(via Danielle, who's sporting spiffy bangs and saddle shoes in the Santa pic)
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, except at Tudy and Dub's Christmas open house when I'll drink any nog offered to me.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? When I was growing up, Santa didn't wrap. He was lazy that way. So was my mother--she taught me how and then I wrapped all the presents, even my own (usually I was good and didn't peek in the boxes). When my kids were young, Santa wrapped everything.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We started out with colored lights, switched to white years ago when I decided they were classier, and then started using whatever we could snatch up at the nearest drug store once a string went dead. Currently I don't know which we're on, but I hope colored; white's looking awfully generic to me these days. The ceramic Christmas tree on the computer desk has colored lights.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. I've never known anyone who did.
5. When do you put your decorations up? After the 15th. At some point after that. The year R. spent in Germany we were decorating the tree when she called home on Christmas Eve, which shamed even us. We're prone to leaving things up till the middle of January, though.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I believe they're called second helpings.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Second grade. My friends Mark and Nancy told me at school and I told them they were wrong, and the teacher's aide said when she entered the argument that I was right, and then I went home and told my mother who said Mark and Nancy were right and I ran and hid behind a chair. It all seemed so wrong.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open all our presents on Christmas eve. We go to the grandparents' on Christmas morning, 80-some miles away, and this way we get to have our own unrushed, peaceful Christmas before the madness starts (a huge breakfast and twenty million presents under one tree). Plus my family always opened presents on Christmas Eve, too; Christmas day was strictly for Santa.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Reluctantly, these days, I'm afraid. I lost the momentum of Christmas in '02; my dad died in November that year and my mother died right before Christmas after being in intensive care for 17 days. Both L. and I have a why bother attitude about the tree these days which would be relieved by the kids showing a bit of their earlier enthusiasm for decorating it.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? The last time we had snow for Christmas was 25 years ago. I panicked -- we were getting married in two days and how on earth was anyone to get to the church if there was snow? Ordinarily though, I would love to have a white Christmas, but as we say around these parts, it ain't gonna happen.
12. Can you ice skate? No, not at all.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My stuffed frog Hoppy. My brother gave him to me. I intended to keep him forever, so I'm sorry to say I had to throw him out just last week. Claudius is not a good cat, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family togetherness. Trying to insure that everyone else has a good time.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Coconut cake.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Having everyone at home. Going to the grandparents' and seeing everyone. R. and I would like a tradition of going to London for the holidays, but we've manged to do that only once.
17. What tops your tree? We don't own a designated tree topper. Sometimes I hang a gold sun with a face at the top because it's so large I don't know where else to put it.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving, when I can come up with the perfect gift. Receiving a perfect gift's pretty wonderful too.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I am inordinately fond of (translation: I listen to it all year long) Santa Can't Stay--what's Christmas without a little family drama? (Plus there's some seriously whacked out bells at the end of the song and a line you'd never expect to find in a Christmas song, Momma "says he (Santa) might beat the crap out of Ray" (Momma's new boyfriend).) I also lurve Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas (I also listen to this all year long) and John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)." I like the medley of traditional carols we played in high school band.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I am not a big fan of candy canes. I eat one every three or four years, I suppose.
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