I've been tagged by Nick of This Is It with the Christmas Meme. So, here we go:
The rules: Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog. Share Christmas facts about yourself. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
1. Wrapping or gift bags? A little of both. If it's something difficult to wrap I'll usually use a gift bag; if it's something easy like a shirt box or a book, I wrap it. No ribbons, only stick-on bows.
2. Real or artificial tree? Real - always. Our family always had a real tree when I was growing up, and now that I'm an adult I have kept to the tradition; however, I have stopped getting a full size tree and instead put up one that is about 3-1/2 to 4 feet high - much faster to put up, and faster to take down on that dour, depressing day when it finally has to go. I would never dare get an artificial tree because then nothing would force me to take it down (such as dropping needles or becoming a total fire hazard) and it might just stay up till Memorial Day. Or maybe I would just leave it up all year. I get lazy.
3. When do you put up the tree? It varies depending on what day of the week Christmas happens to be. I try to get it up a good 10 days ahead of time. However, this year it went up on December 23! The latest we ever put up a tree was the first year I was dating my husband; we got one on Christmas Eve and put it up at his apartment.
4. When do you take the tree down? January 6, which is Twelfth Night. This was always the tradition for our family. However, during the days after New Year's Day and the following weekend, the tree is always a forlorn reminder of the now-past holidays, and I am relieved to take it down when I finally get around to it.
5. Do you like eggnog? I adore really good eggnog. With dark rum in it. Unfortunately I quit drinking alcohol almost three years ago, so can no longer have the rum.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Books, especially the year I was 12 - lots of books by Jack London and Albert Payson Terhune, about dogs.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, probably the most unique version of the Nativity that you've seen. I make one with my trolls. There are two trolls that play the part of Mary and Joseph, and one that happens to be lying down so he's the baby, and then I have a cow, a bull, two horses, and an elephant (all trolls) looking on. Also a couple of trolls that are dressed as angels.
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? There are no bad gifts.
9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail. I send out about 50. I've made it easier the last few years by using printed labels for the envelopes and I do a Christmas letter now for the few people that I need to send a yearly update to. I used to hand write a personal note on those cards but my writing is so bad now it was impossible. But I still write something personal at the bottom of the letter.
10. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Carol. The one that was made for TV in the 1980's with George C. Scott as Scrooge. I used to like the Alistair Sim version but now prefer this one.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I only buy on-line for Christmas now; in fact, I started shopping on-line about 10 years ago at least. I refuse to go anywhere near a mall within the month before Christmas. We don't have that many gifts to buy anymore anyway so it's not as big a deal as it used to be.
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I don't really have any one traditional thing that's my favorite. One family tradition is to always have the Christmas pudding with "hard sauce" (so called because of the brandy in it, I assume).
13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I was brought up with colored lights on the tree; then when we bought our house, we went to a more Victorian looking tree with white lights. But sometimes I get in the mood for the colored ones. This year I have colored lights and gold garland on the tree.
14. Favorite Christmas song? I have many favorite songs. My favorite album of Christmas songs is "The Bells of Dublin" by The Chieftains. I love the song "The St. Stephen's Day Murders," which is rather a dark tale.
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home in our neighborhood. The last few years we have begun a new tradition of having Christmas dinner with both our friends and family together. Since our closest friends all have relatively few family members in the immediate area, it is fun to combine all the families and eat together. We end up with between 12 and 15 people, and everyone pitches in and brings something.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Let's see...on Dancer, on Dasher, on Blitzen...No. I can't remember them all. And don't ask about the 7 Dwarfs either.
17. Angel on the tree top or a star? Brought up with a star, but now put an angel on top (DH comes from a family that does the angel).
18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Morning. When I was little I was allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Only one? I could list many. But I guess the worst thing is not being able to go into New York City because the traffic and crowds are impossible this whole month.
20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? No. For a couple of years I got into putting red velvet bows on the tree, and then stopped that. I like seeing a mixture of all different things on the tree.
21. What do you leave for Santa? I don't remember ever having that tradition in our family; we didn't leave Santa a snack. I'm surprised he ever left me anything.
22. Least favorite holiday song? "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth."
23. Favorite ornament? A red glass ball with the furry face, paws and tail of a squirrel attached to it. I used to have a pet squirrel so I'm very fond of squirrels.
24. Family tradition? Just before Christmas, perhaps it was Christmas Eve, our family would just go riding around the various nearby neighborhoods and look at all the pretty lights on the houses.
25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services?
Yes. The Congregational church I went to when I was growing up always had an 11 p.m. candlelight service on Christmas Eve that we would go to. And then after DH and I got married we used to go to Midnight Mass at the nearby Catholic church for quite awhile. For the past 8 or 9 years we haven't been going, but tonight my mom asked me to take her and my aunt over to her church at 5 p.m., as they had a candlelight carol service. It was a lovely service and I'm glad I went; having it at 5 p.m. was more convenient than the late night hour.
So that's it! I am not going to tag anyone because I know that everyone is going to be way too busy on Christmas Day to be doing Christmas memes on their blogs. But if anyone wants to do this meme, please feel free!
I am finally ready for Christmas. I got my 50 cards mailed out on Sunday, and I managed to get a tree yesterday at a place that was selling trees, wreaths, and other Christmas paraphernalia; they didn't have little trees but offered to chop the top off one of the big trees, which was very nice of them! And they only charged me $25. Sometimes it pays to wait till the last minute.
Today my friend's daughter came over and we put up all my trolls in the living room. They are festooned all over the piano, and on every available surface in the living room. I'll try to post some pictures in the next couple of days!
Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you're enjoying your holidays!
A haiku for the day:
Christmas Eve is here
The tree is finally up
And so are the trolls!