Christmas was always the hap-happiest time of the year in our house growing up. Each year after Thanksgiving we would begin digging out the boxes and boxes and boxes of decorations. The Dicken's Village adorned the windows with plumes of cottony "snow". The tree was trimmed with bubble lights and tons of ornaments. Right near the top of the tree where the star was went my Dad's Christmas monkey ornament. While the inside of the house was transformed into a winter wonderland, the outside drew many to slow down their cars as they drove down the street. We had a huge Christmas tree (my parents' first tree in our house) in our front yard that my dad would decorate with huge colored bulbs. He also strung matching bulbs along the house. The piece de resistance was a plastic light up Santa's sleigh with 5 reindeer that my dad would string from the tree to the house so it looked like they were running onto our house! Christmas music was played religiously as the preparations were made. My favorite part of the season was dragging out the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook. My sisters and I would parooze the pages as we selected the types of cookies that we would bake that year. We would bake and bake and bake the month away. A big portion of this season revolved around my mother and how much she enjoyed the season. The shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, etc. Once the magic of Santa was gone, Mom and I spent more time together during the holidays. I took over a lot of the cookie baking. I would shop with her for my sisters and stay up at night and help her wrap. I never knew that 13 years ago was the last Christmas season that she would be here with us.
Since she's been gone, Christmas has been a lot different. Some years are rougher than others (the fertility treatment years were the worst). New traditions have been started. New people have come into my life. I do not bury my head in the sand and wait for Christmas to be over. I listen to the radio and sometimes cry when her favorite songs come on, but mostly sing along happily. Christmas is still the happiest time of my year and it brings me the most memories of the things that she and I used to do together. As the kids get older, I hope to do the things with them that I did with her.