Susanna Leonard Hill’s Pretty Much World Famous 2nd Annual Holiday Writing Contest

Fall down on the iceEvery now and then, much to her readers’ delight, Susanna Leonard Hill holds a writing contest on her blog. The entries are always a joy to read, and the prizes are pretty much amazing (this time it’s picture book manuscript critiques!). This is the first time I’ve entered one of these contests… and I want to say right now, I had a lot of fun writing this entry!

The rules are thus (copied and pasted from Susanna’s blog — follow that link for the linky list to all the entries): Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing through the [any substance you choose] in a [conveyance of any kind].”  For example, “Dashing through the sand in a two-wheeled donkey cart” or “Sloshing through the swamp in a green and white canoe” or “Flying through the air in a striped hot air balloon…”  You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂  But “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” is completely acceptable too – whatever works for you 🙂  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet,  religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.

So… here I go, verb-of-my-choicing through the any-substance-I-choose…

New Skates Please,  Santa!

by Beth Stilborn (264 words)

Wobbling on the ice
In my sister’s worn-out skates,
I might as well be wearing
Great big wooden crates!
The blades are really dull,
They’re too big for my feet,
and when I try to glide along
I end up on my seat!

Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.

My friends all have new skates
They glide around with ease
While I just watch them swish right by
Me, fallen on my knees.
It’s almost Christmas Eve,
I’ve wished upon a star,
I hope that Santa hears my plea
And brings skates from afar.

Scrape, scrape, scrape,
Skid, skid, skid,
I do a crazy dance,
I can never learn to skate
While sitting on my pants!
Thump, thump, splat,
Ow, ow, drat,
Falling’s not much fun,
I’d really rather glide and twirl
And whirl like everyone.

The presents are unwrapped,
No shiny skates in sight,
Just sweaters, hats, and oranges —
but what about tonight?
My sis hands me a box
and much to my surprise
Bright shiny skates, the kind I wished,
And look! They’re just my size!

Swish, swish, swish,
Zip, zip, zoom,
My skates are really fast,
I can whirl and twirl all day
And never be outclassed.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh,
Jump, twirl, spin,
Across the ice I glide,
This is better than I dreamed,
I’ll never go inside!


  1. Oh, Beth! I’m so glad you finally joined in for one of these contests! This is just terrific! I love the whole concept, the skate noises are delightful, “I can never learn to skate while sitting on my pants” – hahahahaha! You have beautifully described the frustration of any sibling coping with hand-me-downs in a wonderful holiday story! Great job! Thanks for playing along 🙂

    1. P.S. I added your link to the list since I’m up, in case anyone happens along 🙂

      1. Thanks very much for doing that!

    2. Thanks, Susanna! Thanks for such a fun contest to play along with!

  2. Beth, I loved how you changed the refrain at the end to match the jubilation of getting new skates! What a fun read.

  3. Great meter and rhyme, Beth, to go with this very fun entry. You told a whole story here from frustration to jubilation. I love it!

    1. Thanks, Joanna! It was a lot of fun to write, once it started singing itself in my head!

  4. Yes! Nice meter – this one was the easiest to sing! (there, my secret is out, I have been singing most of the entries out loud 🙂 ) I had a wonderful pair of too-big-not-very-sharp-skates growing up and would skate on the puddles-turned-ice in front of my house. Skating has been a love ever since.

    1. My “secret” is that I sing the words onto the tune as I write. That’s how I write hymn texts, as well. Glad you found my lyrics easy to sing! YAY! And I loved your skating story!

  5. Delightful, Beth! I also had to borrow skates…my brother’s! Splat!

    1. Splat indeed! Boys’ skates are tricky. no picks on the ends of the blades to help you push off, or stop. Thanks, Linda!

  6. Beth, this is marvelous! I sang the whole thing without a hitch – and I love the pants line, too. 🙂 So very good – brava! Encore!

