Monday, December 23, 2013


Happy Christmas Eve!!!! Thanks for spending part of your day with us. Hopefully this is a time for rest and relaxation in addition to decking the halls and any last minute gifts you need to procure. Time with family and friends should be full of laughter and good memories. I pray it is for you. I have a gift for you! Due to the holidays, we're extending our time this week! You have until Thursday the 26th at 11:59:59 to get your story in!!!! TWO WHOLE EXTRA DAYS! Merry Christmas.

On to the Festive Award Challenge! In addition to the prompts given to you by the judge, I'm adding an extra challenge: Include as many Christmas Carols as you can, hidden within the text - titles or phrases. Yes, there can be punctuation within the phrase. Specify how many you included next to where you accept the challenge (I wouldn't want to miss any). Then, in a reply to your post list the phrases you included and the song they're from, like this:

"It's lovely weather" - Sleigh Ride
"In the frosty air" - Jingle Bell Rock
"Fall on your knees" - Oh Holy Night

You get the picture. :) (I'm doing it this way so I can see if I can find them all first before I see which ones they were.) So let me hear it!!!!

*Remember, this is OPTIONAL. This challenge shouldn't get in the way of your awesome story. Go check out the judge's prompts below! Go tell me who's invited to this special Christmas dinner!

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST EXTRA TIME this week! Two more days to get your story in! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday! Get it in by the end of the day on the 26th. YAY!

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Charles Short also known as @CharlesWShort. Check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #25 is:

Who invited [Uncle Jasper] to Christmas dinner?

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

most creative use for a water pistol



  1. Uncle Jasper


    "Who invited Uncle Jasper to Christmas dinner?" they'd ask, for he'd turned up again, despite nobody having planned to invite him.

    Uncle Jasper was a jolly, happy soul; some might a little too jolly, his cheeks a little too rosy. Uncle Jasper, you see, was a bit of a lush. Every year he'd bring presents like a little Saint Nick and before long he'd be rocking around the Christmas tree, grabbing anybody he could to dance with him. Oh yes, Uncle Jasper had himself a merry little Christmas all right. Right up until he started stumbling around, speech slurred, bumping into everybody and everything in sight before ralphing up his turkey and passing out.

    Dear old Uncle Jasper; a joy to the world.

    So when he turned up yet again that year everybody silently wished he would melt like frosty the snowman, or that they'd decked the halls with poison ivy and deadly nightshade instead of boughs of holly. Let it snow, they thought; maybe he'd get lost on the way, unless his bulbous erythema-stained hooter illuminated his path like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

    There was no putting it off however. Before long the doorbell rang merrily on high, and there was a loud rapping on the door.

    It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


    217 words

  2. @weylyn42
    499 words
    Special challenge attempted, festive challenge not

    Christmas Spirits

    “Who invited Uncle Jasper to Christmas dinner?”

    Megan’s face paled at the thump on the front door. “I forgot to take his name off the spreadsheet,” she whispered, cringing as the glass panel cracked.

    Anger bubbled up. We’d been so careful, and to be undone by our semi-automated holiday festivities. “Because technology is so convenient” I hissed.

    Tears started to form in Megan’s eyes, but there would be time to deal with later. If we survived.

    “Did all of the guests get out?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.
    She bit her lip, her eyes darting back and forth as she took mental account of the two-dozen or so friends and co-workers that had joined us. Her eyes tightened at the corners, and she gave a small nod. “All except Paula. She wouldn’t leave Lauren’s side – they’re in the attic.”

    I nodded. Paula was good people, and I hoped our messed-up family situation didn’t drive her away from my baby sister. Or get her killed.

    “Where...” the whispered moan sent chills down my spine, and the door rattled again. The frame would crack soon, or the glass.

    Uncle Jasper was a persistent sonnuva bitch in life, and it looked like that hadn’t changed. In the end his mind was still active, but his body had failed him. Unfortunately it looked like that had changed. And with the invitation, he would be able to make it past the threshold.

    I took a deep breath, there had to be something we could do. I wasn’t going to spend Christmas in the hospital, or morgue, because Uncle Jasper didn’t know when to let go.

    “Maybe we should just tell him to go to the light?” Megan asked. I met her eyes, and we both shook our heads – certain there wouldn’t be light for the likes of Jasper.

    “What do we do, then?”

    “Did the Deckers make it tonight?”

    She shook her head. “No babysitter.”

    “Great. I’ll grab Travis’s gift and you get the bottle of Christmas Merlot.”

    Her eyes widened, and she nodded. Bless her, hope had returned to her face, and it bolstered me. I would get us out of this.

