In his sardonic essay “Santaland Diaries,” a reading of which NPR airs every year as a holiday tradition, David Sedaris tells the story of how he, as a struggling writer, spent a season working as a Christmas elf at Macy’s department store in New York City. In one scene describing the Santaland Maze, Sedaris channels the frustration and dark thoughts many retail workers experience during the holiday season. “I spent a few hours in the Maze with Puff, a young elf from Brooklyn. We were standing near the Lollipop Forest when we realized that Santa is an anagram of Satan. Father Christmas or the Devil—so close but yet so far,” he writes. Dip into the dark side of the holiday spirit and write an essay about a year when you experienced a particularly frustrating holiday season. Consider the feelings of stress and cheer that are often at odds at the end of the year.
Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.