December 21, 2012

Holiday Contest Finalists! - Vote For Your Favorite!


The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

I don't know about you, but I am completely floored by a) how many entries we got for the Holiday Contest (40!!) and b) how good they all were!!!

What a job it's been trying to winnow down 40 fantastic entries to a manageable number of finalists!  It's actually a great exercise in understanding what editors must go through.  I could find at least something to like about every entry - it was a question of weighing and balancing strong points and weaker points and overall impression - and it gives me an appreciation for the subjectivity aspect of editorial choosing - it's entirely possible that some of the finalists my assistant judge and I settled on are not the same ones you would have chosen.

All of this to say that everyone really did a wonderful job.  It was a pleasure to read every entry, and even if you didn't make the list of finalists, please know that our decision was agonizing and there were many great things about every single story - we really wrestled with choosing the finalists and went back and forth for a LONG time! - so you should feel good about your effort no matter what!  And my assistant judge and I, as well as ALL the readers (there were over 1200 views of the Holiday Contest post alone, not to mention how many visits you all got on your individual posts) got loads of enjoyment and entertainment out of your wonderful stories, so thank you all so very much for participating and sharing your creativity with us all!

In the final analysis, though, the finalists were chosen on the basis of 1) kid appeal (it is a children's story after all!) 2) originality/creativity 3) writing quality and story quality, and 4) if you chose to write in rhyme we were pretty strict about how well you did it since there was a prose option (although of the 40 entries, only 15 were in prose.)

Please review the finalists' entries below and then vote for the one you think should win!  You have until midnight Christmas Eve to vote (December 24 11:59 PM EST.)  There are 10 finalists (I know!  I'm sorry!  But I did get it down to 25% of the entries, and a lot of you will have read them all already and there will be 5 prizes given!) and they're all fantastic, so we're going to need all the votes we can get! :)  Oh, and one more thing - if you make it all the way to the bottom, the girls and I have a special Holiday message for you and I really don't think you'll want to miss it :)

#1 Dashing Through The School


Dashing through the school,
The bell’s about to ring,
I can’t be late again,
And disappoint Miss Sing.
I’ve got the leading role,
The play’s about to start,
Through the doors and up on stage,
I’m born to play this part!

Oh,
There’s the bell, there’s the bell,
I’m in the nick of time,
The auditorium is packed,
And the curtains start to climb.
Oh,
“Jingle bells, jingle bells,”
The chorus sings in tune,
My tummy’s feeling funny,
‘Cause I know it’s my turn soon.

I take a big deep breath,
Step forward on the stage,
Look out at the crowd,
Is that my Aunty Paige?
The lights shine in my face,
This costume’s far too hot,
The words catch in my throat,
An actor, I am not.

Oh,
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
They’re ringing in my head,
At practice I was doing fine,
But now I’m filled with dread!
Oh,
I’m not well, I’m not well,
I’m really feeling ill,
I wonder if it’s not too late,
To swap my part with Bill.

I take another breath,
Deliver my first line,
The butterflies are gone,
Suddenly, I’m fine.
When the play is done,
Applause rings ‘round the hall,
I take my final bow,
I’m an actor after all!

Oh,
I did well, I did well,
My heart is beating fast,
I never thought I’d feel this way,
The day that I was cast.
Oh,
“Jingle bells, jingle bells,”
I’ll sing it loud and clear,
I wonder if they’ll let me play,
This part again next year.


#2 Christmas Bash-A-Roo

Tromping through the pines
In their woolen socks with toes,
Yetis march in lines
Grunting Ho, Ho, Ho’s!
They meet their Sasquatch friends,
And Bigfoot buddies too.
The time is here to all attend
The Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap,
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
High up in the sky
A flash caused them to pause.
“Could this be the guy?
Could this be Santa Claus?
We’ve heard the tales of old.
We’ve heard the human lore,
But never has he joined our fold
At Christmas time before.”
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap,
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
They heard a Ho! Ho! Ho!
And saw a red-nosed gleam.
Coming through the snow
Was Santa and his team.
“I think we can agree—
Though sightings have been few
It can be reality—
Yes, legends can be true”.
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Santa flashed a grin
And said, “Hey guys, let’s bop.”
The reindeer joined right in
And did the Reindeer Hop.
He handed out sweet treats
To each and every beast.
Then said, “Let’s dance a few more beats
Before we fly on east.”
Oh…
Black-boot tap, Santa rap
Reindeer line dance too.
What a holly-jolly,
Hairy Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Santa waved goodbye
And headed to his sleigh.
He winked a twinkling eye
As he flew away.
Oh, what a joyful night—
A Santa Claus debut.
Oh how merry! Oh how bright!
The Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Oh…
Bigfoot tap, Yeti rap
Sasquatch line dance too—
Gathered in the forest
For their Christmas Bash-A-Roo!
Tromping through the pines
In worn out socks with toes
Yetis march in lines
Grunting Ho, Ho, Ho’s!
They wave at Sasquatch friends
And Bigfoot buddies too.
And say, “We’ll see you all again
At next year’s Bash-A-Roo.



