Promises Are For – 10th Annual Holiday Contest

Once again, deadlines have driven me to create something new. Plus, it’s hard to resist writing a story for Susanna Hill’s 10th Annual Holiday Contest.

The rules:

  1. 250 or fewer words, not including the title
  2. Holiday helpers or helping must be a major theme, not just incidental to the main story
  3. Must be targeted toward kids, ages 12 and under
  4. No illustrations allowed
  5. Must be posted before midnight EST on Wednesday, Dec. 9

So here’s my 248-word entry….

Promises Are For…

by Jilanne Hoffmann

It was two weeks before Christmas,

and Ranger and I were ready.

Dad had promised

to take us to see Santa,

Christmas lights, and his new house.

After breakfast,

we waited. 

Ma graded papers. 

We played mazes and tunnels,


“Cammy and Ranger, please clean up,” Ma said.

We will, we promised. 

But Ma’s phone rang,

and we forgot.

It wasn’t Dad.

We played castles and catapults,


Ma graded more papers.

“Please clean up,” she said.

We will, we promised. 

But then we heard a car in the driveway,

and we forgot. 

It wasn’t Dad.

After dinner, Ma said,

“Our own lights will cheer us up!”

She found the box of decorations,

and sat down with them on the floor.

“I’m sorry your dad didn’t keep his promise.”

“He forgets things,” I said.

“Maybe tomorrow, Ma?” said Ranger.

We sandwiched her in a hug.

“We’ll see.”

When Ma opened the box,

her whole body


“Another tangled mess,” she said, “I need to lie down.”

The bedroom door clicked shut behind her.

“Is Ma okay?” Ranger whispered.

I looked around the room,

and saw what we had forgotten.

So I set Ranger to untangling the lights,

while I picked up our mazes and tunnels.

We built the tree, together,

then picked up our castles, catapults, and ammo.

Finally, we swirled the tree with lights.

As I placed the star on top,

I heard a gasp.

The look on Ma’s face 

said everything.

We had kept our promise.

Happy Holidays!

24 thoughts on “Promises Are For – 10th Annual Holiday Contest

  1. Ste J says:

    Lovely story, and a lesson that even adults need to be reminded of sometimes. The big question is that how do those lights get tangled when they go in the box neatly and are untouched for most of the year?

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