December 8, 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 4th Annual Holiday Contest Is Here!

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

The 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

The Contest:  Write a children's story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) in which wild weather impacts the holidays!  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 (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!  Title not included in word count.)  Any kind of weather will do: sun, rain, sleet, heatwave, blizzard, tsunami, monsoon, hurricane, hail, tornado, etc!  Weather may be atypical for your setting (rain in Maine, frost in Florida), it may be extreme (blizzard instead of regular snow, drought instead of lush greenery), or it may be unheard of (spring flowers in Antarctica, snow in the Sahara, bathing suit weather at the North Pole), but whatever you choose, make us feel the impact on the holidays!  The wild weather may be a hindrance, a wish-come-true, a threat, a pleasant surprise, etc.  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The wilder and wackier the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you're competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Friday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post will remain up through Sunday December 14 (no WYRI or PPBF this week) so there will be plenty of time for everyone to post their entries and visit each other and enjoy all the other entries.  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comment section 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 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 15 or Tuesday December 16 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity of weather use in plot, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

The Prizes!:  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st - 10th place.  In addition to the incredible fame of being able to say you won (or placed in) the Pretty Much World Famous 4th Annual Holiday Contest, the following AMAZING prizes will be awarded: (items in color are links for more info!)

 - A picture book manuscript read and critique by Shari Dash Greenspan, Editor of the multi-award winning Flashlight Press!  I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter HERE!
 - A picture book manuscript read and critique by Jennifer Mattson, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
 - Enrollment in Renee LaTulippe's highly praised and recommended Lyrical Language Lab Course (in a month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and Renee) ($249 value!)
 - Enrollment in Jon Bard and Laura Backes's fantastic Kindle Kids Mastery Course ($197 value!)
 - A website or blog design or redesign by Arturo Alviar.  Arturo will design (or redesign if you already have one that needs updating or a new look) a website or blog for the winner of this prize. The site will be built on Wordpress so that after he is done designing it, the winner can manage it themselves with ease. Arturo will include a Home/Welcome page, an About Me/Bio page, a Works/Books/Gallery section, and a Contact section (4 pages total), as well as a blog section if the winner would like to have that integrated with the new site. Different organizations can also be made, for example if the winner would like a "Services" section with separate "School Visits" and "Critiques" pages, or a "Works" section divided into "Black and White" and "Color" illustration galleries. The winner can choose any of the Wordpress themes (if they choose one that isn't free, the cost of the theme will be covered by them), or have Arturo choose a theme based on their vision, and Arturo will modify it based on their color and layout preferences (some themes will have more constraints than others). Arturo can also design a personalized banner or header image to customize the website.  If you already have a website and/or blog and prefer a redesign to update, refresh, or just redecorate, Arturo is willing to work with Blogger, Wix, Drupal, and Wordpress.
 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in March or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 - A picture book manuscript critique by fabulous author Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE and the forthcoming SOPHIE'S ANIMAL PARADE.
- A picture book manuscript critique from Katy Duffield, author of more than 20 books for children including Farmer McPeepers And His Missing Milk Cows (Cooper Square Publishing 2003) and upcoming titles Loud Lula (Two Lions) illustrated by Mike Boldt and Aliens Get the Sniffles, Too (Candlewick) illustrated by K.G. Campbell.
 - A picture book manuscript critique (rhyme or prose) from Penny Parker Klostermann who, after extensive experience critiquing for writing partners, members of various kid lit groups, and clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, is opening her own critique service!!!
Penny Parker Klostermann writes picture books and poetry. Her debut book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, is coming from Random House Children’s, August 2015. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Click HERE to learn more about her critique service. 
 2015 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, a signed copy of Boy And Poi Poi Puppy by Linda Boyden, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
 - a pack of Deb Lund's amazing Fiction Magic Cards
 - another pack of Deb Lund's amazing Fiction Magic Cards

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 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.)

So let's get the Holiday Party started! :)

I want to warn you in advance that this may actually be the worst story I've ever written - embarrassing for me, but very comforting for anyone who is worried about the quality of their story - I can say with complete confidence that ANYTHING you write will be better than this sample! :)

Almost Not Christmas
(332 words)

Three days before Christmas a southerly breeze
Heated the earth to one hundred degrees!
“My goodness!” said Santa.  “This just isn’t cool!”
And he sent all his reindeer to chill in the pool.

The heat wave refused to let go of its grip
In time for his once-a-year Christmas Eve trip.
So as Santa took off for his round-the-world flight
He clucked to his team and sang into the night:
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
Let’s hope we can get all our Christmas chores done
Without melting like popsicles left in the sun!”

But HEAT didn’t trouble St. Nick as he drove.
As his journey continued, the temperature dove.
And YOU know what happens when warm and cold meet –
-- Fog tiptoes in on its little cat feet!

At dawn Christmas morning young children stopped short
When they heard this unthinkable Special Report:
“This just in! Here’s the hot-off-the-presses news scoop!
Santa is lost in that murky pea soup!”

Santa lost? When he’d battled that wild weather night
To ensure each child’s Christmas was merry and bright?
From North Pole to South, from New York to Japan
Christmas morn was abandoned to think up a plan.

In pajamas or nightgowns, in socks or bare feet,
Kids spilled from warm houses and met in the street.
“Santa comes through for us year after year.
It’s our turn to give him some Christmastime cheer!”

Puerto Toro* to Nunavuk* in a straight line
They climbed to their roofs with whatever would shine.
They lit up a beacon as bright as could be
With candles and glowsticks and lights from their tree.
An arrow of light that would gleam through the gloam
So Santa could finally find his way home.

“It’s official!” the newsfolk were happy to say.
“St. Nick made it back with his reindeer and sleigh!”
At last, filled with joy, kids began to unwrap
And Santa? He took a long afternoon nap!

*In case you're wondering, Puerto Toro, Chile is the nearest settlement to the South Pole, and Alert, Nunavuk is the nearest to the North Pole :)

I have another equally bad half-finished story in prose that I might swap out for this one at some point during the week if I just can't stand it any more :)

So now!  Is 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 make a fool of myself for you guys :)  It just proves how much I love you :)

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 the 37 fabulous entries in the comment section! Click on the names or titles to go to the story.  Please note that it takes a minute to load.  And please also note that clicking on these links will allow you to read the story and leave your own comment, but not see previous comments left on that story... I don't know why... so if you want to see all the comments left on the story, you'll have to scroll through the whole comment section.

Melissa - On Top Of Hot Cocoa
Suzannah - The Christmas Storm
Kimberly - We Knit You A Merry Christmas
Anne - Christmas Eve At Gate 25
Rosa - My Unicorns Fought The Mean Storm
Gina - A Christmas Prayer
Kristen - Maple Syrup Meltdown
Zainab - Abe's Cloud
Bronwyn - Jack Quits
Julie - Santa's Satnav
Kristen - Polar Warming
Jim - Snowflake: A Christmas Tail
Laura - Mordecai's Hanukkah Miracle
Sharon - Boomer's First White Christmas
Rachel - A Christmas Miracle
Carol - The Best Christmas
Hilary - No Sweat Santa
Amy - Rain, dear
Tracie - The Under The Weather Weatherman
Kirsten - Hurricane Coal
Anne - What Will Santa Do?
Pam - My Snowman Is Sick
Carol Ann - Wish You'd Been Here
Nina - Only Mermaids Can Find A Christmas Tree In The Sea
Sharon - A Little Christmas Miracle
Ruth - Harry And Genie
Marty - Countdown To Midnight
Rene - Best Christmas Ever!
Angela - A Snowy Night
Patricia - The Christmas Miracle
Susan - Libby's Blizzard Gift
Charlotte - Hanukkah At Gramma Golda's House
Kim - The Great Sleigh Ride
Heather - Dreaming Of A White Christmas
Summer - The Snow Miracle
Amelia - The Night The Sun Stayed Up
Sally - Just Ice And Snow


  1. Oh hot fudge in a pan. I forgot about the contest. My brain has been on overload and not functioning properly. Well, at the least, I enjoyed your story. I'll have to come back, visit some more blogs and fill myself with Christmas fancy in all the reading :-)

    Oh, and I am sharing this pan of hot fudge with you. Cheers!

