Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Meme

Just another meme. I'll try to write something real from time to time, but not right now. ;o)

(I got the meme from this site. Not sure if it's the origin, but anyway, that's close enough to "giving credit", I guess.)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I'll use either, but I usually prefer wrapping paper. It takes more work, but I enjoy it more. I hardly ever buy gift bags, but I still manage to have a few around the house, "recycled" from last year's gifts. (g) Various branches of our family have probably given some gift bags back and forth a few times, since they're really too nice to throw away after one use-- and what else are you going to do with them?

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. More economical (I imagine, since we reuse it year after year) and less of a mess (bringing it home, fallen needles, getting rid of it). Of course, you do have to store it the rest of the year, and it doesn't have the fresh smell a real tree does (or so I've heard (g)). Artificial trees lack the romance of a real tree, too, but we never had a real tree growing up, so I don't miss it.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the day after Thanksgiving-- or as soon afterwards as possible. I think we started putting it up the day after Thanksgiving this year, but it took another day or two to get around to finishing it.

4. When do you take the tree down? We don't really have a traditional day for this. (They do in Sweden-- sometime in mid-January. If there are kids in the family, they make a party out of it, I think, with good things to eat. I imagine the tradition started back in the days when some of the tree decorations would have been edible.) I like to get the tree down pretty soon after Christmas, because the longer I wait, the more of a chore it seems to be.

5. Do you like eggnog? I was all ready to type "No way!" when I remembered that I don't think I've ever actually tasted it. (g) I'm fairly certain I wouldn't like it. It just seems kind of gross. I'm not a big milk drinker, to begin with. I like milk on my cereal, but as a rule, I don't drink much of it from a glass. I also have a general dislike for warm drinks. (shrug) I'm just an all-around grinch. ;o)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't think any one gift stands out as the favorite. Each year, I probably had one or two favorites, though. I remember a couple of stuffed animals-- a cat one year, a dog another-- that I think I picked out myself. We'd go to the store to look for ideas of things to put in our letters to "Santa". Of course, then we had to leave them behind in the hopes that he'd know which one we meant. ;o) I'm sure Mom went back and picked them up right away, but at that age it was still very exciting to see that, yes, Santa had managed to find exactly what you wanted.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, we do.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Pretty much everyone. Men are usually a bit harder, but these days, I'm at a loss for ideas for nearly every name on my list. Even if I can think of possibilities, I agonize over whether it's something the person will really like. I prefer it if people can give me a list of wishes-- at least as a starting point-- but no-one seems to like making wish lists. (g)

9. Easiest person to buy for? The person who answered this meme before me wrote "Me, of course!"-- and I think I'll have to agree with her. (g) Seriously, I'm just about the only person for whom I can buy a gift secure in the knowledge that it's just what the recipient would like. ;o) Sometimes I can think of something that I'm pretty sure Donald will like, but for other people, it's a gamble. Well, at least they'll pretend to be happy, whatever I get them. Most of them. ;o)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm not big on Christmas cards, but if you're going to do anything, real mail is better, I think.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can't think of anything that bad, and I wouldn't write about it, even if I could. But nice try. ;o)

Oh, we just had one of our mysterious rumbles. Every so often-- sometimes months apart-- there's an unexplained rumbling and shaking. Most of the time, it's probably a sonic boom, but it still gives me a queasy feeling. Are there top secret military tests going on overhead? (Pensacola's not that far away. . .) (g)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Hm. . . I used to like Home Alone-- not so much because it's a cozy, Christmasy movie-- just because it made me laugh. I'm not much of a Christmas movie person. I mean, I have no problem with them-- and I enjoy some of the modern comedies set in the holiday season-- but I just don't care enough about them to have favorites. I've never sat all the way through It's a Wonderful Life, and the other "big classics" hold no special memories for me, either. I have more sentimental attachment to a few of the kid's TV specials-- Rudolph, the Grinch, and Frosty (even though the latter kind of gets on my nerves sometimes).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I always say I'm going to start early, but I rarely do. Or even if I do "start early", that only means that I get one or two items checked off my list, leaving the rest until the last week or two. If I'm making gifts (as I usually am, for at least part of my list), that tends to run until the very last minute. I mean that I'm wrapping gifts fifteen minutes before we leave for the party. ;o)

