They happen every year at the exact same time. No matter how much you've changed, where you live, how you feel about Uncle Ned— like a big wheel, they always come back around. Holiday dinners. Those moments when everyone sits around the table, shares a few laughs and makes new memories. They are the perfect (or worst) time to take stock of the past, to think about the future, to ask your mom why she loves your sister more or your dad why he pushed you to play basketball when all you wanted was to play the flute.
We made this Challenge not just because we wanted you to air your dirty laundry or share a funny story. We made it because we believe that the more people who share the truth about their family, the more people will feel like they aren't part of the only crazy, silly, frustrating, loving family out there.
And, there's nothing wrong with sharing a good Christmas night vomit story. You'd be shocked how many people vomit on Christmas night. We were.
Here are the winners of the Holiday Hijinks Challenge and spotlight on two of the Runners-Up. You can check out the full list of winners HERE.
$1,000 Grand Prize Winner
So what is a holiday? It's a break from the routine. Not just a small detour in my day, an entire departure from normalcy.
We loved Rebekah Conard's story so much because it was filled with deep and resonant honesty. She presented herself so clearly in the retelling of various holiday gatherings and wasn't afraid to let us fully into her mind during these sometimes overwhelming moments. The writing was clean and smooth and there was plenty of confidence in her writing but also much humility, almost a self effacement that only deepened her message. And what was her message? Essentially, Do You. The holidays are stressful. Crowds and distant cousins, long trips and built up expectations. Through it all, Conard says, be true to yourself. However you need to deal with your family, with the holidays, don't let anyone stop you. We couldn't agree more. Happy holidays and congratulations, Rebekah Conard!
$250 Second Place Winner
...the fire alarm was blaring and the kitchen was filled with garlic-flavored smoke.
If Alison McBain's story wasn't so sad yet uplifting it would be a comedy. An entire family, sitting around the Christmas table, arguing over a man's fate. What are they arguing? Should their 90 year old father and grandfather undergo a surgery that could potentially add years to his life or should they let him live out his remaining years in relative peace? And where is the writer's grandfather during this heated debate? In the next room, watching football, hearing every word but refusing to get involved. This is a story about the realities of family life, about how sometimes the family makes the decision for the individual. It was a chilling story, one that left us debating what we would have done if we were there. Happy holidays and congratulations, Alison McBain!
“And would anyone like to add lobster?”
This is the type of story that families tell for generations. A big meal at a fancy restaurant. The kids think it can't get any bigger or more spectacular but then it happens, dad adds lobster, a lot of lobster. Of course, the kids have to go on a sleigh ride with Santa after and, well, you know what's bound to happen, but you've got to read it for yourself. We had a lot of fun with this one (sorry to laugh at your pain, Claire!) and we know you will, too. Well done, Claire Jones!
Discomfort pushes itself through my body and out of my mouth, into a soft hum.
We feel lucky that Prairie Johnson shared such an intimate familial moment with the Vocal community. This story is an up close encounter with a family coming to blows. A family card game, wine, cursing, an old trauma comes to surface. And even though she's only 15, the author stands up to her grandmother, defends her mother, and in the process learns a lot about drinking and family and what she wants her values to be. Well done, Prairie Johnson!
Craving more Challenges? Check out our latest dystopian fiction Challenge, Behind the Last Window.
About the Creator
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme