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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: Seven Letters For Christmas
By Sara Harricharan
10/29/08


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I dug the first envelope out of the velvet box and handed it to my niece sitting expectantly at my feet. She squinted at the childish scrawl on the flap. “Did you really write this, Aunty?”

There were snowmen stickers decorating the front, and plenty of glue and glitter on the back. I hid a smile as she ripped open the flap, eager to read the letter within. “Yes, kiddo, I did.”

I could barely remember writing it, but I did remember the tradition behind it, which had prompted a story and to prove my point, I’d retrieved my old Christmas capsule.

“Wow.” Nessa breathed. “You wrote like me.”

“I wasn’t always thirty you know.” I retorted, leaning forward to read over her shoulder. The memory fuzzed then cleared in my head.

“Mama? What should I write?”

“I don’t know, baby. Write anything you like.”

“Anything?”

She kissed my forehead. “Anything.”

“Can I use glitter?”

“Mmm-hmm.”

I squeezed out giant gobs of glue and piled mounds of glitter on it.


“Wow!” Nessa folded the letter and handed it back. “Why'd you write these?”

“Well, a long time ago, my Mom, your grandmother, dreamed up the brilliant
idea of a Christmas time capsule, but only with letters. The seven days before Christmas, we’d all sit down to write letters and-”

“Even my Mom?” Her pre-teen face scrunched into a frown. “Mom never writes anything if she can help it!”

I laughed. “Well, in this case, she couldn’t. Your grandmother wasn’t letting anyone out of this activity. We each had to write seven letters in that last week. Then she’d put it in this box and in ten years, we were allowed to open them. This is my box.”

“So Mom has a box too?” Nessa watched as I tucked the letter carefully inside the box. “Can I make one?”

“Well…it’s really up to you.” I hesitated. “and you would have to follow the rules, you couldn’t open it until ten years from today.”

Nessa shrugged. “That’s fine. This is really cool. I mean, you sound just like me, but smarter in that letter.”

“Smarter?” I perked an eyebrow.

“You know,” She half-shrugged. “Different. More grown-up. You wrote a real letter.”

“Ah. Right.” I closed the box, uncurling from my warm spot on the sofa. “You really want to do this?”

“Yeah…it’d be something different than the whole presents and church thing.” Nessa fiddled with her French braid.

“I didn’t always write them to myself, you know.” I shifted to my feet and beckoned to her.

“You didn’t? Then who’d you write to?”

“God.” I smiled at her puzzlement. “I’ll explain. Come along, niece of mine.”

Seven days to Christmas.

“Aunt Sera, do you have any more glitter?” Nessa held up a super-sparkly sheet of paper. “I ran out around the edges.

Six days to Christmas.

“Aunt Sera, this gel pen doesn’t work!” Nessa tapped it against the table. “It’s stuck!’

Five days to Christmas.

“Aunt Sera, can I read some of your other old letters?” Nessa begged. “I’m kinda stuck.”

Four days to Christmas.

“Awww! Do I have to write another letter?” The whine filtered through the house. “I don’t know what else to write!”

Three days to Christmas.

“This is so unfair! I don’t have anything to write about.” Her lower lip stuck out. “Aunt Sera!”

Two days to Christmas.

“It’s only one letter after this one, right?” She licked the flap and sealed it shut. “Goody. I don’t wanna right another letter as long as I live!”

Christmas Eve

“Aunt Sera…didn’t you write your letter to God on Christmas eve? Why’d you pick that day?”

Christmas Day
“Aunt Sera…can I write one more letter?”

Copyright 2008


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This article has been read 719 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 11/02/08
I liked the creative idea behind this story. This piece seems to be missing something, though. Maybe bits of the letter the aunt wrote or that the niece is trying to write. I can see this piece being developed some more.
Karlene Jacobsen 11/03/08
I agree, this is a well-written story, although I found myself wondering what was written in Aunt Sera's letters.
Joanne Sher 11/04/08
I REALLY hope you expand this, sweetie! I love how you show her attitude changing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/05/08
You have a wonderful beginning and could definitely expand this. I could so see you as the "glitter" aunt! You developed your characters well.
Laury Hubrich 11/05/08
Love this! Wonderful idea.
Yvonne Blake 11/05/08
What a great idea! I wanted a peek at one of those letters. Is this based on a true tradition, or one you hope to start?
Thanks for sharing this.
Dee Yoder 11/05/08
Wouldn't it be fun to do this and then to look back through all the years? My mom writes about each Christmas on the back of one Christmas card each year...it's so fun to read what we had for dinner, the guests, etc. Great idea in this story!
LauraLee Shaw11/06/08
What a sweet tradition. I wish I had thought of it when my kids were smaller. No time like the present.