Not-So-Merry Sickmas

This is the third year for Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful holiday writing contest. This year’s theme, which requires a word count of 350 or less, is a holiday mix-up or near-disaster. The ending’s not what I’d like it to be, but hey, I was working with a deadline. Without further ado, I offer my 316 word story:

Not-So-Merry Sickmas!


Our Christmas is ruined.

We’re sick with the flu.

We’re stuck here together.

There’s nothing to do.


Mom’s got a bad headache.

Dad sneezes in threes.

Our breathing is noisy.

We snore and we wheeze.


We’ve all got the sniffles.

Our foreheads are hot.

I spent the night coughing,

Then barfed in a pot.


We never got ready.

Halls didn’t get decked.

We couldn’t go shopping.

This holiday’s wrecked.


The turkey’s still frozen.

The eggnog‘s gone bad.

We didn’t bake cookies.

I’m mad and I’m sad!


The cousins aren’t coming!

They called to confirm.

The party is canceled.

They don’t want our germs.


I got a few presents.

Mom tucked them away,

Still wrapped in their boxes.

I’m too weak to play.


Our house looks so boring,

No lights and no tree,

No wreath on the front door.

St. Nick would agree,


Our Christmas is ruined!

We’re sick with the flu.

We’re stuck here together.

There’s nothing to do.


So we’re gloomy and glum.

We slump on the floor

With blankets and pillows.


Who knocked on the door?


We swing it wide open

To swirling white snow,

And huddled in groups on

The sidewalk below,


Our neighbors are singing,

In warm coats and boots.

Their bright voices blend with

The sweet sound of flutes.


They sing the old carols,

Of that silent night,

How shepherds heard angels,

A star’s shining light.


It’s cold in the doorway,

But Dad hums each tune.

We snuggle together.

It’s over too soon.


They brought turkey soup and

A miniature tree,

A big plate of cookies,

Hot cocoa for me.


Dad smiles and thanks them.

Mom sniffs, wipes her eyes.

I croak “Merry Christmas!”

As we wave goodbye.


Sometimes, things are different,

Less busy, less grand,

Although not-so-merry,

Not like what we planned,


We‘re all here together.

It’s still Christmas night.

I hope next year’s better.

If not, it’s all right.




17 responses to “Not-So-Merry Sickmas

  1. What a great story about the true meaning of Christmas, Hayley! Poor family – I do hope that at least they feel better next year! – but how nice of the neighbors to pitch in and take care of them and bring them a little Christmas cheer (from the safe distance of outdoors :)) Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun, and congratulations on your new blog! 🙂

  2. Marvelous story in wonderful rhyme! Those are the kind of neighbors anyone would be thrilled to have. 🙂

  3. elainekielykearns

    Such a delightful story! What great neighbors! Good luck! 🙂

  4. Really nice story to help us remember the true meaning. Nice job.

  5. Really enjoyed this one! The message, the rhyme, the humor. The last line.

  6. Oh, so very well done. And a wonderful message!

  7. deborahholtwilliams

    This is what Christmas should be about–helping folks who need it. I love this story, and it’s so well-crafted!

  8. Such a sweet story. Nice rhythm and rhyme!

  9. I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing your story and happy holidays!

  10. elainekielykearns

    Great story, Hayley! I really enjoyed it- good luck to you!

  11. Oh Hayley, you’re reading my mind- We are supposed to have our neighborhood progressive dinner tomorrow and my little one just got sick. 😦 it’s the most sickliest time of the year! (Great poem!)

  12. Thanks for all your kind words!

  13. lovely. poor sick family but they did have good neighbours. a good little poem and story. thank you

  14. Hi Hayley, what a wonderful way to show the true spirit of Christmas and in rhyme…my favorite way to tell a story. 🙂

  15. Sweet story with a lovely takeaway feeling!

  16. Neighbors to the rescue! Sweet story, Hayley. Nice rhythm. Your story shows the spirit of the season.

  17. Ah, lovely, lovely, lovely. The words just melted in my ear.

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