December 9, 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest Is Here!

WOO-HOO!  Let the joyous news be spread!  It's time for

The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

The Contest:  Write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer :)).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words not counting the title (aren't I being generous?! :)  It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!)  Did the dog knock over the Christmas Tree?  Did little Johnny's costume get grape juice all over it moments before the holiday pageant?  Did the menorah go missing?  Did travel arrangements get snarled or miscommunicated?  Did Santa's sleigh have to make an emergency landing?  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  (And because so many people have mentioned this, the story does not have to be funny!  You can have a holiday mishap that is serious or sweet or mysterious...  Please don't feel that you have to go the humor route!  Also, because a number of people have mentioned it this time, no art notes please.)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between now and Friday December 13 at 11:59 PM EST and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Sunday December 15.  (There will be no WYRI or PPBF this week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)

The Judging:  My lovely assistant(s) and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Monday December 16 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Thursday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to sixth place.  Remember, judging criteria will be kid appeal/friendliness, originality/suitability of mishap, quality of story, and quality of writing.

The Prizes!:  Well, I hope these prizes are going to knock your socks off!!!  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st - 6th place.  In addition to the incredible fame of being able to say you won or placed in the Pretty Much World Famous 3rd Annual Holiday Contest, the following AMAZING prizes will be awarded:

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Written Critique by Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge!!! (Priceless!)  Karen Boss is the editorial assistant at Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, MA. She has a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College and is currently editing projects that range from picture books for younger readers to picture books for older readers to middle-grade novels, both fiction and nonfiction. (But let's face it, folks!  You're getting YOUR picture book manuscript in front of an actual editor at a highly regarded publishing house!  Who knows where that could lead?)

 - A Gold Membership to Julie Hedlund's 12x12 in 2014 (a $150 value)
    Little GOLDen Book Membership includes:
  • Full access (view and post) to the Main 12 x 12 Forum and Critique Connect (where you can find critique partners)
  • Access to the members-only 12 x 12 Facebook Group
  • Ability to view the Events, Member Books, Videos/Trailers and Help An Author Out (HAAO) sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • Opportunity to win craft-related prizes from the monthly featured authors
  • Full (view and post) access to the Events, Member Books, Video/Trailers and HAAO sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • FULL (view and post) access to these additional sections of the 12 x 12 Forum: Query Corner (get feedback on your query letters), Pitch Perfect (get feedback on loglines and pitches), and Manuscript Makeover (get feedback on the first 250 words of your ms)
  • Access to the Submission Station section of the 12 x 12 Forum, which will provide information about that month's agent or editor and instructions on how to submit to him or her.
 - 2 signed Picture Books by Linda Ashman - RAIN! and PEACE, BABY! (Keep for yourself or give as a holiday gift to a little person in your life :)) PLUS
    a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Erin Molta Erin is an experienced senior editor of picture book, early readers, chapter, middle grade, and YA books, as well as novelty and licensed titles. She has been in childrens publishing for more than twenty years and has a keen understanding of early reader through YA audiences. She has an excellent reputation with established authors, illustrators, and agents.

 - Enrollment in the Online Writing course Making Picture Book Magic in the month of your choice (a $99 value)

 - A signed copy of TUGBOAT by Michael Garland (not even released yet!) AND
    a signed copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS by Julie Hedlund (Keep for yourself or give as a holiday gift to a little person in your life :))  PLUS
    a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author/illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy, author and illustrator of PUZZLED BY PINK (Viking Juvenile, April 2012) and the forthcoming PAINT ME!. A great choice for someone who is both an author and an illustrator - and I know we have quite a few of those here :)

 - 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino (your choice of paperback or Kindle edition)

 - The Crock Of Charms Anthology - a three volume collection of stories for readers of all ages from writers all over the world including some you probably know :)  Robyn Campbell, Cheryl Secomb, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Theresa Milstein, Lenny Lee, and me, to name a few :)

(Run your mouse over the prizes, books, authors, etc... most of them are links)

The Contest Winner will have first choice of the prizes.  2nd place will have next choice of what's left and so on.  (I'm doing it this way in the hopes that no one will get something they already have - for example, if you've already signed on for Julie's 12x12 or taken Making Picture Book Magic or own RAIN! and PEACE, BABY! etc.  - and also because I think all the prizes are fabulous and I wouldn't want to make anyone feel less valued by giving them as 6th place as opposed to 1st.)

Wow!  Let's get the Holiday Party started! :)

Here is my sample... to prove that in can in fact be done... and because I wouldn't ask you to do anything I won't do myself...  (But seriously, whose idea was 350 words?  It's cramping my style! :))

The Trouble With Santa's Suit (350 words)

On Christmas Eve the sleigh was packed.
The reindeer waited, snug in red velvet blankets.
Santa struggled into the tuxedo he always wore and turned pale.
“Elton!” he hollered.
Chief Elf Elton came running.
“Oh, dear!” he gasped.  "Dry-cleaning disaster!"
The sleeves barely reached Santa’s elbows.  The pants fell short of his knees.  He looked like an underdressed penguin.
“You’ll have to wear something else,” said Mrs. Claus.
But Santa was stuck in his shrunken suit.
“I can’t get it off!” he said.
“Go on a diet,” suggested Elton.
“I don’t think that will work in ten minutes!” said Santa, “I’ve got to go!”
“Call the fire department,” suggested Elton.
“I’m not on fire!” said Santa.
“Everyone calls the fire department for emergencies!” said Elton.
The fire department arrived in a jiffy.  Chief Bumpkin took charge.  “Grab the hose, men!” he ordered.  “We’ll blow that suit off the Big Guy!”
“The hose?” asked Santa.  “I don’t think…”
Icy water blasted Santa off his feet.
“STOP!” spluttered Santa.
“Plan B!” ordered Chief Bumpkin.
The firemen picked up their axes to cut the suit off.
“No axes!” said Santa.
“Well,” said the Chief, “there’s always Plan C…”
The firemen divided into four groups, one by each arm, one by each leg.  On the count of three they pulled the suit to shreds.
“Great job!” said Chief Bumpkin.  The firemen shook hands, gathered up their hose, and left.
Santa sat glumly in a puddle.  “Now I have nothing to wear.”
“How about this?” suggested Mrs. Claus holding up Santa’s Bermuda shirt and shorts.
“It’s TWENTY BELOW ZERO!” said Santa.
“Good point.  Overalls?  Your bunny costume from Halloween?”
“I don’t like to mix my holidays,” said Santa.
“You’d better agree to something or you’re going to miss Christmas!”
Just then Elton returned breathlessly with a red velvet suit.
“How about this?” he asked.
It fit perfectly.
“I love it!” Santa exclaimed.  Then he sniffed.  “Does anyone else smell reindeer?”
“Not me,” said Elton.
Santa climbed aboard the sleigh.  “Merry Christmas!” he called.
And away he flew in the red velvet suit he's worn ever since.




