Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Holiday Story

Much like a snowball rolling downhill, this post started as a snowflake sized idea and grew almost on its own.

I wanted to write a fictional holiday-worthy story. I also wanted a way that this story could be different, really special. I wondered if I could get some friends to write it with me, just a paragraph each. That way we’d all impact but not control the story. Could it work? Would other bloggers even have the time during the holiday season?

I run 5 monthly blog collaborations. Everyone who joins in benefits because we all end up with a piece that posts on our own blog. This would be different. This would be one story to be posted on my blog only.

So I sent out some emails. If 3 or 4 people were willing to join in, I’d go forward, send out a few more emails and try to make a story of it. Within 24 hours 14 talented writers had enthusiastically agreed to gift me with a submission. Like that snowball, this story has grown to the point where I’m breaking it off into a few chapters. I’ve credited the author of each segment and linked to their blogs. I hope you’ll visit them all. Guaranteed you won’t be sorry.

Today I’m honored to share part one of A Holiday Story:

A Holiday Story | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Karen of Baking In A Tornado

She took in a deep breath and watched it escape like smoke into the freezing night air. Twirling as she looked up at the stars in the clear winter sky, she took it all in. It’s a magical and wonderful time of year, holiday time. No matter what you celebrate, this season has something for all. But for her it’s also a melancholy time of year, and it was her attempt to escape these feelings that drew her out into her back yard this cold December night. But, as they tend to do, her worries just followed her outside. She steeled herself, renewed her determination not to drown in the despair that threatened to drag her down. She would not ruin this season for her son. Her mom had flown out to spend a few weeks with them, she wouldn’t squander that time. She turned to go back into the house.

SnowPears | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe

Her mother’s voice, calm and soothing, met her at the doorway. There they were by the roaring fire, her visiting mom and her beautiful young son, snuggled together on the couch under a throw. As she stood silently behind them she saw the book on her mom’s lap, one she hadn’t seen before. Grammy opened it slowly and began to read to her grandson:

“Once upon a time in a cabin far up on the North Pole, Mr. and Mrs. Claus sat down to read the countless letters that children from all over the world had written to Santa.

Most of them were basically wish lists containing dolls, video games, cars, books or sports equipment. One letter however caught their attention. It said:

Dear Santa,
My name is Ryan, I am 7 years old, and I usually love Christmas. This year I am very sad though. My Dad was involved in an accident a couple of months ago. Since then he has been in a coma. Doctors say it is impossible to know if or when my Daddy will regain consciousness.

I know I am asking for a miracle, but if you could do anything so that our family can celebrate the Holidays together, I would be so happy.

I don’t need any gifts, I just want my Daddy to live.

Thank you so much,

Sarah of The Momisodes

Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at her precious little boy, so innocent to the ways of the world. He had a heart that was bigger than most people’s and she knew he was going to ask his Grammy what a coma was, knew he wanted, so badly, for that miracle to be granted. She listened as her mother, throat now thick with her own sadness, continued the story:
“Mrs. Claus looked at her husband with tears streaming down her cheeks. “Oh Nick . . . is there anything, anything at all that we can do?”
“Now Mary, you know I don’t have that kind of power.”
“I know Nick, but surely there must be something” she cried.”

Michelle of Juicebox Confession

Her mother paused, glancing at her grandson, waiting for the question both her daughter and herself were sure would come. The little boy looked up from the book and smiled at his grandmother. Much to their surprise, he didn’t ask about the coma. Instead he smiled and said, “don’t worry, Grammy, Santa can do anything, he just doesn’t realize it yet. You’ll see. Keep reading, please?” The grandmother smiled and turned back to the book, in awe of her grandson’s unwavering faith in the magic of the season. Her daughter wiped away her tears and walked across the room to join them in front of the fire.

The grandmother continued reading as the daughter scooted onto the couch and covered her own legs with the soft blanket. She listened to her mother’s soothing voice and wrapped her arm around her son’s shoulders. He silently nestled his head into her shoulder and sighed.

“He has no clue” she thought to herself. Her husband – his father – had been gone for three years. Three long and lonely years that she spent poring over her son and his happiness rather than allowing herself to mourn this loss. Knowing that this was the time of year when he left them – too soon – made celebrating the happy season even more difficult. She glanced at the mantle above the fireplace where his picture sat. The last picture the three  of them had taken together.

“Are you thinking about Dad, Mommy?”

She looked up at him, his handsome face showing his curiosity, his warm golden brown eyes showing concern. How should she answer his question? Should she skim over it, or go ahead and go there. There, the place she has avoided for three years. She had managed to creatively avoid giving in-depth answers to Damon, in the three years since Wywren had passed away, but she knew he would want and need answers eventually. Staring at his honey brown hair, noting how it curled exactly the same as Wywren’s had, knowing he deserved answers. He deserved to know abut his father, even if it killed her inside to give these answers. Taking a deep breath, knowing the time had come, she answered in a shaky voice, “Yes, I was thinking about him. Do you ever think about him, D?”

With wisdom beyond his years, he looked up at his mother and said “yes I do, but it’s okay we can talk about it later, first let’s finish the story.”

She smiled at him and gave her mother a nod. Grammy turned the page and began to read again:

“Santa was sitting in his office later that night and thinking about the letter. Could he help and if so, how? There was a knock at the door, “come in” he said and in walked his faithful friend Ruben, the head elf. “Santa, we need you immediately on the operation deck.” Santa knew this was serious so he stood up, gathered his jacket and followed Ruben out the door.”

With searching eyes he looked at his grandmother, then his mother and said “hurry and turn the page, what’s going on that they need Santa RIGHT NOW?” This caused a giggle from both of the women seated next to him who loved him so dearly.