#3 Garbage Truck, Garbage Truck



Trashing through the snow, in a noisy garbage truck,


The bins are hard to empty, with boxes getting stuck.


Crumpled wrapping paper, chunks of Styrofoam,


Packing peanuts everywhere are blown from home to home.


    Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


     Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


    Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Haul it all away.


    What looked so festive yesterday is now J-U-N-K.


Dried-up wreaths with bows, Lights that didn’t light,


Toys already broken, clothes that got too tight.


The garbage man is tired.  He’s handled lots of stuff.


He wishes folks could see that they already have enough.


          Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


          Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


          Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Haul it all away.


          What looked so festive yesterday is now J-U-N-K.


The garbage man goes home, and hugs his kids and wife.


They eat and read together, a calm, uncluttered life.


He’s happy with his job, but wishes people knew


That things don’t bring you happiness, but times together do.


        Oh, garbage truck!  Garbage truck! After Christmas trash.


          Load it in the garbage truck and watch it mash and smash.


          Garbage truck!  Garbage truck! Watch it blend and mix.


          So much turns to garbage on December 26.

#4 The Tree


Sliding through the snow
in Granddad’s beat-up truck,
Looking for a tree.
  Not having any luck.


Evergreens galore.
The Spruce and Firs abound
Nothing fits our search -
too dense, too big, too round.


Finally I spy
the perfect Christmas tree.
Granddad swings his axe,
“Ready. One, two, three!”


“Granddad, stop!” I shout,
“I see a mouse nose there.
Don’t you see that nest?
And isn’t that a hare?”


Thoughts swirl round my head.
I tell Granddad my plan.
He wags his graying beard,
then shakes my mittened hand.

Singing as we drive,
we race back to the farm.
I raid the kitchen store,
while Granddad raids the barn.


Night begins to fall.
We truck back through the snow -
find our lonely tree,
lit up in starry glow.


Stringing beans and hay,
instead of paper chains.
Nuts and seeds in fat,
we cover all in grains.

Then we sit and wait.
and slowly they appear.
The bestest gift and tree
from any Christmas year.


#5 Humphrey The Humbug


Dropping through the mail slot in a BAH-Mobile, came Humphrey. Humphrey was no ordinary bug. He was a Humbug. And being a Humbug, Humphrey had to follow one simple rule: ‘Make Christmas cheer disappear.’

It was Christmas Eve. Humphrey’s well-trained eye zeroed in on the slightly tilting Christmas tree. “All I have to do is give that tree a push, knock over the glitter, and let the cookies burn and the Holly Household’s Christmas cheer will soon melt into the Grinchy grumps,” Humphrey said to himself.

But I can’t wreck another Christmas, thought Humphrey. The truth was, Humphrey was a half-hearted Humbug. He secretly liked everything about Christmas: the tree, the lights, and especially the music.

He poked his head out of his BAH-Mobile.  The coast was clear. First, he made his way to the tree but, instead of giving it a push, he made it stand taller, tightening the bolts in the stand.  Next, he took the jar of glitter and tightly screwed on the lid. Finally, he set the kitchen timer so the Holly’s would take the cookies out of the oven. 

Humphrey settled down inside his BAH-Mobile, happy for the first time. I spread Christmas cheer this year, he thought, as he drifted off to sleep.

Humphrey awoke to a laugh. “Ho, Ho, Ho,” chuckled Santa. “I’ve caught a Humbug!”  He gently placed Humphrey on his knee.

“I know I’m on the Naughty List, Santa, but let me explain,” started Humphrey.  Santa held up his hand.

“You are mistaken, Humphrey.  You are on the Nice List this year.”

