Christmas in Lights

Below is my entry for a holiday story contest hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill. The parameters: the story must be 350 words or less, and must begin with with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.” Read more entries at her website. Enjoy!

Christmas in Lights (350 words)

By Carrie Finison

“Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh!” my friend Kayla sang, swooping her bike along the sidewalk.

“That’s about the only Christmas-y thing around here,” said Nick.

That was true. It was 60 degrees with no snow in sight. And no lights on Mrs. Mayfield’s house.

christmashouseIn December, our neighborhood is famous. People drive from miles around to ooh and ahh at Mrs. Mayfield’s holiday decorations. Every shrub is lit. The walk is lined with candy canes. A huge, glowing Santa sits on the roof with a sleigh, eight reindeer, and Rudolph.

“I wonder why Mrs. Mayfield hasn’t decorated yet,” I said.

“My mother said she fell and hurt her ankle,” said Nick.

A car pulled up. Mrs. Mayfield’s son climbed out and waved. He opened the garage and began hauling trash to the curb. We drifted on our bikes. Kayla sang “Deck the Halls.”

Suddenly, I noticed Rudolph’s red nose poking out of a box by the curb.

“Are you putting up the Christmas decorations today?” I asked.

“Actually, we’re getting rid of the decorations. They’re too much trouble now that my mother can’t get around like she used to,” Mr. Mayfield said.

No decorations?

I dropped my bike and sat on our porch.

We couldn’t let those decorations be thrown away. It might not snow, but maybe there was a way to make it feel like Christmas.

“Mr. Mayfield,” I said. “Would you mind if we use the decorations?”

He smiled. “Sure! That’s better than throwing them away. It would cheer up my mom, too.”

“Yippee!” I shouted.

Nick, Kayla, and I spent the afternoon stringing lights. My dad draped icicle lights from our balcony. Rudolph glowed on Nick’s lawn, and Kayla’s mom hoisted Santa onto their garage.

By 5:30, the neighborhood glittered in the growing darkness.

“I’ll get Mom,” said Mr. Mayfield. “She’ll want to see this.”

Quickly, we gathered in front of Mrs. Mayfield’s house. She hobbled outside.

“SURPRISE!” we shouted. Mrs. Mayfield’s face glowed. Then Kayla started to sing.

“Dashing through the snow…”

Everyone joined in. And this time, it felt like Christmas.

33 thoughts on “Christmas in Lights

  1. That’s lovely, Carrie. It never feels like Christmas to me in this part of Italy, so I was recently pleased to discover that almost everyone in our new neighborhood (which we haven’t moved into yet) puts up lights and decorations – yay! It’s almost like you wrote a true story. 🙂

  2. That’s a lovely story, Carrie. Half of our lights came our neighbours who moved. It’s nice to keep the lights shining.

  3. What a fun story, Carrie. Here in France, I miss all the outdoor Christmas lights–especially the house that you find in every town that goes over the top. Your story broght back lots of memories of Christmases past. 🙂

  4. Lovely story! And so true that children become attached to traditions, whether it’s in their own homes, or out in the neighborhood. Love that your characters saw the problem, came up with the solution, and added cheer at the same time. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Your story really does capture the feeling of Christmas. It isn’t about the snow or lights, but it is in the joy we share through the love we give. I love it when stories give me warm fuzzies like this!

  6. A very sweet story! Our neighborhood is covered in lights. My son just says, “Wow!” at them all. It’s a fun time of year.

  7. I love this, Carrie! It is really sweet and shows the Christmas spirit 🙂

    (Yes, I’m just now making my way around to the entries. I’ve been slowly reading a few each day due to time constraints. But, I have to admit, this has been a fun way to read them. I get a little Christmas cheer every day!)

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