  2. Susanna, once again you wrote an awesome story, despite your modesty deflection technique! You cajoled me into it...I have decided to enter. It may take me longer than usual to read all the entries, and I may lose a few hours of sleep in the process, but the lengths I go to for you! ;)

  3. Adorable fun, Susanna!

  4. Hi! Thanks for letting me know about the line glitch in my story! I was having issues with WP yesterday. :)

  5. I laughed reading your story (murky pea soup!). I've been reading some wonderful stories through the links this morning!

  6. Hehehe, loved yours. Too bad you can't enter it." Fog tiptoes in on its little cat feet!" LOVE THAT LINE!!!

  7. Susanna, gah! Is there any way to change my url in the entry to ? WP screwed up my publishing date (1969?? sheesh). Thanks!

  8. I loved your story, Susanna! :) Thanks for running the contest again, it's so much fun!

  9. Thank you, Angela, you're so kind :) And don't forget, you've still got over 4 days to write and submit an entry... you could still do it! :)

  10. You're welcome. WP can be tricky and slippery at times.

  11. Fun story, Susanna- you modest one! Good luck to tall the entrants!

  12. Hi Susanna!
    I brought Peanut Butter Cookies w/ M&Ms sprinkled in them. Careful! They're still hot. But isn't that the best way to eat them. ;)
    Thanks for doing this and posting your story. As always, you've done a lovely job. I'll be posting mine (as well as promoting your blog) Wednesday! Having fun reading and commenting until then!

  13. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 8, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    AWESOME! Contest! Story! Everything! WOOOO!!!

  14. Yours is NOT horrible. Really! Working on trimming mine (and making it better). I WILL be entering again this year!

  15. On Top of Hot Cocoa
    By Melissa Bulls

    On top of hot cocoa,
    all covered in froth,
    I lost my marshmallow
    when I started to cough.

    I coughed my marshmallow
    right out of the mug.
    It plopped down beside me
    on the kitchen rug.

    I bent down to reach it.
    It started to roll.
    It rolled out the doorway
    and into the cold.

    I grabbed my snowboots,
    my scarf, and my gloves
    because out the window,
    snow fell from above.

    The marshmallow kept rolling
    right into the street
    that was covered in ice
    from yesterday’s sleet.

    I slipped, slid, and skidded,
    my mug still in hand.
    The hot cocoa sloshed
    and made mud on the land.

    Sloshing through sludge,
    I finally flopped.
    My mug went flying,
    And hit my head when it dropped.

    I thought I heard bells
    as I lay in brown goo.
    Then I heard snow crunch
    ‘neath a heavy black shoe.

    Pounding and throbbing,
    a figure in red
    packed his hat with snow
    and placed it on my head.

    He lifted me up
    and took me back home.
    As the door closed,
    I heard, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

    Hours passed by
    as I slept on the couch.
    When I awoke
    I remembered my ouch.

    With a concussion,
    My thoughts were unclear…
    a vision of Santa,
    a mug and reindeer?

    I shook my head,
    “No it couldn’t have been.”
    But someone had been here
    while I was nappin’.

    Beneath the tree,
    a mug of cocoa.
    On top of it sat
    my lost marshmallow.

  16. Cheryl, I don't know if you have comment-approval on, but I didn't see my comment show up. So if it doesn't show up for you either, let me know and I'll go repost it. :)

  17. *giggle* That was such fun (and you got me singing it with the "On Top of Old Smokey" tune)!

  18. Gotta say that your worst is better than my best attempt so far. Don't know if I will have time to improve it to the point of willing exposure to the elements.

  19. Oh, good! I'd hate for you to think I didn't comment on your story. :)

  20. lol, thank you, Teresa! :-)

  21. I think your story sounds great Susanna! I loved the surprise ending of how the kids helped Santa through the fog. If Santa had pulled out a cell phone to call Rudolph then maybe I would have cringed!
    I'm hoping to post my entry tomorrow, silly me forgot my flash drive at home today. But I think I've finally come up with a title!

  22. Thank you! Your story was so creative! I never would have thought to take a sci-fi twist!

  23. It's too bad you can't include your story in the contest, Susanna. All the best to everyone who enters another of your fabulous contests. :-)

  24. The Christmas Storm
    By Suzannah Hekel

    It was Christmas Eve, and Santa was all in a hurry.

    The sleigh was packed and now he could start his long journey.

    "Oh no, Santa." said the elves "We sense a bad storm approaching."

    Santa did see a small storm cloud within the sky, but continued on his way.

    The night started with ease as he went from house to house.

    He was excited to bring joy and cheer to all the children with gifts and presents.

    "Look Santa!" said the reindeer as they continued their way.

    The small storm cloud had formed into a scary dark cloud which was taking over the clear night sky.

    "What will we do?" said Rooty the Elf, who was tagging along.

    Spilling from the cloud was not snow or ice, but coal!!!!

    Dark, dusty, coal started swirling down upon the houses.

    "Coal raining down on everyone's homes will surely ruin Christmas," said Santa.

    Santa dashed his sleigh towards the center of the storm.

    Rooty, ran towards, the back of the sleigh to find Santa's globe.

    "Here is your magic globe Santa, This will surely help."

    Santa grabbed the globe from Rooty's hand.

    If all the children believe in me then this globe will become magic!

    Santa shaked the globe and threw it as far as he could.

    As the globe soared in the sky it started to glow a bright green light.

    Then suddenly all the coal and dust turned into SNOW!!!!

    The storm started to diminish and turned back into a clear starry night.

    "Hooray!" cried Santa, Rooty and all of the Reindeer.

    "Woah, that was a close one!" Rooty cried.

    "It's okay, we can handle anything with a little bit of hope, imagination and most of all believing!"

    "Lets get the rest of these presents delivered to all of the boys and girls who have been waiting all year, and afterwards we can all celebrate with some hot cocoa and sugar cookies!" Santa said happily.

    And that's exactly what they did.

  25. Ha! You're just being nice (which I deeply appreciate :)) The only reason I posted that story was because it was 1 AM and I was too tired to stay awake and write anything else and I always post a sample. But I'm thrilled if it has encouraged you to write and enter! :) You are so kind to go to all those lengths! :)

  26. Well obviously if he'd had any sense (of direction) he would have! How could anyone pass up the opportunity for chocolate something something?! :)

  27. Aw, you're so nice Cheryl! And it's my pleasure holding the contests - it really is! I so enjoy getting to read everyone's wonderful stories!

