If you follow this blog at all, you know that I love writing challenges and contests. For a picture book writer, the challenge of having to write with a set word count is very useful training. It’s amazing what you can do with just 50 words, or 100 . . . or, in today’s contest story, 250. Because it’s time for The 9th Annual Holiday Story Contest!
Here’s my entry: The Taste of Christmas.
Shopping downtown was like wandering through a holiday carnival. So much to see! Lights decked every signpost. Banners hung across the street.
So much to hear, too! Musicians played on street corners. Bells jingled from many of the doors.
Good smells floated everywhere. Food trucks filled the air with savory odors, and the candle shop smelled like every good winter scent mixed together.
Camille was full of Christmas joy. Her brother? Not so much.
“Mom,” Aiden whined, “I’m COLD.”
“Almost done,” said Mom. “We’ll have hot chocolate when we get home.”
But there was no hot chocolate mix in the pantry.
Aiden pouted. Camille pondered. “Isn’t there some other way we could make it?”
“I think you can use baking cocoa, but I’ve never done it. What if I just make hot tea instead?”
“It has to be hot chocolate,” said Aiden.
“We can read directions,” Camille said. “Let’s try it!”
Aiden found the baking cocoa. “There’s a recipe here on the back.”
Together they measured water and sugar, a scoop of cocoa, a pinch of salt. Mom put the saucepan on the stove.
“A watched pot never boils,” Mom warned. But they watched anyway . . . and eventually the mixture boiled. Time to add milk!
Finally, Mom measured out tiny spoonfuls of vanilla and peppermint. Whisking it was fun.
“All done!” Mom poured out three cups.
“Sweet,” said Aiden. “We should make it this way all the time.”
“It tastes like Christmas,” Camille said. “It’s perfect.”