So now!  Everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I'm not willing to be a fool for my art :)

I can't wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  I hope there will be a lot - the more the merrier!  And there are still 4+ days to write, so you have time if you haven't written yet and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.

Remember to put your post-specific link (not your general blog link or people will find the wrong page if you post again before the contest is over) in the list below!

Don't miss 38 entries in the comment section below (which thanks to Penny I've figured out how to link, so if you click on the person's name it will take you directly to that story so you can read and comment... just give it a second to load :)  And this intelligence just in - if you're trying to work these links on iPad or iPhone you will need the google Chrome app to get them to work - Safari won't do it.)
Nancy - Toby's Christmas: Ho Ho Ho Or No No No?
Suzy - Reindeer In The Eggnog
Mandy - One Squirrelly Christmas
Lakshmy - Santa's Stocking
Kristen - The Great Christmas Morning Mix-Up
Teresa S - Always Ready Or Not
Michele - Santa Is Stuck
Kim - Popcorn For Santa On Christmas Eve
Ryan (Rino) - The Adventures Of Jonathan James
Alissa - Santa's Stuck On the Toilet
Kirsten (not to be confused with Kristen above) - Blackout!
Karen - Santa's New Toy-Making Machine
Anne - The Gingerbread House Disaster
Ann - The Christmas Present
Sue - Pup Unwrapped
Tim - O Deer
Diane - Frank's Adventure With Santa And The Elves
Karen Z - Santa's Snow Angel
Michelle S - Cookies For Papa Noel
Pat - Santa's Paws
Vicki - Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas
Charlotte - Goldilocks's Night Before Christmas
Susan - The Christmas Wagon
Pia - Santa Baby
Rachel - Fresh Frosting
Bonnie - The Sound And Smell Of Christmas
Martha - A Christmas Surprise
Patty - Santa's Special Gift
Susan S - Snowman On A Roll
Kristen 2 - No Sleep For Santa (same author as The Great Christmas Morning Mix-Up above)
Debbie - Home For Christmas
Rita - George's Christmas Present: A True Story
Sue - Blue Latkes And Salsa
Ruth - Santa Claus Has Lost His Voice
Heather - Behind Schedule
Morgan - A Brother For Christmas
Kelly - Happy Birthday Bambino
Kristen S - Dasher Does A Dash


Happy Writing and Happy Holiday Season!!! :)


Reactions:

923 comments:

  1. I didn't see my link so I may have entered twice--oops!--if I did, Susanna, can you delete one? I'm looking forward to reading the stories here!

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  2. ENTRY POSTED FOR NANCY

    TOBY’S CHRISTMAS: HO HO HO OR NO NO NO?
    By Nancy Churnin

    Toby was not a good cat, as
    Snowball purred to Santa.

    He’d chased birds, clawed chairs and
    eaten more of Snowball’s food than she had this year.

    It didn’t help that when it was
    Toby’s turn to sit on Santa’s lap, he chewed the bells off his suit.

    Santa didn’t know whether to say Ho
    Ho Ho or No No No.

    Still, Toby hoped Santa would find
    room for him on the nice list. Maybe in the margins?

    There were so many things Toby wanted
    for Christmas! Balls and tuna. A gecko and tuna. And the biggest fluffiest stuffed bear there ever was. And tuna.

    On Christmas Eve, after Toby chased
    Snowball around the tree (she needed exercise), he figured it was hopeless.

    Still, there was one thing he was
    determined to do. He didn’t put a paw on his Christmas Eve treats. Instead, he pushed his bowl near the milk and
    cookies so Santa would have something to share with the reindeer.

    Toby waited.

    And crossed out the balls and gecko off his list.

    And waited.

    And crossed out the biggest fluffiest stuffed bear there ever was and
    one of the tunas.

    And waited.

    Until he fell asleep. Truth is, Toby slept a lot.

    He woke up to hear the sound of jingle bells fading away outside the
    window. (Mrs. Claus must have sewn them back on.)

    He raced to the tree to see Snowball snuggled blissfully on her new
    princess cushion with satin bows and jingly bunnies and savory treats prettily arranged in a precious pink bowl.

    But nothing for Toby.

    Then as he turned away, he saw someone had nibbled the treats he’d left by the now empty glass of milk and crumbs (formerly known as cookies).

    And he saw cans and cans of tuna beside his dish. And balls. And the
    biggest fluffiest stuffed bear there ever was.

    Plus a thank you from the reindeer!

    Maybe Santa will bring the gecko next year, he thought as he cuddled
    with his bear for a snooze…

    and the gecko, hiding under a bow, sneaked away.

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  3. What a cute story, Nancy! I can just see that mischievous Toby up to all his tricks... but still good at heart :) I hope the gecko found a good hiding place though! :) Happy Holidays and thanks so much for joining in the fun!

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  4. I fixed it, no worries :) Can't wait to read your story!!! :)

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  5. Fun story, Susanna! I love the line: "I don't like to mix my holidays." Funny!

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  6. What a sweet kitty under all that mischief. Fun story, Nancy!

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  7. Honestly, Susanna, that is one awesome story and I don't k ow that anyone can write a better one! My link is not live yet...I autoset it for 8am (so I have 20 minutes to try and write a better one...LOL!).

    Can't wait to read the other entries!

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  8. I'm glad Toby got a little something for leaving Santa some treats! :)

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  9. Susanna, that was an awesome story and I think that you truly do not give yourself enough credit! I have enjoyed reading all of the entries so far, there are sure a lot of talented people who have entered- yikes! Thanks again for running this contest!

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  10. I'm anxiously waiting for your story! :) xo

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  11. What a great story, Nancy! So glad that Toby got his treat! :)

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  12. Ha! Santa wouldn't look nearly as jolly (or have room for nearly as many cookies) if he was still stuck wearing a tuxedo! His fat jolly self belongs in red velvet!

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  13. One Squirrelly Christmas by Mandy C. Yates

    Shirley, Pearly and Mort lived in the rafters of Santa’s
    Workshop with dozens of brothers and sisters.



    They spent their nights doing what flying squirrels do:



    gliding,

    gnawing,

    making mountains of mischief, but…



    that wasn’t enough. They longed to take part in Christmas.





