top of page


This year we decided to put up a small Christmas tree after debating on putting one up at all. You see, we moved not long ago, and our Christmas tree was left behind by mistake. So, when the holiday season was approaching, we started looking into buying a new Christmas tree. This home is only temporary, and we are moving again soon, so this place does not feel like home. But more importantly, with everything going on around the world, it just did not feel right to celebrate when so many people lost so much. We still felt that we had a lot to be grateful for, we are all healthy, and we are together.

A very Covid Christmas
Christmas lights

We have been so lucky.

So, we decided to set up a small Christmas because of the kids and everything that we have to be grateful for. We did not even buy a new one, my mother had a few small trees in the garage, and we just borrowed one.

We decided that most of the decorations would be gold stars to represent the souls that have left us and still shine bright for us.

I could not fit enough stars on the small tree for everyone who passed -there were just too many.

After 9 Studios: A Different Kind of Christmas
One Star for Every Soul

Nothing has been easy these past few years; many have lost so much. All we can do is try to help as much as possible and keep going. Being alone during the holidays is never easy for anyone, it is even harder for people with mental illness. We are already seeing the outcome all over the news. Hopefully, this is as hard as it gets, and it will be uphill from here on. But the damage already caused will not be fixed that easily; there is so much work to be done. Maybe the world has changed, and this is our new normal. Nothing is clear at the moment; we just have to hope for the best.

So, I ask all of you, family, friends, and everyone who reads this, let's come together and do as much as possible to make sure we do not lose anyone else. Death is a part of our lives, we are born, and eventually, we die, but why not try and keep people with us a little bit longer.

The ones that pass away are probably in peace, but us, the ones that stay behind are the ones who feel the pain.

The pain of missing someone, a mother, a father, a child, a husband, a friend. Missing them so much and not being able to see them or tell them how much we love them. Imagine how hard it must be to go Christmas shopping and seeing something that you know that person that is no longer with us would have loved. The pain of writing a list and starting to write that name that does not need a present anymore.

Now imagine all that and not having anyone, or not having money to buy presents for your children or a nice Christmas dinner. I know it is hard for all of us, but some have it so much harder. Let's think about this and how we can make someone's life a bit easier. It does not have to be much; every little bit helps. This time around, we have to be creative to ensure the safety of everyone. Take this from someone with a mental illness. Even with all my family here and my support group, all of this is very hard.

Even just a smile to that stranger you see walking down the street can make a big difference. Let's be kind to one another and make sure you are kind to yourself. All love starts with self-love.

Happy holidays everyone, and thank you for making this year special and being a part of our lives.

Jennifer P. Rodriguez

Co-owner and Director of After 9 Studios

Direct Line: 289-500-9331


bottom of page