Want the scoop on me and Christmas? Whether you do or not, here it is!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper...for the most part. I find I use gift bags for individual gifts that I give to people (like the girls' teachers or a friend here and there) but for gifts that get opened up in group environments, I'm all about the wrapping paper. I'm about the world's WORST wrapper though!
2. Real tree or artificial? Growing up we always had a fake tree, so when I first got married I insisted on getting a real one. But after several years of being annoyed by different aspects of having a real tree, we finally bought our own artificial one - and other than the fact that I miss the smell of a real tree, I'm very happy with it!
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually it's the Saturday closest to December 1st. Last year that meant we put the tree up at the end of November already (much to Les' dismay), and this year of course it fell right on December 1st!
4. When do you take the tree down? This all depends on our busy schedule of gatherings and such but I like it down as soon as possible. Actually, there was one year we took the tree down on Boxing Day already. As much as I love Christmas - once it's done, I'm ready for it to just be done.
5. Do you like eggnog? NO WAY! Not even a little bit. Now, truth be told, I may not have ever even tried it. But I hate milk so that right away turns me off. And then there's the smell...that's enough to make me stay very far away from it!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? The one that I can specifically remember the most is my Cabbage Patch Kid. So I guess since it brings up the most memories, it was probably my favorite...right? I remember her name was Christine Helga on her birth certificate - which I think I later changed to Kate something-or-other. She had bright orange hair. Well, I should say she HAS bright orange hair as I have kept her all of these years and the girls now have her in their stash of dolls!
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, I have two. One is a Precious Moments one that the girls love to play with. I used to have to make sure it was out of Malia's reach when she was younger though, because often I would be searching for the baby Jesus! My other one is a smaller-scale scene with just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus all together in one "piece" (if that makes sense). This one I actually have up as part of my decor on an every-day basis. It's a beautiful piece and I sort of like having a constant reminder of Jesus' birth regardless of the time of year.
8. Hardest person to buy for? Les. It's not like he doesn't give me a list of ideas - but it seems like he never gives me adequate information. Almost everytime I try to buy him something hunting or fishing related or a type of tool, the salesperson asks me questions to figure out EXACTLY what I'm looking for...and I don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about!
9. Easiest person to buy for? My Mom. Not only would she just love anything anybody bought her - but for the last several years we have a shopping tradition (along with my two sisters). Usually the first Saturday after the new year we head to the mall to take advantage of some after-Christmas sales and we all go clothes shopping together.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Oh boy...I don't know! I know I've been in many random gift exchanges where you never know what you're going to end up with that have been disappointing. But as a gift that was specifically given to me? I honestly can't think of anything. I am actually a very easy person to shop for so I don't think I have really ever been all that disappointed....I know, boring answer (sorry).
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Hand-delivered or mailed. Email cards don't count in my opinion. :)
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Well, as someone who has never seen any classic Christmas movies (true story!), I'm going to have to go with Home Alone. Hey, it's a classic in its own way. ;)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually mid-end November. I don't get it how people can start (and finish!) their shopping earlier than that. To me it has to FEEL like Christmas before I go shopping. I want there to be snow on the ground. I want there to be decorations up and I want there to be Christmas music playing in the stores. There's just something about the hustle & bustle of the malls that just make me smile. But I do try to finish by mid-December too so I avoid the final week or two of mad-dash shoppers!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so. Like I mentioned earlier I'm pretty easy to shop for. Unless it was a gift that I got in one of those random gift exchanges that wasn't personally intended for me, I keep and treasure every gift that is given to me. I suppose if I got a duplicate gift that I really had no use for (for example, if I would get another copy of Twilight movies - well, what would be the point in keeping another copy?) but otherwise other than maybe exchanging something for a different size I like to keep gifts that were given to me.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Oh, the options! Well, I make a variety of Christmas baking every year that has all of our family favorites. And my Mom makes the best Peanut Blossoms that I thoroughly enjoy every year as well. And of course there's the mandarin oranges and the turkey dinners...and we can't forget the Ferrero Rochers...oh I just love it all!
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I used to go with clear because I thought it was classier. Several years ago I abandoned that thought process and make the switch to the fun and colorful lights. It feels more festive to me.
17. Favorite Christmas song? My favorite "traditional" Christmas song will probably always be O Holy Night - although after buying Lady Antebellum's Christmas CD just earlier this month, I have fallen in love with their version of Silent Night. It's over-lapped with another song called "Lord of my Life" and I can't listen to it enough!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We "travel" to various family gatherings - but the furthest gathering we ever go to is about 2 1/2 hours away. And the last few years we have made it our family tradition to take the girls on a mini vacation to Fargo for a few nights over their school break. It's not right over Christmas but I think it still counts!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Nope, just a few. Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph...my reindeer knowledge is pretty sparse.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. We have a snowflake which I guess sorta looks like a star...
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? It all depends on when we have our family gatherings! There have been times where we have been at Les' parents' place on Christmas Eve overnight to Christmas morning so we have opened them earlier sometimes. This year we actually have both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day at home to ourselves. We always do our main gift opening on Christmas morning (or whatever date we made our Christmas morning) but the girls open one gift on Christmas Eve (again, or whatever date we made our Christmas Eve) and that gift is always PJ's!
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? When people substitute the words "Happy Holidays" instead of MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
23. What I love most about Christmas? I love it all. The lights, the music, the food, the family...and yes even the gifts (both giving and receiving). And of course I love the reason why we celebrate to begin with. The most amazing gift we could ever receive - the birth of Jesus who would grow up to die on the cross to save us from our sins.