Since my mom died, it’s been a real challenge celebrating the holidays without her. For many years I put up her tree and decorations as well as my own, and was cooking the Christmas dinner at my house so that she wouldn’t have the hassle or the work. After she stopped driving, I even took on the selection and purchase of the presents she gave to family at her request. As much as possible, I wanted to make things easier for her, and make her holidays a happy time.
After she was gone, the idea of putting up my own full-size tree at the holidays suddenly felt like a waste of time and effort, as no one would be seeing it but myself, and there were so many memories associated with the twinkly lights and the smell of pine. But not decorating my house at all felt worse.
I eventually talked myself into displaying at least a small tree, but nothing felt right. Then this year it was suggested to me that starting a brand new tradition might help lessen my sad feelings about missing the old ones.
So I thought a lot about it and this week I decided I would try something completely different. I took several of my favorite Santas from of my collection of about 150, some inexpensive floating wooden shelves from Target, and a metal star, and built a minimalist “Santa tree” on my living room wall.
Planning and installing this gave me something entirely new to do, and I like the idea that I can change or rearrange the Santas if the mood strikes me. Under the “tree” is a small Lane chest where I’ve stacked the Christmas presents. Since this is a work in progress, I might add lights and some greenery later on, but even if I do nothing else, it still feels right.