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Ho, Ho, Ho!

It's that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us - a time to reflect on all our blessings and the wonders that make our lives so rich and full! One of things I always have loved best at holidays is spending times with friends and family, and reminiscing about past holiday events and happenings. Some stories are funny, others heartfelt and touching, and some are just, well, holiday horrors!

For my contest, I'd love to hear some of YOUR best holiday stories - those events and happenings that you remember as remarkable; the ones that stand out amongst all the other holiday happenings as being the most holiday defining moments in your life. If your story is picked as a winner, you'll score an AWESOME prize!

Read below for contest details and best of luck to all entrants!
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yum_strawberry yum_puddi CONTEST RULES AND GUIDELINES yum_puddi yum_strawberry

This sounds like a great contest - how do I enter?!?
Entering this contest is easy - you just have to write up a personal story of one of your own holiday experiences you want to share and post it in this thread. In your post, please include the following information:


* Username
* Title of Entry
* Entry # (Entry #1, Entry #2, Entry #3)

How many times can I enter this contest?
You may enter this contest up to 3 times - that is, you may submit a maximum of 3 different entries describing 3 different holiday stories you want to share.

How long does this contest run?
This contest starts on Tuesday, December 4th 2012 and ends at 11:59pm PST on Monday, December 24th, 2012.

How long does my entry have to be?
Great question! Entries should have about 3 paragraphs worth of writing (though you can have more if you like!), and enough content to provide readers with a detailed description of your holiday experience. One-line entries or entries which do not contain a whole story will be disqualified.

Can you give more details about what type of entries you are looking for?
Sure can! We want to hear all your best holiday stories, but especially want to hear those stories that make us laugh or are heartfelt.

As for the "holiday horror" stories, these should also be funny - they are tales which relate a series of mishaps that sound awful but which, upon reflection, are actually hilarious! For example, let's say you missed your plane home for the holidays, burned the turkey, and got a horrid holiday sweater and were forced to wear it for family photos. That is a holiday horror my friend, and it is the kind of "horror" we want to hear about. Not a real horror involving death, blood, violence, or evil - that is not very festive now, is it?

Is there anything I can't or shouldn't write about in my entry?
While we don't like to quash artistic freedom of expression, especially at the holiday season, bear in mind this is Gaia and a holiday contest so the following rules apply:
* Keep your entries Gaia-appropriate - no sexually explicit content, no graphic violence, nothing that violates the Terms of Service, etc.
* All entries must also be your own personal stories - you should write about something that directly happened to you or while you were there to witness the event. No using other peoples' stories!
* All entries must have a holiday theme or a basis in a holiday experience.

Do I have to write a story about a seasonally-relevant holiday like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, etc.?
We'd prefer if you did, since it is the season and all, but you don't have to! You can write a story about any holiday event you want.

How will the winners be chosen?
Like all art contests, judging is a fairly subjective process. We'll choose winners whose entries meet the contest criteria (e.g. At least 3 paragraphs, no ToS violations, holiday themed, etc.) and which make us laugh, move us, or best illustrate the holiday season. Please know in advance that even if you do not win, it doesn't mean your entry was bad or not great - we just chose a different entry biggrin
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yum_strawberry yum_puddi CONTEST PRIZES yum_puddi yum_strawberry

Now, for the fun part - aside from the writing and sharing of awesome stories that is! Here is how the prizes will be given out!

This contest will have 3 grand prize winners:

  • Best Humorous Story Winner
  • Most Heartwarming/Touching Story Winner
  • Best Holiday "Horror" Story Winner

Each of the grand prize winners will receive a "Writer's Prize Pack" that contains the following items:

* A Forgotten Pages Bundle item
* A G9 Laptop item
* 50,000 Gaia gold

There will also be 5 runner-up winners who will each receive a December 2012 collectible letter!
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yum_strawberry yum_puddi WINNERS LIST - CONGRATS! yum_puddi yum_strawberry

Once the winners are chosen, we'll post their usernames and entries here! Yay! Best of luck to all entrants biggrin
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yum_strawberry yum_puddi Updates & Info! yum_puddi yum_strawberry

Just saving some space for any updates or info I may need to let you know about! biggrin
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title; "The Unexpected Christmas "Friend"
entry; number oneee.