“I am?”

“You, my friend, have had what is called a ‘Change-of-Heart.’

“Yes!” said Humphrey. “I don’t feel like a Humbug anymore.”

“Did you know,” asked Santa, “that Humbugs are very musical?”

“I do like to hum,” said Humphrey.

Santa handed Humphrey a small package. “My first present!” he shouted. Tearing it open, Humphrey found a book of Christmas carols. “Oh, thank you!” he beamed.

Now, at Christmastime, Humphrey, the humming bug, follows his own rule: “Hum carols far and near to make Christmas cheer appear!”  


#6 That's Not Santa!


Walking through the mall,
In my brand new Christmas Shoes,
Look at that kid bawl,
I have got the blues!
-
My mom smiles at me,
She wants this photo,
Can’t anybody see,
That’s NOT SANTA -NO!
- 

(Chorus)
OH!
His beard is fake,
His eyebrows snake,
His mustache is dark brown,
I feel bad for the lad,
That Santa just put down!
-
OH!
He has a belt,
It’s made of felt,
That just makes me pause,
His suit’s off-red, like I said,
THAT’S NOT SANTA CLAUS!
-
(Second Verse)
I don’t have a choice,
Four more kids to go,
I hear Santa’s voice,
He says “Hoo Ha Ho”?
-
The girl on Santa’s knee,
Looks as scared as she can be,
The camera makes a flash,
The girl makes a dash!
-
(Chorus)
OH!
His beard is fake,
His eyebrows snake,
His boots are made of plastic,
I’m ahead and my mom said,
“This will be fantastic”!
-
OH!
He has no belly,
That shakes like jelly,
I am feeling sick,
On his lap is when I yap,
THAT’S NOT OLD SAINT NICK!


#7 Jingle Sheep


Tiptoeing through the fog
On teeny tiny feet,
Six hundred wooly sheep
Were sneaking down the street.
Poor Santa had the flu.
His temperature was high.
His doctor told him, “Stay in bed
And stay out of the sky.”
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made.
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
The sheep tried very hard
To visit every child.
They tried to keep it quiet
But soon got very wild.
The children did not dream
Of sugarplums and toys.
They peeked out of their bedroom doors
To wonder at the noise.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
At first the children stared
And some began to cry.
They then began to giggle
And not be quite so shy.
The sheep shared all their hats
And danced around the tree.
The children shared their gingerbread
With shouts of happy glee.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.
The sun began to rise.
The party had been grand.
The gifts had been delivered,
Though not like Santa planned.
He thanked them just the same,
The dear sweet, sneaky sheep.
He asked them what they wanted.
They asked for sixty jeeps.
OH
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Come to Santa’s aid
Wearing beards and Santa hats
And antlers that they made
Wooly sheep, sneaky sheep
Glad to help St. Nick
Spreading joy and happiness
With a festive, merry kick.




#8 New Skates Please, Santa!


Wobbling on the ice
In my sister’s worn-out skates,
I might as well be wearing
Great big wooden crates!
The blades are really dull,
They’re too big for my feet,
and when I try to glide along
I end up on my seat!
Ohhhhhh,
Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Ohhhhhh,
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.
My friends all have new skates
They glide around with ease
While I just watch them swish right by
Me, fallen on my knees.
It’s almost Christmas Eve,
I’ve wished upon a star,
I hope that Santa hears my plea
And brings skates from afar.
Ohhhhhh,
Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Ohhhhhh,
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.
The presents are unwrapped,
No shiny skates in sight,
Just sweaters, hats, and oranges –
but what about tonight?
My sis hands me a box
and much to my surprise
Bright shiny skates, the kind I wished,
And look! They’re just my size!
Ohhhhhh,
Swish, swish, swish,
Zip, zip, zoom,
My skates are really fast,
I can whirl and twirl all day
And never be outclassed.
Ohhhhhh,
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh,
Jump, twirl, spin,
Across the ice I glide,
This is better than I dreamed,
I’ll never go inside!


#9 How The Grinch Spends Christmas


Dashing through the snow
In Santa’s stolen sleigh
Over Santa’s toe
Laughing all the way. MUA-HA-HA!
Flying snowballs sting
I’m not at all contrite
How fun it is to toss and fling
The gifts into the night.