  28. Yeah, well, I stole that one from Carl Sandberg... at least I think that's who I stole it from :)

  29. It's fun, isn't it Ariel? Once you've got your own story written so you don't have to worry about it, it's so great to go around and read everyone else's! Everyone is so creative, and we always end up with so many different kinds of stories even though we all start with the same parameters. Have fun! :)

  30. Flattery will get you everywhere, Elaine :) I look forward to reading your entry! :)

  31. You're just being nice, Iza! But I appreciate it :)

  32. Ooh! Bribery? With an offering like that, it just might work :) Thanks so much! I will look forward to reading your story on Wednesday, and so appreciate you promoting my blog!

  33. It's impossible not to love your enthusiasm, Erik! I can't wait to read your entry, but you're going to have to work hard to top last year's! :)

  34. Hahaha! Thank you Joanne - you're SO nice :) Good luck with the trimming (remember, that means taking AWAY words :)) I look forward to reading your story!

  35. Jilanne, I am serious! I posted that piece of $#%^$ - I KNOW yours will be better and you should definitely expose it! :)

  36. Well I'm very glad you liked it, Kimberly :) You're so kind! Very much looking forward to reading your story, and hurray! for the title :)

  37. It's only too bad because they I could be last instead of someone else :) Thanks for your well wishes! I was hoping we'd get an entry from you! :)

  38. P.S. I live not far from where he lived.

  39. And I like sand. So that makes us practically twins :)

  40. So cute, Melissa! What a clever take on the original, all dressed up for a wild weather holiday! And I'm with Teresa - now I'm singing the tune :) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)

  41. Oh, my! A coal storm is certainly weather of the wildest kind! I'm so glad the children believed in Santa enough that he could work his magic... and get home for hot cocoa and sugar cookies! :) Thanks so much for a magical entry, Suzannah

  42. 🎵🎶🎵🎶 Laaaaaaah. You got me singing on this one. 😉😊

  43. I think it's pretty unfair that you can, with a flick of your wrists, type out such fun stories. I really do like this one. Okay, I want to do tension like this too.

    When I read, "Fog tiptoes in on its little cat feet!" I thought, this chick is way deep. Then I thought, hey wait a minute. Hahahaha. Still this is some good stuff girlfriend. Thank you again for this contest. It is the Pretty Much World Famous Holiday Contest, ya know.

  44. A coal storm... genius! I bet everyone thought they were naughty. 😉😊

  45. Totally seeing the illustrations for your story. I really liked that the character didn't quite know if she had been rescued by Santa or not. Love the ending. Well done.

  46. Elaine, your story was the first one I read from the contest. Oh so good. Oh so very good. Ya got skills, lady. Totally fun to read.

  47. Oh yummy...I love hot cocoa with marshmallows. ;) Very cute story, Melissa...and such a fun take on the 'on top of spaghetti' rhyme. Great job!

  48. A magic globe...wish I had one of those sometimes! Very creative and unique, Suzannah...and I love happy endings. ;) :)

  49. Merry merry merry 4th annual Holiday Contest...I'm dancing for joy! Thank you so much, Susanna...for doing this for us...and giving us a great (yes it is quite wonderful, no matter what you say) example to start with. ;) I'm excited to start reading all of the entries...what fun. :)

  50. I loved your story. And so many of the ones already posted.

  51. Oh what a very fun romp down avenue 80s. I miss my neon.

  52. Thanks! I own a costume shop and 80s/neon were WILDLY popular at Halloween this year, I guess it was still stuck in my brain!

  53. Thanks for the positive feedback on my story everyone :D

  54. Thanks for doing this, Susanna. These contests are so much fun! ;)

  55. Thank you for doing these contests! Always fun inspiration!

  56. hehe! I kinda can't get it out of my head now :)

  57. Thank you, Pamela! After being in NyQuil I kind of feel like I've been hit with a mug! :)

  58. As a product of the 80's, I love it!

  59. This was a real treat to read! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  60. Hi Susanna, Slight technical problem -- my link takes people to my home page -- not directly to my blog page of same website. When I tried to post a direct link to the story, the computer said I had exceeded the 100 character limit. And to think that a 350 word story would have greater than 100 characters in its link -- lol. Don't know if you can assist in making the link easy-breezy for those visiting or if there is something different I can do. Thanks in advance!

  61. Thanks, Melissa! I normally write SF so it wasn't much of a stretch for me. :)

  62. It is not only because I love you, Susanna, but also because you dangle some terrific carrots in front of us! :D

  63. As a knitter, I heartily approve of Penelope's plan! :) And leg warmers...LOL!!

  64. What is a snowglobe for if not to spread...snow?! :D Smart idea to use it to save the day!

  65. How do you make those notes, Tracey? I love those!

  66. The path of life tends to have boulders strewn here and sorry for the troubles....I'll keep you and your family close to my heart. :)

  67. A great story! I've got the ear worm now! Enjoyed it so much, Melissa!


    by Anne Bromley ~ 348 words

    On Christmas Eve, Mom and I flew over our San Diego lights on board Flight 88. We were headed to Boston with a layover in Dallas, hoping for a white Christmas at Gram and Gramps.

    Mom squeezed my hand. “Get some shut-eye, Sweetcakes.”

    Before drifting off, I imagined gifts under a spruce tree, lit candles on the hearth, and a choir outside, singing “Silent Night.”

    I woke up when our ride got really bumpy.

    The pilot announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, we will soon land in Dallas. An unusual storm has brought heavy snow and high winds. Please fasten your seatbelts.”

    Snow in Dallas? How cool was that?

    We had a one-hour layover. Mom and I raced to the restroom and stopped by a deli for sandwiches and juice. Just as I was about to take a bite, a woman’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “We regret to announce that all departing flights are cancelled due to blizzard conditions. Our agents will assist you in finding accommodations for the night.”

    Mom and I stood near the end of a long line, as the night sky turned white. Some people said bad words into their phones. No more rooms available.

    Mom bit her lip. “Ellie, it looks like we’ll be spending Christmas at Gate 25.”

    My heart took a dive. The spruce tree and the candles and the choir melted like snowflakes.

    Then a blinking fake candle in the gift shop gave me an idea! I asked the cashier, “Can I buy this, please?”

    “For five dollars it’s yours.”

    Back at Gate 25, the grumpy passengers lay back in their seats. Mom and I spread our winter jackets on the floor. I clicked on the fake candle. She took my hand, and softly sang, “Silent night .. . . Holy night. . . . all is calm. . .”

    One by one, the grumpy passengers joined in.

    followed by the cleaning staff,

    the ticket agents,

    the flight attendants,

    the wing walkers,

    and the pilots.

    We had become the Gate 25 Choir! The snow kept falling, and all was bright.


  69. What a lovely, lovely story, Anne! So nice to see the spirit of Christmas alive and well at Gate 25 thanks to Ellie and her mom :) I love the way she overcame her own disappointment and made Christmas Eve better for everyone! Thanks so much for joining in the Holiday fun!

  70. Hahaha! I have no doubt leg warmers would do the trick! I bet those reindeer were cozy as bugs in a rug :) Great description of the snow and Penelope at the beginning! Great job in general! :) Thanks so much for joining in the fun!


    My unicorns fought the Mean Storm
    by: Rosa Valle Casas

    Everything is ready for the occasion.

