No Deer This Year? Oh DEAR! (Holiday Story Contest Entry)

Santa Claus on sleigh with presentsSusanna Leonard Hill is having another of her wonderful story-writing contests! The Third Annual Pretty Much World Famous Holiday Story Contest is starting today and running through until Friday, December 13th at 11:59 p.m. EST. Finalists will be chosen by Susanna and her elves over the weekend, and voting for the winners will begin on Monday, December 16th.

The rules are simple and may be read in full on Susanna’s blog. Here are the basics: stories must be for kids, they must be no more than 350 words, and they must be about a holiday mishap or potential disaster. There are amazing prizes. To find links to all the entries, go to this post on Susanna’s blog.

It will likely not surprise you to learn that I needed the full 350 words to tell my story. (The title doesn’t count in the final tally.) I had a little trouble with the formatting, so the indents didn’t come through, but at least the spacing keeps the paragraphs separate. Click “Read More” to see what I came up with…

No Deer This Year? Oh DEAR!

“What do you mean they’re all sick?” Santa didn’t sound very jolly. “Tonight is Christmas Eve!”

The Head Elf shook in his shoes ’til their bells jingled. “Sorry, Santa, but it’s true. All the reindeer, even Rudolph, have the flu. The vet says no flying for a week.”

“But the toys MUST be delivered!” Santa started to pace.

Smallest Reindeer heard him. EVERYONE at the North Pole heard him. Smallest scurried into Santa’s office.

“We could do it!” Smallest said.

Santa looked up, down, and around, and finally saw Smallest. “The apprentices? You’re too small. Are you even licensed?”

“We’re nearly licensed. We just need to pass the team flight test, and we could do that today. I’m sure we could. Give us a chance!”

Santa smiled at the little fellow. “Well… Let’s give it a try.” Santa almost looked jolly again.

Smallest scrambled out of the room so quickly his feet nearly tangled. “Hey everybody! Santa needs us! Let’s get going!”

All the apprentice reindeer came galloping. The Flight Instructor got ready to do the test.

One team of eight passed, and another. Then it was Smallest’s team’s turn. They were the tiniest of all. “Come on kids, we can do this!”

They couldn’t get the sleigh off the ground.

“We have to! We just HAVE to!” Smallest said.

They pulled with all their might. The sleigh started to move. Their teeny-tiny feet left the ground. The sleigh was still sliding on the snow.

“PULL!” Smallest cried.

The sleigh left the ground. They climbed higher and higher. They turned around, and landed.


Everyone cheered.

The instructor said, “Not so fast. That sleigh was empty. How will reindeer as teeny-tiny as you pull a sleigh piled high with toys AND Santa Claus?”

Oh no.

Smallest thought. He thought and thought. “Eight teeny-tiny reindeer can’t do it alone, but maybe TWENTY-FOUR can! All three teams!”

The toys were loaded. Santa was waiting. Could they do it?

Twenty-four teeny-tiny reindeer strained. They tugged. They pulllllllllled. They were off the ground!

Merry Christmas, Smallest Reindeer! May you have a good flight!

Santa Claus Sleigh flying over snow town


  1. So sweet, Beth! This proves that teamwork can be the best solution sometimes. 🙂 (Need a bigger landing pad with 24 reindeer though…LOL!)

    1. Thanks, Teresa! (These little guys are so teeny-tiny that they don’t take up much space!)

      1. Hah! Now I’m picturing mice-sized reindeer…

        1. Hmmm… that might be a little TOO teeny-tiny!!!!! lol

  2. What a cute story, Beth. That is adorable!

    1. Thanks, Catherine!

  3. What a great story, Beth! I love it! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Elaine! I had fun writing it.

  4. This is such a sweet story and so imaginative. I love the idea of the teeny tiny reindeer, and what a great ending. Terrific job, Beth!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl! Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Teamwork saves the day. I can just picture all those mini reindeer pulling so hard together. A+

    1. Thanks, Mary! (A+ ? WOW!)

  6. Beth, this is so cute. I LOVE it!! Yes, teamwork is just what we need more of. Thanks for a lovely read.

    1. Thank you, Jill! So glad you enjoyed reading it!

  7. Sweet story! I love Smallest.

    1. Thanks, Cindy! Smallest appreciates your thoughts.

  8. Double dozen’ll do! Good luck, Beth.

    1. Yup, double dozen’ll do it, Julie! Thanks!

  9. Yay! They have the strength of 12 grinches x 2!

    1. Oh, perfectly put, Nancy! Thank you!

  10. This is adorable, Beth. I love the idea of the teeny tiny reindeer.

    1. Thanks, Carrie!

  11. Go team!

    Makes me want to put out those teeny tiny baby carrots next to Santa’s cookie plate!

