I got this tag from Karen Hall at Some Have Hats. I'm hoping it will help me get in the spirit:
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? We have a long standing tradition in the angelmeg household, one night a few days before Christmas mrangelmeg and I stay up late to wrap the presents, I do most of the wrapping and he reads the paper and gives me supportive comments from the sidelines. Actually in the last few years he has been much more help with the actual wrapping than in the past, That change may have occurred right about the same time as the three gifts per child rule. We wrap most everything for the family, sometimes for friends I use gift bags,
2. Real tree or artificial? Mrangelmeg is allergic to pine tree sap (or so he tells us) so we have always had an artificial tree. We have a really nice one that looks very real and is massive, so I don't mind really. I do miss the smell of a real tree sometimes, and no matter what they try to tell you, those candles don't really smell like real trees.
3. When do you put up the tree? We used to put it up for St. Nicholas day (Dec 6) when the kids were younger because we didn't have a fireplace in the old house but that has been ten years ago. This house has two fireplaces, so we no longer need a place to leave shoes, so we try to stick to the third Sunday in Advent rule. Who am I kidding, the last few years I have been too darn tired to do any decorating until that late in the season, and have loved the fact that the church offers the decoration dispensation for me to hide behind.
4. When do you take the tree down? . I like to keep the tree up until Epiphany (Jan 6th ) sometimes it stays up a bit longer due to inertia. I will happily say it has never been up so long that we have had to change the ornaments for hearts though.
5. Do you like eggnog? I really do, but since I am the only person in my entire family that does, it doesn't make sense for me to make it or buy it at Christmas time if I am the only person who is going to drink it. If we are out somewhere and it is available I usually get some.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? One year I got the complete Treasury of Winnie the Pooh in one volume. It was the most awesome gift I had ever received and I think was the first hard cover book I ever owned. I read it from cover to cover before winter break was over. I still think A. A, Milne is an amazing storyteller, and can to this day pick up a copy (not the same one, sadly) and get lost in the hundred acre wood with Christopher Robin and his friends.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. A few, my most prized set is an Italian one that my Father-in-law and his wife bought for me one Christmas and a dear friend's husband built a wooden stable for. I love it so much that it stays on the mantle in my formal living room all years round.
8. Hardest person to buy for? Middle daughter invariably asks for something that is impossible to find without an Internet search. It is usually something I have never heard of and would never be exposed to if I didn't have the distinct pleasure of having this amazing child in my life. One year it was books by James Lileks. One year it was a DVD of The Tales of Hoffman. She might be the hardest person to buy for, but her gifts are the topic of discussion for weeks after Christmas every year.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Our son, he is happy with anything, he doesn't make demands, and this year he even offered to pay for some of his gifts (he is disabled and needed to spend down to stay within his Medicaid limit in his bank account). What mom wouldn't want a child like that.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? When I was a senior in college my boss actually got me a package of underwear for Christmas. It wasn't sexy or anything it was big cotton granny panties. He said his wife picked them out, she told him that all college girls needed underwear. It was the most awkward I have ever been at a Christmas gathering in my life. Needless to say, the local homeless shelter was the recipient of a nice package of unopened women's underwear that year.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards?I used to mail Christmas cards to about 80 people, now I barely remember to email Christmas greetings to family. I did help my mother-in-law with her Christmas cards this year, does that count?
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? My cynical answer is Die Hard, but my actual answer is It's a Wonderful Life. but we do try to watch A Christmas Story at least once every Christmas. I even got mrangelmeg an ornament that looks like the leg lamp this year.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I am one of those annoying people who will be walking through a store in July and see something that would be a perfect gift for a friend for next Christmas and buy it right then and there. (She says ducking the rotten fruit cake). For the family though they have to have their gift list to me by St. Nicholas day because I like to be done shopping by the week before Christmas.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? There was this silly snowman stocking that we passed around to each other in college each year, but that was more recycled wrapping rather than presents because each year we put in a new present. Does that count?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? It used to be the Knights of Columbus Strudel which is totally to die for, but since my allergies I can't even have a slice without feeling sick for the rest of the week, so I just look at it longingly now. I suppose my absolute favorite thing to eat is anything I don't have to cook or clean up after.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I used to be a stickler for only white lights on my tree. The last few years we have had colored lights and I don't mind them so much anymore.
17. Favorite Christmas song?Religious: O Holy Night. Preferably by a male voice
Secular: Santa Baby (stick a sable under the tree) because it was so not about presents
18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? the closer to home the better, travel makes me jittery
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes. even the ones that didn't make it into the song,
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Always an Angel. Though the kids do have a Drunken Santa who swings a lantern for the downstairs tree (he isn't meant to be drunken but he doesn't stay upright and when he swings the lantern he looks tipsy).
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? This was a major compromise in our household when we first got married, in my childhood home we opened presents right after Christmas eve dinner so we had plenty of time to play with them before Midnight mass. Then we came home from Mass had a quick meal and went to bed and slept in on Christmas day. In mrangelmeg's childhood they opened presents on Christmas morning then went to mass came home and ate a big breakfast or whatever. We almost came to blows about when was the proper time to open gifts. Now we usually open gifts on Christmas Morning regardless of when we go to Mass. But, this year we are going to change that, because the kids are old enough to put their collective feet down and tell mrangelmeg that since we have to go to Christmas morning Mass (angelbaby is serving and I am Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion ) they want to open presents on Christmas eve so that they can sleep in an extra few minutes on Christmas Morning before they have to get up to get ready for Mass.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? This post should explain that.
23. What I love most about Christmas? The Incarnation. God loved us so much that he came to be with us in a way that made it possible for us to reach out and come into physical contact with the Cloud of Unknowing. But God came not in majesty but in very humble circumstances. It is this living mystery wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger that makes every other annoying hassle of this season worth the effort.
If anyone else wants to take this tag, feel free. Leave a comment and I will read your post.