“Oh my fur and whiskers! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!“
Okay. It was really the White Rabbit who said that first, but it is very true for me, too, so let’s just go with it!
Due to the fact that it is December 20, and we have 15 finalists because there are 15 fabulous and generously donated prizes, and the Holiday Contest entries are a bit longer than the Halloweensie ones, we will skip all the joking around and get straight to the finalists!
I know it’s a little more reading than usual, so please let me say how very much I appreciate you taking the time to do so for all our fantastic finalists! I think you’re really going to enjoy them all, though – it will be well worth your time! 😊
I will say THANK YOU to everyone who wrote an entry, took time to read other people’s entries and leave supportive comments, shared the contest with friends and family so that all our talented writers could get more readers, is taking the time now to read and vote, and who generally helped to make the contest so much fun, but I’m going to skip reiterating the judging criteria (you can check for it HERE) and save all my usual difficulty-of-choosing stuff for the winners post on Friday so you can get right to the entries!
Please read through the following 15 entries and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Thursday December 22nd at 7PM Eastern so I can announce the winners on Friday! As always, I encourage you to share today’s link everywhere you want so that as many people as possible can read these stories and vote, but please do not attempt to influence the voting in any way. It is supposed to be based on merit, not on who can get the most people to come vote for their entry because they’re your friends and relations or they owe you for that time you babysat their kids 😊 If you’re a finalist, please don’t broadcast that on social media – just ask people to come read all the entries and vote for their favorite.
So here we go! Your 15 Finalists for
12th Annual Holiday Writing Contest
~ for children’s writers ~
1. THE RAT KING
‘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.
2. THE HANUKKAH HAND
“It’s getting to be winter,” said Pink Candle. He trembled.
“Remember last winter? When they got Greeny?” Orange Candle swallowed hard. She remembered how the Big Hand had snatched Greeny, clamped him in the menorah, then lit him on fire. Greeny had melted into a waxy puddle.
All the candles remembered.
Suddenly, the drawer flew open.
“Run! Hide!” yelled Blue Candle.
The Big Hand reached in. “Now, where did I put those Hanukkah candles,” said the Big Voice.
The Big Hand lifted the napkins. White Candle rolled out of the way.
The Big Hand tugged on a roll of masking tape. Pink Candle crawled behind the pens.
The Big Hand pulled out a deck of cards. Blue Candle ducked under the dog leash.
“There’s so much junk piled in here, I can’t find anything,” said the Big Voice.
A Little Hand poked in the drawer. Yellow Candle nudged a flashlight into the Little Hand.
“I know!” said the Little Voice. “Hannukah is the Festival of Lights … Let’s use flashlights instead!” The candles held their breath.
“Flashlights? But it’s Hannukah! We always light candles.”
“Please?” asked the Little Voice. “We can flash it once for each night.” Yellow Candle and Orange Candle clasped hands nervously. They heard the Big Voice sigh.
The candles peeked out to see a single beam of light illuminate the room. The Big Voice and the Little Voice sang the Hannukah prayers. Inside the drawer, the candles cheered.
3. THE HUMBUG HOUSE
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.
4. OLIVE, THE ACCIDENTAL VILLAIN
I didn’t mean to ruin Christmas. Let me explain. You see, this was my first Christmas, and I had a lot to learn…
It all started with the tree. I thought, how weird, to put a dog bowl under a tree?! I lapped it up, mmm extra piney! “No, Olive!!!” Whoops, not for me!
They got me new balls, so sparkly and shimmery! I didn’t know why they were stuck to the tree. A quick yank and CRAAAAASH!!! “No, Olive!!!” Uh-oh, I don’t think those were for me.
The stockings were hung by the fireplace and I was pretty sure the bone-shaped one was for me. I ripped it open and… “No, Olive!!!” There was no treat.
I did find some treats in little bowls around the house. Red and green, so delicious! “No Olive!!!” Oh boy, I felt sick. Nothing a trip to the vet couldn’t fix.
The presents were set under the tree. I can’t read, so I opened them all! “No Olive!” Can you believe it? Not even ONE for me!
Christmas Eve, they had a big party. I jumped on the table ready to feast. “No Olive!!!” Surprise, surprise. No food for me.
