Inland 360 staff
There’s something magical about made-for-TV Christmas movies, and it’s not the dependable happy-ever-after ending.
Somehow these movies can summon joy or tears in even the most calloused and unsentimental humans.
Instead of watching one (or four) this season, how about writing one and breaking the rules of their predictable format?
Last year we asked people to finish the story of “Richard the Sharp-Eared Reindeer.” This year we invite readers to finish the story of Bethany, the big-city workaholic.
We’ve started it for you, you just have to finish it and send it in.
You can send us your ending in 300 words or less in one of four ways. Entries are due by midnight Dec. 9. The author of the winning entry, to be announced Dec. 20, will receive two free movie tickets.
- You can write your ending in the comments section below
- Or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or mail it to Inland 360, PO Box 957, Lewiston, ID 83501
- Or drop entries off at the offices of the Lewiston Tribune or Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Include your name and address, and we’ll send you an Inland 360 sticker.
Christmas Eve begins as just another 12-hour work day for Bethany — one more chance to prove her dedication to the flashy Seattle firm where she has spent the best years of her life as a non-specific professional.
Little does she dream, this is her lucky day. Her boss calls her in and, after minimizing her success on her latest projects, asks her to take over “the big account.” The moment Bethany has been waiting for all her life has finally arrived. She can almost taste her promotion.
“I’m on it. I’ll have it done for you by the end of the day tomorrow,” she promises with enthusiasm.
“Tomorrow?” says the boss, who isn’t important enough to get his own name. “It’s Christmas! The office closes at noon. Go spend the day with your family.”
It is crushing news. Not only is the Big Account a dream career move, it was the perfect excuse to avoid her family and small Idaho hometown for the holidays. The thought of spending 1.5 days in a place with no goat yoga, cat cafes or organic-vegan-and-gluten-free menus makes her cringe. “There isn’t even a Target within 50 miles,” she grumbles as she listlessly packs up. At least there will be plenty of quiet time to work on my proposal, she thinks, shuffling files, snapping her Italian leather briefcase closed and flinging it into the car.
After an idyllic winter wonderland drive which she barely notices, Bethany pulls into her old neighborhood of outdated homes bedecked with equally outdated holiday spirit. Her mom and dad, who have kept up their health and appearance, greet her warmly as she pulls into the driveway. They fuss over her as they carry her bags to her room, left untouched since she moved out 15 years ago.
After a cozy Christmas Eve dinner of tuna noodle casserole, Bethany excuses herself to work in her room when she notices something horrifying. Her phone’s battery is at 7 percent. She rummages around for her charger and then realizes something even worse — in her hurry, she forgot to pack it.
Bethany asks her mom for an extra charger. “Oh sweetie,” Mom says, “We don’t have those fancy phones here, you know that.”
In a panic, Bethany flies out the door, ignoring mom’s advice to “for heaven’s sake put on some boots.” She drives recklessly, careening into a parking spot at the town’s hardware store, owned and operated by her old high school flame. Unknowingly, she parks beside a big patch of ice. As she gets out of the car, her expensive, big city-girl heels don’t have the proper traction, her foot slips and …