During my Christmas morning, it started out normal with cheer, with glasses of spiced eggnog and watching Christmas specials. Candles were lit within the living room, giving off warmth throughout the room and a great smell of pinecones and Christmas cookies. I got some of the best gifts in the world that day, and I couldn't be happier to spend those days with my family. Right after we finished opening our gifts, we got up to have a great Christmas breakfast. It all was a bright and cheery morning until I heard something come down our chimney (luckily there was no fire).

I believe I was the only one who heard it, so I called out "Did you guys hear that?" in a tiny, quiet voice. A few seconds later, a baby chipmunk fell down from the chimney into a huge pile of soot, and then started to run throughout the house. We all jumped up and screamed, not forgetting to use our sailor mouths, because it ran fast enough that we couldn't tell what it was. We even tried to follow after it and catch it, which didn't work. At first, we thought it was a huge rat, which makes common sense since we live next to a woods in New England.

I remember my brother and I set up traps in the living room so we can trap it and let it free. However, that plan didn't work as well as expected, either. Overall, it took us about an half an hour to get the little guy out of our house, with an additional damaged ornaments and downed christmas lights. We got him out of the house by blocking off all of the entrances and moving the furniture to make a pathway for the chipmunk. So whenever people ask me what I think of when I think of Christmas, I tell how much I hate chipmunks for being pains in the neck, not about all of the gifts I've gotten.

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*USERNAME* Coolfactor
*TITLE* Holiday Happenings

When I had joined Gaia in 2007, I wanted nothing more than Gaia Cash Cards. I had my birthday a month after I joined, and I received 5 $10 Cash Cards. When Christmas rolled around, however, and I asked specifically for GAIA Cash Cards, I ended up getting a completely different game's currency card instead! Since I couldn't return the currency cards once they were activated, I had to go on their site, register, and use the virtual currency there. It was a nightmare!
Later on down the road, I had admitted to my family that I had gotten the wrong currency card, and I hadn't wanted to ask again because I didn't want them to think I was greedy and asking for more of that currency type. What they did for me then, they had pooled a bit more money together and bought me 4x $25 Cash Cards, and wished me a merry Christmas.
The next year, though, was a bit different. I had not gotten Gaia Cash Cards for my birthday, nor for Christmas. I had, instead, received American Express cards, which can't be used for online shopping via PayPal. Each one was upwards of $30, and I couldn't use them for ANY online purchasing! I was so disappointed, and I ended up just buying stuff locally. I didn't want to go out and purchase Gaia Cash at a major retail store, because it was a few days after the holiday shopping spree, and everyone would have been there shopping for the next year's Christmas supplies. When I was out shopping, though, I met someone who actually went to my school with me, and we ended up in a relationship!
In the end, I could have asked for a better Christmas, but I couldn't have asked for a better friend.
Username* cncnorman2
Title of entry* Take that mom!
Entry number* Entry#1

Well, when I was little, my grandfather made models trains. One christmas, me and my sister got to go to one of his train shows. I was bored and so when i was walking around, I found out there was a contest. It was a kids christmas contest, and the winner got a toy train set.
So of course I entered! I had to wait a little longer, then the drawings started. I was really competive as a kid, so my mom gave me a talk about not to be disappointed if I dont win. "Now, there is over two hundred kids in this contest , so don't be disappointed if you dont wi-" Oh this one is easier to read," Said the guys calling out the names," ___ ____!" (not gonna say my name on the internet !)
My mom just gave up speaking and gaped at me. I had won a three hundred dollar train set! As she was saying I wouldn't! The look on her face was pricless! I just bragged about it to her for weeks after! So take that mom!
Username: LtrOaVcyE
Title of Entry: Christmas Proposal
Entry number: One

This past Christmas may have been the most beautiful I’ve seen. We have a large family get together at my aunt’s house every year, and the decorations seemed more wonderful than ever, the food seemed to smell even more amazing, the company seemed even more charming. Then the time came for gift exchanges, and everyone sat in the living room, elders in the chairs, children on the floor, and everybody was as happy as ever.

My family’s tradition is to do a Chinese gift exchange, with our own silly twists. Everyone brings one gift, and all the gifts are placed in the center of the room in a pile, neatly wrapped still. It’s raffle-style and everyone grabs a number and that’s the order we choose gifts. Well last year, it was rigged so that Kym, my uncle’s girlfriend, would go last. There was one gift that everyone was told to avoid in the pile; this gift was a music box, and inside it held a ring, and a note that said “will you marry me?”