    Weeny Glynis and Mom are with such a great excitement about celebrating the bountiful harvest.

    The colorful feast invite us to eat at least, the roast turkey granny did.

    Are the animals flying among us? But wait!...are they soaring the sky?

    No!...they are just anxious unicorn balloons who forgot their manners in a dark afternoon.

    It seems like they can kiss the whiner purple bliss.

    They are playing too much and having so much fun, they are fluttering all around.

    It is the wind,it is blowing too hard,and watering to much.

    "I see a storm coming" said the concern mom.

    "No, mommy,it is already here, but it is an evil one that wants to take all the glow away from here!" cried the little girl.

    "Oh no,nobody,not even a big storm can stole all the joy from here" and mother gently dried her tiny eyes.

    "Oh my,what are we going to do?"

    "Oh dear, what can I say?"

    "Mom can we fly,through the horizon to another land?"

    "Yes,we can! Hold my hand and close your eyes,close them tight!
    You may think about the gray shaped clouds the breeze put aside"

    "Mommy,but were shall be the unicorns?"

    "They are fighting that Mean Storm that our Thanksgiving wants to turn"

    And so,they waited for the lighting swords to embrace the sun in his shine accord.

    Out of the nowhere, a hint of hope broke the sad over.

    "It is gone!" exclaimed the surprised girl. “The sky is not dark anymore!”

    "They did it,the unicorns had fought the storm!" laughed the mother.

    "Oh no, mommy" corrected Lil' Ms. Glynis

    " My unicorns fought The Mean Storm!"

    And so the giggles reigned the backyard when the bell just rang. And a bright voice the place ignited:

    "Can I get that mom!"

    The End

  72. What an imaginative, fantasy spin on a Christmas story, Rosa! Unicorns fighting a mean storm certainly qualifies as wild weather! :) I love the idea that Glynis and her mom live in a world that has glow that the mean storm wants to take away - very creative! Thanks for joining in the Holiday fun!

  73. Success! In spite of my extreme handicaps in the technology department, I have managed to fix your link :) Hurray!

  74. I'm so glad you think so, Rachel! I love them too! :)

  75. Thanks, Johnell - you're too kind as relates to mine, but I have no doubt the others are all wonderful! I'm looking forward to reading them all! :)


    A Christmas Prayer
    By Gina Silvester

    “Time for bed,” Mom called. “Don’t forget your prayers.”

    Daniel knelt beside his bed. He knew what to pray for tonight. The kids in his class were celebrating the holidays but Daniel wasn't merry. Tonight he would change that. Tonight he would pray to have his Dad back for Christmas.

    “Goodnight honey,” Mom whispered.

    “Dad’s coming home for Christmas.” Daniel said sleepily. “I prayed for it.”

    “I wish that were true.” Mom said sadly and turned out the light.

    Night after night Daniel prayed for his dad to come home. Day after day he waited. On Christmas Eve, Daniel sat by the Christmas tree for hours. He watched the rain fall outside the window and felt worse than ever. Mom made his favorite hot chocolate but it didn't help.

    Suddenly the sky turned black and there was a thunderous noise. The walls creaked and the window panes rattled. Mom ran in and threw her arms around Daniel.

    “Tornado!” Mom yelled.

    The whole house shook and Daniel felt his feet lift off the floor. They were flying through the air and it was like everything was in slow motion. Daniel saw ornaments float off the tree and drift past his head. Wrapping paper unraveled from gifts and blew past his ears. Then the whole house tipped upside down and Daniel was pressed up against the ceiling. He snapped his eyes shut and held his breath.

    When everything was quiet Daniel opened his eyes. “What happened?” he asked.

    “Thank goodness you’re okay,” his mom said as she touched his face. “Let’s check on the neighbors,” she added and scrambled up off the floor.

    When his mother opened the front door Daniel peeked around her to see outside. He could not believe his eyes. Hundreds of U.S. Army soldiers were staring at them with their mouths wide open. At the front of the crowd was Daniel’s dad.

    “How on earth did our house get from Tennessee to Baghdad?” Daniel’s dad asked incredulously.

    Daniel laughed. “I prayed for us to be together this Christmas.”

  77. Oh, Gina, how nice that Daniel and his mom got to be with his dad for Christmas! I love this holiday rendition of Dorothy's house in the twister in the Wizard of Oz - so clever! Great description of flying through the air! Thanks so much for joining in the Holiday fun! :)

  78. You're very welcome! I'm so glad you enjoy them!!!

  79. Yippee! Susanna's Christmas Contest! I can't wait to read all the entries!!! It makes Christmas soooo special :-)


    by Kristen Schroeder
    (345 words)

    Christmas was under threat from an unlikely source.

    “We’re running out of maple syrup,” Santa said to Mrs. Claus.

    Maple syrup production had slowed to a trickle after a severe drought in Canada.

    “We’ve been rationing the syrup and watering it down,” Santa said.

    Mrs. Claus scanned the workshop. The elves looked like they were moving in slow motion. There was no singing or merriment, and as Mrs. Claus looked on, a fight broke out over a hammer. Several elves had laid their heads down on their benches to nap.

    “Productivity in the workshop is way down. The elves need their syrup.”

    “Oh Santa, whatever will we do?”

    “I’m making a quick trip to pick up some syrup from Japan, but it won’t be enough.”

    “You can have all the maple syrup from my bakery,” Mrs. Claus offered.

    “Thank you, Dear.”

    Mrs. Claus hurried to her bakery pantry, even though she knew two hundred gallons of maple syrup wouldn’t last the elves more than a couple days. It also meant there wouldn’t be any maple cookies this year, the official cookie of the North Pole.

    A brilliant idea popped into Mrs. Clauses’ head.


    Mrs. Claus baked a batch of maple cookies using agave syrup and a dash of maple extract.

    “Maple cookies?” Santa asked, sniffing the air. “I thought you gave us all your maple syrup, Mama.”

    “Take a bite,” Mrs. Claus urged.

    “They’re delicious, as always,” Santa said. “But how…?”

    Mrs. Claus told Santa about her ingredient swap.

    “What’s agave syrup?” Santa asked.

    “It comes from a cactus in Mexico,” Mrs. Claus explained.

    “Mrs. Claus, you’re a genius! I’ll stop by Mexico on my way back from Japan,” said Santa. “It’s worth a try!”

    Santa’s sleigh was piled high with barrels of agave syrup when he returned to the North Pole. Mrs. Claus mixed maple extract into the agave syrup and sent it down to the workshop.

    The sweet sound of elves singing carried through the night air.

    “Feed the elves with maple syrup, Falalalala, Lalalala!”

    “Christmas,” announced Mrs. Claus, “is back on!”

