The Christmas Lights
by Melissa Smart

Wyatt was just five years old, and he lived in a little white house at the end of Candle Lane.

At Christmas, Wyatt’s parents decorated the house with all sorts of bows and ribbons, but the decorations he liked best were the red and green Christmas lights outside. The lights were carefully hung around each window, the door, and even on the roof! After they were put up, his Mom or Dad turned on the lights at the switch on the wall by the front door, and he liked to watch as the lights lit up the house & entire front yard. It was spectacular!

What Wyatt liked most about the lights was that sometimes when they were turned on, they blinked on and off. His Dad said that they weren’t supposed to do that, and had checked the lights very carefully but couldn’t find any reason why the lights sometimes blinked. Wyatt thought that it must be magic!

Wyatt often watched the lights when they were blinking, imagining that they were lights like at the airport that flash and guide airplanes when they were landing. Then, Wyatt had an idea! Tonight was Christmas Eve and if blinking lights could guide airplanes, then maybe, the blinking lights at his house could guide Santa to this house!

Wyatt didn’t want Santa to miss his house this Christmas because he had asked for some new toys in his Christmas letter, and he had made sure to be especially good this year. He just hoped that teasing his little cousin, or hiding peas under his supper plate didn’t count.

Now that he had an idea, he needed to make sure that the outside lights were on. He turned on the switch, and raced to the window to see if the lights were blinking. He held his breath and watched. Just when he couldn’t hold his breath any longer, the lights started to blink. Wyatt let out a big sigh. Now, for sure, Santa would be able to find his house, and would leave him the presents he asked for. Those blinking red and green Christmas lights would lead Santa’s way!

Wyatt got ready for bed, brushed his teeth and threw on his pajamas. Then he put cookies on a plate, poured a glass of milk and put them both on the small table by the Christmas tree. Then he carefully placed another letter beside them for Santa to see.

As he walked towards the stairs, he peeked out the window to be sure the lights were still blinking, and he froze! The lights were on, but weren’t blinking! Wyatt flicked the light switch off, then on again, but the lights stayed shining bright and did not blink. Wyatt looked at the lights for a long time, wishing, praying they would blink, but they would not.

He was so sad, but as he turned to walk up the stairs to go to bed, he had an idea: If he listened really hard for when Santa got near his house, he could race downstairs and turn off the lights, and turn them on again really fast, and make them blink that way. The lights would blink with his help, making sure that Santa would still find his house.

The idea cheered Wyatt and raced upstairs, and dived under his covers to lie very still so he could listen for Santa’s arrival. After a few minutes he heard a noise. It was a muffled… ‘Tump tump’. It could be Santa!

Wyatt raced out of bed, down the stairs, and was just reaching for the light switch, when his Mom opened the front door and asked the neighbors to come in. It wasn’t Santa at all… Wyatt gave a little smile to his neighbors and went upstairs to his room as they wished him a Merry Christmas.

A little while later Wyatt heard another noise. It was a musical ‘Ting… Ting… Ting’. Wyatt sat up in bed and listened some more. It wasn’t neighbors. It could be the tinkle of reindeer bells! Wyatt quickly got out of bed and went downstairs. He had just touched the light switch when he heard the sound again.

The sound wasn’t coming from outside. It was coming from the kitchen. Confused, Wyatt walked to the kitchen door and saw his parents doing the dishes. It wasn’t reindeer bells after all. Hanging his head, Wyatt quietly went back up stairs to his bed.

It got very quiet in the house after his Mom and Dad finished the dishes, so it was a good time for Wyatt to listen and he leaned toward his window. He waited quite some time before he heard any noise. Then he thought he heard footsteps. At first, the sound was like the quiet sound of snow crunching under foot, but it became louder until he was certain they were footsteps. He heard the ‘stomp… Stomp… STOMP’ and it was close, maybe next door!

Wyatt imagined that Santa must be on the neighbor’s roof right now! Wyatt darted downstairs to flick the red and green Christmas lights on and off to make sure that Santa wouldn’t miss his house.

As Wyatt flicked the light off, he peeked outside and saw his Dad coming towards the house from the garage. He was stomping the snow off of his boots as he walked. Wyatt didn’t want his Dad to see him downstairs so, as quickly as he had come down the stairs, he darted back up.

This was harder than he thought. While he waited and listened, Wyatt started thinking about how Santa goes down chimneys and reads everyone’s Christmas letters while enjoying milk and cookies.

When he heard ‘Drip… Drip… Drip’, he his thoughts drifted to thoughts of snow melting off Santa’s suit. He knew that he would only be able to hear snow melting and dripping off Santa’s suit if Santa was in the house! Santa was in his house!

Wyatt didn’t think twice before speeding down the stairs. He looked around frantically listening for the sound that would tell him exactly where Santa was. He heard the sound again. ‘Drip… Drip… Drip’.

Again the sound was coming from the kitchen. He went into the kitchen and saw the taps in the kitchen were dripping. Wyatt gave a big sigh. It wasn’t Santa at all.

After this, Wyatt decided to listen more closely. It was getting late and even his Mom and Dad were in bed. Wyatt went back to his room and sat on the floor by the door. Morning would be coming soon and Santa would need to hurry to get to everyone’s houses. Now, it was more important than ever to make sure that the lights blink and make sure that Santa wouldn’t miss his house.

Then Wyatt heard a noise that must be Santa. He listened more closely. He didn’t want to be wrong. ‘Swoosh, Swoosh, Thud’ went the noise.

Wyatt sat straight up! He thought Santa’s sleigh must make that kind of noise when it lands on houses. It even sounded like he was close!

He quietly tiptoed down the stairs and put his hand on the light switch. He flicked the lights off and on, and then off and on again while he listened. ‘Swoosh, Swoosh, Thud’ went the noise.

Whatever it was, it didn’t sound any closer, so Wyatt lifted the curtain and looked and listened. He saw the tree next door sway in the wind and brush the top of the house with a ‘Swoosh, Swoosh, Thud’.

It was very late and Wyatt was very tired from going up and down the stairs, so he curled up on the couch by the Christmas tree. He was very sad as he looked out the window at the red and green Christmas lights that would not blink tonight to help lead Santa’s way to his house. After a while, his eyes closed.

A little while later, Wyatt did not hear the gentle ‘Clip, Clop, Clip, Clop’ of reindeer hooves when Santa’s sleigh landed on the roof, or the gentle ‘Thump’ as Santa came down the chimney.

He did not hear the quiet ‘Crinkle’ of paper as Santa unfolded Wyatt’s carefully written Christmas letter or and he arranged presents under the tree.

He did not wake up when Santa munched on the cookies or quietly slurped the milk that was left as a snack.

Wyatt did not stir at all when Santa went back to his sleigh and said ‘Ho, Ho, Ho… Merry Christmas to all’… and Wyatt did not see outside as the red and green Christmas lights winked their goodbye to Santa.

The End

© 2005 Melissa Smart

Patty lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.

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