    After all, they lived in the most magical place in the
    world.





    “Whoa! Look at all those toys.”

    “Oooooh! Christmas lights. Sparkly!”

    “Mmmm! Check out those chocolate-covered chestnuts.”



    Uh Oh. Did someone say….nuts?!?



    “Shoo! Skedaddle! Out, you mischievous mayhem makers!
    There’s nothing squirrely about Christmas,” cried Mrs. Claus.



    They didn’t try to be mischievous. They couldn’t help it, especially
    if someone said N-U-T-S.



    They’d need to think up one squirrelly plan if they were
    going to be part of Christmas.



    Shirley glided.

    Pearly gnawed.

    Mort said, “Ooooh…tinsel. Shiny.”



    “That’s it Mort! We’ll decorate the trees.”



    They draped strings of popcorn,

    wrapped yards of cranberries,

    and hung ornaments of stars, globes, and—



    “Hey! Look at these nut-crackers,”
    squealed Shirley.



    Uh Oh. Did someone say…nut?



    “Shoo! Skedaddle! Out you mischievous mayhem makers!

    There’s nothing squirrelly about Christmas,” said the Elves.





    They tried thinking of an even squirrelier plan.



    Shirley coasted from the eves.

    Pearly chowed down.

    Mort said, “Oooooh, toys...twinkly!”



    “That’s it Mort! We’ll help make toys.”



    The squirrels

    screwed in all the screws,

    bolted all the bolts,

    and squirreled away all the nuts…



    Wait! What?!? Did someone say….



    Yep. And all the
    toys plunked apart!



    “Shoo! Skedaddle! Out you mischievous mayhem makers! And
    don’t ever try to help out again!” yelled Santa.



    That night,

    they didn’t glide.

    They didn’t gnaw.

    They just huddled together

    and sulked.



    “Maybe Christmas isn’t so squirrelly.”



    As they dreamt of pecan-NUT-clusters…



    the reindeer snuck into the kitchen.



    Everyone knows that reindeer are ravenous for raw foods.

    Raw carrots,

    Raw cabbage,

    And especially raw…







    cookie dough!



    *****



    “Aww nuts! I can’t deliver presents with a slew of sick
    reindeer.”





    From the rafters, the squirrels appeared.

    “Did someone say…Nuts?”



    That night dozens of flying squirrels hitched up to Santa’s
    sleigh.



    It turned out to be one squirrelly Christmas after all.





    “Ooooh, sleigh bells! Jingly!”

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  14. I'm going down the list, looking for yours! <3

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  15. That was my favorite, too!

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  16. I'm anxiously waiting for your story! :)

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  17. Hee, hee. Aren't you sick of it by now? xo

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  18. Heh! Those NUTty flying squirrels! At least rhey were finally helpful!

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  19. Yay for a squirrelly Christmas! Adorable!

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  20. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 9, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Great story! I have an awesome idea that I love. Just need to finish writing it. Good thing we have a 2-hour-school-delay! :)

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  21. Susanna...this is going to be such fun! You've set the tone with yours...hilarious...and now I'm going to get on the scale...I THOUGHT those pants I tried on yesterday felt a little tight.:)


    I join the others in thanking you for putting these fantastic contests together...the prizes are incredible, as is the talent displayed in each entry. Going down the list now, while it's still early and there aren't too many there yet.:) Then I'll just have to read them as they are posted.

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  22. I love your story, Susanna! It's so funny, and now we know how Santa got his red suit. It's adorable! :-) I'm so glad the Holiday Contest has arrived. I've been looking forward to the fun. Can't wait to read everyone's entries.

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  23. Vivian, LOL! I always want to do that too: start reading while there are few entries so it's not so overwhelming. I don't know how Susanna does it!

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  24. And I can't wait to read yours, Cheryl!

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  25. Thank you, Teresa! Did you enter a story? I still need to make my way through the list. :-)

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  26. The Great Christmas Morning Mix-Up
    By: Kristen Foote


    ‘Twas the morning of Christmas. Fresh snow sparkled bright.
    Eager eyes, young and old, woke with hope and delight.
    For THIS was the day it would all become clear!
    Had their patience and kindness been noticed this year?

    Old sweet gray-haired Granny, who lived down the street,
    had asked for fur slippers to warm up her feet.
    Wrapped under her tree was an iPod, instead.
    “What’s this thing-a-ma-jig? Does it need to be fed?”

    Confused, little Claire, sadly stared with a frown.
    Men’s large tighty-whities? She wrote down a crown!
    Max wished for a toy, not a stick carved from wood -

    his whisper to Santa was misunderstood!


    Poor four-year-old Nate wanted alphabet blocks.
    He cried when he opened up argyle socks.
    And old man McGee had requested a cane.
    But how could he walk with a jet-propelled plane?

    The neighbors all gathered outside in the square.
    “Santa messed up!” “Does he no longer care?”
    “Did he drink too much nog?” “Get confused in the fog?”
    “Did his hand-written list become lunch for his dog?”

    As they chittered and chattered, up hobbled McGee,
    a plane in his hand, and a wobbly knee.
    Max noticed a use for that stick in his hand.
    He traded McGee, who could now proudly stand.

    The rest of the town followed Max’s kind lead.
    They searched with their gifts to find someone in need.
    With an uproar of giggles, the Mayor said, “Claire!
    I’ll give you my crown for the underwear pair!”

    Then lastly, the iPod. Teens gathered around.
    To Granny’s surprise, the small square produced sound!
    As they patiently taught her to download a song,
    she played Christmas classics. They all sang along.

    The families set out their warm suppers to share.
    No person left hungry, all plates were licked bare.
    They toasted their glasses with “CLINKS” and with “CLANKS”.
    They feasted, shared laughter, and offered up thanks.

    Perhaps ol’ Saint Nick was no senile man.
    Maybe this mix-up was really his plan.
    For THIS Christmas season was not for receiving,
    but gathering, giving, and mostly, believing.

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  27. There are already some fantastic stories. I just don't know if I'll enter mine. It was fun to write but cannot hold the mustard, Sus. I'm so proud of all these writers though. Hugs pal! (What great prizes.)

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  28. I'm in -- but will have to come back to read the entries. Thank you again for this wonderful contest, Susanna, and the AMAZING prizes.

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  29. Oh, DO enter yours, Robyn! I want to read it. :) <3

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  30. Santa's Stocking

    Nani couldn't sleep. It was her first "real" Christmas, and she was excited! Back home in India, she would sit by her window every Christmas Eve. "Silent Night, Holy Night ..." she would hum along with the street carol singers, and feel her heart turn into a white dove. But this year was different. She was celebrating Christmas with her daughter and little granddaughter Mira in America.