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I can't remember a specific incidence. . . But I don't think there's anything wrong with that, if you think it's something that the person you give it to will enjoy, and if the original giver won't ever find out. (g)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love sugar cookies, which are a semi-Christmas tradition for us. Homemade almond bark-covered pretzels are also yummy. . . For something a little less sugary, I also like Lucia kattar (another family tradition-- Swedes eat them earlier in the year-- today, as a matter of fact-- but we usually take them to the family Christmas parties). Of course, I'm also looking forward to the "real food" of Christmas-- especially ham and cornbread dressing.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like both. This year, we used just the clear lights, but I think both look very pretty.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I don't have just one favorite. A few that come to mind: "O Holy Night", "Silent Night", "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", and well, the list goes on. For "secular" favorites, I like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", Tom Petty's Christmas song (whatever it's called), and so on.

17b. Christmas Song That, When You Hear It, Makes Your Eyes Bleed And Your Brains Start To Leak Out Your Ears, Because That Is Less Painful Than Having To Listen To That *&%^&$# Song One More Time! Um, maybe it's time to turn off the radio. ;o) Nothing specific comes to mind, but I do frequently have to turn off the Christmas music on the radio because something's just grating on my nerves. Usually, I think it's the attempt of some modern "artist" to put a new spin on a classic-- or maybe something that sounds like "store music from you-know-where"-- the type of thing piped through the whole store so you can't escape it without abandoning the fruits of an hour's tedious shopping.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We "travel", but since we live near my family, traveling means driving either two minutes or 10-15 minutes. Not too bad. ;o) Of course, the downside of our location is that we never get to see Donald's family for the holidays. Maybe one of these days we'll plan a vacation to coincide with Christmas. (I shudder to think of the travel, though. Maybe we'd be able to schedule it so that we didn't have to fly on the very busiest days.)

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Well, I guess now I'll never know, because I copied and pasted the whole thing from the last person, so I just glimpsed her answers. (g) But maybe I can try this at the end of the meme, for a more honest result.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have a star. It's not lit, so it's not quite as pretty at night, but it's nice and sparkly by day. Hee hee. This question reminds me of something that happened to one of my aunts. She decorated her tree and put a lovely lit angel at the very top. Happy with her work, she went about her business-- until movement caught her eye. Something was moving at the top of the tree! It was the angel, very slowly folding and unfolding its wings (or arms, or both-- or something like that). I think it gave her a shock (and a creepy-crawly feeling), because she hadn't realized that it was a motorized tree topper. (g)

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning, usually. In my family, we'd open one gift on Christmas Eve, but the bulk of the unwrapping happened the next morning-- when we were young, before breakfast, but in later years, afterwards. I think that in Donald's family (as in most Swedish homes), the gifts are all opened on Christmas Eve. Santa even makes an appearance. ;o)

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I don't want to put myself in a bad mood, so I'd rather not think about it. But if you insist, not having enough time to do everything I want to do and/or "should" do.

24. Favorite Christmas Tradition? Hm. . . It depends on if you mean traditions from childhood or current day. And also what counts as a tradition. (g) I really enjoy wrapping presents. I'm not an expert wrapper, but (if I have enough time to do it properly) I have fun doing it. :o) We do a "Dirty Santa" game at my maternal grandparents' get-together, and that's fun, too. (And now I feel a bit guilty, because neither of those are very pertinent to "the reason for the season", but hey, at least I'm being honest.)

25. Outdoor decorations? None, this year. We've done Christmas lights before, but it's hard to work up the enthusiasm when you have so much else to do. It's quite a bit of work, and on the little road where we live, hardly anyone would see them, anyway.

19. Revisted: Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I don't know. Let's see if I can. (They might not be "in order". . .) Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blixen-- and Rudolph, of course. Ok, off to check myself! ;o)

Well, it looks like I got them all right "in spirit", but "Blixen" should be "Blitzen", and "Donner" ought to be "Donder". Apparently there's a little controversy involving those two reindeer names. (g)

Enough time wasted! Off to do something more productive! :o)