    The path to the tree took me past the front door, I debated crawling on my belly, hoping Jasper wouldn’t see the me, but another thump and the wood around a hinge split. I darted to the tree, and he bellowed “WHERE…”

    His form made a terrifying shadow on the frosted glass, and I shook as I pulled the paper from the super-soaker. Megan hissed and rolled the bottle across the floor to me. Not bothering to try to free the toy gun from the cardboard, I poured the sticky-red liquid into the reservoir. It wasn’t holy water, but Lauren had brought it back from the Vatican, and it had been blessed.

    Glass cracked, and a half-decayed hand started fishing around for the knob.

    A quick prayer and I raised the mounted gun.

    I really hated uninvited guests.

  3. Table Talk
    500 Words
    No challenges this time

    “Who invited that scruffy looking stranger to Christmas dinner?” was the question on everybody’s lips tonight. It was the first time the company had seen someone not dressed in white. The stranger’s ragged clothes clung to his plump body, his hair was a snowy white, and the tangled beard rested on his stomach. He sat towards the center of the long table, his shabby attire drawing attention like a sore thumb when compared to the shining white-robed saints surrounding him.

    “What’s his name, Peter?” Adam asked with his pen poised above his clipboard. He was busy checking off names on the attendance sheet.

    “I don’t know,” Peter answered, a little dumbfounded. “But I sure didn’t let him in!”

    “You mean someone sneaked past you at those pearly gates? You better find yourself a new job!” Andrew joked.

    Abraham leaned over to his cousin Lot. “Is he from my side of the family or yours?”

    “Well, we’re all technically your children,” Lot whispered back. Abraham made an “O” with his lips and went back to studying the stranger.

    “Maybe the Alzheimer’s got to Methuselah a little more than we thought?” Onesimus volunteered.

    “No, he’s sitting down there with Noah,” Enoch replied. “He likes learning about the flood. And learning about it. And re-learning about it.”

    “At least old Noah has an audience and it’s not me!” Shamgar chuckled as he polished his oxgoad.

    “Please, Shamgar, not at the dinner table,” Esther chided.

    “I know! David just couldn’t break that ash and sackcloth habit of his!” Abednego exclaimed. “It’s got to be David!”

    Jeremiah pointed over to the angel choir, “David’s over there in the mosh pit.”

    “John the Baptist?” Joseph the Dreamer ventured.

    “I passed him on my way here,” Paul said. “He was catching locusts in the field.”

    Moses rubbed his chin, “He smiles too much to be Elisha.”

    “Then who could it be?” Abigail asked. Mary didn’t offer a guess but pondered all these things in her heart.

    After much contemplation, Solomon rose from his spot at the table and raised his hand for silence. Immediately the whispers hushed and even David stopped his dancing long enough to hear the verdict.

    “It has come to my attention that there is a stranger among us tonight,” Solomon spoke in a quiet, but authoritative, voice. “Now, we know that no one who defies the LORD can enter Heaven.”

    There were murmurs and mutterings of agreement.

    “We also know that only the dead are permitted an audience with the LORD and then saints are given white robes upon arrival.”

    Again, there was agreement.

    “There is only one person I can think of who would be exempt from this rule,” Solomon paused dramatically as one of the angels rolled out a drum roll, “and that is the immortal St. Nicholas!” He turned to the stranger with a smug smile. “Congratulations on your petition being accepted. I hope you enjoy your first Christmas dinner.”

    “Thank you! I’m sure it’ll be heavenly!” St. Nick whooped.

  4. Visitor at Christmas Dinner
    Words: 459
    Twitter: @MissieK
    Special challenge accepted, but not the carol one

    (Note: in Australia, Christmas is in Summer)
    “Who invited Uncle Jasper to Christmas dinner?” I heard my mother exclaim as she surveyed the damage. This year, he had managed to eat a hole out of the top of the gingerbread house, placing my little nephew’s water pistol inside, claiming it was a water feature. He had also taken a bite out of the Christmas cake in a seemingly impossible place, and helped himself to a spoonful of all the salads on the table.

    “At least it’s not as bad as last year,” my Aunt Betty replied. “He nearly tipped over the barbecue.”

    “Good point,” Mum nodded. “But who invited him?” Nobody ever knows the answer to this question.

    The funny thing about Uncle Jasper is he just seems to show up at our Christmas gatherings, and always has. The problem is that no one quite knows how he’s related to us, or how he finds out about location of Christmas dinner.

    Mum thought he was a relative of her dad as Uncle Jasper had been showing up for as long as she could remember, though Grandpa had claimed he wasn’t, he certainly wasn’t in any of the photos I had ever seen.

    “Nooo,” I heard the cries of Jeremy, my nephew, “That’s mine!” he was pointing at his water pistol. “Mine.” He stamped his foot. It was one of the warmest Christmas day’s we’d had in around 15 years, and Jeremy wanted to join in with his cousins and their water fight. I reached out to get his water pistol and handed it to him. His tears turned to smiles as he ran out to join in the fun.

