"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

12/9/14

A Wild Aussie Christmas - A Holiday Contest Entry

I've spent the past week or so writing this story for Susanna Hill's 4th Annual Holiday Contest (by the way, I "met" Susanna a year ago with the 3rd Annual Contest, which I also entered). The requirements: 350 words or less, written for children (age 12 or under), and where wild weather impacts the holiday.

I will probably (at some point) rework this a bit to make it more of a picture book-type manuscript - so I would love any feedback along those lines. Hope you enjoy the story (and that I didn't make too much of a fool of myself!).

A Wild Aussie Christmas
By Joanne Sher

December in Australia is very different than America. Instead of snowmen, they build sand castles. Rather than sitting by the fire, they get a tan.

December is summer Down Under, and it's often sweltering on Christmas day. But one Aussie Christmastime was very unusual indeed.

The Durvan family was preparing for their annual Christmas eve barbecue on the beach – making dessert and salad and preparing chicken to grill – when little Debbie Durvan darted into the kitchen.

“Mum! Dad! It's snowing outside. It looks like a snowstorm!”

“Snowing? In December? It can't be!”

“Come look.”

And they did.

“Snow for Christmas. Imagine that,” Mum said.

Dad couldn't believe it. “What now? We certainly can't have our family Christmas barbie, or pile the presents under a palm tree in weather like this.”

Mum sighed. “We'll have to try something different.”

“But we've always had a beach Christmas.” Debbie crossed her arms. “It'll be weird to do anything else.”

“Maybe,” Dad said,” but it might be lots of fun. And perhaps we'll find a new tradition.”

“I know!” Debbie piped in. “Instead of making sandcastles, we can build snowmen. And we can sled instead of surf.”

Mum nodded. “And we'll have a fire in the fireplace instead of on the barbie.”

“Of course. I'm guessing he won't be in his swimmers this year, though,” Dad said. “And he might need a snowboard to get here.”

“But how about all the presents?” Debbie asked.

“Oh – maybe a sleigh.” Mom piped in.

Pop's eyes twinkled. “Maybe.”

“It sure will be cold for caroling by candlelight,” Debbie added.

Pop pat Debbie on the back. “We can just wear our winter gear.”

“But what about poor baby Jesus? Won't he be freezing out in the manger this year?” Debbie's eyes dropped.

Mum smiled. “He will have His love to keep Him warm. And besides, He grew up a VERY long time ago. You know that – right?”

Debbie nodded. “And He loves us whatever the weather.”

Even during an Aussie Christmas blizzard.

 **

Make sure you stop by Susanna's blog and read some of the other entries.




My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

30 comments:

  1. Hi Joanne, I love the Psalm you quote on your sight. And, no you definitely didn't make a fool of yourself. I love all of Debbie's worries and how she works her way through giving up traditions, presents and finally to the reason for the season. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Teresa! You are such an encouragement :)

      Delete
  2. Christmas in Australia...what fun! How sweet of Debbie to remember the baby Jesus in the manger. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love you Aussie story -- it's nice to hear a positive spin on a warm weather Christmas and a huge turn of event. Clever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Patricia - was a fun one to ponder (and write!)

      Delete
  4. So glad to see all of Debbie's concerns ironed out. I get the sense that that snowy Christmas is pretty special to her in the end. Yay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I think too, Alayne! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  5. I enjoyed the comparisons of an Aussie Christmas with one in the north. And I loved how you incorporated the true meaning of Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Tina! Glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  6. JoAnne, What a great spin. I love how you let others know how Aussie's celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tracey! Was a fun one to come up with for sure :) Appreciate you stopping by.

      Delete
  7. What a fun idea. Very thoughtful too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Johnell - for the encouragement AND for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. This is a nice turnaround from the usual Aussie Christmas, I would guess. :) Nicely told.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lynn :) I appreciate your encouragement!

      Delete
  9. Good Aussie tale and great comparison - I would try to carry the comparison of the 2 Christmases even further in your PB. I enjoyed reading this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Kathy! I definitely plan to expand the comparisons (and do more research!) for the PB version. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  10. Nice twist on the Christmas in the tropics theme. Very nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sylvia! I appreciate your encouragement!

      Delete
  11. Love your reverse twist on wild weather for Christmas, Joanne! Very convincingly delivered from the POV of a child whose Christmas reality is so very different from what we experience here in the Northeast. Love that Debbie was worried about baby Jesus being cold - how thoughtful, and what a kind heart... what Christmas is all about :) Thanks so much for joining the holiday fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so VERY much, Susanna, for motivating me to write it - and for your encouragement. You are a gem. :)

      Delete
  12. We hear lots of stories of kids who want snow for Christmas, so this was neat to hear a child that misses the sandy traditions instead. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carrie - it was definitely fun to turn American kids' wishes on their head :). I appreciate you stopping by!

      Delete
  13. Has it ever snowed in Oz at Christmas, I know we always get a cold patch early december and sometimes it snows for a few minutes but Christmas? found one "In 2006, a snowstorm hit the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Victoria, arriving on Christmas morning and bringing nearly 30 cm (12 in) of snow in higher areas. This was an especially rare event because it occurred during Australia's typically warm summer."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow - cool, Cecelia! Thanks for sharing! I appreciate you stopping by!

      Delete
  14. I love that you wrote this from the down under perspective. Great twist. Have a Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Mishka! It was a fun idea to play around with. I appreciate your encouragement.

      Delete
  15. Joanne...I know i've visited here before...but perhaps you have a new banner or I didn't notice it before...I LOVE the Bible verse about writers...and LOVE the Jane Yolen quote...it struck a chord with me...so thank you for that.
    Also, thank you for a wonderful Aussie Christmas story...it's fun hearing how other parts of the world celebrate Christmas...glad the family were able to go with the flow...I mean, snow. ;) ;) ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't a new banner, Vivian - you just noticed. I THINK the Jane Yolen quote is from PiBoIdMo LAST year - and I've read that verse so very many times, but only in the past year or so did I make the connection. Guess I'm slow :)

      Thanks also for the encouragement. I SO appreciate it!

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts - please share them!


  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009. Design expanded and personalized by PattyWysong.com 2011.

Back to TOP