I've received this from several different people, and then saw someone post it as a blog....excellent notion. So here are my answers, in lieu of a Monday Blog Of Genius Invention.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I have never been a good wrapper (or rapper, for that matter). For some reason, my packages are surrounded by a cushion of air and get all wrinkled and folded at the ends. I run out of patience, I lack the mathematical skills to add how many inches of paper should equal how many inches of present, and I am not good at the outer adornment that today's gift wrapping industry tells me I need. I dated a guy whose mother wrapped like freaking Martha Stewart. He asked me to take wrapping lessons from her, and after that I rather lost my taste in caring too much. Still, I do like the look of shiny paper. So I buy gum. And then I wrap presents in a hurry, making mistakes and quite ugly packages. Those who receive such a package know that they are loved.
2. Real tree or artificial?
If you know my family of origin, you won't be surprised to hear that we always had an artificial tree. This might have been for cost effectiveness (buy once, as opposed to every year) or for convenience (we killed about 6 pet birds, as we weren't the most observant family) or for time (going to buy a real tree would have required the family to be in the car at the same time with a few hours to spare). It never bothered me, as I didn't want to have to water the tree and sweep under the tree and hope the tree didn't catch my house on fire. (Though on a random note, my house did catch fire last week, and it wasn't a Christmas tree.) Well, when I got married, Austin one day announced that it was time to find a Christmas Tree Farm. To which I laughed and told him that I'm gullible but not ignernt. We sparred. And then he triumphantly drove me to a Christmas Tree Farm, though I'm still not sure that he didn't just paint a sign and pay someone to hang it above a tree nursery. I'm sure you are wondering what my little family now does. Well, do you know me? Do I really want something else to clean up after and remember to feed? Yikes. Tree In A Box.
3. When do you put up the tree?
The day after Thanksgiving! Although this year we didn't put it up til Saturday. I was too busy recovering from the Crazy Long Night At The Mall. My sister and I started this tradition, as putting up the tree meant we didn't have to converse with our family that should be committed to a mental institution.
4. When do you take the tree down?
Whenever I get around to it. Austin thinks it should be after Epiphany, but that is because he is Anglican and they are snooty about dates. I think of it like unpacking a suitcase...the least enjoyable part of a journey. And if you don't know my fully developed thoughts on unpacking a suitcase, you can search through my blog archive. I'll give you a hint: I'm not good at finishing what I've star
5 . Do you like eggnog?
I do not, unless it is made by Uncle Marty/Aunt Lisa. And then...something wonderful happens to it. It might be the bourbon. It certainly isn't the excessive tummy rolling that comes afterwards. But that isn't their fault. I'm lactose intolerant, and therefore drinking heavy cream is just asking for it.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Ahhhh. Rolph, the stuffed dog. My sister saved up her allowance and bought me a fantastic St. Bernard that was half as big as me. (At least at the age of 7. By the age of 10, I was the size of an Eskimo Heavyweight.) I slept with that lovely bundle of fluff tucked in my arms until (slightly embarrassed) after my freshman year of college. My sister made me get rid of him, saying that he was most likely riddled with disease. Also, I left him in my car in the Phoenix July heat and it made his painted eyes go clear and glassy, and I couldn't deal with a blind Rolph.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
My parents. My mom gives the same slightly bemused smile if you give her a pile of dog poo or an 8 carat diamond ring. My dad is just weird, and after 27 years of birthday, Christmas, Father's Day, etc. etc. etc. I have run out of weird ideas. Although I did see a replica of the fragiLE leg lamp from 'A Christmas Story'. If I needed to hear him laugh very very loudly, I would buy it.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
Austin. He is a really good gift receiver. Everything makes him totally excited, and he is almost stoopid when it comes to figuring out his presents. This is an odd combo, given that he is such a smart and calculating person. Oh well. Everyone is a child at Christmas, right? As long as he doesn't revert too far. Footy pajamas are not for people over the age of 8.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, Austin was very excited to put it up this year. It was his dad's, and Austin remembers it gracing the counters, tables, and bookshelves of his childhood homes. Yes, homes. We have so much in common...
Interesting factoid: Dennis wouldn't let the wise men and camels join the rest of the gang until Epiphany. They had to hang out in another part of the house. He was definitely a stickler for detail! In our house, there was one place and ONE PLACE ONLY to put the creche, so the wise men had to condescend to arrive extra early for the birth of Jesus. So far no complaints, but we'll see how long Austin holds out with such a historical inaccuracy occurring in his own home.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Only once did we purchase Christmas cards. Most of them are still sitting in their envelopes, awaiting stamps they will never meet. But if I love you, I'll text you on the big day.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Hmmmm. Well, I'm not sure if my parents always read this. So...I S am going to say that I appreciate T each and every O gift, as it is a C symbol of love K.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Ahhhh, Clark. But I do totally enjoy The Preacher's Wife, as it satisfies the black part of my soul. Miracle on 34th Street is a good one, although this year I found that I'm getting a little tired of it. Maybe it needs to stay in the garage until Christmas 2012. Elf makes me happy. I DESPISE It's A Wonderful Life. DESPISE. Just in case you were wondering if I like all Christmas movies, the answer is an emphatic NO.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
October-December is the norm. But I really like waiting until the decorations are up and the other shoppers are happy and yet mad all at the same time.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Actually, no. I am ok with telling people 'hey, I got this for Xmas but don't like it/can't use it/already have one/doesn't fit, and you are welcome to have it'. But I don't pass it off as a gift that I purchased for them. This is strongly tied to my mother's incessant re-gifting.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Whatever Denise Palma is cooking. And I have to give props: my mother in law makes some crazy good food as well. Sorry, Mom. Your special gift isn't cooking. It is re-gifting. More specifically though, I love myself some peppermint ice cream, hot cocoa, Oreo balls (yes, ugly name) and Starbucks' cranberry bliss bar.
16. Lights on the tree?
700! (The little lights aren't twinkling, Clark)
17. Favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night....Carol of the Bells....Little Drummer Boy....Do You Hear What I Hear
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
As if I have the luxury of maintaining any sense of normalcy? Something different, somewhere different every single year.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Yes, but why?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Personally, a star. I start thinking of the poor angel who is sitting on top of a tree. (Do you understand what I'm getting at?)
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
When there are enough of them, one for Eve and the rest for the next morning.22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Ice on the roads. Chocolate covered cherries. Long lines for Santa.
23. What theme or color are you using?
The same things from last year plus three new ornaments. Although Janette gave me enough red lights to rope off the naughty district in Holland. So I guess I could say, 'red'.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner.
I'm not picky. But I hate pickles and onions and Scary Meat From Questionable Parts and jello served as salad and potato salad and fresh tomatoes.
25. Favorite Christmas Tradition?
Sleeping under the tree with my sister on Christmas Eve. If she can wait until the 25th, I'm game. But I really don't like when she eats packaged meat while we laugh under the branches. Talitha, we are older now, and our tastes should be more sophisticated. Please make Puppy Chow.
26. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Well, I can certainly think of tons of things I want. And I could really use a new pair of jeans. But in all honesty, despite being tinged with cliche, I just want to see my family and be happy. I can't wait to hold my nephew and nieces. I want to sit in the hot tub with my sister and sister-in-laws, and have too much to drink. I mean, eat. But don't go thinking too highly of me. I feel free to be sentimental because my birthday is just a month after Christmas, so I hopefully have good things coming my way before too long.