It's the most wonderful time of the year. But for one family in Saint-Lazare, it's been wonderful all year long. Sort of. It's safe to say that the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unwillingness to relent has been devastating, frustrating, and exhausting for West Islanders.
In an attempt to extend the happiness of Christmas a little longer, Karen Simmons, a Saint-Lazare resident decided to leave her Christmas tree up throughout the entire month of January last year.
"It's just my daughter and I at home, and we spent the whole month of December telling each other how beautiful the tree looked and how much it brightened up the space. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do being that we had an 8 pm curfew, so I just decided to keep it up and redecorate."
- Karen Simmons
And redecorate she did. What began as an extension of Christmas into the new year, turned into a tree for nearly every holiday and occasion of the year.
February brought a Valentine's Day tree decked out with pink & red hearts, March brought a Saint Patrick's day tree, which later got topped with an empty can of Guinness thanks to a friend of Karen's. And April brought an Easter tree complete with eggs, bunnies, and Peeps.
"It started as a joke and then I really began to challenge myself with the different themes I could come up with," said Simmons.
On April 2nd, Simmons even went so far as to make a birthday tree for her best friend, Caroline Cernik.
Other tree themes included "Summer," "Fall," and "Halloween".
Early in December, Simmons, her daughter, and her son-in-law redecorated for Christmas, this time with a new addition giving the tree even more character. Half the tree's lights have burnt out. The cause? Being plugged in for nearly a year straight!
It's an example of "the little things in life" and should be a reminder to us all to celebrate each day we are fortunate enough to be given.
Continue below to see all of Karen's holiday trees.