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Trouble making – Reindeer MUSH!
In Santa’s stolen sleigh
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Trouble making – Reindeer MUSH!
In Santa’s stolen sleigh

This morning when I woke
I thought, “The fun begins,”
I’ll lick the cookies clean
Return them to their tins
Pluck festive door wreathes bare
Chop down Christmas trees
Cram stockings -- not the kind you wear --
With coal lumps to the knees

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Shelf Elf shaking, snow globe breaking
Reindeer led astray
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mischief saves the day
Snowman baking, present taking
In the mall Santa’s toupee.

Whooshing far and near
Dropping water bombs away
Then, Santa calls his deer
And rats! They do obey
He hums a little tune
Shakes his head so slight
Nails me with the last balloon
And flies into the night.

Oh, bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Santa made my day
I think I saw him gloating
As he rode his sleigh away
Bah humbug, Christmas, ugh!
Mean is in my genes
I can't wait for him to find
I fed his reindeer beans. 


#10 Dashing Through The Snow


“Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh…” The song floated from the kitchen radio. Holly heard her neighbor, Mrs. Frost, humming along.
Holly stared out the window at the snowless neighborhood and sighed. Would she ever have a white Christmas? She picked up the snow globe from the table and shook it. Tiny white flakes swirled about the miniature horse pulling a sleigh with two riders.
Mrs. Frost poked her head into the living room and smiled. “The first batch of cookies is almost done. Once they’re cool, you can help me ice them, okay?”
Holly grinned. “Sure!”
Mrs. Frost was Holly’s favorite grown up…besides her mom and dad, of course. There was something kind of magic about her, especially at Christmas. Her house glowed with red and green lights and holiday decorations. She even had a Christmas name. Like Holly.
Holly shook the snow globe again and set it on the window sill. She watched the tiny flakes spiraling inside. The song continued to play. “Dashing through the snow…” Her eyelids drooped. “I wish we had snow,” she whispered.
Suddenly, wind whipped through her hair, and she squinted as wet flakes splattered her face. “What?" She gasped in the chilly air. "Where am I?”
“Dashing through the snow, of course!” Mrs. Frost sat beside her, chuckling. She held the reins to a horse covered in white. Its neigh echoed like laughter.
Holly glanced down. Tiny houses flickered with Christmas lights far below. “We’re flying!” she yelled.
Snow flurries danced around them. “We’re dashing!” Mrs. Frost snapped the reins.
“It’s time,” she said.
Someone gently shook Holly’s shoulder. She opened her eyes to see Mrs. Frost standing beside her. “It’s time to ice the cookies.”
Holly blinked. A dream? She shivered. But it felt so real.
“Oh, look!” said Mrs. Frost.
Holly peered out the window. “It’s snowing!” Fluffy white flakes tumbled down.
She turned to Mrs. Frost and spotted something sparkling in her hair. Could it be?
Mrs. Frost’s eyes twinkled.
Holly was sure she saw a snowflake…before it melted away.


I told you it was going to be tough!  Ready, set, VOTE!



And my assistant judge and I felt we really must give Honorable Mention to Julie for Splash! Crash! Dash! - sibling Christmas vacation, very well written!, Renee for Holidaze - quite possibly the cleverest entry and amazingly well done, Carrie for Christmas In Lights which had a wonderful message about helping neighbors, Maria for Elmer The Christmas Sprite - a lovely, original, quiet story, and Linda for In A Daddy Open Buggy - excellent, excellent small child POV!  Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jill whose story I Believe brought tears to my eyes with its wonderful ending, and Delores's A Christmas Memory with it's evocative writing and lovely nostalgic feel...  And now I'm going to stop before I've got the entire list up here :)

Have fun voting everyone!  And here's a little holiday message from me and the girls :)

video

P.S.  I wasn't going to post on Monday... and I still might not... but there may be a special surprise post going up that day if I can get it written and organized and if the stars are properly aligned... :)  If I can't pull it off, then I'll see you on Wednesday the 26th with the winners.  Happy Holidays Everyone! :)


Reactions:

68 comments:

  1. So hard! I wish I could pick more than one, though of course I'd probably vote for half the list. So many fantastic entries, I've really enjoyed reading them all.

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  2. I LOVE THE VIDEO!!! WOW - there were so many awesome entries! How do you pick? It must be hard! You could probably make a Christmas book out of all the entries. I am excited I made the finals. I worked hard on the rhyming. I picked my favorite (which again wasn't mine). Good luck to everyone.

