Twelve Days of Dishes: A Holiday Story


Here’s my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 6th Annual Children’s Holiday Story Contest! The rules were that it must be inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas” AND under 300 words. I’m not sure which was harder. In the end, I spun up this story inspired by the culturally diverse school children I work with here in Syracuse, my love of food, and a beloved teacher my children had years ago.

Twelve Days of Dishes (248 words)

The first graders hailed from around the world.
They watched out the window as snow softly swirled.
For most, this was their first holiday here.
Mrs. Harrigan thought “It’s the time for good cheer!”

On the first day of Christmas Mrs. Harrigan said
“Class, lets put out a fabulous spread!”
The second day platters began to arrive…
Stew from Romania sprinkled with chive.

The third day found them all very well fed:
Doro Wat on Ethiopian bread.
On the fourth, they basked in the holiday glow,
with chiles en nogada from Mexico.

Five appetizers from the middle east,
Six African rice bowls to round out their feast.
From Italy—a parade of seven fishes!
The children took pride in all of their dishes.

Latkes on the eighth munched in hungry bites,
to honor the festival of Hanukkah lights.
On the ninth, came tamales of every kind.
For the tenth, cake with candied orange rind!

Day eleven, the kids showed no signs of tiring.
Treats kept coming. They sang songs inspiring.
On the twelfth, their families came en masse
to a party with Mrs. Harrigan’s class.

An endless array of delicious choices
Laughter in many languages and voices
As the children sped off for a break well-earned
Mina turned to her teacher to share what she’d learned.

Though celebrations around the globe may vary
at the holidays, “home” is a spirit you carry.
Winter continues even when Christmas ends
But warmth is still found in the love of your friends.



So that’s it! Off to draw and paint now. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays! —Erin

16 Responses to "Twelve Days of Dishes: A Holiday Story"
  1. Thanks so much Vivian! It can be tough to share one’s writing (especially something unrevised! Gasp!), but I loved the topic and the prizes are so incredible I could not resist. I appreciate the kind words.

  2. Thanks David! The creativity of the entries makes them a treat to read. I enjoyed yours as well!

  3. I am lucky to work with a large group of culturally diverse kids who live in an urban setting. They are the perfect inspiration. Thank you!

  4. Thanks so much Linda! This year more than ever I am craving inclusive holiday celebrations (and some of that global food!).

  5. If I can’t have a real trip around the world, I will take one in food! Thanks for the comment!

  6. What lovely entry, Erin! Love the togetherness and sharing, the opportunity for all the kids to learn about different foods and traditions from different countries and holidays! Nicely done! Thanks so much for joining in the fun! Happy Holidays!

  7. Thanks for having me! I so appreciate your efforts to inspire your fellow kidlit writers. Happy Holidays!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.