    Nani tiptoed down the stairs. Mira had told her that Santa would bring presents for her while they were asleep. It sounded so magical-but could it be true? She walked over to the Christmas tree and switched on the light. There they were-presents of all shapes and sizes, wrapped beautifully in red! Nani's eyes widened. Then, she saw an oversized stocking hanging on a chair. "Oh no!" she thought, "Santa has forgotten his stocking! He's sure to come looking for it once Christmas is over." Nani knew exactly what to do. She put the stocking to wash. Then, feeling happy, she went to bed.

    The next morning, as soon as Nani walked into the kitchen, Mira's mom asked her, "Ma, have you seen the Christmas stocking?" "You mean Santa's stocking? I put it in the washer, and it must be all clean now", Nani said with a wide smile.

    "Oh no!" Mira's mom began. Just then, Mira came skipping in. "Good Morning Ma! Good Morning Nani! Can we open the presents please?" She chirped. Mira giggled as she opened each present-there was a pink piano, a set of Fancy Nancy books, a whistling train and many more delights. Santa had even left a pair of cozy slippers for Nani! Then Mira picked up the stocking from the chair and pulled out a little reindeer. "Rudolph Can Sing!", the label on it said. "Maybe he doesn't really sing", said her mom with a worried look. Mira pressed the reindeer's tummy, and it chimed:

    "Rudolph the singing reindeer
    Is all nice and squeaky clean!"

    Mira squealed with delight. "The magic of Christmas!" thought Nani, as she caught her daughter smiling.

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  31. Great! Thanks, Teresa. :-)

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  32. Thanks Elaine. :)

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  33. Susanna- I managed to post this after I mailed it to you. So please don't bother about posting it here! As you can see, this delightful contest and all the entries here have got me a little too excited:)

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  34. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Such an adorable story! Love it.

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  35. What a wondrous first Christmas in America! :) And LOL at the Singing Rudolf!

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  36. Always Ready OR Not
    Teresa M.I. Schaefer

    Dropping the quilt from his lap, the old man stretched a big stretch. He pulled on his beard as he looked about the room.

    "Momma, where are my red flannel pants?"

    "In the trunk at the end of your bed, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    One hand grasping the top of his pants, he scratched his forehead with the other.

    "Momma, where's my big black belt to hold up my red flannel pants?"

    "On the hook behind the door, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    Cinching the belt beneath his round tummy he noticed his stocking-ed feet.

    "Momma, where are my big black boots?"

    "Near the fire getting warm, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    "Momma, where is my red wool jacket with white fuzzy trim?"

    "Hanging on the back of your rocker, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    Drawing his hands through the downy whiteness of his hair he asked, "Momma, where is my red triangle hat with the big pompom tassel?"

    "On the hat rack, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    "Momma."

    "Yes, dear?"

    "Where are my black woolen mittens?"

    "Where you left them, dear."

    "Where?"

    "By the front door, dear."

    "Thanks, Momma."

    "Are you forgetting something, dear?"

    "No, Momma."

    "Are you sure?"

    "Yes, Momma Claus. Santa is always ready."

    "Red flannel pants that fit snug with my belt. Black woolen mittens soft as felt. A cap for my head, boots for my feet -- warmed by the fire a nice winter treat. My red wool jacket with..."

    "Santa, are you sure you aren't forgetting something?"

    "Eight reindeer fastened to a sled full of toys. Packages wrapped for good girls and boys. A list that is long, a moon that is bright, a Ho Ho that's merry on Christmas Eve night."

    "Santa."

    "Yes, Momma?"

    "It's not Christmas Eve."

    "Not Christmas Eve?"

    "No, dear."

    "No?"

    "No."

    "Ohhh. Unleash the reindeer. Unload the sled. It's time that dear Santa go back to bed. No mittens, no hat, no boots need I wear. Hang my belt, my pants, my coat on the chair. Momma."

    "Yes, dear?"

    "When IS Christmas Eve?"

    "Tomorrow."

    "How Merry! Goodnight, Mrs. Claus."

    "Goodnight, Santa. Happy Eve before Christmas Eve. Sweet Dreams."

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  37. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Oh, no. Sorry, Susanna. I tried to correct my link (to post specific rather than general page link) and it ended up twice. So sorry. :(

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  38. Thanks Teresa:)

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  39. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    So cute! Such a nice twist.

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  40. Susanna, I'm getting a WordPress error when I click on #6. Is it just me? Thanks!

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  41. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Love it!

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  42. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    What a special story. I love the message.

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  43. Great origin story, Susanna! But Chief Elton is not my first pick for the the deserted island team!

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  44. You must enter Robyn!

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  45. I wasn't able to comment this morning, but now yowza look at all these comments and entries in the comments! I need to return to read all of these, but wanted to say I liked the origin story for the suit - much better than a tuxedo.

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  46. Awe. Thanks Cindy. :)

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  47. ENTRY POSTED FOR SUZY

    REINDEER IN THE EGGNOG
    By
    Suzy Levinson

    Reindeer do love eggnog; in fact would you believe
    That they fell into the eggnog, one crazy Christmas Eve?

    Dasher swung by Santa's for the magical sleigh ride,
    When he saw a vat of eggnog, took a sip, and fell inside.

    Dancer heard him splashing in eggnog to his chin.
    "I'll help," he told his brother, but then he plopped right in.

    Two were in the eggnog, and soon there'd be a third.
    Prancer's tummy grumbled so he, too, joined the herd.

    Vixen had been trying to diet and eat light.
    'Tis unclear why she decided to hop in the vat that night.

    Who was on his cell phone, reading Santa's blog?
    Before old Comet knew it, he was also treading nog.

    Five reindeer in the eggnog, yet there was room for more.
    Cupid wanted eggnog; what else was Christmas for?

    Donner was enchanted by the yummy-looking glop.
    "Geronimo!" he cried with a big fat belly flop.

    Blitzen felt so lonesome, until he saw the vat.
    He jumped into the eggnog (you probably guessed that).

    "I'm missing eight whole reindeer," said Santa with dismay.
    "Don't they know at Christmastime they hitch up to my sleigh?"

    "WE FELL INTO THE EGGNOG," he heard his reindeer shout.
    "Getting in was not a problem, but now we can't get out!"

    Santa was quite tickled, laughing, "Ho, ho, ho!
    There's actually an hour left before we have to go."

    So...he leapt into the eggnog, grinning ear to ear!
    It was the greatest party that the North Pole had that year.

