Christmas 1: Questionnaire

I have been tagged with “the dreaded Christmas meme” by Mark a/k/a Zenpundit.

Mark says the rules are as follows:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Since I have plenary authority on my own blog and my own posts, I am amending the rules by tagging all other ChicagoBoyz and –Grrrlz who may feel free to answer as few or as many of these as they want in the comments.

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Wrapping. I do a sloppy job, but I do it. My mother and sister wrap presents so they look like works of art.

2. Real or artificial tree?
Real tree. My Dad grew up seriously poor. He had one episode where as a child he managed to get a tree some store was throwing out on Christmas Eve. My mother hated the needles. My Dad, who did not assert himself at all on domestic décor, would just announce that we were going to get a tree every year. So, I have carried on this tradition.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Within a few weeks of Christmas. Some weekend night I am not working.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Some time after New Years, usually. The cascade of needles then provides hours of family clean-up fun.

5. Do you like egg nog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The sets of army guys the old Sears catalog used to have. I got the Civil War battle one year, with trees, walls, cannons, horses for the cavalry, little accessories like piles of cannon balls and barrels and other stuff for the blue guys and the grey guys to hide behind for shooting. I would wage the battles on the worn-down part of the living room rug, because the guys stood up better on there.. Also, way, way back: A G.I. Joe jeep celebrexhome with a spring-loaded recoilless rifle that actually shot projectiles across the room. No one would ever make a toy like that these days.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Absolutely. And Advent candles. We are Catholics. We do the religious part of it hardcore. That’s the point, actually. Jesus is the reason for the season.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
When I was a child I hated getting clothes. Other than that, I have nothing that comes to mind.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Both. It depends on how reliable the paper address is, or if it is someone whom I primarily deal with via the Net.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie?
White Christmas.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Depends. My Dad, I know what kind of books to get him so I have my eyes open all year for good candidates. Other people, less so. However, if I see something that will make a good gift for birthday or Christmas, I have a list I keep on my computer. Actually shopping usually consists of a marathon session on the Internet, where the list is then executed, usually sometime around Thanksgiving. I try to never set foot in a retail establishment anyway, least of all at Christmas.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
What my mother always made: Roast beef, cheese potatoes, several vegetables, cherry tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, cheesecake and Baby Jesus’ birthday cake for dessert. I have replicated this feast on my own, but as we all know it cannot be as good as Mom makes.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Colored lights.

14. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home. With our little kids, it is easier for others to come to us.

15. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas day. We go to Mass the night before. Then we open the presents in the morning.

16. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The fact that family demands ramp way up but the tempo at work does not really ramp down any.

3 thoughts on “Christmas 1: Questionnaire”

  1. 1. Both.
    2. Fake. When I was little I was allergic to the mold spores that grow on Christmas Trees. When we figured that out, the Mountain King Christmases were much more pleasant.
    3. The weekend after Thanksgiving. Tradition there.
    4. The weekend after New Years.
    5. Oh yea.
    6. Train sets.
    7. Nope.
    8. Always the clothes. Growing up we were pretty poor, so clothes were recast as “gifts” – only as I got older did understand that these gifts were actually things we needed.
    9. Wife’s department, can’t answer that one.
    10. None.
    11. Just after Thanksgiving. Luckily I only have to shop for one person, my wife. The rest of the shopping is her job.
    12. No special thing, but if I had to pick one, it would be goose.
    13. Clear. I am a colored guy, but the wife overrules in the home decorating department so clear it is.
    14. Stay home. With little kids, easier for grandparents to come to us. We have 12 guests tomorrow for a large feast.
    15. Always Christmas Eve. Then Santa comes and more are opened Christmas Day.
    16. Always forgetting one thing for our meal presentation and having to rush out and get it before the guests arrive.

  2. 1. Wrapping, badly executed. I would literally take a training class to get really good at it. This of course leads me to a tangent that I fear will someday be executed by someone who will become immensely wealthy from it, namely an Etiquette Channel on cable/satellite TV.

    2. Real tree. Gotta have that smell and feel.

    3. But evidently I don’t have to have it that much, because I’ve never set up a tree on my own. If I did it would be a couple of weeks before Xmas.

    4. Shortly after New Year’s; might wait ’til Epiphany but probably not.

    5. Dunno, never tasted a drop of it in my life.

    6. One year I seriously cashed in and got a whole bunch of cool stuff. The only thing I specifically remember now was a microscope, which came with various pre-loaded slides of critters to look at.

    7. No. Liked the one we had when I was growing up. We didn’t do Advent candles, presumably as a symptom of Protestantism. I think I’d actually enjoy them now. There were, however, Advent calendars with little thingies that opened up for each date. Those were fun.

    8. Wasn’t fond of getting clothes as a kid. Most of my relatives were broke and had questionable taste, besides, so clothing gifts tended to be worse than usual.

    9. Mail. Back in the day when I maintained a list there were at least a hundred people on it. Haven’t sent any out the past few years, I’m afraid. I don’t feel that substituting e-mails is acceptable. Possibly a PDF of a really creative original/custom design.

    10. Oh, something way out there like A Midnight Clear. If TV is included, A Charlie Brown Christmas wins by a mile.

    11. No set pattern. I haven’t done much specifically for a few years now and tend toward gift certificates or the creative sorts of things one can get through, say, World Vision, eg livestock or well-drilling somewhere in the Third World, donated in the name of the “recipient.” Everybody I know, myself certainly included, has way too much stuff anyway.

    12. Pretty much Thanksgiving minus the cranberry sauce: turkey, dressing (wish I’d gotten my father’s recipe before he passed away), mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes with butter, green beans, pumpkin pie, whipped cream.

    13. Colored lights, and I applaud the trend toward LEDs.

    14. Travel. I have one known relative in KC and one in Springfield, MO; the largest concentration are in Jacksonville Beach, FL, to which I am in transit as I compose this.

    15. Christmas morning. Christmas Eve is for a candlelight service.

    16. The fact, evident from several of my answers above, that I am generally unprepared to participate in a way that directly expresses how much I value my family and friends.

  3. Mine is a special case, so I’ll answer randomly.

    1. Wrapping. Trying to express (ideally) in the wrapping materials, including tape, card and ribbon, the personality of the addressee and the nature of the gift inside. Gifts are for New Year – I don’t celebrate religious holidays.

    2. Real tree – when my son was little. Together with the smell of clementines (traditional decoration, along with walnuts wrapped in golden foil), the smell of the evergreens is the essence of the holiday. Now I sometimes make arrangements of branches with good candles and a table centerpiece for New Year supper.

    5. Glintwein instead

    10. A Christmas Story. Never fails to send me ROFL.

    12. Every year – a new dish on the table (among tried and true), to symbolize openness with new things that come to us with New Year.

    16. Nothing annoying, everything’s terrific: I don’t shop for presents and the tree with the mobs, I start the day after Xmas, when the streets and stores are mine for taking and the salespeople are most agreeable. And the New Year’s night is the most beautiful holiday of the year – what’s to not like?

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