***** This story was a finalist *****
This year, Susanna Hill’s holiday writing contest challenges writers to create a children’s story in 250 words or less about a holiday contest. Sounds easy enough… except I just got my story written a few days before the deadline!
Sometimes ideas are like a warm cup of tea — you have to let them steep for a while. Don’t forget to ask a few taste testers (my critique group) for their opinion. Sometimes you have to add a little more sugar (edit) until it’s just right.
The kettle is whistling, it must be time! Take a sip and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Tree Number Nine
By Lindsey Hobson
Word count 250
Sofie could barely contain her excitement. Today was Noel Knob’s first ever Christmas Tree Decorating Contest!
She had been gathering decorations for weeks.
Berries from the holly bush next door.
Strings of garland strung with white, fluffy popcorn.
Bows made from leftover ribbon.
She packed everything in her backpack and headed to the town square.
There, evergreen trees lined the lawn. The smell of fir, spruce, and pine tickled her nose.
At the sign-in table, Sofie was assigned tree number 9.
She got right to work — a bow here, berries there, garland wrapped around and around, and a big pinecone right on top!
Proudly, she stood beside her tree. But soon her shoulders sagged.
Around her, trees twinkled with tiny lights, dazzled with store-bought decorations, and on top of each tree was a shining star.
She glanced at the ceramic teapot on the prize table and felt her hopes evaporating like steam.
Zipping up her bag, Sofie headed home.
Behind her, the judges were ready to announce the winners.
“Third place goes to… Tree 21, for most decorations!”
Everyone clapped. Sofie kept walking.
“Second place goes to… Tree 7 for most sparkly!”
Everyone cheered. Sofie kept walking.
“And first place goes to… Tree 9 for most creative!”
Everyone celebrated. Stunned, Sofie hurried to the stage.
“Which prize would you like?”
“The teapot, please.”
When she got home, Sofie carefully wrapped the teapot in red and green paper.
Then, she filled out the gift tag —