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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: The Very Best Christmas, Ever
By Carol Slider


“It’s the worst Christmas ever.”

“Hon, you know I was off work five months, and I took a pay cut when they called me back...”

“Yes, I know. But he’s four. He doesn’t understand all that.”

“Well, he’s got presents under the tree. I know they’re not great, but...”

“They’re either cheap or used. Every one of them. A box of crayons and some coloring books from the dollar store. A few puzzles from the clearance aisle.”

“Don’t forget dinosaur play set.”

“Yes, but the box is crumpled, and the plastic is torn. That’s probably why I got it at 75 percent off.”

“There’s the train set. I know it’s been up in Marge’s attic for 15 years, but he’ll never know that.”

“He’ll know. Especially when he sees his cousins this afternoon, and they have all the latest gadgets.”

“Well, he’s got something from your mom. And a card from my mom.”

“My mom always sends clothes. Your mom sends checks, and he won’t understand that.”

“He doesn’t watch a lot of television. Maybe it won’t matter to him.”

“Of course it will! I wanted it to be special... not like this...”


It’s Christmas morning!

I run out to the living room. The tree is all sparkly and bright, and there’s a big pile of presents. Mommy says most of them are for me!

I tear the wrapping off the first present. It’s a huge box of crayons, one that has all the colors! And the next box has a whole bunch of coloring books. I count them: one, two, three, four. Wow!

Then there are three big animal puzzles: one with a tiger, and one with a bear, and one with a horse. I want to put them together right now, but there are more presents to unwrap!

Illinois Grandma sent me a funny card with a reindeer on it. Mommy says that she also sent some money, and I can spend it at the toy store! Idaho Grandma sent me a pair of fuzzy red pajamas with a big dinosaur on them. I love dinosaurs! Mommy says I can wear the pajamas to bed tonight.

Next, Mommy hands me a great big box. I tear off the wrapping, and it’s a dinosaur play set! It has ten dinosaurs, and a dinosaur cave and all sorts of things! I want to open the box and play with it, but Mommy says I have another present to unwrap.

The box is so heavy that Daddy has to lift it for me. I tear off the wrapping, open the box, and find a train set. There are wooden tracks and bridges and all kinds of engines, and Mommy says I can set it up in the living room.

I want to play with the trains and the dinosaurs and the puzzles... there’s so much to do, I can’t decide what to play with first! But before long, it’s time to go visit my cousins, Erick and Hannah.

When I get to their house, my Aunt Sally gives me another present. It’s a great big green furry dinosaur, and I love him. I decide to call him “Bronty,” because he looks like a brontosaurus.

Erick and Hannah got a real car for Christmas! We take turns driving it around the yard until Uncle Paul says it has to be “recharged.” Then we play with some of their other presents until it’s time to eat lunch.

We go home right after lunch, but I’m not sad. I play with my dinosaurs and my trains until bed time. Bed time comes too soon, like always. But I can’t wait to put on my new dinosaur pajamas!


“I think he had a happy day.”

“I wish he hadn’t seen all the things that Paul and Sally bought for their kids. They must have spent a thousand dollars. And I couldn’t believe that silly present Sally gave him. It didn’t have a tag, so I’m sure she re-gifted it. Probably something that Erick and Hannah didn’t want.”

“Hey, Hon, I’m sorry about this. But things will be a lot better next year, I know they will.”

“I certainly hope so.”


I hug Bronty tightly. When I fall asleep, I dream about dinosaurs and train tracks.

It’s been the very best Christmas, ever...

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 12/07/08
This is so sweet. I love the contrast between the parents and the child's point of view. I liked the child's attitude a lot better than his parents. :)
Karlene Jacobsen12/08/08
I loved the opposing views. We "grownups" tend to forget that when we buy the big presents, it's usually the box the present came in they love the most.
Catrina Bradley 12/08/08
Oh, wow! This made me teary. I absolutely love the contrast of between the parents' expectations and the child's actuality. The child's voice is great, and the mother's worry and anxiety is well articulated. Great title, too.
Gregory Kane12/09/08
This is very good. I liked the whiney voice of the mother. And I thought you nailed the voice and vocabulary of the four-year-old just right. Not an easy thing to do at the best of times.
Jan Ackerson 12/09/08
I echo all the kudos above me, and also mention that I love the title, contrasted with the first line. Nice touch.
Sharlyn Guthrie12/11/08
Oh, to be more childlike. Congratulations on your EC!
Sheri Gordon12/11/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is very, very good. Love the contrasting voices. Excellent job with the topic.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/11/08
What a wonderful approach to this story. Well-deserved EC...congratulations!
DiAnna Steele12/11/08
It never ceases to amaze me, the difference between an adult's perception & a child's reality. Gratitude is rarely lost on a child, huh? This story really touched me. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for what we have!