I know, I know, this blog is turning into a black hole of memes. That's not really my intent, but my head hasn't been clear enough for proper blogging lately.
1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Wrapping! I love to wrap presents, I love the way they look wrapped, and I love unwrapping them. Gift bags take some of the ceremony out of it. Plus, they're too easy to peek into.
2. Real or artificial tree?
I've never had a real tree. My family never had money to be buying a new tree every year, so we always just used the fake tree my grandparents bought in Miami. Note that my family left Miami in 1973, so this tree is a serious relic, as trees go. We eventually bought a better one, but I still have the old tree, which I put up in my room. It smells like Christmas to me.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Thanksgiving weekend, usually. When I was a kid we'd put it up when we first got the urge - sometimes as early as mid-October. One year we just never took it down all year. That ended up being a shitty year so maybe it really is bad luck to leave it up past Candlemas :p In my defense, I didn't know what Candlemas was until last month or so.
4. When do you take the tree down?
January. My great-grandma insisted it was bad luck to take it down before New Year's, so it's family tradition to leave it up at least until then. And an Episcopalian friend tipped me off to the whole "Christmas lasts until Epiphany" thing, so now I even keep lighting it till at least the 6th. I pretty much prolong Christmas as long as possible, because I like shiny things.
5. Do you like egg nog?
I like soy nog. Regular eggnog is too thick and weird for me, although I've never thinned it out with liquor like you're supposed to. I assume that would make a difference.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmm... in terms of overall enjoyment, my Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. In terms of Christmas morning joy, it'd be this frilly white buggy for my baby dolls, because it was the only gift I got that was "from Santa".
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Nope. My Christian parents and grandparents never even had one. I'm not sure if my mom thought it was "idol worship" or if they just didn't want to deal with the possibility of cats knocking down the baby Jesus and chewing on him. Both are equally likely.
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
An Aladdin toothbrush. See, I hated brushing my teeth as a kid, and my grandma was always struggling with me about it. So my family got me this nice electric toothbrush with Aladdin and Jasmine on it. The big mistake was giving me that to open as my special Christmas Eve gift. Needless to say, it didn't go well, and I pretty much refused to ever use the toothbrush because it reminded me of that night. Yuck.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail! Christmas is usually the one time of year I get to exchange real, tangible things with internet friends. It's nice.
10. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Christmas Toy, if that can count as a movie. It's a mostly-forgotten Jim Henson special from the 80s about toys that can walk around as long as no humans catch them, but if they get caught they're frozen forever. I used to sneak into my playroom and try to catch my toys moving. Clearly I was not an altruistic child.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
If I have a steady income? Summer.
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Christmas tree cakes!
13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
I used to do clear on the living room tree and colored on mine, but this year I did color on both. It looks nice.
14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
I like the slow, almost melancholic ones - Christmastime is Here, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Coventry Carol, that sort of thing.
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home, or close to home.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Anyone can, with the help of Google, so me listing them here isn't really going to impress anyone.
17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
I have a pretty silver angel on the living room tree and a garish, color-changing star on the other. I like to cover all my bases.
18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
I used to always open one on Christmas Eve (usually a small one), and the rest on Christmas morning. See worst present story above.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The endless debating over whether Christmas can be secular, whether to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy holidays", whether cereal boxes with Santa on them will piss off non-Christians, etc. It's pretty silly to have all this fuss considering people have been dragging pine trees inside in midwinter since long before Jesus came along. Can we all just agree that lights are pretty and move on?
20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
Err, well the tree in my bedroom gets all the glass ornaments, but that's not so much a theme as a desire not to have my cats shattering glass all over the living room.
21. What do you leave for Santa?
I don't know - cat poop?
22. Least favorite holiday song?
The Christmas Shoes. Kill me.
23. Favorite ornament?
All the handmade stuff I used to think was ugly as hell: little crocheted stockings from my great-aunt Libba, styrofoam bells my mom made in the 70s, spray-painted wreaths I made in elementary school, that kind of thing. Until recently I refused to put any of this stuff on the "nice" tree, but now that I'm by myself it's nice to be reminded of family when I look at the tree.
24. Family tradition?
My favorite WAS going over to my (now late) great-aunt Evelyn's house before Christmas and helping her decorate her tree. She was an extremely finicky woman, especially about how her house looked, so the fact that she respected my decorating ability enough to let me do her tree meant a lot to me. Plus, she always had pound cake and vanilla ice cream.
25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Even services?
I don't know if any Protestants ever do that, but Southern Baptists don't, and Unitarians definitely don't, at least in my experience. So no.