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An Unusual Writing Project and a Christmas Story

Have you ever heard of an Exquisite Corpse? I know that doesn’t sound very Christmasy, but CatholicTeenBooks has several Christmas-themed ones to offer.

An Exquisite Corpse is described as a game in which each participant takes turns writing their contribution and then passing it to the next player to add to the story.

Don’t feel bad if this term is new to you; none of us had ever heard of it either. But a few years back, Podcaster Jedlie asked our group if we would create a collective Christmas story that would be presented on his Reading with Your Kids Podcast on Christmas morning.

So, for the last four years, Jed has provided us with a prompt. One author starts the story, then sends it off to another writer, and so forth. Only the final author knows the entire story until the day we each read our section as we record the podcast.

This has become one of my favorite writing projects. It’s so fun to see where the story veers through each author’s imagination. When my family heard about this project, they loved the idea, and we created one a few years back. We laughed so hard as we read that crazy story on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe your family would like to try this fun activity as well.

If you’re interested in checking out the CatholicTeenBooks collective stories, below are the descriptions and links to the first three. Any proceeds we receive from the download of these short ebooks go to Cross Catholic International.

To find out about this year’s contribution, The Gift of the Angel Tree, you’ll have to visit Jedlie’s Reading with Your Kids Podcast on, or after, Christmas. But here’s a little hint: this year’s story is our first attempt at a combined historical fiction tale.


The Christmas Lights by Leslea Wahl, Andrea Jo Rodgers, Stephanie Engelman, Carolyn Astfalk, Antony B. Kolenc, Corinna Turner, A.J. Cattapan

When a blizzard puts Camilla and her family in jeopardy, she must brave the snowstorm to get help. Lost and alone, all she can do is search for Christmas lights, which is either a direction from her dead grandma or a delusion. Help does come, in completely unexpected ways.


A Fowl Christmas by Carolyn Astfalk, A.J. Cattapan, Antony B. Kolenc, Stephanie Engelman, Leslea Wahl, Marie Keiser, Andrea Jo Rodgers, Corinna Turner

Mom’s stranded out of town, Dad injured his leg, and Derrick’s family Christmas feast is in jeopardy. With the help of his brother, Blake; his friend, Grace; and a bargain involving some chickens and the old ladies down the street, maybe Derrick can still pull off this holiday meal. Or maybe it’ll all go up in smoke!


A St. Nicholas Eve Carol by Antony B. Kolenc, Carolyn Astfalk, Leslea Wahl, Corinna Turner

Ebby's been paired with Bear, a kid with Down's Syndrome, for the St. Nicholas Eve Confirmation retreat. One minute she's scheming how to ditch Bear and the next she and her friend Pastelle are transported into a twisted vesion of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.Will Ebby let Bear take the fall for her friends' mischief, or will Ebby stand up for him once she realizes there's a lot more to Bear than she realized?


About the author: Leslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She strives to write entertaining stories that encourage teens to grow in their faith. Finding a way to intertwine her passions by creating adventurous mysteries with positive Christian messages for today's youth has been an incredible blessing. Leslea is one of the founding members of and also has become an advocate for families by reviewing faith-based teen novels on her website. 

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