"It's the most wonderful time of the year."
~Shared by Tammy Compton
When it comes to Christmas, I wholeheartedly agree with that song sung by the late Andy Williams.
I don't know about you, but it just seems like the world gets a little brighter, people seem kinder, and patience and forgiveness prevail. It truly is the season of miracles. The birth of the Savior. A time of renewal and hope and the realization that the seemingly impossible is possible. There are so very many things that I love about Christmas . . .
A Christmas highlight for Woodloch employee Sue Nordenhold is, "Spending time with family and friends, enjoying their company." It's a time of sharing, filled with fun and joy, a time of attending church gatherings, children's' Christmas concerts, and the talented singing of the Wayne Choralaires under the direction of Pat Sporer, featuring fellow Woodlochians Susan Guccini, Jim Mould, Mary Haag and many more.
Asked about her favorite part of Christmas, reservationist Alexa Peregrim readily shouted, "Ravioli." Huh?
"What's up with the ravioli?" is the annual, ongoing question from her uncle and cousins leading up to the annual family Christmas party. "There had better be ravioli, or I'm not coming," is the usual retort.
Alexa's grandma used to make the best homemade ravioli. When she passed, the family was grateful to find a sweet, "little, old woman" in the neighborhood who had the same gift. She made them fresh from her home, and Alexa's family were faithful supporters. But alas, with the neighbor now in her 80s, she decided to turn in her apron. And so, with grandma's recipe to guide them, the Peregrim family began successfully replicating her homemade treats, making 600 to 700 at a time.
"There are many things I love about the Christmas season," said Woodloch Guest Relations Manager Chris Bower. "I love the parties, seeing staff members out of work and being able to relax with them. I love the Chinese Auction to exchange crazy gifts. I love the music. I start playing Christmas carols right after Thanksgiving (sometimes a few days before if my family does not threaten me). I work very hard during Christmas week and especially New Year's Weekend, but I love the guests that come year after year to Woodloch. I enjoy seeing them and catching up.
"I also love the decorations. Every year when I put up my Christmas tree with my family, there are so many memories. Our tree tells the story of our family. We have ornaments I owned before I was married, ones we received the year we got married, 'Baby's First Christmas' ornaments for our 4 children and even one of our grandchildren. There are hand-made ornaments that our children made in school, etc. It is always a trip down memory lane, and I enjoy looking at it the whole season," Chris said.
"There are two parts of the holidays that are not important to me are Christmas cards and presents. The real reason for the season is not about gifts and cards but keeping in touch, loving and helping one another and keeping Christ in Christmas," Chris shared.
"Christmas music is my favorite," said reservation supervisor Mariann Crandall. "I like serious songs, like Silent Night. But then I like silly songs too like Dominic the Donkey."
Does she wish radio stations started playing them sooner, or should Christmas music be relegated to two weeks before Christmas?
It's with honesty and a laugh Mariann replied, "I have them on my iPod, and I listen to them in July and August so pretty much all year 'round."
It's funny how the story comes full circle with the words of reservation manager Lynn VanBlarcom. "The music says it all. Listen to what this is saying," she exclaimed, referring to Johnny Mathis crooning overhead. "It's the most wonderful time of the year. The spirit is different, the caring, the compassion, and the music will tell this all to you if you'll just listen to the words. The music itself brings it all together from our beginning to where we are now. We are constantly striving for peace and forgiveness and hope. And that's what Christmas does."