1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I mostly use wrapping paper because I get a perverse sense of satisfaction out of seeing all of the neatly wrapped gifts of varying sizes under the tree. The general messiness of the gift bag ensemble offends my occasional OCD, but I do use them for oddly shaped gifts that won't fit properly in a box. Better a gift bag with tissue paper sticking out of the top than a weird shaped box messing up my Christmas tree symmetry.
2. Real tree or artificial?
I grew up with a real tree and swore that I would never stoop to the level of purchasing a fake tree. It was just too tacky to think about, but then I had Nathan. You know how overprotective we tend to be about the firstborn. Well, the thought of him crawling around and eating pine needles that would then form a clog in his tiny intestines was too much for me to bear, so I broke down and bought an artificial tree. When both kids reached the age where pine needles were not appetizing fare, I decided that I wanted a real tree again. I loved the smell, but had forgotten the hassle of watering the stinking thing and vacuuming pine needles twice a day. So this year, I bought a beautiful pre-lit tree and will purchase a real wreath for the smell!
3. When do you put up the tree?
I like to put it up the day after Thanksgiving. This stems from the years of being single and driving home from my parent's house Thanksgiving night. I would stop and purchase my tree that night and decorate it the next day.
5. Do you like eggnog?
Let's see....a "beverage" that looks like melted ice cream? I think not.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My complete set of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, a nice one for the living room and one for the playroom.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
Nathan and Grace. It's simple to get presents for them when they are little. I'm sort of dreading the coming years when they get older and everything they want is really expensive. They are still little enough to be happy with basically anything I give them.
9. Hardest person to buy for?
Trevor. Everything he wants is either stupid expensive or so practical that I would be embarrassed to actually give it to him as a gift. The good news is that we are not much on giving gifts to each other anyway. Most anniversaries and birthdays go by with just a card and a little extra money in our individual fun accounts to be spent at our discretion. It's just better that way.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I'm going to have to plead the 5th here as to not offend any gentle readers.
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
When I actually send them, it's by mail. I used to send them out every year by the 1st of December, but then I missed a year and it snowballed from there. I think this year is the first since 2002 that I have sent them out!
12. Favorite Christmas movie?
I enjoy all of the Christmas animated programs simply for the nostalgia. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman......you get the picture.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I usually start shopping right after Halloween. I like to have everything wrapped and ready to put under the tree when I decorate. I typically shop throughout December for odds and ends, but the majority of my shopping is done by December 1st.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. I figure that if it was so tacky that I don't want it, then neither does anyone else.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Seriously. You expect me to pick one thing?
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
I grew up with colored lights, and love going home and seeing my mom's tree all lit up that way, but I put white lights on my own tree. I also love to see colored lights on houses (sans inflatable yard decorations and tacky wooden painted angels) when it is simple, but I put white lights on my own house.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
Again, you expect me to pick just one?!! I love Joy to the World as well as Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Before I had kids, I didn't mind traveling to see family and friends. It was fun to get away for a little vacation during the holidays. But when we had Nathan, we decided that we would spend Christmas at home so that we could start our own traditions and so our children would have memories of waking up in their own house Christmas morning.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Yep....I won't bore you with the list here, but rest assured that I would totally get that Jeopardy question right!
20. Angel on the tree top, or a star?
A star. For years, my mom put the original aluminum wrapped cardboard star that my dad made for their first Christmas tree on top, but then one year decided that she would buy a beautiful angel to top the tree. It was the year of the great debate. The outcome was that they would alternate years...the star, then the angel. It finally evolved into the angel on top and the star somewhere on the tree. When I had my first tree, I made an aluminum star (I sided with my dad on this one). I don't know what happened to that star, but I have a store-bought one now.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
My family opens gifts on Christmas morning, but Trevor's family does it on Christmas Eve.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Political correctness. Well, I guess this bothers me all year long, but especially around Christmas. Christmas is a religious holiday. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Just because you want to put on the trappings of Christmas and then complain because you don't believe in all of that "religious stuff", doesn't change the fact that the holiday exists because of all that "religious stuff". Get over it.
23. What I love most about Christmas?
Singing Christmas hymns around the piano with my family, and then reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke by candlelight. I love Christmas Eve because when I am with my family, there is no present opening. Just a time of worship and fellowship.