At night, I just couldn’t sleep. I HATED Christmas and they all hated me! That’s when I saw HIM, all big and jolly! I couldn’t believe it! I wagged my tail and stayed really quiet. He patted my head and said, “Ho-ho-ho, good girl, Olive,” and put out a bone just for me.
5. OLD MAN SANTA’S HOLIDAY RUCKUS
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!
6. REINDEER GAMES 2.022
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!”
7. THE CHRISTMAS CLOUD TEAM
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.
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!”
8. Bah! HumBUG!
Young Mae holds Christmas stockings by
the fireplace aglow.
“Why do we hang these up each year?
Hey, Daddy, do you know?”
“I do,” he whispers through a grin
while pulling Mae aside.
“These stockings are protection from
the greed of Christmas Clyde.”
“The what of who?” She’d never heard
of such a festive foe.
“The giant centipede,” says Dad,
“who lives below the snow!
He sneaks and eats the Christmas sweets!”
Dad pauses for effect.
“Our cookies, yes, but presents too
and pine trees flocked and decked.”
“He’ll gobble gifts?! He’ll chomp our tree?!”
Mae hides a box and bow.
“Don’t fret!” says Dad. “Without his socks–
he hates to crawl through snow.
Each Christmas season grown-ups swipe
the stockings from his den.
So, bah! that humbug, Clyde, will stay
inside his burrow then.”
“We hang them up so Santa sees
he’s safe to roam the night.”
Dad winks at Mae whose eyes go wide
and twinkle extra bright!
“So cool and brave!” says Mae. “You took
his mistle-toesie wear!
Next year, I’m coming too and we’ll
save Christmas as a pair!” “You will?” asks Dad, impressed. “You’d face
this villain centipede?”
“Of course!” says Mae. “Can’t turn away
when Christmas is in need.”
“You’re right. . . except. . . I made him up. . .”
Mae gives her Dad a hug.
“I guessed! Did you forget?” She laughs.
“You run from every bug!”
9. THE CANDY CROOK
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.
10. A WICKED CHRISTMAS BASH
Once upon a Christmas time,
“Why should Santa have such fun
while I’m left here to rot?”
“I’ll throw a Wicked Christmas Bash
for every bad guy friend.
We’ll swap some gifts and have a blast,
and fix our story’s end.”
He knew just what he had to do
and so he grabbed the phone,
inviting all his villain friends
to gather at his home.
He hung some blood red stockings
and sharpened candy canes.
Baked some gingerbread boys and girls
with iced on little chains.
When the night arrived at last,
they gathered round the table.
Each one anxious for a gift
that would rewrite their fable.
The Big Bad Wolf unwrapped his first
and couldn’t help but drool,
as he beheld his very own
hunter detecting tool.
Next the Evil Stepmother
unwrapped the folded creases.
With her brand new sledge hammer,
she’d smash glass shoes to pieces.
Then the Witch picked up her gift
with lots of bows (she loved them).
Let Hansel and Gretel try to shove
her in a microwave oven!
Another Wicked Witch came next,
this one was from the west.
She’d get that girl and her dog too,
this raincoat was the best!
When Rumpelstiltskin unwrapped his,
he found duct tape all rolled,
to tape his mouth closed nice and tight
and leave his name untold. And so the night was a success,
full of villainous laughter.
Hopeful that they’d finally get
unhappily ever after!
11. MOOSE AND THE MOUNTAIN
KA-RACK! KA-BOOM! KA-BANG!
New Years Eve fireworks lit up the mountain.
“OOOOH! AHHHH!” The crowd cheered.
“Boooo! Blahhh!” Moose sneered.
It used to be just Moose and the mountain.
That was before—CRAAAASH!—the machines built,
CREEEEAK!—the hanging chairs began to move,
and—ZOOOOOM!—the humans with sticks on their feet arrived.
Moose did NOT like sharing his mountain…
especially on New Years Eve.
This year, Moose had a plan.
More like… a resolution.
“The humans that are skiing soon will be FLEEING!”
Moose dug holes.
He built ramps.
Then he left some… gifts.
Moose’s bellow sounded more like a giggle as he surveyed the scat dotting the mountain.
The next morning,
But, the humans kept coming.
Finally, Moose charged.
An announcement blared. “Moose spotted! Stay clear!”