    Merry
    Christmas!

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  48. That sounds like some kind of party, Suzy! Very fun! And very original and clever idea! :) I think my favorite parts were "treading nog" and when Santa jumps in with them :) Thanks so much for joining the Holiday fun... with, I guess, extra holiday cheer! :)

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  49. Thanks, Iza, even though I know you're just being nice! :)



























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  50. You're so funny, Teresa! :) I can't wait to read yours! Of course, wouldn't you know that today, when I've got tons to do, my internet connection is barely functioning! So I'll be along eventually! :)

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  51. You're too kind, Elaine! But I'm glad you're enjoying reading the stories! That is my favorite part - getting to read all the wonderful, creative stories that everyone comes up with! It's so much fun :) I will have my eye out for YOURS!!! :)

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  52. Thanks, Susanna, and cheers!!!

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  53. I agree completely, Nancy! :) Looking forward to reading your story!




























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  54. Oh, well done, Mandy! That was very clever an fun! I LOVE the repetition of "did someone say nuts?" with the various different meanings, and I'm so glad Shirley, Pearly and Mort found a way to be part of Christmas! Wonderful job! Thank you so much for joining in the Holiday fun! :)

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  55. What a wonderful story, Kristen! Original and fun (and funny! :)) and with such a lovely message! Great job! Thanks so much for joining in the Holiday fun! :)

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  56. What a great story! Lots of good wished for you!

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  57. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Such a cute story! Very visual, as well. Great job.

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  58. Awe! Great job. And so cute. :) I love the granny part. :)

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  59. Awe. Thanks Susanna! It was fun and quite the challenge. Thanks for hosting this contest.

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  60. Very cute Suzy!

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  61. Appreciate that, Cindy, thanks!

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  62. Sounds like they all got drunk on eggnog...LOL!...which is what I kind of want to do right about now. ;)

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  63. I really do have a cat named Toby who is a big troublemaker, but he always gets his treats and his kisses, too.

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  64. Hahaha! It sounds like me and hubby, except we're not that old yet. ;)

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  65. Thanks, Teresa! I think Santa appreciated that some-cat was thinking of his reindeer, too!

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  66. Thanks, Iza! I feel as if it's quasi-non-fiction. I really do have a super good Snowball and a super naughty Toby who don't know quite what to make of each other (but I love them both).

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  67. Thanks, Susanna! My real Toby (I didn't even change his name) is all that and more, but with a good heart, I'm glad that came through! I didn't want anyone to think that Santa forgot that gecko on his list, but I don't think Santa wanted him eaten either. So envision my sleeping Toby opening one lazy eye to see the gecko dart away, knowing he won't catch him (and is too tired and content to go running after him), but also knowing Santa didn't forget.

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  68. My entry...Santa is Stuck

    It was late on Christmas Eve.

    It had snowed for days and I lay in bed wishing for sleep so Santa would come when all of a sudden…

    Knock, Knock, Knock, Knockknockknockknock!

    My sister and I bolted from bed and opened the door to peek into the hallway.

    Mom and Dad were already there. The baby was crying.

    “Wait here," said Mom as she followed Dad downstairs.

    As we huddled at the top of the stairs, the heard front door open and we felt a rush of frigid air.

    “Ho! Ho! Ho!” someone boomed.

    We scrambled downstairs.

    The door was open, snowflakes swirled into hall and Mom and Dad stood still as statues, mouths agape.

    Santa Claus was in our doorway.

    “Mom!” I said. “Invite him in! It’s freezing!”

    Wordlessly, Mom and Dad stepped back. The big man entered.

    “Hello Kate! Hello Lila!" said Santa as he winked.

    “Mary, Bob,” said Santa to my parents. “Will you help me?”

    They nodded, but they didn't speak.

    “My sleigh is stuck,” said Santa “and the reindeer are hungry. We need to gather all the carrots we can then push the sleigh free.”

    Mom and Dad were still nodding, and that just wouldn’t do.

    “Lila,” I said. “Get dressed, get the toboggan and meet us in driveway.”

    I donned my coat, hat and boots.

    “Let’s go Santa,”I said, grabbing the carrots from the refrigerator.

    We met Lila and went next door to the Holland’s’ house.

    “Chris,” I said as my friend opened the door. “Santa needs help. Wake Andrew and Colleen. You take this side of the street, we’ll take the other. Get all the carrots and kids you can and meet us by Santa’s sleigh.”

    Soon, kids with carrots tumbled out every door. Santa greeted each by name.


    By the time we reached the sleigh, the toboggan was piled high with carrots. We fed the reindeer, then Santa climbed into his sleigh.

    We got behind the sleigh and on the count of three, every neighborhood kid pushed until the sleigh rose into the sky.

    We jumped and cheered and then heard Santa’s unmistakable voice:

    “Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!”

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  69. It stinks!! Compared to all the magnificent writers like you and Stacy. And everyone. I tried to make it work. But waaahaaaaa!

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  70. If anyone needs the correct link for #6:

    http://patricianozell.com/2013/12/09/spot-the-angel/

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  71. Yikes! I pasted the wrong version! Ignore this...new version to be posted in two seconds!

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  72. Right Version: Santa is Stuck.


    It was late on Christmas Eve. 

It had snowed for days. I lay in bed wishing for sleep so Santa would come when all of a sudden…

    Knock, Knock, Knock, Knockknockknockknock!



    My sister and I bolted from bed. We opened the door to peek into the hallway.

    Mom and Dad were already there. Wait here," said Mom as she followed Dad downstairs.

    As we huddled at the top of the stairs, we heard the door open and felt a rush of frigid air.

    “Ho! Ho! Ho!” someone boomed.

    We scrambled downstairs.

    The door was open, snowflakes swirled in and Mom and Dad stood still as statues, mouths agape.

    Santa Claus was in our doorway. “Mom!” I said, “Invite him in! It’s freezing!”

    Wordlessly, Mom and Dad stepped back. The big man entered.

    “Hello Kate! Hello Lila!" said Santa with a wink. 

“Mary, Bob,” said Santa to my parents, “Will you help me?”

    They nodded. “My sleigh is stuck,” said Santa “and the reindeer are hungry. We need to gather all the carrots we can and push the sleigh free.”

    Mom and Dad just nodded. That wouldn’t do.

    “Lila,” I said. “Get dressed, get the toboggan and meet us in driveway.”

    I donned my coat, hat and boots.

    “Let’s go Santa,” I said, grabbing the carrots from the refrigerator.

    We met Lila and went next door to the Holland’s’ house.