  81. What a fun, creative idea, Kristen! It's like caffeine for elves :) I love Mrs. Claus's resourcefulness, too - thinking up an alternative with available ingredients so the elves would never know the difference :) Thanks so much for joining in the Holiday fun! :)

  82. We sub in agave syrup for maple syrup too! It has a lower glycemic index. ;) Cute idea to work into the story!

  83. Such a fun idea to use unicorns in a Holiday story!

  84. It's a great and sweet idea to get everyone relaxed and singing when flights get cancelled on Christmas Eve. :)

  85. Goodness! Daniel brought home the entire troop! :)

  86. I'm so glad you think so, Penny! And I hope you've got an entry up! :)

  87. What an absolute delight. I hope if I ever get stranded, it is at Gate 25.

  88. Thanks Teresa :) Last week I saw them and I just wrote,and wrote...

  89. Yeah well, I haven't spent half my life in a barn for nothing. I'm a carrot-dangler from way back :)

  90. Thanks to you for bringing so much joy!!!!!!

  91. You're very welcome, Rosi! But it's not just me - it's everyone who takes the time to write a story that others can read and enjoy :)

  92. Yes,indeed,,,,thanks to all of your blogers,,,, ;♡)

  93. Hmm, I should try this agave syrup. Cute story!

  94. The Gat 25 Choir! What a lovely story, Anne!

  95. What a beautiful story, Gina! I loved it!

  96. I sincerely hope any stranded holiday travelers can take a cue from your story and make the best out of any given situation!

  97. Jack Quits (349 Words)
    by Bronwyn Deaver

    Dear Santa,
    I quit. I'm tired of the complaints about the cold. Forward my mail to Hawaii.
    Jack Frost

    Dear Jack,
    Christmas is almost here. No snow means no Reindeer Games - it's too muddy and warm. Mrs. Claus says there's a palm tree outside! I'm afraid to

    Dear Santa,
    Aren't palm trees beautiful? I'm diggin' the heat!

    Dear Jack,
    Seriously, Christmas is coming and I'm not getting fat! It's a sauna here! I'm sweating out all of my jolly roundness.
    Come back,

    Dear Santa,
    Eat cookies! They’ll fatten you up! You should see me - I'm eating vegetables from my garden and I feel so good! Have you ever been in the ocean? It's so
    Surf's up,

    Dear Jack,
    There's no air conditioning here. The elves can't work in these conditions! It's simply too hot in my workshop. They might go on strike.
    Please help,
    P.S. I can't make cookies - the butter keeps melting!

    Dear Santa,
    Tell the elves to take off those warm sweater things. Gotten any funny wish-lists from kids? Good golly some of those are funny!
    Ha ha,

    Dear Jack,
    You know what kids are wishing for now? Snow, ice and green Christmas trees! I can't make that stuff. They miss you, Jack!

    Dear Santa,
    I’m sure the kids don’t miss me that much. Now they don’t have to find their hats and gloves. It really is a pain to keep track of those things.

    Dear Jack,
    All of the mail I’m getting is really for you, so I am sending it along. All thirty huge bags full. Hope this proves that kids want you back.
    Hurry home,

    Dear Santa,
    You win. I suppose I need to help the kids. I'll be home on the next cool breeze.
    I'm not really cut out for surfing anyway.
    On my way,

    Dear Jack,
    Merry Christmas. Enjoy your gift!

    Dear Santa,
    Thanks for the palm tree. The Christmas lights and ornaments are a special touch.
    Merry Christmas,

  98. I hear you on the NyQuil! The cold going around is a doozy. This story makes me want hot chocolate. :)

  99. Good message about making the best out of bad situation. :) Wonderful!

  100. This story is perfect because we all know that "elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and SYRUP!"
    What funny--Buddy the Elf would approve!

  101. Love the idea of a coal storm (well not a real one...but in a story, that was really cool!)

  102. Cute and informative! :)

  103. Hello Susanna,

    Thanks for organizing this contest. Here is my 350 word submission.


    by, Zainab Khan

    Abe loved how his picnic table table looked. The tree sparkled. The gold menorah twinkled and the crescent moon cookies glimmered in the sun. This was going to be the best Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid party he thought.


    Abe’s heart thumped. A large black cloud covered the sun.

    Flick a fleck! Flick a fleck!

    Crash! The tinsel tree tipped to the side, its ornaments falling off.

    “Stop raining,” Abe shouted at the cloud.

    “WHO DARES TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO?” huffed the cloud.

    “M-m-me,” said Abe.

    "Fine, I'll stop the rain,” rumbled the cloud.

    He huffed and popped open.

    TICK! TACK! TICK! TACK! Hail flicked onto the table.

    Thump, thump, thump! Candles fell out of the menorah.

    “Noooo!” cried Abe.

    “You don't like hail? Fine! Then this is what you get!” growled the cloud.

    FLISH! FLASH! Lightening zig-zagged across the sky.

    Zap! Icing dripped off the cookies.

    "You've ruined Christmas, Hanukkah and Eid!" cried Abe.

    "I would never ruin Christmas, Eid or Hanukkah!" shouted the cloud. "THEY'RE MY FAVORITE HOLIDAYS!"

    "Look!" Abe pointed to the mess.

    The cloud shrunk back. "You should have told me."

    "I did!" Abe picked up a cookie and tossed it in the trash. "The party is over."

    "Wait!" cried the cloud. "I can fix this!"

    "How?" asked Abe.

    "Wind! Do your magic!"


    The wind twirled and whirled all around. The candles blew into the menorah's holders. The tree stood tall with baubles dangling from its branches, but icing dribbled onto the grass.

    "You saved my tree and the menorah!" said Abe. "But the cookies are-"

    "I'm not done yet," said the cloud. It puffed its cheeks and blew.


    "Blizzard!" cried Abe.

    Wind sprinkled snowflakes over the moon shaped cookies. They danced across the Christmas tree and scattered around the menorah.

    "You did it! Thank you," said Abe.

    The cloud blushed. "Anything for the holidays!"

    "Will you come to my party?" asked Abe.

    "I'd love that!"

    When Abe's friends came to celebrate, the cloud swooped down.

    "This is the best Eid, Christmas and Hanukkah celebration," said Abe.


    by, Zainab Khan

    Abe loved how his picnic table table looked. The tree sparkled. The gold menorah twinkled and the crescent moon cookies glimmered in the sun. This was going to be the best Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid party he thought.


    Abe’s heart thumped. A large black cloud covered the sun.

    Flick a fleck! Flick a fleck! Crash! The tinsel tree tipped to the side, its ornaments falling off.

    “Stop raining,” Abe shouted at the cloud.

    “WHO DARES TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO?” huffed the cloud.

    “M-m-me,” said Abe.

    "Fine, I'll stop the rain,” rumbled the cloud.

    He huffed and popped open.

    TICK! TACK! TICK! TACK! Hail flicked onto the table.

    Thump, thump, thump! Candles fell out of the menorah.

    “Noooo!” cried Abe.

    “You don't like hail? Fine! Then this is what you get!” growled the cloud.

    FLISH! FLASH! Lightening zig-zagged across the sky.

    Zap! Icing dripped off the cookies.

    "You've ruined Christmas, Hanukkah and Eid!" cried Abe.

    "I would never ruin Christmas, Eid or Hanukkah!" shouted the cloud. "THEY'RE MY FAVORITE HOLIDAYS!"

    "Look!" Abe pointed to the mess.

    The cloud shrunk back. "You should have told me."

    "I did!" Abe picked up a cookie and tossed it in the trash. "The party is over."

    "WAIT!" cried the cloud. "I can fix this!"

    "How?" asked Abe.

    "Wind! Do your magic!"

    Whooooohooooohoooooo! The wind twirled and whirled all around. The candles blew into the menorah's holders. The tree stood tall with baubles dangling from its branches, but icing dribbled onto the grass.

    "You saved my tree and the menorah!" said Abe. "But the cookies are-"

    "I'm not done yet," said the cloud. It puffed its cheeks and blew.


