Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned story telling? No, no, not the office busy-body who can't wait to share the latest gossip. No, not the ones you hear when you ask your kid who broke the glass. I mean the kind of stories that warm the cockles of the heart. (Hey! Christmas is the one time a year when it's OK for a guy to use the word cockles.)

Several years ago your favorite Montgomery County daily started a Christmas story writing contest. Turns out, our sister paper in Noblesville is part of a long-time Hamilton County newspaper tradition of having a Christmas poem contest. So this year, we're modifying our annual writing contest to have the best of both worlds!

Details? Oh I hate details but I guess they're as necessary as waste in government, so here's the scoop. There are four categories for writing divided between a short Christmas story and a Christmas poem. The dividing lines are adults and juniors, with the cutoff for a junior being anyone under the age of 17 as of Dec. 25, 2012. The contest is open to anyone who legally resides in Montgomery County.

The rules of the contest are simple as well. E-mail your story in a Word or compatible format to xmas@thepaper24-7.com no later than noon on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number (and birthday if you are entering the junior division).

There is no limit on the length of your story. Just be sure that the writing is your own.

First place winners in each category will have their story and their picture published in The Paper and a short story written about them and their effort. Entries will also be posted on our website.

I've got to thank wonderful columnist, historian and author Karen Zach. Karen, who heads up a local writers' group, has agreed to help with this year's contest. Karen will join a few others in the judging. For now though, some will remain unnamed. Translation: I haven't got around to asking them yet. Translation Part II: Fair warning, if you have a phone message from me . . .

So what the heck, sit down and pen a few lines. Tell us about childhood memories or weave a tale of Christmas magic. Look into limericks or hang on to haiku. You don't have to be Hemingway or Tolstoy (oh, please don't be Tolstoy), just be yourself and share a Christmas story.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears most Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.