    “Chris,” I said as my friend opened the door. “Santa needs help. Wake Andrew and Colleen. You take this side of the street, we’ll take the other. Get all the carrots and kids you can and meet us by Santa’s sleigh.”

    Soon, kids with carrots tumbled out every door. Santa greeted each by name.

    By the time we reached the sleigh, the toboggan was piled high with carrots. We fed the reindeer and then Santa climbed into his sleigh.

    We got behind the sleigh and on the count of three, every neighborhood kid pushed until the sleigh rose into the sky.

    We jumped and cheered then listened as Santa shouted:

    “Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!”

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  73. Wow Susanna, the word limit certainly didn't appear to cramp your style - what a great story!

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  74. Thanks, Susanna! Mine is up! Santa Has to Ho, Ho, GO! I love reading all the entries. Such talent! Good luck!

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  75. Well, my very first contest entry and first ever attempt at writing something in so few words (except for poems). Thank you for the challenge Susanna!

    “Popcorn For Santa On Christmas Eve” – Kimberly Tyser

    It was two days before Christmas Eve and Santa’s Top Elves
    had a problem!

    “Jolly, we haven’t much time,” said Jack. “Mrs. Clause said Santa is eating too many sweets and she’s put her foot down. Santa
    is NOT allowed any cookies on Christmas Eve. Popcorn only! We must get the word out, quickly.”

    “How?” asked Jolly.

    “I have a Plan,” said Jack. “Santa’s sleigh travels in the twinkling of an eye. That’s Fast! We’ll sneak the sleigh and reindeer to take us to all Santa’s helpers. We’ll have them get the word out to all the children to only leave popcorn for Santa on Christmas Eve. Let’s go!”

    “But Jack,” said Jolly. “Dasher, Comet, Blitzen and Prancer still have the sniffles.”

    “It’s okay,” said Jack. “The sleigh won’t be as heavy with just us. Four reindeer will be enough.

    “Uh Jack, “ said Jolly. “We’re too little to drive the sleigh. We can’t see over the reindeer.”

    “No problem,” said Jack. “The reindeer will guide us. Now
    buckle up. Dancer, Cupid, Donner and Vixen, lets go!”

    The reindeer didn’t move.

    “Jack,” said Jolly. “I think Santa . . .”

    “Oh yeah,” Jack interrupted. “Up, up and away!”

    The sleigh Jerked! Crunch, Crunch, the reindeer pranced through the snow.

    “Jaack” said Jolly. “Aren’t we supposed to lift up in the air?”

    “Up, up and away!” Jack yelled.

    The reindeer kept prancing and prancing.

    “Uh Jack,” said Jolly.

    “Now what?” said Jack.

    “I think we need the magical reindeer dust,” said Jolly. “Only Santa has that.”

    “Come on,” sighed Jack. “We’ll have to tell Mrs. Clause the plan failed. Hope she doesn’t fire us.”

    “Well,” said Mrs. Clause sternly. “Good thing Santa didn’t find out. No one drives Santa’s sleigh but Santa!”

    “We’re sorry,” said Jack.

    Then Mrs. Clause smiled. “Don’t worry boys,” she said. I took care of it. Santa will be munching on popcorn this Christmas
    Eve.”

    “But how?” asked Jack.

    “It was quite easy,” said Mrs. Clause. “I used email. Would you like me to show you how it works?”

    “Jack,” whispered Jolly.

    “Don’t say it,” moaned Jack.

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  76. Really cute and love stories with a twist!

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  77. Really cute, fun story. Very Good and I liked it a lot!

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  78. "Mom, invite him in it's freezing!" Loved that! I hope this was the version you meant - sweet story :-)

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  79. Well not an eggnog drinker here but wondering if Santa had a little himself per his reaction ;-) Really clever story - liked it a lot!

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  80. That is a really cute, sweet story - Loved it!

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  81. Wow, what a beautiful story! I loved reading it :-)

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  82. This is the right one Kim. :)

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  83. Thank you for the encouraging words, Kim!

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  84. Aww... Thanks Julie:)

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  85. Thank you so much Cindy!

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  86. Such a cute and cleverly written story!

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  87. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    So cute!

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  88. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    So cute! I can see the illustrations. :)

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  89. Jolene, I couldn't figure out how to comment on your blog. So sorry. But I wanted to tell you that I loved your sweet story, Day of the Kings. Such a wonderful Christmas message.

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  90. Thanks Cindy!

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  91. Susanna yours is awesomesauce! :0)

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  92. The Clauses have technology! Love it! And my family is a big fan of popcorn so we cheer Mrs Claus making Santa eat that. ;)

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  93. Fabulous idea having the kids solve the problem and do it all themselves! Terrific tale!

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  94. I refuse to believe it stinks, Robyn dear! You still have four days to post one! :)

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  95. What a great story idea- very creative!

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  96. Believe me, I'm glad that you're the judge and not entering the contest because your story is THAT good! :)

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  97. woo-hoo is right! fun fun fun, all linked up and ready to roll...thanks for this fun holiday treat!

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  98. It was wonderful! What a great story!

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  99. Great, funny story, Susanna! I'm off to read the entries! Good luck all! :0)

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  100. A story brimming with the holiday spirit...or should I say spirits?:) A happy, fun story.

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  101. Such a lovely story- made me laugh:)

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  102. Thank you for the kind words Elaine!

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  103. Thank you Teresa!!

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  104. Thank you Susanna for hosting such a fun contest! It makes it so much easier to get the creative juices going when there is a goal in mind and a subject!! It's been fun!

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  105. Thanks Cindy!

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  106. haha, thanks! (by the way, am I the only one who drinks my eggnog booze-less around here?) :)

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  107. A moving story with a beautiful message.

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  108. So gael you think so, Kristen! Plus, I'd think the possibility of an awesome prize wouldn't hurt either :)

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  109. The Adventures of Jonathan James

    (SPECIAL GIFT)



    This is a story about Jonathan James,

    A ten- year old boy with two first names.

    He was watching the snowfall to the ground,

    With the Christmas spirit all around.



    Sitting in church with family and friends,

    Impatiently waiting for the sermon to end.

    Thinking about the wrapped presents under the tree,

    He wanted to get home in a big hurry.



    While kneeling and praying on the floor,

    A family of four walked through the door.

    Their clothes were ragged and shoes were torn,

    But they weren’t ashamed of what they had worn.



    The Minister told the story when Jesus was born,

    In the manger on that cold winter morn.

    Mary and Joseph didn’t have much of anything,

    Three Wise Men came, with precious gifts to bring.