    "Blizzard!" cried Abe.

    Wind sprinkled snowflakes over the moon shaped cookies. They danced across the Christmas tree and scattered around the menorah.

    "You did it! Thank you," said Abe.

    The cloud blushed. "Anything for the holidays!"

    "Will you come to my party?" asked Abe.

    "I'd love that!"

    When Abe's friends came to celebrate, the cloud swooped down.
    "This is the best Eid, Christmas and Hanukkah celebration," said Abe.

  105. What a clever, original story, Zainab! I love the personification of the cloud! And I love that you included many holidays, and that Abe stood up to the cloud and the cloud repented and put things to rights! Favorite sentence: "Wind sprinkled snowflakes over the moon shaped cookies. They danced across the Christmas tree and scattered around the menorah." ~ lovely! :) Thanks so much for joining the holiday fun :)

  106. I love how you combined an old, familiar song with your entry. Your story is very original! Good luck. :)

  107. What a clever, original story, Zainab! I love the personification of the cloud! And I love that you included many holidays, and that Abe stood up to the cloud and the cloud repented and put things to rights! Favorite sentence: "Wind sprinkled snowflakes over the moon shaped cookies. They danced across the Christmas tree and scattered around the menorah." ~ lovely! :) Thanks so much for joining the holiday fun :)

  108. I wish I had a magic globe! Good luck :)

  109. Cute! I can picture reindeer in leg warmers. :) Good luck, Kimberly!

  110. Aw, this reminds me a little of the movie "Unaccompanied Minors". Have you seen it? I love your Gate 25 Choir idea. Good luck! :)

  111. Thank you Susanna! I appreciate all your "backstage" efforts as well.

  112. Oh, Brownwyn! What fun! So clever and funny! Well done :) I love the appropriate signatures - "warmly" etc. :) And what a perfect ending! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun!

  113. I loved unicorns when I was a child. Creative. :)

  114. Thanks Christie!

  115. Thanks Elaine!

  116. Thanks Teresa!

  117. Nice "twist" to the story! HaHa. :) And it's lovely that they got to be together for Christmas.

  118. Thanks Susanna, I worked hard on revising that beginning!
    Thank you for having such fun and challenging contests!

  119. You did good :) Glad if you're enjoying the contest :)

  120. Cute! Such a creative story. It reminds me of how in the movie "Elf" Buddy says the four main food groups for elves - one of them being syrup. Good luck in the contest!

  121. Oh but I love the imagery in your story, Susanna! It reminds me of when I spent Christmas one time in New Orleans and they lit the bonfires up the mississippi for Papa Noel!

  122. Thank you for all the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  123. Thank you all for your kind comments!


  124. That ornery cloud! So glad it made everything right in the end. :)

  125. I'm with Jack, actually...I'm not so fond of the cold. :) But it was very nice of him to finally listen to Santa!

  126. I love this! It's so cute and funny. :)

  127. Lot's of fun action, I love the Santa hat ice bag. And the proof at the end that it really happened. Fun story.

  128. So touching, I love it when people join together as kindred spirits - especially, previously grumpy ones. Very nice.

  129. What a surprise - a coal storm - very creative. So glad hope, imagination, and the power of believing saved the day.

  130. I love the hook. Christmas was under threat from an unlikely source. I would have never guessed it would be a drought causing a maple syrup shortage. Very creative, Kristen. Nice solution, too!

  131. What a magical story of faith and Christmas spirit. Very touching. So glad you shared, Gina.

  132. Love that the weather is a character in this!

  133. How cute - the 80's save the day. I can imagine those reindeer - love it!

  134. Phew! I worked all night and got something ready in the flurry of holiday madness :)

    Polar Warming
    By Kristen Foote

    The changes were subtle. They started out slow.
    Dripping icicle here, 10 less inches of snow.

    Then one day in December, when Santa awoke,
    he pulled open the curtains, “What is this? A joke?”

    Polar Warming, it turned out, was totally true!
    Giant palm trees were swaying where evergreens grew.

    The sledding hills melted, the snowmen were gone.
    A flock of flamingos had pooped on the lawn.

    He rushed to the workshop. The elves left a note:

    He stomped to the kitchen. No breakfast was made.
    He found Mrs. Clause sipping drinks in the shade.

    The reindeer were tanning their white furry bums
    as the drummer boys banged upon big steel drums.

    “Have you ALL lost your minds? There is work to be done!
    There is no time for sand-castles, swimming, and sun!"

    As the Mrs. reclined in her red-striped bikini,
    she scolded ol’ Santa, “Quit being a meanie!”

    “I’m sorry. I’m stressed – I’ve had NO relaxation.
    In fact, it’s been YEARS since I’ve had a vacation!”

    He shed his long-undies, he kicked off each boot,
    and he traded them in for a surfboard and suit.

    His speedo was snug and his belly was shakin’.
    He heard someone shout, “SANTA! Give up the bacon!”

    But that didn’t stop him, he splashed on the shore
    (where poor Frosty had lived only 2 days before).

    Once the sunlight was fading, Clause glanced at the clock,
    then he yelled, “Halt the hula and Jingle Bell Rock!

    We have TWENTY-TWO MINUTES to build some more toys!
    We just can’t disappoint all the good girls and boys!”

    The elves started working, renewed, full of cheer,
    and they cranked out more toys than they had the whole year.

    After wrapping, they vacuumed, and vacuumed some more,
    but that sand seemed to stick to each package and floor.

    They had run out of time. Santa went on his way.
    As he flew, sand poured out every crack in his sleigh.

    So on next Christmas morning, you’ll now understand
    why your presents are covered in sunscreen and sand.

  135. Snowflake…A Christmas Tail
    By Jim Jones

    Snowflake the mouse lived in a dark pine forest high in the mountains under a big blue sky. She was a tiny mouse with soft white fur. Her eyes were black as coal and they sparkled when she wiggled her nose.

    She lived near a big old house that loomed warm and inviting as the days grew
    shorter and colder. The family in the house definitely had no room for a mouse.

    One day as a bitter wind brought winter’s first snow, the two boys that lived in
    the house ran out the front door to check the mail. The door stood open and the warmth spilled out on the porch. Snowflake ran for the door and vanished into a dark closet. She crawled into the toe of an old cowboy boot lying on its side and there made a cozy home. Outside the snow kept falling.

    Nightly journeys were always fun. One night she even found a beautiful tree covered with shiny things and softly glowing lights in the living room. She nibbled a seed under the tree listening to the wind rumble. Just then a little man dressed in red stepped out of the fireplace. He pulled brightly wrapped gifts from his bag, smiled, and in a flash was gone.

    A sheet of paper from his belt fluttered to the floor. It was outlined in gold and covered with names. Grabbing it she scrambled up the chimney trying to catch the man. On top of the chimney the wind carried her into the darkness.

    Freezing in the snow, she longed for her warm boot. Just then a gloved hand dropped her into a warm pocket. In a flash Santa, a mouse, and the reindeer shot into the snowy night sky to finish delivering toys to all of the good children around the world.

