My favorite holiday has always been Christmas. The music, the lights, the caring, everyone always seemed to get along. I loved it. After I had children I hoped that they would love it as much as I did. They did.
When they were small, we would chop our own tree from a friend’s farm, not so much fun with Jess, she didn’t really like the trekking into the woods but we tried to keep it a family activity.
I would decorate the whole house. There were decorations for even the bathroom. Jess wasn’t more than 2 when she let it be known that she loved Christmas music and lights. I would lay the string of lights on the floor to test them and she would go into hysterical laughter as soon as even one would light up. I had a cedar chest in front of one of the living room windows and after I framed that window with lights that is where Jess could be found any time of the day. She would sit on that chest staring intently at the lights, flapping a hand to her throat and laughing.
I had collected Christmas albums all my life and come Dec. 1 I would play them all day, much to the chagrin of Koosh. One of Jessica’s favorites was Wayne Rostad – Christmas in the Valley of which there was a different one every year for about 5 years. She also enjoyed Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis (all she had to hear was the first notes of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and she was in 7th heaven!), Anne Murray etc, etc, etc, - my collection was endless. Jessica so enjoyed the music that we began playing it in the background of our day every day. Whether she had the TV on or not. Whether it was summer or not. I remember one day when the priest came to visit Melissa who was about to make her First Communion. He stepped into our house on this sunny day in June and after a few minutes, cocked his head and asked if that was Christmas music he heard in the background. A bit embarrassed I said "yes it was" and explained how much Jessica enjoyed it. He said “no explanation necessary, happy the home who has Christmas all year round”. I have never forgotten that, it made me feel so privileged.
About 2 weeks before Christmas, we would go get that tree! The getting may have been hard but decorating it that night made it all worthwhile. As soon as we had it upright in the stand, we brought out the lights and once again Jess would get so excited. She would roll her tumble form as close to the tree as possible and rock back and forth looking at the lights and listening to the music. You almost thought she would bust with happiness.
The first few Christmases we would add the tinsel at the end but we gave that up as the static electricity would just make it cling all over Jess who was so close to the tree all the time. She would make her objections known through sounds of anger. We stopped putting it on after that. We also had to do away with the “real” tree and purchased a fake one. Jess would sometimes grab the tree making needles fall. The needles would get stuck in her socks and you guessed it, more objections.
One year she rolled so close to the tree that when she gave it a tug, it fell down on top of her. I was in the kitchen when I heard Melissa scream for me. I ran in to find the tree down and 2 feet sticking out from under it. When I stood up the tree, there was Jess, “aga” she said and smiled.