Shellybean of Follow me home

As Grammy continued on, she read about how Santa had run to the operation deck only to find elves at a standstill. When asked what the problem was, Ruben announced that they couldn't locate the keys to his sleigh. How would presents get delivered without the sleigh? Santa started laughing his deep, famous chuckle. The fat man in red patted his right pocket, assuring each one that everything this Christmas would be alright. Turning around to get back to business, Santa felt again for the small golden key. Suddenly he had a wonderful idea! Running back to Mrs. Claus, Santa explained how he thought he could help young children like Ryan. That year, the workshop created a set of special ornate golden keys. The keys, tied with glossy red ribbon, would be delivered to children facing struggles that couldn't be mended with toys. With each key came a hand-written letter. The letter started by telling the children that Santa had indeed read their lists. He hoped that the key would help them remember how exceptional they were to write such kind letters to him. When times became especially hard, Santa hoped the children would hold tight to the keys and remember something wonderful about their loved ones. When they could, Santa asked that each child write him back and share a happy memory or two about who they were missing that year. He finished his letters by asking children to share their memories with as many people as they could. Finally, since there weren't enough keys for every person in the world, Santa encouraged these brave children to help others do the same.

Grammy gently closed the book and glanced at her daughter who was softly crying. When she touched Damon's hand, he reacted with a smile. Damon looked into his mother's eyes and said "Later on we should talk about all of the things we remember about daddy. Would that be okay?"

"I would love nothing more" his mother said, feeling as though the best Christmas present had been delivered right then.

Everyone stood up and hugged, each person more tired and excited than they were an hour before. When Damon let go of his grasp, Grammy accidentally dropped the storybook onto the floor. As the two bent to retrieve the book, everyone heard a clink. Grammy reached for her pocket but it was too late.

"Mother? Damon? What is it?" asked the mom, who was now across the room. Grammy sat silent. Damon, looking stunned, turned to his mother and held up a tattered red ribbon. Swinging on the end of it was a bright golden key.

~~~~~~ To continue reading, click on the link below ~~~~~~
A Holiday Story, Part Deux 

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Printable Recipe
4 pears
8 oz white candy melts or vanilla bark
8 colored mini M&Ms
12 brown mini M&Ms
1 green licorice strip (Rips)
1 red licorice strip (Rips)
1 orange starburst
8 mini marshmallows
*Pears should be at room temperature. Wash and completely dry them. Spray a sheet of wax paper with non-stick spray.
Press a mini marshmallow onto the end of 8 toothpicks.
*Cut 8 small pieces out of the starburst and manipulate with your hands to make each one into a small carrot shape. Make sure the wider end is flat.
*Cut 8 small strips out of one red Rips candy to make a mouth.
*Cut a green Rips candy into 4 pieces (long). Cut each piece in half 9/10 of the way up but leave the top together (see picture of the ingredients set up).
*Melt the candy melts or vanilla bark, according to package directions, until completely smooth.
*One at a time, put a pear into bowl with the chocolate and using a spoon to pour chocolate down over all of the pear except the stem. Lift by the stem and scrape the excess white chocolate off of bottom of the pear with a knife. Place onto the wax paper. Repeat with all of the pears.
*Place the green Rips slices around the top of the pear, draping towards the front. Dip the all the other candies in the white chocolate and attach to the pear to form a face and buttons.
*Press the toothpicks into the sides.
*Move the snowmen to the fridge to set completely. Bring to room temperature about 15 minutes before eating.


  1. Damn it.........
    Damn it, damn it, damn it.
    Oh, the tears are flowing right now.......my gosh!

    1. Can't tell you how much I love this story, and all of my talented friends!

  2. This story is AMAZING!!!
    I am LOOOOOOOOOVING the Snow Buddies!!!!! Brilliant and SO stinkin' cute!!!!!!

    1. Love this part of the story, and part two is coming along great too. Thank you for being a part of it all.

  3. Cheers to Chapter One! Another great idea, Karen! I love how the story was pieced together. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this fun process.

    1. I'm so grateful to you and all of the friends who took the time to join in. Such a great story.

  4. So much talent has created this story! I can't wait for part 2! It is really beautiful so far. This was a wonderful idea of yours Karen!

    1. Thank you, Susan. I'm very lucky to call these ladies friends.

  5. I get chills reading this. Thank you for including me. So excited and curious to read the next part.

    1. So glad you like how it's come out so far. Part Deux will not disappoint.

  6. AWESOME!!! I think everybody picked up on the atmosphere of both families, the real one and the one in the book. You guys rock :-)
    Granny was holding the golden key?
    And Karen is making us wait for two weeks now?

    1. Everyone did an amazing job.
      Sorry about the 2 weeks, I need to get the story to everyone else who volunteered to join in and its such a busy time for everyone. Then I have to make some decisions as to whether to go for a part three or end it in part two. Lots to do, the two weeks will fly by for me!

  7. I hate to sound smug, but we rocked it!! I cannot wait for part deux!!

  8. {{SOBS}} I can't even talk right now.

    1. Imagine how I felt every time I got another piece of the story back. It's been quite a ride.

  9. I love it so far. I can't wait to read the rest everyone did such an amazing job!

    1. Thanks, Rena. Part Deux coming in 2 weeks.

    2. Sorry I haven't been around much lately it's been crazy around here!

  10. That is a heartwarming story! ☺️

  11. LOVE this story! And can we talk about how AWESOME those snow pears are?!!!!

    1. Thanks, Monica, I have to admit they're both perfect for the season!

  12. I think I just got some dust in my eye. Damn onions.......

    Those snow pears look awesome!


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