The The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!! asks us to "write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster" - all in 350 words or less.
I hope that you will enjoy this quiet, sentimental story of a Christmas Eve that is a bit different than usual, inspired by my own family traditions and memories of this special night.
A DARK NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
By Cindy Williams Schrauben
Hannah's heart is flip-flopping.
She can hardly wait!
It's Christmas Eve... the best night of the whole year
and she doesn't want it to change... ever!
At 8:00 sharp, they will plug in the tree and oooh-aaaah at the beautiful colors.
Her sister, Sammy, is making cocoa,
Momma is baking cookies
and Daddy is starting a fire.
Hannah dreams about the grand finale when she will dance and spin in the twinkly lights.
When she thinks her heart might burst with joy, the party countdown begins.
But, everything goes dark before they get to zero.
Everyone is busy now, because nothing's the same.
Hannah curls up on the floor, because her heart hurts.
Then, she hear it...
"Merry Christmas," they all yell.
Just like every other year,
they open the Christmas Eve box, first.
Everyone is excited, even though they know what's inside....
Christmas music and books,
a new ornament
and cozy new jammies.
Everyone puts them on, because it's the party's required attire.
They hang their stockings,
adorn the tree with special memories,
and place the angel, carefully, on the top.
This year, they drink cold cocoa with hard marshmallows
and eat gooey half-baked cookies.
The girls smile, because they taste pretty good that way.
But, the tree isn't sparkling and there's no music for dancing.
Just in time, Daddy shines a million flashlights on the tree and Momma starts to sing.
This performance will be different, because there are stage lights and live music.
Hannah and Sammy plié and whirl, pirouette and twirl, until they collapse to the floor, because they can't move another inch.
The lights come back on, freezing everyone in their places.
Hannah turns the lights off quickly, because this dark night before Christmas is perfect.
As they snuggle up by the fire for a story, she says, "don't forget to call the power company and schedule a black-out for next year!"
And, every heart feels warm.