    Wonderful story Beth!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! And they will appreciate those baby carrots, I assure you!

  12. They thought they could…and they DID IT! Great story, Beth. Happy Holidays! P.S. Something must be going around. The reindeer in my story got sick too! ;0)

    1. Oh, Donna! There definitely must be some sort of reindeer malady going around! I must scurry over and read your story. Thanks for your comments on mine!

  13. All is not lost just because ALL of the reindeer are sick. Yeah!!

    1. Thanks, Christine! I think I should have said all of the regular reindeer — because all of the teeny-tiny ones were apparently just fine!

  14. They thought they could, they thought they could, and they did! Great story to encourage teamwork, Beth!

    1. Thanks, Deborah! They did, indeed!

  15. Beth…what a perfect story for little ones…they will relate to the Smallest Reindeer…hurray for the little ones of the world.:) I love this story…I’m going to read it to my grandson tomorrow night.:)

    1. Oh wow, thank you, Vivian! Hope your grandson enjoyed it!

  16. Ah, the smallest team to the rescue, I am glad to read we will get our presents after all this year.

    1. Yes. Phew! Present-delivering will go on as scheduled. (Listen for the pitter-patter of teeny-tiny feet on your roof on Christmas Eve…)

  17. I love this, Beth! I’m going to read this to my kids when they get home from school.

    1. Thanks, Beverly! Hope your kids enjoyed it!

  18. You really had me routing for them to be successful. Great story!

    1. The teeny tiny reindeer appreciate having you in the cheering section, Michelle! Thanks!

  19. Yay! The Little Reindeer That Could! Excellent story!

    1. YAY! Thanks, Rhythm!

  20. The kids will love this story, Beth! IF the smallest baby brought all that love into the world then anything can happen.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. You’re so right, Clar! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

  21. What a wonderful story Beth! I enjoyed reading it very much 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kim!

  22. This was a great story. The message is clear. “Anything is possible if you believe.” I believe! I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Jackie! Smallest Reindeer agrees with you. “Anything IS possible if you believe.” Even if it seems impossible to everyone else.

  23. AW! Yay for Smallest and all the teeny tiny reindeer! Now THAT is teamwork! What a wonderful, fun story, Beth! I’m so glad the littles were able to pitch in and save Christmas! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday high jinx and shenanigans 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Susanna! I had such fun writing this story. Flying and little ones and Christmas. Fun!

  24. Adorable, Beth! I can so easily picture Smallest and those teeny, tiny reindeer pulling together to deliver the toys. Great lesson on teamwork!

    1. Thank you, Patricia! I enjoyed writing this so much.

  25. Of all the entries I’ve read thus far, yours is my favorite. It has a good plot, a strong main character, and a clever solution. Yay, for Smallest!

    Good luck!

    1. Wow, Thank you, Linda!

  26. What a wonderful teamwork story kids will enjoy too. 🙂

  27. What a sweet little story, Beth! Almost like a Christmas version of the “Little Engine that Could”. Thanks for sharing it!

  28. Reindeer x Math = Super A+ Story!

  29. Oh, as a “recovering” teacher, I love how math saves the day, Beth! Excellent story.

  30. I liked the story, I was rooting for the little guy, so glad the prove they could do it.

  31. Great flow to the story, Beth! Love how Smallest had the biggest and brightest ideas!

  32. Let’s hear it for small people — they are mighty. Loved your story Beth. I kept thinking “we know we can…”

  33. Soooooooooooo clever and cute, Beth! This line cracked me up–“Are you even licensed?”
    Wonderful job!

  34. I like your story, Beth! It is like The Little Engine that Could, only with 24 engines!

  35. This is cute, Beth! Teamwork saves Christmas! 🙂

  36. Go Smallest go! Big in voice and in determination!

    I enjoyed your story–using 24 was very clever. Good luck!

  37. Love the story- the license parts is adorable.

  38. I love Smallest’s self-confidence. He doesn’t hesitate to think maybe he couldn’t do it. Go, Smallest!

  39. a wonderful story of teamwork and belief. thank you

  40. Hi Beth, the imagery you create is wonderful. Just shows, where there is a will there is a way — even when it is the smallest. Merry Christmas.

  41. Fun story–love Smallest’s determination, and the tiny reindeer’s teamwork!

  42. I’m having fun imagining 24 small reindeer. Glad they stepped up to take flight. No one wants Christmas delayed!

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