    1. Thanks, Renee! Glad you were able to sing it without stumbling or landing on your pants! *curtsies at the sound of brava!*

  7. Love your onomatopoeia! This rinds me of how I felt about my hockey stick, though I never did get a new one!

  8. Oh how fun it was to sing these lines. When I finished, I realized I had been smiling the whole while. Just delightful, Beth! DELIGHTFUL! Jump, twirl, spin…

    1. So glad to have brought a smile to your face, Pam! And glad you sang along! Thank you.

  9. Thanks for the smiles and chuckles, Beth. This story is so cute and clever. I love the action your words have created. The happy ending is perfect.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the smiles and chuckles. (There used to be a brand of chocolates here in Canada called “Smiles and Chuckles” — I’d forgotten about them!) Thanks, Alayne!

  10. Your word choice here is fantastic! My favorite is the refrain:
    I can never learn to skate
    While sitting on my pants!
    Thump, thump, splat,
    Ow, ow, drat,

    You know you’re doing something write when your reader is giggling out loud 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you got the giggles from my poem!

  11. Beth that is adorable and the meter is perfect. Crates for skates is a really neat story line. Nice one!

    1. Thanks, Catherine! I had fun writing this!

  12. Nice job, Beth! Glad she got her skates.

  13. I LOVE –
    “Thump, thump, splat,
    Ow, ow, drat”
    Great entry! I am glad it has a happy ending. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Erik! I had fun with those lines! 🙂

  14. Beth…this is fantastic!!! Great rhyme…and I love the way you expressed the mc’s frustration with skating with old ill-fitting skates…and then…a wish come true…a dream made real…new skates that fit…and now she can twirl and whirl with the others. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Vivian! This was such fun… almost made me wish for skates again. Almost.

  15. This is wonderful! I love the storyline of hand-me-down skates and then the surprise of a new pair. Your rhyme amazed me, it was so spot on. Great job!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! (I’m very persnickety about rhyming!)

  16. What a cute story about hand-me-down skates. Many kids can relate to that. Love the changing refrain. Very clever entry.

    1. Thanks, Pat! It was fun! (Since I had no brothers or sisters, hand-me-downs were rare for me, and I considered them a joyous treasure… not that I ever had hand-me-down skates. I suspect I’d have thought differently if I always had to wear hand-me-downs!)

  17. Yes this is very cleverly done. Loved the hand-me-down skates. Reminds me of my time in Toronto learning to ice skate in the town center. I was litterly dragged around by our friends. Photos of the time look real funny….lol. You are a whizz at this!

    1. Thanks, Diane! I’m picturing you on skates… must have been “fun”!

  18. Terrific story, Beth. Great images & I can just hear the scraping, skidding & swooshing. Can’t believe it’s your first entry to one of Susanna’s contests.

    1. Thanks, Patricia! I don’t know why I’ve never entered before… I’ll certainly attempt it again, now that I know how much fun it is!

  19. Love it. Wonderful job. Great word choices!

    1. Thanks, Darshana!

  20. So fun, Beth! I’m in awe of your creativity at this time of the year when it seems like the to-do list is extra-long. Good luck.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I don’t have as long a to-do list as most others do. That helps.

  21. This is wonderful, Beth. It’s a great idea that kids can really identify with, and your meter and rhyme were wonderful. Great!

    1. Thanks, Carrie!

  22. Fun story, Beth. I love your choice of words and especially the onomatopoeia. Perfect rhyme and meter too!

    1. Thanks, Margaret!

  23. This is SOOOO FUNNY! Having grown up on skates the Ohhhhhh, Thump, thump, splat, Ow, ow, drat, is right on! Thank you for creating such a fun and beautiful story!

    1. Thanks so much, Erika!

  24. Darling! Congrats on making the finals. 😀

  25. This is so delightful!! How clever you are! (We don’t know each other, but I just wanted you to know this will generate lots of smiles, I’m sure.)

    1. Thanks so much, Heather, and thanks for visiting!

  26. My sisters and I grew up skating on our ponds, so I can truly picture your story! Great rhyming Beth!
    And…congrats on the finals 🙂

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