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  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Jo! They really all were terrific, and it's terrible having to choose! I really loved yours because a) the story was fun and wonderful and something all kids can relate to - haven't we all been up on that stage with our hearts in our throats at some point? and can't we all remember that feeling of euphoria when we did it? and b) your rhyme and meter were spot on - really well done! Happy Holidays to you and your family, and tune in Wednesday for the results :)

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  4. You know, Erik, I've thought about making a book with all the contest entries - we get so many great ones in all the contests it seems a shame for no one to read them once the contests are over! As for picking, it's VERY hard. I will tell you that I chose yours (and my assistant judge was very much in your corner!) because the subject matter was original (haven't seen it done and no one else picked it) and it's something all kids can relate to, and the writing was very funny - there was real humor in your telling! Although there were one or two places where the meter and rhyme could have been slightly improved, the overall impression was terrific and fun and we loved it :) Glad you liked the video... I bet you didn't know Scout and Jemma and I were so musically gifted, or that I could dance like that :)

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  5. delores @ thefeatherednestDecember 21, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Once again Susanna, thanks so much for running this contest. It was loads of fun. I've voted for the one that has been my favourite from the beginning. It had such a lovely touch of Christmas Magic to it.
    Have a wonderful holiday with family and friends and we'll see you in the New Year.

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  6. Thank YOU so much, Delores, for participating so enthusiastically and for submitting a truly lovely entry. I had a very, very hard time placing yours in the HM category instead of finalist - the writing was so evocative, the message and story so peaceful and nostalgic - I just loved it. In the end, some of the others edged it out on kid appeal, but I hope you still feel really good about this piece of your work - it's wonderful! I hope you have a restful, peaceful, happy holiday with your loved ones, and see you in 2013 for more writing fun :)

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  7. Oh, Susanna, what a tremendous task it must have been to choose winners from such talent! It was a pure delight to read through them all. And I had fun writing mine. Great challenge, thanks. Your "honorable mention" nod has made me blush!

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  8. Ditto! Love the JibJab!

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  9. Thank you so much for joining the fun and submitting such a terrific entry, Linda! It was agonizing to have to choose, and my assistant judge and I hemmed and hawed for literally hours... well, close to days, really! The ones that ended up in HM were the ones we had the hardest time trimming from the finalists, so you deserve a round of applause and some extra chocolate :) But we figured even 10 finalists for 5 winners was really stretching people's time limits and patience, so we had to draw the line! Happy Holidays to you and yours! Looking forward to more fun in 2013 :)

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  10. Wow - just ...wow! it was so much fun reading these entries and so hard to pick just one!

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  11. Tellin' me! :) Thanks so much for reading and voting and joining in the holiday fun, Kim. There will be more contests in the new year, so sharpen your pencil :)

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  12. Susanna, thank you so much for all the effort you put into these contests (and Scout and Gemma, whom I adored in the video). I haven't voted yet as I really am having a hard time choosing this time. Normally I have one that lodges with me from the get-go, but this time....Don't worry, I WILL vote!


    Happy, happy holidays to all the family.

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  13. Great video! Loved it. Congrads to all the winners. Wonderful entries. I voted. I know these contests are a lot of work. Thanks Susanna for all you do! Merry Christmas.

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  14. I voted! But so hard to choose--so much talent and creativity!
    Merry Christmas Susanna to you and yours (and the girls--love the video!). All the best!

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  15. All the entries were so much fun to read! And at this time of year it's had to find an extra second, so to have all these great stories was impressive. Good luck to everyone.

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  16. I had chosen my fave five from all the entries, just in case we got to vote for five... but in the end, did choose one out of those five to vote for. At least I think I voted... Does the poll thingie still look as if one could vote when one comes back to this post later? If so, that's okay. I just hope I cast my vote!


    Thank you so much for choosing my story as one of the finalists. It's an honor to be up there with all that talent! And thank you so much for all you do, Susanna. We only see the fun tip of the iceberg here on your blog. I know you're working very hard behind the scenes to make all the wonderful things you do happen. You ROCK!

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  17. Wow! Picking one was super hard. They are all FABULOUS!

    Thanks for the jingle at the end too. :)
    Merry Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho!

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  18. Is it just me or do these entries get better and better with each contest? I read them all and will have to let them sit in my head for a while before I come back and vote. EXCELLENT work everyone!

