So tomorrow I decided to teach something fun. It’s nearly the end of the semester and the past month has been incredibly grueling. That’s why it’s time for something fun. What I am going to teach? Well, I’m going to lead the kids in a creative writing exercise. It’ll be a hoot. I’m almost sure of it. I came up with a prompt and then I wrote a sample. Granted, my sample is a bit inventive, but you know, that’s ok. I’m sure my students will come up with some equally inventive stories in class. Enjoy!
Here’s the prompt:
You’re on your way to your grandmother’s house for Christmas dinner. Your car/horse/train breaks down. Write a story of what happens next.
And here is my story:
I have a story to tell you. It’s about one of my favorite holidays, Christmas. Christmas was always a holiday I loved. I loved the music, the food, the stockings, the fun, the games. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love, except one Christmas when I was eight years old. It was a really snowy Christmas. My parents had walked skied over to our grandparents’ house with their cross-country skis. But my little sister and I had begged to stay later. We had a huge surprise for our grandma. We’d made her a Christmas wreath out of twigs from our backyard and glued red holly berries to it in just the right places. We hadn’t shown our parents; we weren’t supposed to pick those berries, so we fashioned our entire trip to Grandma’s house so that our parents wouldn’t be able to punish us before we gave her the present. That way, there’s no way we would get in trouble. It was almost two when we left our house. We were late. I loaded my five-year-old sister in our little red wagon with the wreath and started pulling. It was hard to pull that wagon in the snow. We’d barely gotten through the beginning of the woods whenthe wheels got completely stuck. I made Taylor (that’s my sister by the way) get out of the wagon and help me pull, but it was not use. She ended up crying.
“Come on!” I said after about five minutes of trying to calm her down. I put the wreath around my head and started walking. She ran after me but face-planted in the snow. She started crying harder. That’s when I looked up and saw it. There was a gigantic gingerbread house up to the left of the path.
“Taylor, look!” I shouted. She looked up and her eyes filled with wonder. We ran to the front door. I pulled my glove off when we approached and touched the white cream on the side of the front door. “Is it real?” I asked before pulling the finger back up to my nose and spelling it. I looked over to see Taylor licking the house with her tongue. “GROSS!” I screamed.
“Uh, uh!” she smiled. “This taste good.”
She wasn’t dead yet so I tried the white stuff. It was so good. I grabbed another handful and put it in my mouth. Taylor pushed open the front door. There was a fire inside and a huge table full of cookies and sweets. There was a big black pot over the fire. I walked over to it, wondering if it was a witch’s potion. It smelled like baked potato and looked like a creamy chowder. Taylor ran up to the pot. “Yummy!” She grabbed a spoon and took a bite. I watched her for a minute before following her lead. I tasted bacon, cheese, potato, sour cream, green onion. It was delicious. “This is just like Grandma’s soup,” I said.
Taylor looked over at me. “Grandma waits on us,” tears started to form in her beady eyes.
“Let’s go,” I said, heading out the door.
When we stepped out of the gingerbread house, we weren’t in the woods anymore. “What the-“ I started. This does not make any sense, I thought. I turned in a full circle. We were in the middle of a bunch of tall buildings.
“City?” Taylor asked. For being five, she didn’t come up with a whole lot of interesting things to say, but that was okay. At least she wasn’t like my annoying cousin, Troy. He never shut up about dinosaurs.
I grabbed Taylor’s hand and walked towards the tallest building. It was the only one that looked friendly. All the rest were silvery-gray. This one was bright red and had a group of Christmas carolers out front singing White Christmas. When I opened the door, they all stopped to stare at me. I looked back at them but didn’t say anything. I needed help and their bushy eyebrows and freaky hats made me want to find a different adult to talk to. But once inside, I realized why everyone was looking at me so funny. This was Santa’s workshop. There were little elves rushing everywhere. “We missed Gumdrop Lane!” one of them shouted into his walkie-talkie. Taylor was so excited. “This is awesome,” she said. I closed my eyes and tapped my shoes together. But when I opened them up, I was still there. “This makes no sense,” I muttered. I knew that Santa didn’t exist. My Auntie Bellatrix had told me so.
But as I looked left to right, I saw that there were a lot elves doing serious recon work. How had they missed houses and streets? They don’t visit houses and streets. They’re fictional, I screamed in my head. But then right in front of me, I saw him. It was the big fat guy in his big red suit. I marched toward him. I knew he wasn’t Santa, but he was the adult I saw and I was late for Christmas dinner. “Hey you!” I started. “We’re late for Grandma’s house. Can you help us get there?”
“Ho, ho, ho,” he said, handing a candy cane to me and one to Taylor. I rolled my eyes at this. “Little girls, I have much work to do. My elves forgot to write a few names on my list this year. If you come with us, we can take you there after we run a few errands.” I saw no other option so I agreed. Granted, my mom always said, “don’t talk to strangers,” but this guy was Santa. No creeps dress up as Santa. I’ve been to Macy’s. They only hire the best.
Taylor, of course, stuffed her candy cane in her mouth and befriended the first elf she saw. Her little elf friend came with us in the sleigh. He had to though. He was an old elf and in retrospect, I’m pretty sure he had some sort of briefcase thing with him that had legal documents, ensuring that Santa didn’t do anything unSantalike.
The stop was brief. The old guy in the red suit actually went to the roof and then climbed down the side of the house and rang the doorbell. He was fat. He couldn’t climb down the chimney. But after that stop, the sleigh took us to Grandma’s house. Did I mention that the sleigh had no reindeer but rather a pack of Huskies drove it? I laughed at this. Taylor didn’t. She was full of questions, curious why this wasn’t like the poem mom read us last night. I made up a quick lie. At eight, I was inventive.
So then the fat guy dropped us off. Grandma was cool with everything. We were only five minutes late. And she loved her wreath. For some reason, when I tell the story now, Taylor doesn’t remember it. But I do. I remember the weirdness that was that Christmas and I’m just glad that my parents weren’t mad about the holly berries.