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A Christmas Meme

December 24, 2009

Because I have holiday-brain and am now officially in the Christmas spirit… a Christmas meme from Barefoot Mama who got it from someone else…

Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
That’s a tough one. I like eggnog in my coffee this time of year (I limit myself to one carton per season), and I like hot chocolate instead of dessert during the holidays. Because frankly I’m starting to get sick of baked goods by now.
Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree?
Santa always left a few wrapped presents under our tree. I think everything was always wrapped. Sometimes he would even leave a candy-cane trail. And of course would always sample the cookies left out on the mantel. We had a wood stove and I was always very concerned about how Santa would get down the narrow pipe… I can’t remember how that one was explained. Probably “magic.”
Colored lights on a tree or white?
I like white lights but Terri likes the old-fashioned big colored ones. Actually I like those too, since that is what we had when I was growing up, plus bubble lights. I would like to find some of those bubble lights. The tree just has to have lights — it doesn’t really matter which color, I suppose! I wish I had planned ahead to put white lights on our mantel, but oh well.
Do you hang mistletoe?
When I have it. Sometimes someone brings some in to work to share (from up in Sonoma County). At home in Oregon you can find it in lots of trees.
When do you put your decorations up?
Usually around December 10th-ish, or whenever we get the tree. I can only take a few weeks of Christmas. I like it to feel special, and not get used to the decorations/tree. We got our tree on the 14th, this year, I think. It comes down about a week after New Year’s.
What is your favorite holiday dish?
Well, cookies. And my great-grandma’s coffeecake. I don’t really have any special holiday dinner dishes that I’m particularly attached to. There’s a special salad which we like which is becoming “holiday salad” — other than that, if there’s potatoes and dessert, I’m good.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We usually did growing up, and Terri and I open up pajamas on Christmas Eve. I like that tradition. But just one.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Ever since we were born, my mom has given my brother and me a Christmas ornament every year. Once we were old enough, we got to choose our ornament. So I grew up having a very treasured collection of ornaments which I absolutely love, even the funny little raggedy ones from when I was little. Each one has a story. As I got older, I started to gravitate towards very pretty, showy glass balls as my ornament. My mom still chooses one for us, which I think is so sweet and I look forward to it every year. I sort of assumed I would take over the tradition and buy it for myself, but it’s really nice that my mom still does it. So our tree is full of very pretty glass balls, a few 1970s-style doll ornaments, two made-by-me kindergarten ornaments (a Santa and a pre-PC-in-schools baby Jesus). Terri is starting to collect some now too — so we are getting a very nice collection of ornaments. I think we’re starting to lean towards a bird theme now… but I’m not sure.
Snow. Love it or hate it?
I love snow. I got plenty when I lived in Finland, but other than that, growing up we only had a few days of snow a year. Of course here in Oakland we never have snow, except every once in awhile in the hills. We had some a few weeks ago! I do love it. I like weather of any kind. I get very tired of same-old-same-old sunny-and-nice all the time. Lately the weather has been terrific – cold, sunny or cloudy, a bit of rain — variable. Oh, but I’m getting off-topic…
Can you ice skate?
Yes, but nothing fancy. I do love to skate though. I also love to ski!
What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I do love holiday cookies, especially gingerbread. I also like cherry cheesecake, which was a traditional dessert in my family growing up. I like pretty much any holiday dessert. Yep.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Hmm. Probably choosing and decorating the tree. When I first moved to California, my ex-husband and I didn’t have a tree usually. No room, and he didn’t care that much. I really missed it — it doesn’t feel like Christmas without a tree. I think Terri and I have had a tree every year we’ve been together. When I was growing up we always went to the u-cut place to choose our tree and cut it down together. For FIVE DOLLARS. (smacks forehead, thinking of how much trees are simply one state away…) I love choosing the tree, setting it up and getting all the decorations out and up.

I also like making at least one batch of gingerbread cookies, and I actually like wrapping gifts as well.

Candy Canes. Yum or yuck?
I’m really not into candycanes. They make me kind of sick.
***
A few notes about Christmas. Although my upbringing was not very religious, my grandmother (dad’s mom) was Baptist (but a kinder, gentler Baptist) and so we had lots of emphasis on the Christmas story, which I absolutely loved. I loved singing religious carols and learning to play them on the piano, and I loved the Christmas books my grandma would give us, beautifully illustrated with the Nativity story. I do love that story. I loved all the Christmas stories — the religious ones, the Santa ones, all the gentle children’s stories that come out this time of year. Especially if it involved animals.

So, even though I’m not particularly Christian, I love the Christmas story and I love the message, so I feel perfectly comfortable celebrating Christmas in our household. I think about my grandma, whom I loved, and I like carrying on certain family traditions, like the ornaments.

I’ve always been fascinated with Solstice celebrations (Yule logs, etc.) and so I’d like to incorporate more of that as well in the future… but no matter what holiday you celebrate, this time of year is a time for enjoying yourself, being thankful, spending time with family and friends and resting up through the darkness. Which we are doing, and I’m very happy.

This year I handmade the majority of the gifts I’m giving, and that feels fantastic. I’ve only had one day of holiday stress — the rest of it I’ve completely enjoyed. So… mission accomplished!

I’m off to enjoy the GIANT stack of books I just got from the library, nibble on some Chex mix, and watch some holiday movies.

Peace on Earth, good will to all!

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