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  19. I'm the same Joanna. Toughest one yet!

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  20. P.S. LOVE the video!! Now I'm off to go waste an hour "elfing" myself and loved ones. :-)

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  21. Tough to decide...but my vote is cast! :) Have a wonderful holiday, Susanna!

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  22. VOTED! Each entry delivered something magical. I had so much fun hopping from blog to blog. I chuckled, full belly laughed, and even shed some tears. Oh this year was wonderful, Susanna and I am so grateful to you. We needed this bit of Christmas cheer. Your blog allowed us to come together and celebrate each other. How great were the supportive comments? Oh yeah, that video was a stone gas, honey!

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  23. I know! Isn't everyone amazing?! Thanks for reading and voting, Wendy, and happy, happy holidays to you and yours :)

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  24. I am always so impressed and inspired by everyone's talent and creativity! Thanks for reading and voting, and thanks also for a terrific entry, Nancy! Glad you liked the jingle - that's what the girls and I do all day, don't you know? :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours - looking forward to tons of writing fun together in 2013 :)

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  25. I feel the same way, Julie! I think it's all the support and education everyone gets from 12x12 :) Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family - hope your holidays are tons of fun :)

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  26. Yeah... I had WAY too much fun doing that :)

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  27. Congratulations to the finalists. Tough choices, but cast my vote. They were all worthy. Thank you Susanna for putting so much effort into this fun contest and bringing us all together in Christmas fun! What a cute and funny video. Loved it Susanna.

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  28. I voted, but you are right; it was not easy to choose between them!

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  29. Thanks so much for reading and voting, Coleen! I'll be on the lookout for an entry from you in the 3rd annual contest next holiday season :) I'm so glad you appreciated the girls' and my singing and dancing ability :) Happy, happy holidays to you and your fam, and looking forward to tons of fun in 2013 :)

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  30. Thanks so much for reading and voting, Becky, and for a fabulous entry - I loved the feeling of family Christmas your story evoked! And yes, it was a tough tough choice!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all your family! :)

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  31. Thank YOU, Pat, for a terrific, creative entry, and for all you blogly support! Thanks for reading and voting! Glad you enjoyed the video - I had so much fun making it :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family :)

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  32. Good Heavens! That was a hard choice, but I voted. Amazing entries! Love the video, Susanna! Have a wonderful Christmas! xoxo

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  33. Very tough choice! Good luck to the particitrousers, and nappy holidays to hard workers everywhere!

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  34. Very tough choice indeed, they are all so much fun! Good job to all who entered, and Happy Holidays to all! :-)

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  35. I wish we could vote for five -- the stories were all so wonderful! Thank you for choosing mine to be among the finalists. I had a lot of fun writing it.

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  36. So many great entries! Hard to choose, but alas, vote for 1 I did (I can see why you had 10 finalists!)


    Merry Christmas! (And great dancing, btw) :)

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  37. Thanks so much for reading and voting, Janet! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the video :) I totally thought of you when I was making it, what with your mad hackey-sacking skills and ethnic singing, I figured you of all people would really appreciate my dance moves and guitar and upright bass playing :) Happy, happy holidays to you and your family and all best wishes for 2013! :)

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  38. Okay, came back three times before finally voting. I did have a clear favorite for a couple of days, but then a particular late entry blindsided me. Nails bitten, vote cast!

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  39. Thanks for reading, agonizing and voting, Renee! And thanks for a fabulous, original, creative and clever entry - you win the prize for cleverness! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family! Looking forward to even more fun in 2013 :)

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  40. Thanks, Julie :) And thanks for your very excellent entry - you must have a sister :) Happy happy holidays to you and yours! :)

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  41. Thanks so much for reading and voting, Dana - it sure is a tough choice! And very merry happy holidays to you too! :)

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  42. I know - it's really hard to choose just one! Why do you think I make you guys do it? :) Thanks for reading and voting, and for an excellent entry - I'm still laughing about those beans... talk about kid appeal :) Happy Holidays to you and yours, Margaret! :)

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  43. Thanks for hosting the contest, Susanna. It was really fun! I did vote, but it was tough. This one is going to be a nail-biter!

