide, Santa said, “This one looks especially sweet!”

  48. stephmena7299 says:

    Stephanie K Mena
    247 words

    Now’s the time my toes uncurl, my legs stretch out and I can put my plan into action. Once a year this tree’s unpacked and put into the center of everything. I breathe the fresh air spiced with apple pie, laughter and holiday music. It’s tree decorating time.

    Yup, I’m still here, right where he left me. I’m that noodle art ornament Hector made when he was 5.

    “Find the perfect spot for your ornament, Hector,” Mom said.

    Hector’s idea of the perfect spot was tight against the trunk in the middle of the tree, secured by broken branches. He hid me so well that for 3 years, no one found me. This year, the noodle has turned! It’s my time to twist Hector in holiday trappings.

    Like a moth to the flame, Hector approached.
    WHOOSSSSHHH. Ha, Ha, I puffed out that dead spider stuck in my mouth. BULLS EYE!!!

    “Mom! Pfft Pftt,” Hector screamed brushing spider dust off of his face.
    Strike One!

    I’ve worked myself loose by pulling out blade after blade from the branch holding me tight. If I wriggle out just a bit more, I can reach Hector’s hand.

    “OUCH!” Hector cried.

    “Look, Mom, I found my noodle art!” Hector called out.

    “I knew we’d find it. Let’s hang it in front with your cotton ball snowman and your miniature portrait of our family,” Mom said.

    Wait. What? I’m not forgotten? I have friends and a family? This is the best Christmas ever!

  49. catchandi says:

    The Rat King
    by Andi Chitty
    250 words

    ‘Twas the week before Christmas, and what did I see?
    A list on a laptop, “Extremely Naughty”.

    When what to my wandering eyes should appear,
    But my name, “The Rat King”, majestically clear!

    ME, on the list? For one small mistake?!
    I mean, who could resist chewing holes in a cake?

    How dare he insult me, that “jolly” old Claus!
    How dare he insult these most royal paws!

    I didn’t deserve this, so what did I do?
    I unplugged the cord and I gave it a chew.

    Just one little chew, enough to hit wire.
    When a falsetto voice whispered quietly… “Sire?”

    I turned around fast, and a miniscule rat
    Staring down at the holes, asked me softly, “What’s that?”

    But I am a king, so I’m quick and quite smart.
    “Why, I’m fixing a glitch so this laptop will start!”

    Then I ruffled the fur on the top of her head,
    Traded jewels for her silence, then sent her to bed.

    I listened that morning, through walls near my “gift”,
    As foolish young elves scampered in for their shift.

    “Santa’s poor laptop! Oh, what will we do?
    Its battery died, and the cord is chewed through!”

    “Call Dasher! Call Dancer! They know electronics.
    We’ll fix this, we have to! Tell Santa we’re on it!”

    Those arrogant reindeer clomped up in a hurry.
    “We’ve backups for everything, no need to worry!”

    I gave a sly grin as they ran off to seek,
    The backup computer I’d chewed up last week.


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