    As he was listening closely to the story,

    Jonathan James stood up in a hurry.

    He walked to the back pew, quiet as a mouse,

    Inviting the family to celebrate at his house.



    Sitting around the Christmas tree drinking eggnog,

    In the fireplace, Jonathan’s dad placed another log.

    The children’s eyes sparkled with pure delight,

    Looking at all the decorations and colorful lights.



    Jonathan James received so many gifts,

    Now he had someone to share them with.

    He gave each kid a gift from under the tree,

    Which they both opened so very happily.



    Written by:

    Ryan J. Cunningham

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  110. Thanks Theresa!

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  111. Santa’s Stuck on the Toilet!
    By Alissa Wilson

    That night before Christmas was as silent as a rock-not a peep, not a word, not even a tick-tock. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Santa’s voice was beckoning the reindeer. The whispers were soft, but were oh so clear; Santa said “Helloooo! Anyone there? I’m stuck on the toilet; can anyone help me down here?”

    It had been a long sleigh ride. One too many cookies, some could say. Santa had to go to the bathroom and could not wait until the next day!

    After unloading the presents, he happened to see, the bathroom was close to the fireplace- the perfect opportunity!

    He rushed in there so quick, without taking a good look-Uh oh, there was no toilet paper, no tissues, not even a towel on a hook!

    He quietly called up to Dasher, Vixen or anyone that was there,
    “Hello, I’m stuck on the toilet, can anyone help me down here?”

    After some muffled laughter and chuckles, the reindeer made a
    plan, “We will go one by one down the chimney and hold on as hard as we can.”

    They arrived fairly quickly but there was a little glitch, they couldn’t reach the bathroom so gave the roll of toilet paper a pitch.

    Upon doing so, they heard the dog, Fido, who loved to play fetch, scurrying down the hall, to which the roll of toilet paper, he did catch!

    Then the toilet paper dropped and slowly became undone, so the cat FiFi thought it was her turn to have some fun!

    Her paws, one by one, pushed the tube down the hall, until Santa could reach out and grab it once and for all!

    Whewww. Santa sighed. I am glad we got through that okay! But, as he began to leave he saw some more cookies and milk sitting on a tray.

    Ahh…These will be for my helpers Fifi and Fido. This might help
    keep what happened tonight a “secret”, so no one will ever know!

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  112. Fun story, Susanna! I liked hearing the backstory on Santa's red suit. :-) I've had fun reading the posted stories this afternoon, and of course as I've been reading another 4 stories have been posted! How can you keep up?? I'm hoping to post mine mid-week, and will come back for more holiday goodness.

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  113. Thanks Lakshmy!

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  114. Poor Santa...what indignity! LOL! Fun story. :)

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  115. Love it! Great job, Kim!

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  116. Thank you Mandy! No holiday story is complete without a granny - lol :)

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  117. Thank you Kim. I appreciate it!

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  118. I am so happy you appreciate the story Lakshmy!! Thank you for your comment!

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  119. Come on, Robyn! Do it, do it! (Cheering you on, my friend!) xo

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  120. Such a beautiful story! Congrats to you!

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  121. Thank you for reading my entry Elaine!

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  122. Thanks, Erik! I'm glad you like it. I thought yours was already done? But I'm glad you have a 2 hour delay :)

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  123. A little gold at the end of the rainbow never hurt anyone - lol :)

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  124. Thank you for being nice about my sample, Vivian :) And you're so welcome! I love running these contests and getting to see everyone's brilliance at work! Now, if only my internet would cooperate!!!

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  125. Thanks for being nice about my story, Cheryl :) I can't wait to read yours! And I'm glad you're excited - I think the contests are so much fun! :)

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  126. Usually Susanna starts right in and keeps up with the entries as they're posted. This time the internet is not cooperating at all and her mom isn't well so her time is compromised, so she will be playing catch up along with everyone else!

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  127. You're very welcome, Patricia! But it's really not just me - it's all you lovely writers who take the time to craft such wonderful stories for all of us to enjoy, and to visit each other and encourage and compliment and generally make the whole experience fun! I look forward to reading your story!

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  128. Oh pshaw Robyn! Whether you're cutting the mustard or holding a candle, your entry will be right up there with everyone else's! Post it at once or I will weep with disappointment! :)

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  129. Yay! Can't wait to read your story, Beth! I'm way behind on reading - my internet is USELESS today! But I'll get there! (And you're very welcome - I love to do it, and thank YOU for entering and reading and commenting and being part of all the fun!)



























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  130. What a sweet story with a lovely surprise ending, Lakshmy! I love your description of Nani's Christmases in India, humming along to the carols with her heart like a dove! And what a funny, innocent mistake and nice ending! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)

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  131. I saw that, Lakshmy, and I'm glad you're excited! I am too - the contests are always such fun! :)

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  132. Wonderful Teresa! You made me laugh! What a terrific idea, and so nicely written! I love the rhyme bits cleverly woven in! Great job! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)

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  133. Son't worry at all, Cindy! I shall fix it :) Looking forward to reading your story!

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  134. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 9, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I spent all of my time on that little thing I posted on the MPBM FB Page, that I didn't get my story edited. I jut got done editing my draft that is exactly 350 (how many people get that exactly?). I think I may post it Friday the 13th! :D

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  135. What a delightful, original story, Michele! I love the idea of needing carrots to fuel the reindeer to get the sleigh unstuck! Great idea! And I love that it took the kids to make anything happen - not the dumbstruck adults :) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)



























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  136. Thank you Susanna! Really appreciate your comments. This is my first complete children's story ever, and that should tell you how inspiring your contest is:) And yes, a lot of fun too!

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  137. Nonsense! You always say that and your stories are always good! Now post it! :)

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  138. Thanks, Susanna! It's working now. :-)

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  139. Thank you so much, Nancy! I think I've fixed the link now so hopefully it's working!



























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  140. Kirsten that was a great story! I was very curious as to what Blitzen could do. Loved it :-)

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  141. ACK! Well, I'll keep an eye out! I don't which one I commented on. If we can sort it out, maybe we should delete the wrong one!



























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  142. Based on the entries, Santa seems to be having bathroom troubles this year ;-) I agree, FUN story!

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  143. What a beautiful, Special story Ryan!

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  144. Thank you, Kim! (although I suspect you're just being nice :))





























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  145. I know - I'm sorry I haven't gotten there yet! My internet is a disaster today - probably because of all the ice - and I've been taking care of my parents so not here to read. But I'll get there... eventually :)

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  146. Get Susanna! Thanks for the kind words! This version is the WRONG version so if you can delete - go ahead!