    To this day, Snowflake sleeps in a cozy boot at the foot of Santa’s bed. On Christmas Eve children put out goodies for Santa, the reindeer, along with a seed for a special mouse. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


    Santa's Satnav by Julie Abery
    (348 words)

    'Twas the week before Christmas and in the North Pole,
    Santa's list was still short by ten thousand or so!
    Letters from children so beautifully written,
    With wishes for scooters and fluffy white kittens,
    Were stuck at the post office tied in a sack,
    Some children will not have a gift to unwrap!!
    An elf called on Santa, had he heard the news?
    Post vans were stuck, mail was not getting through.
    The snow had been falling for many a week,
    They said on the radio as much as six feet!
    The fog and the ice storm had grounded all flights,
    The Polar Express had no power for lights!
    Santa declared he would fly into town
    And try out the Santa-nav on the way down!
    They harnessed the reindeer, programmed in directions,
    The elves looked around in a final inspection.
    "Up" called out Santa "Up, up and away!"
    With a flick of the reins they were soon on their way.
    The littlest elf who'd been loading the sack,
    Popped up behind Santa quite taken aback!
    "Ho, ho, ho little Jack" called out Santa with glee
    "What are you doing up here with me?"
    "In one mile..." said Santa-nav "left at the star"
    But snow swirled around and they couldn't see far!
    Jack looked on worried, and Santa just blustered
    "But Madam, I can't see the stars, not a cluster!"
    Grim as a blizzard! Jack heard a bell sound,
    Gave a tug on the reins and he turned them around.
    "Whoa" cried out Santa and straightened his hat,
    "I hear the town bells...Good job little Jack!"
    Down flew the sleigh with a bang and a clatter!
    "You have arrived" the Santa-nav chattered!
    They bundled the letters in Santa's big sack,
    "Christmas un-cancelled! Thank you, little Jack!"
    "Up" called out Santa "Up, up and away!"
    The Santa-nav off, Rudolph's nose led the way!
    The elves loaded presents for all girls and boys
    And on Christmas Eve he delivered the toys,
    With Santa-nav jingling all through the flight!!
    "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

  137. Love the Santa-nav, Julie! Especially when she said, "You have arrived"! - that is exactly what they say... even when you haven't :) So glad Little Jack saved the day with his keen hearing :) Thanks so much for a fun, clever entry and for joining in the holiday fun! :)

  138. And hot tea and hot coffee!

  139. What a clever twist on the original miracle of the oil lasting 8 nights, Laura! I love that the biodiesel truck made the 8 miles and planned to make the return trip off the vegetable oil from the latkes! :) And so fun that you included the Yiddish (and very helpful translations - I knew most, but not the jelly donuts :)) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun! :)

  140. Informative - ha! I admit I did need to Google a few things :) Thanks for your comment.

  141. Ha! Cute story! And I read it right before bedtime and I'm not sure if the tune will lull me to sleep or keep me up dancing :-)

  142. Nice job! Kids can "bring" Christmas no matter what, can't they?

  143. Love this! Very cute and creative :-)

  144. Thanks Susanna :) Your contest is such a wonderful way to squeeze some writing into the craziness of the holiday season! Very excited to see all the fun (and interesting!) stories everyone has come up with!

  145. Susanna! I love your story, once again! You are so creative!


    Boomer’s First White Christmas
    By Sharon Giltrow

    Boomer’s my name! I’m a grey kangaroo, part of the Australian Animal exhibition at the New York City Zoo. I flew thousands of kilometres to get here on the flying kangaroo. Not a real flying kangaroo, Qantas our Australian airline. Kangaroos can’t fly but boy can we bound.

    We bound from one tree to another, stopping for a nose wiggle and to nibble grass. And can you believe it, people love it. They watch us for hours. I feel bad for them we’re not that interesting.

    I like it here in New York City it’s exciting, and the trees are lovely. When we
    first arrived the leaves were a deep green, then they turned golden. The plain old gum trees we have back home don’t do that.

    It’s a little bit cold here though, and it’s getting colder. The mob; that’s what we
    call ourselves have been spending more time amongst the rocks. We’re all a bit
    sleepier, not our usual bounding, booming selves.

    Now all the leaves have fallen off. There’s piles of them everywhere. It was fun at
    first. We made leaf angels and jumped right into the middle of the pile but now
    it’s getting a bit eerie. None of the other animals seem to mind, but I haven’t see old Reginald the Rhino out and about in a while and Barry the Bear I haven’t seen him in days. The ducks are gone they just up and flew away. On no what’s happening! I’m starting to panic its too quiet.

    Calm down Boomer. Wait what’s that floating down it looks like a butterfly. It’s so pretty and so white. Oh it’s landing on me. Oh its cold, it’s sticking to my fur. What is it? I’ll ask Ma.

    “Ma, come look at this. Is it white dust?”

    “Oh darling It’s snow!” “It’s Christmas, and in New York City it snows at Christmas.”

    “Really snow at Christmastime. Ma I’m scared.”

    “Boomer its okay, the people will look after us. Come on go somewhere warm.

  147. What a cute story, Sharon! Imagine how scary snow might be if you've never seen it - and if where you come from Christmas happens in summer! Very creative! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday fun!

  148. This was so fun to read! I laughed out loud more once :) Awesome story & I'm very glad the narrator got her marshmallow back!

  149. A very sweet story with the perfect Christmas message :)

  150. A coal storm! Love this idea! The coal and the magic globe are so creative :)

  151. I have a feeling children would love reading about how elves need syrup to get through the day :) Such a great fix to have them use agave syrup!

  152. I love how all the adults are flabbergasted but it all makes perfect sense to Daniel :) Great twist that they ended up in Baghdad and a very sweet ending!

  153. Oh goody! I try to be funny with little success most of the time :)

  154. Hope you rested well and maybe danced a little too!

  155. Rain, dear.
    by Amy Ozay

    drip, drop, drip, drop

    Mrs. Claus: “Ah, I love that sound.”

    Santa: “What sound?”

    Mrs. Claus: “drip, drop.”

    Santa: “clip, clop?”

    Mrs. Claus: “The drip, drop of rain, dear.”

    Santa: “The clip, clop of reindeer?”

    Mrs. Claus: “Yes, it’s the rain, dear.”

    Santa: “What about the reindeer?!”

    Mrs. Claus: “It’s raining rain, dear.”

    Santa: “It’s raining reindeer?! Holy snowballs! I better go check my fleet.”

    Mrs. Claus: “What’s wrong with your feet?”

    Santa: “They may be in a jam.”

    Mrs. Claus: “You better not have your feet in my homemade gooseberry jam.”

    Santa: (opening the door) “Ho, ho, ho! It’s just a little rain, dear.”

    Mrs. Claus: “A little reindeer? Prancer’s son?”

    Santa: “No chance of sun. Just rain, dear.

  156. You should keep that story up. It's very fun!. I'm loving the entries so far. Thanks for another great contest.

  157. NO SWEAT SANTA 348 words

    It was Christmas Eve and Santa in his red wool suit was ready to go. The night turned out to be blazing hot, the hottest night of the year.

    After a few deliveries, Santa dripped sweat. He was so sweaty, his broad face and chubby cheeks looked gaunt. His big round belly no longer shook like a bowl full of jelly. It wasn't big or round but was flat as a pancake. His eyes didn't twinkle. His dimples were gone. Santa was wasting away.

    At his next stop, he slipped down the chimney with such ease, he crashed right into the tree. With some quick thinking, he gobbled the cookies and chugged the milk, but still didn't feel right. He found his phone to facetime Mrs. Claus.

    “Honey, I’m not doing well. It’s too hot out.”