“HA!” Moose grunted, satisfied.
The mountain was silent…
except for a yelp.
There, beneath the trees, was a tiny human, terrified.
If Moose wanted his mountain back, this human had to go.
He scooped her up and dashed downhill.
“OOOOH! AHHHH!” The crowd cheered.
“Boooo. Blahhhh,” Moose sneered…
until he heard talk of, “A hero.”
Moose? A hero?
Why… yes. Yes he was.
That’s when Moose made a new New Years resolution.
No more holes. No more ramps.
No more being a party pooper. The humans made resolutions too.
They greased the creaky chairlift.
They traded loud fireworks for silent sparklers.
They even left gifts… of apples.
All in honor of Moose and his mountain.
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!”
13. MEANIE McGREENIE
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!
14. THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON
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!
15. YETI YELL
Yeti awoke from a hundred year nap
And heard from his cave a repetitive TAP.
Was it a narwhal horn banging on ice?
Maybe a rabble of tap dancing mice?
He discovered a barn with the source of the noise:
Hammering elves with a pile of toys.
To stop the elves’ racket, he’d have to attack!
He pounded his fists on a giant red sack.
He pulled down their tree with its sparkling stuff.
He tore apart teddy bears tossing their fluff.
He gobbled up cookies and drank all the cocoa.
He stomped on the dishes, but OUCH little toe, no!
He flopped on the fallen tree, snuggled its skirt.
Santa appeared, “This poor yeti is hurt.”
They bandaged his booboo and soothed his distress.
He blushed through his fur when he surveyed his mess.
Yeti got busy with fixing his wrongs
(for the yodels of yetis are magical songs.)
The tree flew back up, and the sack was re-fluffed,
Cocoa was poured, and the teddies were stuffed.
They read him a story, and tucked him in tight
Under the Christmas tree’s twinkling light.
They got back to work while he started to nap,
Falling gently to sleep to the tappity tap.
Now YOU get to enjoy the agony of decision as you try to choose which of those amazing entries to vote for!
Please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 7PM EST Thursday December 22nd.
Tune in Friday December 23rd to see THE WINNERS!!! – same bat time, same bat station 😊
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote! These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!
I truly cannot wait to see who you choose as the winner! Good luck!!! 😊
15 thoughts on “The 12th Annual Holiday Contest Finalists Are HERE!!! – VOTE For Your Favorite!!!”
Congratulations to all the finalists for a job well done!
Fifteen fabulous holiday stories! Congratulations to the finalists and happy holidays to all.
I vote for #6 Reindeer Games 2.022. I also liked The Hanukkah Hand. Very unusual POV. All the stories were creative and amusing.
This year’s entries are truly amazing – so creative, funny, original. I loved every single one! Can’t imagine trying to pick out ‘just a few’, Susanna. But, as always, you did. Thanks so much for this fun holiday contest.
Another group of amazing stories! Congratulations to all! And happy holidays!
Auugh! So hard to pick just one. What a fabulous selection of finalists. Congratulations to all!
Great stories. Hard to pick! They are all so good. Congratulations to all the finalists!
Susanna! Picking only ONE is torture!!! Cruel and unusual holiday story torture! Could you please institute ranked choice voting so we could vote for our top three??? Ok, well, next time! I’m going to close my eyes and throw a dart, LOL. Or something. Thank you for creating this marvelous contest where we get to see just how talented this community is! And thank you and your judges for all the work that goes into this. Piles of gingerbread to you all! Happy holidays!
What an amazing group of finalists! Incredibly difficult to choose just one. Congrats to all and thanks again, Susanna, for another fun-filled writing contest!
Wow, that was a hard pick. Good luck to the winners. Thank you to everyone involved in this great holiday tradition!
Great stories. it was hard to pick just one. Congrats to all and Merry Christmas.
Congratulations to all the finalists! Oh what fun to read, but hard to vote!
Congrats finalists! Terrific stories and hard to pick just one. Good luck!
So difficult to vote for just one!!!
Job”s” well done! Cheers! 🙂
Very hard choice!!! I read these yesterday and had it narrowed down to three. That took time and was EXTREMELY difficult. I came back today and finally made a decision.
What a wonderful bunch of finalists! And I did read many of the entries that didn’t make the finalists. Such talent!