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  147. Excellent job, Kim! Very cute and funny! :) And Jack and Jolly are so delightfully child-like in their interchanges! I love how one problem after another doesn't stop the optimistic Jack, and how Jolly is the practical one :)... except that Mrs. Claus turns out to be the most practical of all :) I'm so glad you decided to debut your contest writing skills! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)



























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  148. Just remember, I warned you, Sus. I just could not pull something great together. *sob*

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  149. And I'm always right! Please tell family.) ;-)

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  150. Oh pshaw Catherine :) You're just being nice! But thank you :)




























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  151. Ha! So true, Kim! Great story, Alissa! Good luck to you!

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  152. Me either, Rob - it's been that kind of week. But we show up and do our best, right? :)

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  153. Great story, Kim! I love a story with an optimistic protagonist! Good luck to you! :)

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  154. Ah, but now you've written two awesome things instead of just one :) And I don't know - I bet a lot of us end up on 350 because we're desperately cutting a word at a time to get down to it... and if we accidentally go below we add words back :) And posting on Friday the 13th could be fun :)

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  155. What a clever, fun story Kirsten! Now I'm dying to know if that's real about the names or you just made it up! Either way, great idea! Thanks so much for joining the holiday fun with such an entertaining story!

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  156. It's really mostly the donors who are generous, Tracy! They're all very kind! And I'm thrilled that you're tweaking :)



























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  157. Glad you like it, Donna! I can't wait to read yours :)

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  158. You're welcome, Sharon! :) I'm way behind because of my stupid internet, but I hope there's a story from you in that link list!!! :)

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  159. Are you trying to butter me up? Flattery will get you everywhere :)

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  160. And...we're off! Looking forward to reading about everybody's mishaps once I get a moment.
    Love the Santa in a tux, Susanna. Kept thinking of a 007 Santa: Name's Nick. SAINT Nick.

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  161. Aw! What a lovely story, Ryan! Celebrating the true spirit of Christmas! I'm glad Jonathan James was able to see what was important, and that the struggling family got something special for Christmas. Thank you so much for joining in the holiday fun!

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  162. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Cute story Kirsten! Nice job.

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  163. So very clever! Kept me guessing until the end...terrific story!

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  164. Thank you for such a great comment and for reading my entry Kirsten !! :)

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  165. Vila, I couldn't comment on your blog, so I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your entry, A Merry Mixed-up Table. What a fun and sweet story. Great job!

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  166. Adorable! Great story and great rhyming! I loved it!

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  167. Thank you Susanna! As my one and only PB writing teacher that means a LOT to me :-) I'm glad you had this contest and that I was able to give it a try.

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  168. Oh gosh! That's a whole 'nother story! You'd better write that one! :) My internet has been out most of the day because of the ice, so I'm way behind in reading the stories so very much looking forward to catching up tomorrow!

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  169. Thank you so much Elaine!

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  170. Lots of sick reindeer and lots of bathroom "issues". Hilarious - I love it!! :)

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  171. Thank you very much Lakshmy - this was definitely a challenge :-)

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  172. Thanks Teresa. I'm a HUGE fan of popcorn - white only and popped on the stove the ole fashioned way ;-)

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  173. Thanks so much for your kind words about my story, Carrie - I'm glad you liked it :) As for keeping up, I'm not this time! My internet has been out all day because I live on an ice-covered mountain at the moment! Hoping to catch up tomorrow! And looking forward to your entry!!!



























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  174. Santa's New Toy-Making Machine

    “We’re low on toys this year. So I ordered this toy-making machine,” announced Santa. “We’ll try it tomorrow morning.” The elves cheered.
    The North Pole mice peeked at it from their mouse hole. “We must destroy it,” said Chief.
    “Why?” asked Spotty.
    “Because machines don’t eat cookies. No cookies – no crumbs. No crumbs – we starve. But don’t worry. I have a plan.”
    That night, the mice nibbled on the machine’s wires.
    In the morning, Santa pushed the start button. The machine hummed, the conveyer belt rolled, and out popped a new toy.
    “It works!” shouted Santa. “Let’s go have breakfast.”
    “Your plan didn’t work,” said Crooked Tail as the mice watched the machine spit out toy after toy.
    When Santa returned, toys were everywhere.
    But Santa,” cried one elf, “this boat has wheels!”
    “And this car has a sail!” said another.
    “Every toy has something wrong with it.”
    “Oh, my,” said Santa. “I can’t give these away. Some children will be very disappointed.” He trudged out of the workroom.
    “Your plan worked,” said Crooked Tail.
    “But now some children will be sad,” said Spotty.
    “Maybe we can make it right,” said Chief. “I have another plan.”
    Ten minutes later Chief found Santa. He crawled up on his lap.
    “Who are you?” asked Santa.
    “I’m Chief, one of the workshop mice, and I’m here to help you.”
    “How?”
    “Right now, mice are taking wheels off boats and sails off cars. They’re fixing all the toys.”
    “Wonderful!” said Santa.
    “This was all my fault. My friends and I nibbled on your machine’s wires.”
    “Why?”
    “Because machines don’t eat cookies. Without crumbs, we starve.”
    They didn’t notice Mrs. Clause listening by the door.
    Later, Mrs. Clause peeked into the warehouse. “It’s time to go,” she said.
    “I’m ready,” said Santa.
    Mrs. Clause set plates of cookies on the floor and smiled. “I’ll make sure you’re never hungry again.”
    The mice cheered.
    Santa climbed aboard his sleigh.
    “We’ll replace the wires while you’re gone,” said Chief.
    “Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa. “Merry Christmas to all, and especially to our new little friends!”

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  175. Thanks! Actually I did not make that up. Blitzen is German for lightning. I learned that as I was trying to think of what to write for this contest, so thank you!

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  176. Oh my goodness! Poor Santa! And what a comedy of errors! Thanks for a very entertaining entry, Alissa, and for joining in the holiday fun! :)

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  177. That is very cool! I love learning new things :)

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  178. I posted. Only because you guys said to. :(

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  179. Yay! I'm going to have to read it in the morning though - my eyes are crossing! :)

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  180. Cindy Williams SchraubenDecember 9, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Cute story! Love the mice. :)

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  181. What a cute story, Karen! I love that Chief's mind works just like a kid's - reasoning things in a way that makes perfect sense to him but is innocently misguided :) I'm glad Mrs. Claus made some cookies just for them :) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)

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  182. Great story Mandy - so fun and clever! Love those nutty squirrels! :)

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  183. VERY unique and cute story Karen. I liked it very much!

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