When we got to Kym, she opened the gift and smiled at the music box. As she opened it, we never learned what she was about to say, because her words cut off when she saw what was inside. My uncle, who has always been shy, was smiling like he was silly, and blushing bright red. Kym closed the box, then opened it again and looked at him and asked, “Are… is this serious?” He nodded, and said in his deep tone, “yeah.” She was crying when she said yes, and the entire family cheered.
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* Username - Tsahv
* Title of Entry - Happy Holidays in FL
* Entry #1

About eight years ago my mom and I moved to Florida because she was offered a job down here she couldn't turn down. So, we packed up and moved from Massachusetts down here to Florida. We were both slightly bummed because we knew we weren't going to be able to spend the holidays with the family that year. Not to mention, it didn't really feel much like Christmas in the sweltering weather! My mom is a remarkable woman though and always tries to make the best of any situation - so she had me invite a couple of people I had become friends with for Christmas Eve dinner (We always did Christmas Eve dinner with the family, but most people around here do Christmas breakfast).

My mom and I spent most of the day baking, cooking and making everything ready for the small group of friends I had invited. We made a honey baked ham with pineapple, stuffing, green beans, homemade cranberry sauce, among other delicious foods. Everyone started arriving around seven and we all chatted with one another for an hour or so. When it came time to eat, everything was set up in the kitchen as a buffet. One-by-one, each of my friends, my mother, and myself all lined up with our plates. Unfortunately though, the line wasn't moving. It took about 10 minutes for us to figure out what the problem was. Apparently, my friend Erin didn't want to "dig in" to the perfectly laid out meal! Eventually she did though, and we all sat around and gorged ourselves on the delicious meal.

Afterwards we all exchanged our gifts and drank mulled wine and cider. It was probably one of the best Christmas's I've ever had. Even though it wasn't with family, really - it still felt like my mom and I were carrying on our traditions and that meant a lot to me. It's not many mothers' who would do that for their children, and I can't express how grateful I am to have such an amazing woman in my life. Even now, that she's been remarried for the past five years - and the new family does Christmas breakfast - she still sets up a dinner for the family with traditional English foods (Figgy Pudding and Christmas Crackers included)!
* Username: LtrOaVcyE
* Title of Entry: We wish you a sleezy Christmas
* Entry # 2

It was the day after Christmas, and I was in a great mood when I went shopping with my boyfriend. The day before I had witnessed my uncle propose to his girlfriend, and my mind was in full romantic mode. But my boyfriend decided he wanted my best friend to come along on what was supposed to be a just-us day. Natually I just said "alright." She was my best friend after all.

The whole day, something seemed off. But then again, for months something had seemed off, and it had become so normal that I easily ignored it. She ended up coming back to his house with us, and I finally brought up to him that I would like some alone time. All of a sudden, though, he got defensive like I had accused him of something. I told him how suspicious he was acting, and next thing I knew, I had been dumped.

It was the following day that I learned he had been sleeping with my so-called best friend for MONTHS. I was appalled that she would do that to me. I couldn't have cared less about the guy by then; it wasn't the first time he cheated on me, and wasn't the first I heard of.
Ratholin's avatar

