A while back, Lotus Lynn tagged me with a Christmas meme. Other things kept popping up to post about, but I figure it not today, then when?
1. Wrapping or gift bags? I do both. When I have the luxury of time and hands that work, I like to do gift wrap with very fancy ribbon, and I’ve even been known to embellish with sprigs of evergreen, ornaments, and such. I once even won a gift-wrapping contest at a Christmas party, with one hand tied behind my back. (LG provided the other hand.) This year, mostly bags.
2. Real or artificial tree? Real. This year, for the very first time, we seriously discussed an artificial tree. But not yet. Still real. For many years, one of my brothers was in the Christmas tree farming business, and he would drive his trees up from North Carolina to Delaware, and drop a very fine tree off, right on our front porch. Those were the salad days.
3. When do you put up the tree? We put up the tree late. Our tree was just put up yesterday. Part of this is due to our general lifestyle of mayhem and procrastination. But it is partly because we like to keep it up late — at least until my birthday, Epiphany, and often well beyond that. I enjoy the tree more after the hubbub (not humbug) is over. Nothing else to wrap or cook or clean or deliver. Just tree-sitting, listening to music and sipping something.
4. When do you take the tree down? See above.
5. Do you like eggnog? Not especially. I wouldn’t miss it if it were banned.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? When I was thirteen, I came home from school on the last day before Christmas break, to find that a red princess phone had been installed in my bedroom. I was tickled pink (red). This was back in the days when a telephone man had to come out and run wires through your wall, and attach them to a little box on the baseboard. So it had to be done on a week day, couldn’t wait for Christmas.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? I do. I actually have a small collection of them. One of my favorites is one in which the figures are all modern-day children, dressed in Biblical clothing, like they’re in the Christmas Pageant. I like nativity scenes from all over the world. There are a couple of stores near here that have a big selection, and I always like to go look at them, this time of year.
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Ha! Last night, thinking about this meme, I said to Jif, “What’s the worst Christmas gift I ever received?” He said, “Just wait . . . ” Nothing specific comes to mind, but I know I’ve been mildly annoyed when people have given me clothing or jewelry that I find plum butt-ugly, and I wonder, why did that make them think of me? Oh, and there was the time Jif gave me a coat like the one Marilyn on Northern Exposure wore. That wasn’t so bad, but it was a size 26. Now, I’m not a size 2, nor am I a size 6, but so far, I am not a size 26 either. I guess he was going for the “Eskimo blanket” look.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I’m so late this year, many people will get them after Christmas. That’s only because I will MAIL them after Christmas. That’s OK with me, both as a sender and a receiver of such cards.
10. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story. And Rudolph.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I think of Christmas all year — I bought a few gifts for people when I was on vacation in the summer. But serious shopping doesn’t really start until November.
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I like cookies. And fudge. Oh, and a pinecone cheeseball. I’ll take a picture later.
13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored. I am a colored-light girl. One, for the nostalgia factor, and two, for the fact that I have clear lights all over my house every day of the year. It’s the colors that say, PARTAY!
14. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night. And a song by Jennifer Knapp, “Sing, Mary, Sing.” If you don’t know Jennifer Knapp, I would highly recommend listening to her. She’s mostly contemporary Christian, but don’t let that scare you off. She reminds me a lot of Melissa Etheridge. And I love to hear my friend, Katy, sing “The Cherry Tree Carol.” And I love Odetta at Christmas time. And . . . see, I love me some Christmas songs. Just keep the chestnuts out of the fire, and I’m happy (see #20, which I answered before this one).
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home. I usually travel a half hour or so, to some family members’ home. Today it’ll be us, Nana and PopPop, my SIL and BIL and their two lovely little girls. But no “serious” travel. And our favorite Christmases have been those when we did not leave the house nor the pajamas.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Aw, hell yea!
17. Angel on the tree top or a star? I used to have an angel, and I would love to again, but after she bit it (can you say that about an angel?), we never found one we liked enough. So for now, it’s one of those old-fashioned glass ornament tree toppers, that you stick the top pointy branch into.
18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Usually one on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas Day.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Parking. On Friday I saw a wealthy — car too fancy for me to recognize — older woman totally CUSS OUT a much poorer, much younger driver, for taking “her” parking spot. Merry Christmas, indeed.
20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? No. It’s things we find fun and/or beautiful and/or sentimental. I love ornaments. Oh, and I have strings of multi-colored glass beads for garland. That’s kind of unusual, I think. I really like them.
21. What do you leave for Santa? Cheese. Ever since those commercials a few years ago, about the POWER, remember? We leave milk and cookies, too.
22. Least favorite holiday song? I do not like “The Christmas Song.” Not sure why. There’s something that really bugs me about those damned chestnuts roasting on that open fire. This has been true for as long as I can remember. Maybe there was some childhood trauma related to roasting chestnuts, and tiny tots with glowing eyes?
I try to give away the ones I don’t love. And I like to get at least one new one, every year. Here are some new ones from blogfriends 🙂
24. (I added this one!) Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? I say both. I was unaware that this was a big THING this year until I started reading about it on people’s blogs. And here, I might (will) offend some people — but, hey, it’s Christmas, so I’ll treat y’all like family. I will not knowingly offend you with a greeting — that’s absurd; offense is antithetical to the very purpose of a greeting. However, I will also not be so cautious with you that I am tongue-tied and self-conscious and worried that in my efforts to be friendly, kind, warm, I may use some words at which you choose to take offense. I may be spoiled by the open, loving people with whom I am blessed to have some regular contact. One of my Jewish friends once told me that she would be hurt if I didn’t wish her a Merry Christmas. So I do. And I will. I know that not every Jewish person feels that way. And I know that “Merry Christmas” does not mean the same thing to that friend, that it means to me. (That, by the way, is also true of the Christian friends sitting next to me in my church pew.) If I know what holiday you celebrate, and if I know that my doing so would not offend you, I will wish you the wishes appropriate to your holiday of choice. When my Muslim clients celebrated Ramadan, I googled proper Ramadan greetings, and I asked the mother in the family if such a greeting would be welcome, coming from me. She said it would. I imagine the Muslim next door to her could have felt differently. So, again, if I know of your particular beliefs or traditions, I will greet you accordingly. If I don’t, though, by gosh, by golly, you’re highly likely to hear me say, “Merry Christmas,” and mean it. I have no problem with Jews having a Merry Christmas. It’s a day. I, and my ilk, don’t own it. And while I’m holding forth here, let me say that I just might have myself a Happy Hanukkah AND a Happy Kwanzaa, and I had an OK Winter Solstice, too (and we were wished that, btw). (Kwanzaa, there’s another whole can of gummy worms. Technically, I don’t think “Happy Kwanzaa” is a proper greeting. But even the people I know who semi-celebrate Kwanzaa, don’t know the African greetings that one is “supposed” to exchange.) So anyhow, I sometimes say, “Happy Holidays.” In fact, it’s on my CHRISTMAS CARDS. And I certainly won’t be anything but appreciative to anyone who wishes ME “Happy Holidays.” But I do expect adults to be able to discern that by saying, “Merry Christmas,” I am not evangelizing. I’m saying, “I wish you peace, and hope, and love, and warmth, and a moment to be still and reflect, and maybe even a guiding light to follow, if you feel the need.” That’s pretty much it. I accept no responsibility for anyone’s choosing to take offense at that.
I won’t tag anyone, but please do this meme if you’d like.
And we wish you a Merry Christmas (see above if you’re suspicious, wondering, “hmm, just what are they trying to say…”). We really, really do.