    “That was a load bearing water pistol,” the smell of alcohol told me that it was Uncle Jasper standing behind me. I scrunched up my nose and tried not to be rude. “See?” He reached over and knocked over the gingerbread house so it was no longer sanding, taking a piece before moving away. “Delicious.” I heard him say as he went down the hallway to annoy someone else.

    Watching his back, I thought about the chaos that seemed to follow him every year. It wasn’t only the food. One year, Uncle Jasper had managed to make the Christmas tree fall over, and another year he had been nearly electrocuted playing with the Christmas lights in the front window.

    His steps were slow and laboured as he shuffled down the hall. He always looked dirty and smelled strongly of alcohol, but he certainly made Christmas dinners memorable. I smiled to myself; Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without Uncle Jasper. The mystery of where he came from would have to wait for another day. For today, I was looking forward to next drama that would involve Uncle Jasper.

  5. lwm
    slmartin at
    no challenges
    295 words

    Uncle Jasper

    "Who invited Uncle Jasper for Christmas dinner?" the old man muttered. "Who? Who?!"

    He was sure he had been invited. He was always invited. He had risen early and dressed for the day, anticipating the occasion.

    As he paced a small pattern in his single room he reached into the recesses of his scattering memories of family dinners past. With no children of his own, he had doted on his nieces and nephews, and later, on their children. He could see them in his mind, running and playing. The sounds of laughter and teasing echoed in his head. What a wonderful day it always was.

    As the clock ticked past two he wondered again, "Who invited Uncle Jasper for Christmas dinner? They should be here by now to pick me up. I don't want to miss a minute of the festivities."

    His pacing changed to shuffling, and eventually he was too tired for even that. He wearily slumped into a chair. He was sure he could smell the ham baking and the rolls warming. His mouth watered thinking of the pecan pie that surely was for dessert.

    As evening approached, he realized he was missing the sparkling cider. There was always sparkling cider to end the evening. Again he asked himself, "Who invited Uncle Jasper for Christmas dinner?" Still, he drew a blank, not finding a name to answer the question.

    Exhausted from his day, the old man removed his clothes, dropping them to the floor. He climbed into his bed and switched off the lamp. A faint glow from the street light outside peeked through a gap in the curtains and fell on his face. As a single tear trickled down his cheek he wondered once again, "Who invited Uncle Jasper to Christmas dinner?"

  6. "The Angels Proclaim It Again and Again"
    Special Challenge: Declined (for once)
    Festive Award Challenge: Embraced (in many places)
    500 words

    “Who invited Uncle Jasper to Christmas dinner?”

    I looked down to see who had spoken, tugging on my skirt as he did. “Now Timothy, that’s no way to speak of your uncle.”

    Timothy shoved one of his thumbs in his mouth and proceeded to talk around it, “My mommy says Uncle Jasper is a nuisance who needs to stop playing around and join the progressives.”

    My eyes widened. “My, those are very big words, for you and your mother both. Your uncle is a very nice man. He celebrates the true spirit of Christmas.”

    Dinner bells rang out from the dining room, tinkling lightly. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep. “Dinnertime” said Cousin Martha.

    I led Timothy to his mother at one end of the table and sat down at the other. My mouth watered at the scent of the gorgeous ham at the center of the table. My brother, James, passed me each dish of food in turn. I took a bit of everything—ham, potatoes, green beans, duck, buttered rolls—before passing it along to my sister, Gloria. A smile forced its way to my lips.

    “Jasper, I believe you said you wanted to do the blessing this year?” said Cousin Martha.

    Uncle Jasper smoothed his thin mustache and stood. “Joy to the world! The lord is come. It is Christmas yet again. Thank you Lord for that first Christmas, so many years ago. Behold him come, offspring of a Virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate Deity, pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.

    “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me for ever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care and take us to Heaven to live with Thee there.”

    I heard Timothy’s mother try to hide a scoff under her breath.

    Uncle Jasper seemed to respond in turn, beginning to sing his blessing. “Peace on earth, goodwill to men, from heaven’s all-gracious King. He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love. And wonders of his love. Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming race, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”

    Uncle Jasper’s words went solemn. “Now we all know what happened to your son, oh Lord. And we know that some today don’t care about his great sacrifice. But I have one more carol for you, Lord. God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men. We may be forgetting what Christmas is all about, but the angels proclaim it again and again: peace on earth, goodwill to men. Amen.” He sat down and began to eat, without another word.

    Timothy’s mother was burying her face in her hands, sobbing. I saw her through my own tears.

    1. Quotes from "Away In a Manger," "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear," "Joy to the World," and "Silent Night."