Traditions are traditions for a reason

Bah Humbug!

I'm just kidding.

Kind of.

It's not really a secret that I can be a bit of a grinch when I'm in a less than stellar mood. Unfortunately, in addition to the over-the-top merriment I feel during the month of December (who wouldn't with all those cookies, pies and tofu scramble wreathes just waiting to be baked, not to mention watching our darling little girl maneuver her way around some wrapping paper, bows and scotch tape), every now and then I'm overcome with that misery-loves-company mentality (namely, when I think about all the cleaning I have to do, not to mention the putting up and taking down of all those festive decorations).

With just under three weeks until Christmas, we've got our miniature village up and running, in addition to some Santa and snowman decals, a Minnie Mouse door hanger (complete with jingle bells), a Mickey Mouse stocking for Pearyn, a Batman one for Chubby Vegan Dad and an old-school knit one for me, Christmas Minnie and Mickey Mouse stuffed beanies (to add some pizzazz to Pearyn's room), some miscellaneous garland and an oversize, plastic snow globe that Pearyn refuses to put down.

Did you see what we left out? That's right, a Christmas tree. We STILL don't have our Christmas tree up yet.

This year we've opted to put up a fake one (complete with all the decorations my mamaw used to put on her tree), mainly because of the real, live Christmas tree fiasco we faced last year. No seriously, we didn't just have a real tree, we had one that still had it's big ole root ball intact, so we could plant it in the backyard after it served its Christmas duties.

Then we moved. We moved away from our precious first tree.

All my rambling does in fact have a point, I promise.

So this year we were bickering about when to put the tree up (and when I saw we, I mean me, because I'm the grinch of Christmas present). I was complaining about the whole shaping of the tree, not sure whether Pearyn would respect the boundaries of the tree this year and not looking forward to throwing (MORE) junk in our garage.

And then I looked at all those ornaments. I looked at all the shiny, pretty glass bulbs that ordained the same tree at my grandmother's house, and I felt sad; I felt really, really sad.

This will mark out first Christmas without my grandmother, the first year she won't be around to put far too many ornaments on her extravagant tree, burn too many candles in so many "holiday" scents they all start to blend together, but mainly, she won't be around to remind us of all the small things.

She had this way of making you appreciate the little things in life, probably because her love of things simple, from an old song she used to dance to, a gaudy ring she bought from the home shopping network or even 10 pairs of the same, exact shoe (in different colors) because they were THAT comfortable.

 She was the kind of grandmother who displayed her grandchildren's ugly macaroni art not because she felt she had to, but because she was genuinely proud of it.

 But most of all, she was proud of her Christmas tree. She was proud of the countless trinkets that lit up, rang and jingled, she took pride in the grins that appeared on her grandchildren's faces when they saw the trimmed tree. Making us happy, made her happy.

It was that simple.

Because traditions are traditions for a reason (and not to be a pain in the butt), but to help us remember.

And that is why this year, although she won't be here to celebrate with us, and even though I might have to put up 1,000 bulbs and trinkets simply to put them away in a few weeks, we will not only put up her Christmas tree, we will decorate it the way she would like it.

This year, we will make her proud.

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