Christmas Essay Contest Winners

| December 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Catholic Spirit asked youths in grades one to 12 to create Christmas posters by completing the phrase, “The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is …” and then drawing a picture.

The 208 entries came from across the archdiocese and were judged by a panel of Catholic Spirit staff members, who chose winners in four categories: grades1-3, grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.

Entries were judged for artistic skill, creativity and reproducibility.

Each winner receives a $50 Visa gift card.

New this year, adults and youth were invited to finish the phrase above and submit a 200 word essay about their favorite ornament.

A selection of the 103 essays submitted is printed here.

Peanut ornament

The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is a glittered peanut shell with “Peanut” etched on it. I bought it in 2009 when my husband and I were expecting to become parents a month after Christmas.

After two unsuccessful pregnancies I had a lot of prayer and hope for this pregnancy to go full-term. Peanut was the nickname we chose for the baby since the gender was to be a surprise. I hung that ornament on our tree during Christmas 2009 because Peanut was already a member of our family as far as I was concerned. On January 27, 2010 Peanut was named Jonah Mikael. He was the start of hope for me.

The Peanut ornament hangs underneath our angel tree-topper next to a Sprout ornament for his sister, Emma Jean, who was born a year later on February 1. This year we will have to add yet another ornament for Baby who is due in early April.

My favorite ornament is the one God gave to us and allowed us to start our own family Christmas traditions.

Tamara Frank
St. Michael, Farmington

Picture from India

Christmas is the season of hope and every year we look forward to spending time with family and friends during this wonderful holiday. Every ornament that I put on my Christmas tree has a special place in my heart.

The ornament on my tree that I value most is the one made by a little boy from India. It is a picture that he drew and gave to me when we invited his family to have lunch with us on Christmas Day. For this little boy, that lunch with us was the best thing that had happened to him. Growing up in India, we had a tradition to invite one family who does not have the resources to have a meal on Christmas Day. We gave clothes and food to this family on Christmas Day. We never exchanged gifts among family members, instead we gave gifts to one needy family and the picture this little boy gave me to show his appreciation for what we had done is the best ornament I have on my Christmas tree. This ornament makes me understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Celina Joseph
St. Mark, Shakopee

A Christmas work of art

My preschool reindeer ornament is made up of a popsicle stick with my name written on it in that crazy font we all have when we are little, where we can’t really control the size of our lettering so it basically takes up the whole thing. Then there are two uneven googly eyes with a bunch of extra glue all around them. Attached to the top and sides are slightly random brown pipe cleaners that pose as antlers. Lastly there is a random, broken candy cane taped in the middle. I think there was another Christmas art project going on at the time with candy canes and I thought my project deserved one as well. I’ll confess to licking that candy cane more than a few times in my childhood.

It’s strange to like such a gross, ugly little ornament that really should have been thrown away years ago, but I like its uniqueness. Sometimes all the perfect store-made ornaments don’t show emotion or effort. My little preschool creation nestled among all those shiny, perfect ornaments reminds me of when I trembled with excitement as I handed my parents that little pile of glue and popsicle sticks and my pride when they hung it on the Christmas tree. It fills me with Christmas spirit and reminds me what Christmas is all about.

Ella Fredrickson
Grade 8,
St. Thomas More School, St. Paul

Angels watching over me

The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is an angel that I got from my Uncle Mike. It makes me think of all the people watching over me. I know that all of the people watching over me are keeping me safe. I always put it up on our Christmas tree first because it is very special because he died and I know that he is watching over me and keeping me safe, like all of the angels and people that have passed away. My brother and sister got one too. That is why I chose the angels that my uncle gave my siblings and me.

Quintin Fitzgerald
Grade 6
St. Rose of Lima School, Roseville

Sparkly snowman and bear cub

The ornament on my family Christmas tree that I like best is an ornament with a sparkly snowman embracing a little bear cub.  They are both bundled up in winter gear.  This is my favorite one on my tree because of the smiles and the pure joy and love that I can see on both of their faces.  Christmas is about finding and sharing the joy and love of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus, whom we celebrate during this season.  It is about simplicity and hope, and I think that this ornament really shows that spirit.  It calls us to a deeper relationship with God, and encourages us to invite Jesus into our lives, because we too can find God and experience the peace of His embrace.  Let us leave behind the craziness that takes us away from God, and get back to the true meaning of Christmas, which is finding the joy of Jesus.  Share your gifts so that others can also find love.  Remember to smile, because, “They shall know we are Christians by our love.” Christmas is a wonderful time of year; enjoy it, and Merry Christmas!

Katie Adams
Grade 7
St. Vincent de Paul School, Brooklyn Park

Sister’s cross

The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like best is two small sticks held together by some string (and some super glue), which form a cross. Sister Bernelle created it. Most everybody has one but this one is my favorite because Sister Bernelle works so hard for our school and created one of those stick-crosses for everybody in the entire school. That was about 200 students when Sister made them. She puts a lot of hard work into St. Dominic School and she doesn’t get many thank-yous. So this is my way of saying, “thank you Sister Bernelle!”

Colton Swartwoudt
Grade 8
St. Dominic School, Northfield

Peace on earth

The ornament on my family Christmas tree I like the best is our family ornament, which says “Peace” on it. Peace reminds me of Christmas because God wants peace on Earth so he sent his son Jesus to make peace in the world. On my ornament, behind the word “Peace” is an angel with its arms outstretched. The angel represents Gabriel to me. It reminds me of when Mary was told that she was going to be a mother to Jesus. My ornament has a gold border that surrounds it.

These remind me of rays of light representing God shining down on us. This ornament is special to me because it has so many meanings to it. Just looking at it makes me remember what Christmas is really about.

Matthew Hansberry
Grade 6
St. Therese School, Deephaven

My family ‘Thanksmas’

My favorite ornament is from South Dakota. The ornament is a round ball with a picture of a pheasant on it.

This ornament is special to me because it reminds me of my grandparents and cousins that live there. It also reminds me about my hunting trip with my brother, dad, uncles, grandpa and cousins. We hunt for pheasants and deer. My favorite thing about our hunting trip was the clay pigeon contest. I hit 10 pigeons my first year shooting with my cousins.

We got this ornament from my grandma in South Dakota. My family celebrates “Thanksmas” at my grandparents’ house every year. “Thanksmas” starts with Thanksgiving turkey dinner and ends with the opening of our Christmas presents.

Last year at “Thanksmas,” my Uncle Jake gave everybody helicopter rides. This ornament reminds me of the crazy things that happen when I am in South Dakota.

I can hardly believe that one little ornament reminds me of all of those things. Things don’t have to be shiny or flashy to be good, all they need is a good story behind them. And that’s my favorite ornament.

Eric Rabenberg
Grade 5
Most Holy Redeemer School, Montgomery

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Category: Christmas