The holidays are officially here when children’s author and contest extraordinaire, Susanna Hill, announces her latest holiday writing contest! This year’s theme is holiday helpers and it immediately put me in mind of a conversation I had with my daughter earlier this year.
She pulled me aside and very solemnly asked the big question: is Santa real?
Y’all. I felt the pivot in the moment–when my little girl was growing up. So I explained how mamas and daddies and grandparents, and all the good adults in kid’s lives are Helpers. We still have the magic in our home and I think she likes having a special secret from her little brother. (Though when she made the connection and asked about our Elf on the Shelf, Alanagator, it took a bit more for her to digest.)
Here’s my entry, right at 250 words. I hope you enjoy it and that the holiday magic is alive and well in your home.
Guinea Pig Help Comes Wrapped in Snuggles & Squeaks
By Candice Marley Conner
I snuggled in closer. My girl was worrying over something the same way I worry on my cherry sticks. “Wheek?” I asked. Maybe Addie needed something to chew on.
Addie looked wide-eyed at Mama. “I need to ask you a question,” she whispered.
Mama sat next to her and gave me a pat. I wiggled my rump. “I’m listening.”
“Is Santa real?”
“Does a giant elf come down a chimney we don’t have? No, sweetheart. Does Christmas have a special kind of magic where songs make you happy and hot chocolate is like a hug to your insides, and people surprise you with all the good they’re capable of? Absolutely.”
Addie smushed her face in my fur so I tickled her cheek with my whiskers.
“You’re a Helper now.”
“What does that mean?”
“You know how we saw Santa at the bakery, then at the grocery store ringing the bell? Your little brother noticed the beards were different and I said the Christmas Spirit needs Helpers. Those nice people were helping Santa. Sam doesn’t know. It’s up to you to keep the secret safe and the magic alive for him.”
“I can do that,” Addie said. Mama hugged her.
“Wheek?” I asked. Can guinea pigs be Helpers?
“Always,” Addie whispered.
As Mama turned off the light, Addie said, “Does this mean you’re the tooth fairy too?”
“Whew. Fairies sneaking into my room always made me nervous. Like, what do they DO with all those teeth?”
I squeaked in agreement.