Susanna Leonard Hill has another contest (I seriously don’t know how she does it). The challenge for this contest is to write an original story with kid-appeal, 250 words or less, that focuses on a holiday treat! My brain kept substituting “peppermint mocha latte” every time I read “treat” but maybe that’s just me. You can read more about Susanna’s contest and read the other entries here:
I usually enjoy a bit of wit in my contest stories but I just couldn’t get into the humorous groove this time. My kids are 2 and 4 and I am conscious of trying to shape the traditions and memories upon which they will [hopefully] fondly reflect for years to come. Family is at the center of my heart and mind this humble season.
A TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY TREAT (249 words)
By Nicole Loos Miller
Christmas decorations were unpacked, dusted, stacked, and hung.
Emily and Eli felt happiness and heartbreak at the same time.
It was their first Christmas without Grandma.
Mom sang carols from the other room, but they could hear her voice catch and crack.
“Remember Grandma’s gingerbread houses, with the stained glass windows?” whispered Emily.
“And how she’d let us decorate them however we liked?” replied Eli.
“Some of them were so ugly!”
They smiled and their eyes welled up at the same time.
“I wish she were still here,” said Eli.
“If Grandma were here,” said Emily, “she’d remind us that ‘tradition is the best part of the holidays.'”
Their eyes locked. Emily smirked and Eli’s nose wrinkled. Plans were made.
That night, they moved about the kitchen on tiptoes, pulling ingredients out quietly and measuring from memory.
In the morning, their mother found them asleep at the kitchen table; a broken gingerbread house slouched before them. Flour covered the counters and the sink overflowed with dishes.
“We’re sorry, Mom,” said Emily.
“We wanted to surprise you,” added Eli. “But we only made a mess.”
“It reminds me of when Grandma let you decorate your first gingerbread house,” said their mother with a sad laugh. “You were toddlers: so excited and so messy.”
As they cleaned and mixed a new batch of gingerbread dough, they talked about their favorite holiday memories with their grandmother.
Tears and laughter filled the kitchen at the same time as a new tradition was born.