High-functioning Lunatic

title; What's done is done
entry; number 1

This isn't a story of something I got. I mean I've gotten a lot of lovely presents but the absolute best Christmas was quite a while ago. I was working at a 24 hour 365 day restaurant in the Northwest US. I was a dishwasher and because it was Christmas and because it was 2 am the restaurant was dead. The expected Christmas eve bar rush never showed up, just a couple stragglers. But there was an older gentleman, kind of a regular in the sense that some nights he'd come down, always alone and he'd read a book and drink tea. Proper gentleman, that.
Well as I'm heading by with my dish cart doing my rounds I nod to him and say "Merry Christmas." Normally I'm a happy holidays sort of person but as it literally was Christmas I decided to go with the most correct. And the old fellow says. "And to you too sir." but I notice a sad look on his face.
Some people are born meddlers and that's me in a nutshell. So I say to the fellow "Not your favorite holiday is it? I've always been a thanksgiving guy myself."
And the old fellow says to me. "Christmas was always my wife's favorite. She loved decorating she loved giving presents. She loved everything about Christmas. I loved it because even though we've always been tight with money Christmas was the one time of year I could buy her something not because we needed it but because I love her. Now Christmas is just a day when I miss my wife."
There was a small bitterness to his voice. I'm no psychoanalyst but I do hold to the conservation of pain theory postulated by Spider Robinson (i.e. Shared pain is decreased shared joy is increased.) So after shaking my head gravely furrowing my brow and saying in my most serious voice "My condolences on your loss." I instantly let my face brighten up and said "But have you heard the one about the farmer who raised six legged chickens?"
The old man just busted up laughing at the transformation when he got his breath back he managed to say "No, tell me about the farmer who raised six legged chickens."
So I told him the joke. And he laughed and introduced himself as Tim. And then I had to take my cart off to check the servers stations. On the way back he stops me and tells me an absolutely filthy joke about two old men at a brothel. I nearly collapsed a lung laughing. And the rest of the night every time I passed him one or the other of us would tell a joke and towards dawn he headed out and thanked me for the best Christmas morning he'd had in years, looking a lot happier and a lot more hopeful.
And that's one of my best holiday memories.
Well, this might have been the best Christmas of my life. It was my first Christmas in my new house. It was a quiet, safe place, unlike were we had previously lived. anyways, i was excited about getting presents, but happy that i could spend Christmas in a safe place.
When i went downstairs, i saw so many presents. My parents wanted my brother and i (not an only child btw) to feel special. I got a new bike, a wii system (this is old like when the wii was considered NEW), A DSi, and a whole bunch of other stuff. After i opened the presents, i ate Christmas breakfast and helped prepare Christmas dinner.
I helped my mom cook ham, oxtails (yum), biscuits, and lots of other foods. After it was all done, my family and i sat around the table and said a very nice prayer, which i led. We ate and enjoyed the rest of our christmas, together at our new house.
Foxafon's avatar

Sparkly Phantom

* Huntrress Artemis
* Christmas Wrappings
* Entry #1

I was about seven or eight years old, and I was so excited for Christmas! Christmas was the one time of the year when my brothers and dad wouldn't argue over little things. I had gone to bed early the night before, as I had been tired out from running around giving people the supplies they needed. My mom called my older brother and I downstairs early the next morning, and we went downstairs to open presents. At the time, I hadn't seen my oldest brother in a couple of years since he had moved out. I walked right past one of the rooms in our house, that had a huge door on it. My brother stopped and called me over. It was wrapped in an assortment of different wrapping papers. Once my parents were beside us, we tore the wrapping paper off. And there was my oldest brother and his girlfriend. It was an Amazing christmas, and I got tons of big bear hugs.
By: Wolf Of Heart
May Our memories Warm You
Entry #1:

In life, there are those that stick by you no matter what. Those that are so special to your heart, being far from them pains you. My special someone is my Big Brother, Justin. He's my knight in shining armor, who always taught me to keep my head up, and never put boundaries on what I can accomplish. I miss him so much, because last year around Christmas, he decided to move away from Georgia... Thousands of miles, in fact, to Alaska. He said he had to, he couldn't find a job here and he had to find a way to help me and my mom.

Even now I miss him so much. I skype him whenever I can, and we tell each other "I love you, sweet dreams..." Nearly every night. This holiday has been so lonely without him. We grew up very poor, and didn't ever have much under the tree but handmade things, so that's what I also decided to do for him this year. I'm so excited to send off his gift, and to receive his call when he opens it on Christmas morning.

You see, I took about 25 of our favorite T-shirts, old high school shirts, our favorite band shirts, our mom's shirts... And I made them into a patchwork quilt, lined with soft black fleece. I've spent weeks on it, and I'm really proud of my work, it's not perfect, as it's the first quilt I've ever made, but I know he'll absolutely love it. My mom put a special piece of ribbon on it, and we've each took time to "put hugs in it," so he'll get them every time he wraps it around him. I even embroidered a special patch in the corner that reads: "To Justin, Love Heather. May Our Memories Warm You."

Pics: (I'll remove if asked...)

Me and the quilt:
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Embroidered Patch (I'm not super-great at embroidery....):
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