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  44. I know it! I'm watching the numbers roll in and the competition is VERY tight! We shall see... :) Thanks so much for reading and voting, Carrie, and for a fantastic entry! We loved your story - really and truly - beautifully written and lovely message :) Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013 to you and your family! :)

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  45. Hats off to each and every entry on the top ten list...all deserve to be a full-blown picture book...some funny, some sweet, some outrageous...all fantastic! I did vote...but it was VERY difficult.
    Thanks so much, Susanna...what a great contest...everyone who participated did a wonderful job...especially with the sadness that surrounded all of us at that moment of writing and posting.
    Happy Holidays to all...and Best Wishes for a Beautiful and Healthy New Year!

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  46. Thanks Ms. Hill! What you said means a lot to me! :)

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  47. Really fun to read everyone's rhyme and prose. I thought they were all very original. Love that! I agree with everyone else that deciding on just one was a challenge. Thanks, Susanna, for a fun contest. Merry Christmas to all...with a festive, merry kick!

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  48. Thank you, Vivian, for all your kind words, for your enthusiasm for all the craziness that goes on around here, and for a fantastic entry in the contest! It's folks like you who make all of this so much fun! Have a wonderful Christmas and here's to all good things for 2013! :)

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  49. Ha Ha! Loved the video! Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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  50. This is such a hard decision - they're all so wonderful! I felt bad about not entering but, now that I've seen the competition, I feel better :-) Congrats to all who entered and the finalists!! Have a merry and a happy!!!

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  51. Thanks for reading and voting and generally cheering on, Lori, and a merry and a happy to you and yours too! :)

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  52. Well you know, this IS what the girls and I do all day :) Merry Christmas to you too, Cheryl! :)

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  53. Thanks, Susanna. I had great fun participating. I'm so glad I found your blog - great information and contests, too! The entries were truly great. And, yes, it was very hard voting for just one. Thank you also for the HM! Oh - the video was feet-kickin' good!

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  54. Alayne Kay ChristianDecember 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Thanks, Susanna and to all the authors of these fun stories. Family and friend Christmas events are taking over my time, but I am happy to say that I was able to get back to the Internet and vote. Good luck, all!

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  55. Thanks for reading and voting, and for your wonderful entry, Alayne! I wish everyone could win! Have a lovely time with your family, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

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  56. I'm so glad you found here too, Jill! :) And I really truly loved your story - if we gave a prize for endings, it would have been yours. I think you actually have a great story there, and with a few more than 350 words to develop it you could make it work beautifully - there is no doubt there must be room for a story where children are reunited with a military parent on Christmas Eve. Thanks for reading and voting, and looking forward to getting to know you and reading your entries in future contests! Merry Christmas and Happy 2013! :)

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  57. Ha! You and I have something else in common, Susanna. I elfed myself, too! Same video! What a crack up! But I only had people in mine. Love!!! the dogs! Such cuties! Thanks for a great contest! It's making my season bright!

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  58. Hahaha! That is SO funny, Penny! Plus, half the reason I made this is because of a conversation you and I had a while back about me in a Santa hat :) This is an elf hat, but same idea :) So glad you enjoyed the contest - I certainly enjoyed your entry! Merry Christmas to you and yours, and all the best for 2013! :)

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  59. Wow, I don't blame you for keeping 10. Tough competition here!

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  60. You're welcome, Joanna! And thank you for participating - it wouldn't be much of a contest without all you talented writers taking the time to write entries, and everyone being so wonderful about reading and cheering each other on! Happy Holidays to you to, and here's to all good things in 2013!

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  61. Glad you enjoyed the video :) And thanks to you and everyone who participates in the contests and makes them so much fun!

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  62. I know! Wasn't it just??? Glad you liked the video - now you know what I actually do all day :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friend! :)

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  63. Your spot on the finalist list was well earned! And thanks for voting! Yes, I think it still looks like you can vote but in fact it won't let you if you try a second time. Thanks for entering, and for all your support and kind words! :)

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  64. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much, Pam! That is the whole point, after all. And glad you liked the video :) You didn't know that's what I did all day, did you? :)

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  65. POSTED FOR GENEVIEVE

    That WAS tough! I wanted to vote for all 10. Or 8. Or 5. Or 2. *sigh* I voted for just one. But WOW!

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  66. Thanks, Marci! And thanks for a terrific entry from you! :)

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  67. It really was! Plus, we were giving 5 prizes, so I thought we should have more finalists than usual. Apologies for the added reading time :)

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