Catherine Olson, age 10, wins essay contest with charming story

5:33 PM
Catherine Olson of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin is the grand prize winner in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sponsored contest, "My Best Christmas Ever!" Catherine and her family will be spending a weekend at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. They will also be attending a full season of First Stage productions! Here is Catherine's winning essay:

Dear First Stage Readers, This is the story of my best Christmas ever. It all started in Alberta, Canada when my sister Jessica was 4 and I was 7. Jessica and I just moved in with our new parents. On Christmas morning Jessica and I woke up at 5:30 am and went to go see what Santa brought us. When we got to the living room, Jessica and I thought we saw something that looked like Santa. Jessica and I got really scared. So we ran into our mom and dad's room. They woke up and turned on the lights. The thing that looked like Santa was a huge Strawberry Shortcake doll sitting on a bike for me! That afternoon we made Christmas cookies. We decorated them with frosting and Christmas sprinkles. Later that day Jessica, Dad, Mom, and I all went to the downtown parade. Jessica and I got lots of candy. We also saw Santa in the parade. Then we had a great Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant because the roast we were going to have for dinner was still frozen. It was my best Christmas ever because I just moved in with my new parents, I got lots of presents, and it's a joyfull holiday! So this year, have the best Christmas ever at your house!

Catherine and her younger sister, Jessica
Photo taken by Leslie Olson

 Winner of the age 6-9 category is Miss Ruby Peot.  Here is her essay:

My best Christmas ever was last year.  My big brother Henry gave me a big box wrapped in pretty Christmas paper and a bow.  Henry put the gift under the Christmas tree.  I was excited to open the gift.  On Christmas morning the first gift I opened was the one from Henry.  I tore off the paper quickly and there inside was a pen I had seen a million times.  My brother laughed.  I felt silly.  I got over it and laughed too.
The End

Winner of the age 12-14 category is Michael Julga.  Here is his essay:
Every year at around Christmas time I have a lot of fun with my family, cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it, making cookies with my mom, shopping and then wrapping everything we buy.  The best part is giving my family their gifts.  My mom and I buy extra toys for those kids that have very little.  I don't know if that is something they would like to receive, but I know I like the gifts we buy for them.  It makes me feel good to buy for those kids that don't have a lot.  We go to candy cane lane in West Allis and enjoy all the houses that are decorated.  Santa is there and we donate some money.
Every Christmas our family has many traditions.  Sometimes we make new ones.  There is so many fun things to do during the holidays.  I spend time with my friends and my dog Zip.  Every year we go to my Grandpa's house and spend Christmas Eve opening gifts.  The next day we have a family Christmas meal.  Everyone brings something.  My mom and I always make a cherry cheesecake.  I tend to eat most of the cake.

Last year something very different happened to my family at Christmas.  One of my Aunties developed cancer of the tongue.  I did not know what cancer was but I was told that it was a disease that kills a lot of people.  My Aunt went through radiation and chemotherapy to try and get rid of the cancer.  I have said many prayers for my Aunt.  She lost a lot of weight and got a tube in her stomach to help feed herself. Her voice changed a little.
I was recently told that my Aunt no longer has cancer.  I was very happy when my mom told me.  I still say prayers at night that the cancer does not come back.  I also say a prayer that no one else gets sick during the holidays or any other time.  I have been very lucky to have had many nice memories of Christmas with my family through the years but this Christmas will be the best one I will remember because my Aunt Annie is cured of her cancer.  That is a Christmas present that does not come in a box.


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