Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Christmas Meme

I intended to post this BEFORE Christmas (originally written on 12/20), but delayed it until I took a picture to include of either our outdoor decorations or our tree. However, it is now December 28 and I still haven't taken a picture of either, so I am posting this entry now.

This will be my last entry before Christmas (I think), because I think no one will be reading blogs again until after Christmas. Things are in full swing. I would really like to keep Christmas a secret from the kids until like five days before, but I don't think the rest of the world would cooperate. They are SO hyped up about it. Every night ends with all three literally jumping up and down or on their beds with excitement for Christmas. The family dramas have reached their pinnacle and are hopefully over until next year (you just cannot make everyone happy all the time). The presents are all purchased and wrapped. Christmas Eve dinner is planned and Christmas day is fast approaching.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate. Egg nog is so freakin' nasty. Hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows, preferably small ones but out of desperation, big ones will do just fine. On a cold day after outside play, I even let the kids drink it on a blanket in the family room (on the carpet) while we watch a movie.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa does not wrap. Most gifts are from us. Usually, three or four big things are from Santa and they go unwrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White, white, white and lots of''em. Although, we have been discussing the fact that we all like blue lights too. So, maybe next year when our house isn't red anymore, we will experiment with some blue lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.

5. When do you put your decorations up? While Thanksgiving often marks the beginning of the planning to decorate and working on arranging the house to accommodate the decorations, we usually don't decorate until December 1st.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I make French Toast on Christmas morning with Challah bread or real French bread, with bacon and sausage and we have a nice family breakfast.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: I have many. Christmas was always a wonderful holiday in my house. The year my dad put a present under the tree and told my brother and I he would give us $100 if we could guess what was in the box. We tried and tried, forever. No idea. Finally, Christmas day, we opened it up and it was a box of paper. Dot matrix printer paper. Huh? Wait right here, my dad said. He brought in an Apple Macintosh computer. Now, think early 1980s here...the home PC was really just on the market. We were so excited, but we really didn't even know why. I loved that computer. A short other one is the puzzle I worked every year and still do. In fact, just completed it with Phillip last night. Or the books we used to read, I have them all and still read them to my kids. One was originally my brothers, from 1971, about a little bear whose family is getting ready for Christmas. It is a scratch-n-sniff and it still smells! I love that book.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? There was a way to see from the upstairs hall into the living room by the fireplace. One Christmas eve, I snuk out on the little balcony and peered in the living room, only to see my Dad putting out a Snoopy phone. My mom was busily organizing other things around the fireplace. It dawned on me...they do that, not Santa! Oh well, who cares--I GOT A SNOOPY PHONE!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We spend Christmas Eve with my mom. Most often that means exchanging gifts with her on Christmas Eve. So, there is a little opening involved. But, no opening of our gifts to each other. I tried so hard every year when I was little to get my parents to institute this tradition and they just wouldn't do it. Now, I understand why and I am not at all for it. I know, I know, some folks have that open a box of new pajamas tradition. Fine, because you wouldn't really give that as a gift on Christmas anyway (except maybe to me...I could use a new pair of flannel pajamas. My office is super cold in the early morning hours).

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I put the lights on the tree and the kids hang the ornaments (and I don't go back and rearrange). I do hang the fragile ornaments up high, though. About half of all ornaments end up on the floor or carried throughout the house by whoever is the youngest that year. This year, Andy loves to hang three small ornaments that are bells from his pointer fingers and carry them all around. The other two areas of interest are the mantle (it's a long mantle), where we have our Christmas snow globe collection, our collection of Santa photos from each year, the nativity scene and stockings. Plus, a menorah to honor and recognize the Jewish side of my family. Each year, we intend to light the candles during Hanukkah and say the prayers and talk a bit about what it means, and some years we succeed, but most of the time it is hit or miss. This question is about the tree, isn't it? Oh well, let me tell you a bit more. I also put up Christmas artwork of the kids throughout the house, including several pieces by me when I was 6 and 7. The gingerbread houses we made are also on display in the living room and a very special framed picture my mom had made that is sort of a collage of pictures of me and my brother with Santa when we were children, plus a very special one of my Dad with Santa when he was a child. Finally, the boys' favorite decoration is the advent calendar that holds a special surprise each morning. Candy, a small toy or a clue to find a larger toy, book, or treat. Only five more doors to open!

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it. My favorite Indiana winter day? Several inches of snow, sunshine and 30 degrees.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, of course.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The Snoopy phone or perhaps a kitchen I got for barbies (but, I didn't have Barbie, I had other more socially conscious and realistic barbies thanks to my recovering-hippy mom-I liked them better). The one that I got that was a bit on the edge for her was Darla, she was a Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleader.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Totally family and memories. I love seeing everyone enjoy the day together, relaxing and really, truly making memories.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Cookies and usually whatever I make for dessert for our fancy Christmas Eve dinner. This year, a pumpkin cake with buttercream icing and a praline topping.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve dinner, no matter who comes. I love to cook a gorgeous meal, share nice wine, eat by candlelight, relax and visit with family and friends.

17. What tops your tree? An angle I bought one year when Jeff and I were still dating (been married almost 10 years) for about $2.30 off the clearance rack after Christmas at Service Merchandise one year. Jeff was returning something at the service counter and I just happened to pick it up. I would like something nicer, but now it has so many memories I am not sure I could part with it!

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Totally giving! I work hard to find special gifts for everyone that I think they want and will love. I enjoy seeing their reaction and hearing things like, "how did you know I wanted this?!?" I take careful notes all year on what people need and want and so to finally give it to them is so much fun!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. Silent Night. Joy to the World (that one always makes me cry on Christmas Eve), Little Drummer Boy, Do You Hear What I Hear? I love the ones that talk about the birth of Christ. The hokey Christmas ones are fine too, I enjoy them, but the don't necessarily "move" me like the ones that are actually hymns.

20. Candy canes: Not really.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf. Like, the funniest movie I have ever seen.

22. What do you leave for Santa? I have a special plate and cup for cookies and milk, yet inevitably, almost each year we end up forgetting and I have to stick it out after the kids have gone to bed. We also leave lettuce or carrots for the reindeer. Will try hard to remember this year!

Merry Christmas!


Jeff said...

Tell the story about the nanny who was allergic to christmas trees.

Anonymous said...

I'm very impressed with all the "traditions" that you keep at Christmas. It is so hard to focus on those little things with all the chaos of the holiday. Your kids will really appreciate the effort some day! Of course, I am surprised that It's A Wonderful Life is not your favorite movie.

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