"Do you have any M&Ms?” The wise-beyond-her-years 8-year-old at my side posed the question as we gathered at her grandparent’s home. We were about to put the tip top of the artificial Christmas tree on the rest of the faux boughs. I found it an unusual request, given the timing. “We always have M&Ms when we decorate the tree,” she explained. “It’s tradition.” Well, then. There you have it. It’s “tradition.” I came from what you might call an untraditional family. While I remember a lot of the holiday seasons from childhood, I don’t remember any specific customs or rituals. Some of my Christmases past were more memorable than others, but we didn’t have a host of “We always…” I sort of wish we did.
Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I decided not to carry too many expectations into the season — better just to see how each one might unfold. That seems to have worked for me. And yet I appreciate the way some families celebrate. In some, stockings have to be hung just so, garland strung a certain way, and presents opened at one particular time. I’m envious of the Martha-Stewart types and the cookie-bakers, and the Santa-go-seers and folks who get their cards mailed right on time. It seems most everyone has some “thing” they do that makes the holidays their very own.
Me? I never decorate my home the same way twice, and I’m not ever sure that’s where I’ll be December the 25th. I’m open to all sort of new possibilities for location and commemoration. I guess the only “constant” in my fa-la-la-ing is I always enter each season hoping it will be a happy one, and I strive to make some memories each and every year. Maybe that is my tradition. Still, part of me, the little girl inside me, wishes there was one ritual I could make my very own and carry on each and every season. Maybe that’s the magic of this time of year — the possibility that there’s always still a chance of starting one. Hmmm. Perhaps I’ll add some M&Ms.