    “Who is this?” she said, not recognizing the skinny old man in the oversized coat.

    “It’s your husband,” said Santa. “This wool coat is too warm.”

    “I knew you should have gone with a cotton-polyester blend,” she said. “Can’t you just take it off?”

    “And ride in my sleigh in the buff?! Someone might see. No, no, that won’t work,” said Santa.

    Then, Santa felt a tug at his coat. “Who are you?” said Timmy.

    “Whoops, got to go,” said Santa, hanging up. He puffed out his chest as best he could and in a deep voice said “I’m Santa.”

    “Santa is jolly and fat,” said Timmy unconvinced.

    “Well, uh, you see, it’s very hot out tonight. I’m a tad dehydrated.”

    Timmy knew what to do. This happened to his grandma sometimes. He ran to the kitchen and returned with another plate of cookies and a box of Ensure. He sat Santa under the ceiling fan and cranked the AC. After a little rest, relaxation, and refueling, Santa was as good as new.

    He placed some presents under the tree and thanked Timmy for everything.

    “No sweat, Santa!” said Timmy. After Santa tucked Timmy back into bed, he jumped in his sleigh and flew off into the blistering night sky completely naked.

  158. Oh so very clever. I could totally see this in a kid's magazine.

  159. The sunshine makes me more cheerful and invigorated too! :D And flamingo poop...hahaha!

  160. Very fun tie-in for Hanukkah and I loved learning the expressions.

  161. Hilarious and really well done. I enjoyed it very much.

  162. Being from AZ, I really appreciate Mrs. Claus's fix. This was ver original.

  163. I was singing along while laughing. Fun to read. Good luck on the contest.

  164. I loved this - made me laugh out loud! Good job, and good luck. :)

  165. What a fun way to tell a story. I'm glad he came back :) Good luck!

  166. I lie how you use all these Yiddish words in your story. :) What a cute idea to have the oil in the car be synonymous to the oil in the Hanukkah story.

  167. I like all the gifts having sand in them. :) Poor Santa didn't have much time to get the gifts ready but he did!

  168. I had no idea elves were so difficult! ;) Thanks for sharing your fun story.

  169. Danny got to fly like Dorothy and his wish came true- to be with his dad. Thanks for sharing your fun story. :)

  170. What a cute idea. I like seeing snow falling from a kangaroo's point of view. Thank you for sharing your story. :)

  171. Thank you, Stacy :) And I too have loved the entries I've read! I'm a bit behind due to circumstances beyond my control, but can't wait to get over and read yours!!! :)


    A Christmas Miracle
    (347 words)
    By Rachel Krackeler

    Kate loved her grandma's bright eyes, swingy earrings, soft sweater hugs and chewy cookies. She loved her warm laugh and dancing feet.

    Visiting her grandma was Kate's favorite thing on earth. Luckily it was just a short car ride across the foggy Golden Gate Bridge and through the Rainbow Tunnel to
    Grandma's house.

    Christmas Eve was the best time of all to visit Grandma's. Every year when they arrived the fireplace was warm and bright, the cozy beds were ready for their guests, and beautifully wrapped presents waited under the tree.

    This year Kate was most excited about the present she was making. After Grandma gave her needles and knitting lessons last year at Christmas, Kate decided to thank her with a hand knit rug this year. It would be an especially perfect gift because this winter in San Francisco had been the coldest ever. Kate pictured all the toasty toes on top of the rug on Christmas morning and she worked hard to finish it.

    She knit while baking gingerbread. She knit while decorating the tree. She even
    knit while sledding.

    She finished just in time. Just as her father came in from the foggy cold to say they wouldn't be going to Grandma's this Christmas Eve night. "It's so cold in San
    Francisco that the fog has frozen the Golden Gate into a solid block of ice. There's no way across until morning...if it warms up."

    Kate flung herself onto her rug. Her brother Henry joined her. Eventually even their mom and dad found a spot on the cozy new rug. They fell asleep with hopeful visions of Grandma's house dancing in their heads.

    By a Christmas miracle the rug and its sleepers were lifted up off the floor and out into the icy night. Kate's dreamy eyes opened as they traveled through the starry sky, over the bridge and tunnel, and into the warm beds waiting at Grandma's house. She wondered if it was all a dream, but when she turned to see her rug beneath the Christmas tree, she was sure it wasn't.

  173. Oh, Grandma and her house sound lovely! I can see why Kate was anxious to visit! And how lovely that the rug, knit with such love, carried them all to their destination in spite of the terrible weather! Thanks so much for a heartwarming story, Rachel, and for joining in the holiday fun!

  174. I love all of the Yiddish expressions! Great story!

  175. Wow, impressed with this story that you cranked out overnight! I'm no expert, but the rhyming really works and you managed to cover so many cute details. Love it!

  176. Aw, what a sweet story, Carol! I'm so glad Spotty got a happy Christmas after waiting so faithfully! Thank goodness for that wild weather :) You did such a lovely job of pulling on the heartstrings! :) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun! :)

  177. Hahaha! Oh, my, Hilary! You made me laugh at Timmy's certain knowledge of how to take care of dehydrated old folks :) What a clever, fun story! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun! :)

  178. Hahaha! VERY clever, Amy! This sounds just like my parents :) I love the play on words and the misunderstandings... like the game of telephone but with only two people :) Thanks so much for an original and clever entry and for joining the holiday fun!

  179. Thank you, Carrie :) I barely slid in under the wire with this one :)

  180. This contest is making my day so much better! Love reading all the entries!


    The Under the Weather Weatherman

    Santa, come quick,
    The weatherman’s sick!

    He tried to give his forecast today and something went terribly wrong,
    He sneezed on his map and now none of the temperatures are where they belong!

    With every sneeze and every loud Aaaa-Choooo,
    We don’t know what we are going to do!

    With his every cough and every hack,
    The temperatures started to get totally out of whack!

    It is really quite strange,
    To have all these temperatures be so rearranged!

    It’s hot where it’s usually quite mild,
    And in some places the wind is getting too strong and wild.

    Santa, on Christmas Eve night, how will you know what the weather will be?
    How will you know how to dress properly?

    Will you need your sleigh or a four wheel drive truck?
    Will the reindeer be strong enough to not get stuck?

    The kids are mailing new lists to the elves left and right,
    They say they have changed what they want delivered Christmas Eve night.

    Timmy in New York wants a new bathing suit, not a sled,
    Katie in Florida needs a warm coat and a hat for her head!

    Santa, how will we get all these new toys made so quick?
    Don’t worry my elves, I know just the trick!

    Mrs. Claus will make her “go-away flu stew,”
    And the weatherman can eat it for a day or maybe two,

    This meteorologist will feel stronger and get better super-fast,
    Soon he’ll get predicting his brand new forecast,

    We will get thecorrect weather predictions worldwide,
    And not have to worry about what the weather’s like outside,

    Christmas will be saved…. so never fear!
    You will still hear the kids let out their loud cheer!

    Families will get the gifts that they all wished for,
    And Christmas will be full of memories galore!

    Remember Santa’s magic can always save the day,
    It’s what helps to make every Christmas the happiest of holiday!

  182. What a creative idea, Tracie! I love the idea of the weatherman sneezing the temperatures all out of order - great concept! And I think Mrs. Claus could market her "go-away flu stew" to quite a few people :) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun!!! :)


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