“When my sister and I frosted Christmas cookies there were always a few standard anomalies – one blue Christmas tree and one yellow snowman.”

Every time I share this quote from an old friend of mine it gets a smile, if not a full chuckle. It’s a funny quote.  A yellow snowman?  Come on, that’s hilarious.  But I don’t think it’s just the humor that has people smiling over this one – I think it’s the truth.

Everyone’s family has a few “standard anomalies,” and in the holiday season they seem to multiply exponentially. Call them quirks, call them traditions, call them whatever – we all have things we do just because they’re the things we do, and it doesn’t feel right without them.

My mother?  She has this ceramic reindeer.  It originally had a plant in it, tucked into a cavern in its back, but years later the plant is long gone.  Every year she tries to figure out what to stuff in the back of the reindeer – an elf toy, a sprig of plastic poinsettia, a candle.  What will she stuff in the reindeer this year?  We all want to know.

And my aunt?  She’s got snowmen.  Everywhere.  It’s her “thing” – she collects snowmen, and then puts them out all over her house.  And what’s even funnier?  Every year people buy her more snowmen.  It’s the only thing we can think of.

And me?  Yep, I’ve got it too.  I have to make the fish.  From the very first Christmas I can remember we’ve always had a casserole of white fish and rice pilaf in dill sauce on Christmas Eve, and I can’t go a year without it.  Even when work has prevented me from spending holidays with my family, I make the Christmas Fish for myself.  It just feels like the thing to do.

So this year, in honor of my friend and his sister and their yellow snowman,  my mother and her reindeer, and my aunt’s repetitive decor, I’m declaring quirks, traditions and anomalies officially “in fashion.”  Yep – tradition is trendy.  Let’s embrace those things we do “just because” and do them with wild abandon.  Let’s share our traditions, and try to pick up a few new ones on the way.


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