1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate. (Last year I had a Starbuck's peppermint hot chocolate. That was pretty good.)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Santa wraps things. Santa used to be careful about using different paper than my parents did, although eventually the way they saved the tags from year to year made me suspicious.
3. Colored lights or white?
Yes! Colored lights are best for a crowded sort of tree with lots of kid-produced or mismatched ornaments; white or single-color strands are good for more elegant sorts of displays.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
5. When do you put your decorations up?
I haven't been in charge of decorating long enough to have a pattern set yet. Somewhere around December 10th, I guess.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Uh... "favorite" questions make my brain hurt. I associate Christmas with several kinds of cookies; things better described as "dishes" go with multiple holidays.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
One of the things I like about Christmas is the way it all blends together -- I like the ritual of it, decorating the tree, doing the stocking thing.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was Santa-agnostic for a really long time, because I had fairly good evidence both ways and figured it didn't hurt anything to believe. In fourth grade, I found a bag of not-yet-wrapped toys that turned up as Santa toys; I tried really hard to construct an explanation for that. "Okay, so it's silly for one guy to get to everybody's house in one night -- he must drop off some of the toys early. Yeah, and my parents are responsible people, so he can trust them to hang on to them and get them wrapped. He'll drop them off personally next year."
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
My family has a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve; my husband's family opens them all then. Our eventual fusion tradition remains undetermined, but hotly contested.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
From the trunk out: lights; gold and/or plain colored balls; garland (if using); decorated balls and other ornaments. An obscure relative of mine sent us glass ornaments that are characters from several Christmas stories, so we used those and balls last year; we're probably getting a very small tree this year, because we don't have room for a big one, so we'll see what we can do once we've got it. Over time we will collect and/or make The Correct Ornaments.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
Snow is pretty and, when freshly fallen, fun to play with. However, actually dealing with it in a practical way is tremendously obnoxious, and if it is cold enough for snow to have fallen then it is much too cold. Snow is nice to visit, not to live in.
12. Can you ice skate?
Yes. It's fun.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift as a kid?
Hm... I got a lot of good stuff. The really awesome blocks my grandfather made were a Christmas present, I'm fairly sure. Those saw a lot of use, for years and years.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Snuggling into a comfortable chair with a warm beverage, something peaceful to do, and assorted family members.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I like my chocolate bourbon pecan pie. That is darn good stuff.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Tree decorating and contemplating. I like the little twinkling lights. If it weren't for the fire hazard (and possible damage to good ornaments), I would be all over the filling-the-tree-with-candles thing.
17. What tops your tree?
We don't have a usual topper yet. My parents used to use this light-up angel, but they seem to have permanently switched to the very small angel with a flaming sword that my sibling made out of pipe cleaners and clothespins and doilies while they were living in Saudi Arabia. Although one year we used a Mecklenburg flag (the bull is Mecklenburg, the griffin is Western Pomerania) with a small stuffed koala clinging to it. I... I don't quite remember why that was, but I'm sure we had a good reason.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?
I like giving things the recipients like; I like receiving things that show I've really been thought about. I think in general I like giving better, but sometimes I have a really hard time finding things I'm happy enough with to give.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
I like older, weirder songs. I'm fond of Good King Wenceslas and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
20. Candy canes?
Santa always put these on the tree when he visited. This isn't a tradition I've kept, but I might revive it when I have someone to Santa for. I like peppermint, but I can't take it in candy-cane quantities, so I don't generally eat them.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Both are good. I used to be strongly in favor of paper for things that could be boxed easily, but the reusability of gift bags makes my environmental side happier.
2. Real tree or artificial?
Real. It is all about the scent. (This is odd, because I grew up with an artificial tree.)
3. When do you put up the tree?
With any other decorations.
4. When do you take the tree down?
By New Year's.
5. Do you like eggnog?
No, but I keep trying it anyway.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hang on, we've done this one already. Most of my other favorites I either know were birthday presents or can't remember whether they were birthday or Christmas presents.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
8. Hardest person to buy for?
andres_s_p_b has this pesky habit of instantly buying every single thing he thinks he might possibly like, leaving none for me.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, when I do them, which is every few years.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
One year my parents got my sibling a very nice microscope. This isn't in any way a bad gift, but it did use up basically all the gift-buying budget, so they also used the school's die-cutter to cut out a bunch of pieces of paper in the shape of microscopes, wrote "This is not a very expensive microscope" on them, put them in boxes, and wrapped them. The worst I personally have ever gotten are some generic things like candles; nothing bad, just not particularly personal.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The real one, thank you, not that Jim Carrey horror. My dad watches "A Christmas Story" every year (and falls asleep in front of it).
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Um... not yet, but I have good intentions.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so. I would consider it if I got something that wasn't right for me but I knew someone else would really, really like. A big part of gift-giving, for me, is picking out things the recipient will like, so I don't do much generic present giving of the type that lends itself to regifting.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
This year a bunch of Andres' relatives are coming here, so we are staying. We've usually traveled to both parental homes, and I expect we'll continue to usually do that until we've got offspring.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Let's find out: Blitzen, Donder, Comet, Cupid, Venus, Vixen... Rudolph....
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Stores with displays that have been up since October. The Salvation Army bell-ringers at the train station (well, they're not actually annoying me yet, but there are like six of them. I can't imagine what it must be like to work in the Subway or the newsstand or the coffee shop there -- the combined din was irritating me plenty by the time I managed to scoot out of ear-range, and that wasn't long at all). A particular few irritating holiday non-carols, although the exact ones that attract my ire this year will depend on what I hear entirely too much of from stores and radio stations and the like.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
There are two sets of ornaments that my mom made that are completely awesome. One is snowflakes made of white string; they're woven somehow, then starched stiff, and are highly nifty in an elegant way. The other is nativity characters (camels, shepherds, etc.) in various shaded of brown cookie-like dough, baked and lacquered or varnished or something. These are much cuter than the snowflakes, and also very cool.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Really Sweet Potatoes, if I'm cooking. Ooh, fresh rolls are also really good.
25. Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas?
Nope, I'm just in it for the pagan bits. Family togetherness and tree-worship, that's me. Cultural appropriation all the way!