Leonard Sleeps Through Christmas
(Altamonte Springs, Florida)
“Tomorrow’s the big day!” Leonard’s father said.
It must be Christmas, he thought. His house had been decorated for weeks. Holiday music had been playing and everybody was talking about Santa Claus. He couldn’t wait!
Leonard brushed his teeth extra hard and extra fast that night. He hugged his mother and father an extra time, and even hugged his mouthy big sister Carly before he went to bed.
Leonard closed his eyes and tried to go to sleep, but nothing happened. He closed his eyes tighter, and harder, but still he couldn’t sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he thought of presents and Santa Claus, and cookies, and going to Grandma’s house. The harder he tried to sleep the harder he thought of ripping open packages, of laughing and singing Christmas songs. And he thought of his mother’s special Christmas pancakes. Then he got worried, remembering what his mouthy big sister Carly had said: Santa wouldn’t come if little boys and girls were still awake.
Leonard heard Carly close her bedroom door. He heard his mother and father going to bed. The house was silent. Everyone was asleep but him! Leonard buried his head under his blanket and thought about falling asleep as hard as he could.
He opened his eyes and his bedroom was still dark, the house was silent. But he noticed outside his window there was a little orange and pink light in the sky over the house across the street. He knew that’s where the sun came up! It was Christmas morning!
Leonard hopped out of bed and listened. The house was still quiet. Santa must have gone already. He tip toed down the hallway and checked his parent’s room. They were still asleep. Mouthy big sister Carly was still asleep too. Leonard knew not to open any presents before anyone woke up, but he had to see what Santa had brought. He’d just take a peek and wait in bed until everyone woke up. Quietly he went downstairs. It was dark, but he found a switch and turned on the light. The tree was there, but there were no presents, no bright colored wrapping paper, and no bows. He couldn’t believe it. He stepped closer to the Christmas tree: it was just like he’d left it last night! He ran to the dining room: no presents! He ran to the kitchen: no presents! He checked under the tables, in the hallway, in the closets: there were no Christmas presents! Santa had known he was still awake and passed them by! He’d ruined Christmas for everyone!
He didn’t know what else to do, so he sat down on the floor and began to cry.
Leonard opened his eyes and his mother and father were both there, holding him, asking him what was the matter. “No presents,” he mumbled between cries, “No Santa,” he said, “And it’s all…my…fault I didn’t get to sleep on time, and Santa passed us by!” He buried his face into his mother’s bathrobe.
“Leonard honey, it’s okay,” his mother said softly.
“What are you talking about?” his father asked.
“You said tomorrow was the big day,” Leonard sniffed. "And today is tomorrow!"
“Tomorrow is the big day,” his father said, “tomorrow, not today,today is Christmas Eve! The big day! Santa comes tonight!”
“Then I didn’t miss it?” Leonard said, “I didn’t make Santa pass us by?”
“No, of course not,” his parents said, hugging him.
Leonard pulled away from his parents, “Then I better get to bed right now! I don’t want to be awake when I’m supposed to be asleep!”
“There’s plenty of time for that honey,” his mother said. “Since we’re all up, why don’t I make some really special Christmas Eve pancakes?”
“Christmas Eve pancakes too? Wow,” Leonard said, “today really is the big day!”