Thursday, 12 December 2013

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

The school Concert

This was the first time Dad had ever come to the end of year concert.
Annie peered between the shoulders of the two children in front of her in the choir.
The teacher had lined them up so they could all clearly see their parents in the audience.
Annie was so excited her skin felt too small to fit inside. Dad was finally going to hear her sing.
The teacher began to play the introduction on the old piano and everyone stood up straight ready to sing their best.
Annie had the solo and had practiced for weeks. She was going to sing her best for her Dad.
A movement at the back of the hall caught Annie’s eye and she saw the Dads whispering to each other and begin to stand up.
Annie felt her throat tighten as she watched her Dad stand up too.
Soon only the mothers were left in the hall with little babies and high school kids.
Annie couldn’t sing. Tears slid down her face.
She knew he had to go. Christmas was fire season in Australia.
All the Dads and some of the Mums had to leave. They fought bravely to save homes, farms and live stock.
Annie wished just once it could be cold and snowy at Christmas, like it was on the Christmas cards.
Then her Dad could hear her sing in the school concert.
The other children kept singing and soon it would be Annie’s turn but she just wanted to run off the stage and hide.
She closed her eyes and tried to hide behind the boy in front so the Mums couldn’t see her cry.
“False alarm” someone whispered loudly at the back of the hall and all the Dads and a few Mums came tiptoeing back into the hall.
Annie’s heart swelled with joy as she watched her Dad sit back down.
She lifted her voice to the stars above and sang like an angel.

The PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) community has many connections one of whom is Susanna Hill, who is running the Third Annual Holiday Writing Contest. Writers are challenged to write a children's story about a holiday mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster. The story must be 350 words or less (not including the title), and must be posted and linked to her blog post by 11:59pm ET on Friday. Finalists will be posted on the blog the following week and winners will have a choice of some fabulous prizes donated by more amazing people in the world of children's literature. The preceding story is my entry in the competition.


  1. This is beautiful...Thanks for writing it....

  2. Yay, Annie got her wish! Fire season must be so scary. There isn't the same issue usually in Indiana, US. Good luck with your entry!

  3. Great story, Cecelia! I always wondered what it would be like to live in a warm place during Christmas - the typical images of Christmas are always with snow and evergreens. It's nice to read a story that takes place in a completely different climate. And I'm glad she got to sing to her father at the end!

  4. Thank you for sharing this story, Cecilia! I love thinking about Christmas from an Australian perspective - warm temperatures/fire season. So glad Annie's Dad got to hear her angelic voice. =)

  5. So sad for Annie if her dad had to miss her concert. He's a brave man to fight fires. And if it makes her feel any better, there are fires here in the winter too (usually started by fireplaces, candles, and Christmas trees). Enjoy your Australian Christmas weather!

  6. What a sweet, touching story. I felt Annie's pain and, and in the end joy! :-)

  7. Oh, that is just gorgeous, what a beautiful story and very well written!

  8. Aw! I'm so glad it was a false alarm and Annie got to sing for her dad :) Lovely job with your story, Cecilia! I love that you took us away from cold and snow to fire season in Australia - a very different twist for many of us - and you did such a beautiful job of making us feel Annie's emotions - her excitement ("her skin felt too small to fit inside" - great description!), her crushing disappointment, and then her joy! Thanks so much for this wonderful entry and for joining in the holiday contest fun!

  9. I'm so glad it was a false alarm! I didn't know how this could end happily but you pulled it off! Nice job!

  10. This story really touched my heart-- thank you. The Australian Christmas sketch as well! Thank you for bringing me back to my six years of Christmas on the beach in Sydney. :)

  11. Our fire season does not coincide with Christmas, but I could feel Annie's pain and fear. Lovely story!

  12. Such a heart touching story, good luck with your entry!

  13. Very touching story and well written, Cecelia. My dad was the type to throw my brother on his shoulders and cheer for me at school events. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories. Happy Holidays! :0)- Donna Sadd

  14. What a wonderful read. I was really worried for Annie. But then I was really thrilled for her in the end. What a twist for a holiday story. Thank you for posting. Great job!

  15. How sweet. Love the line, "Annie wished just once it could be cold and snowy at Christmas, like it was on the Christmas cards." Great pacing.


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