Thursday, December 11, 2014

Susanna Leonard Hill's 4th Annual Holiday Writing Contest!

I couldn't resist diving into the holiday season with an entry into Susanna Hill's holiday contest. I always have fun writing according to the rules she sets.

So this year, I thought and I thought, I wrote, and I tossed. Then, I wrote some more. I confess it was a toss up whether I would have something to enter, but I finally have an entry worthy (I think) of the contest. 

Here are the rules:

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!)

Here's my entry, at 342 words:

By Margaret Greanias

Jack Jingle wishes he could be a bigger part of Christmas. But he’s too little to help in Santa’s workshop, too little to dress the reindeer, too little to load the sleigh.
It’s Christmas Eve and Jack’s kicking up snow when Santa’s hat tumbles by. Up and away it blows.
No one’s chasing it, so Jack jumps at his chance. He could be the biggest thing since Rudolph!
But first, he needs transportation. He commandeers a toy airplane. BADUMP-A-DUMP-A-DUMP. It’s a bumpy takeoff.
There’s the hat! Near Santa’s workshop!
NEEEOOOOW! Jack buzzes by.
Bernard, dozing at his workbench, startles awake.
“Thanks Jack!” calls Bernard.
Jack doesn’t hear him. His eyes are trained on the hat.
It dances away and darts into the stables.
Jack zooms in after it. He ducks as he enters, swiping left, swiping right. But from his fast-flying plane, the hat’s a blur. Jack exits with a handful of harnesses. JINGLE, JINGLE, JINGLE.
He tosses them to Victor, who’s grooming the reindeer.
“Thanks Jack!” calls Victor.
But Jack’s already out of earshot. He speeds to intercept the hat.
He swerves and swoops, and loop-de-loops. He doesn’t see the bag of presents, waiting for Quigley to haul.
It hitches onto the plane’s wing as Jack barrels by.
Oops. He detours to the sleigh.
“Thanks Jack!” calls Quigley.
But the roar of the engine drowns out everything.
It’s just Jack…and Santa’s hat. Time is running out.
The wind whisks the hat up, up, and up.
Hmmm…can an elf my size climb so high? Then, Jack’s eyes widen. Can Santa deliver Christmas cheers with icicles dangling from his ears?
Jack hunkers down. He twists and turns; his stomach churns. He rockets through clouds, sunshine, stars until…Santa’s hat begins to fall!
Down, down, down it dives – into Jack’s outstretched hands.
“YIPPEE!” Jack shouts.
Back home, he shyly returns the hat.
“Why Jack Jingle!” Santa ho-ho-hos. “Thank you! I shiver to think what Christmas would have been without you.”
Jack’s cheeks grow warm. He gets his Christmas wish at last.


Check out the other fun entries into Susanna's holiday contest. Enjoy!


  1. Action-filled entertaining story. Great job! :)

  2. I like your theme of someone small doing a big thing.

  3. Jack may be small but he's tenacious! Santa really would not be quite right without his hat. :)

    1. Tenacious characters make for interesting stories! :-)

  4. I love Jack. He's a fantastic character. Great job with the prompt. It turns out that he is the next Rudolph. Hehehe.

    1. Thank you, Robyn. I should've written a twist on Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer!

  5. Cute! Love that he unintentionally helps everyone else. Nice use of words.

  6. I love a happy ending...hurrah for Jack Jingle...he saved the day for more than just Santa. Great story, Margaret...and I love all the sound words. :)

  7. Thank goodness Jack was able to retrieve the hat! :) I loved the repetition of Jack not being able to hear after helping others.

    1. Yes, poor Jack was feeling pretty insignificant.

  8. Great job Jack. What a cute story. Love the pacing.

  9. What a great story! Good luck in the contest. ;)

  10. Super fun story - loved the action and Jack's helpfulness.

  11. So much action and excitement is expressed in this jolly jingle, Margaret. So many outstanding page turns that keeps the reader's attention. ~Suzy Leopold

  12. Aw! Clever Jack! Look how helpful he was without even realizing it! I'm glad he was there to lend a helping hand, er, wing :) and keep Santa from getting ear icicles :) What a fun, kid-friendly story, Margaret! Your stick-to-itiveness paid off :) Thanks so much for joining the holiday fun!