1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper is preferred, but it depends on the item… and the time.
2. Real tree or artificial? There's a nice artificial tree in the basement that I've used for years — I love it. Last year we had a real tree and I think we will again this year. Simple and small.
3. When do you put up the tree? A real tree will go up about a week to 10 days before Christmas.
4. When do you take the tree down? I'm not much for a hangin' on holiday… the tree's been booted to the curb as early as the 26th. Mom always keeps hers up 'til the Feast of the Epiphany (at least). Mine will come down sometime in between.
5. Do you like eggnog? I love eggnog, but I try not to have it around much.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Music. All of my favorite gifts for any reason had to do with music. I remember receiving a record player of my own in 1969, along with a 45rpm of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and The 5th Dimension's "The Age of Aquarius" album. The soundtrack to "Jesus Christ Superstar" was another memorable gift a few years later.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Thank goodness we draw names. My dad's hard to buy for — I've been going with consumables the last few years — fruit, chocolate, nuts.
8. Easiest person to buy for? It's usually pretty easy to buy for my sisters.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? I do, though I don't always get it out. My grandmother used to teach ceramics and she gave me a beautiful, simply finished, porcelain nativity set that she made many years ago. I think Grandpa built the accompanying wooden "stable." Or maybe my dad. I put it up mostly because it reminds me of Grandma & Grandpa.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I am SO BAD at this. I used to mail cards with a photo AND a letter, but haven't done it in years. I've received complaints… I have good intentions, but usually run out of steam and/or time. I'm thinking of a New Year's card this year… or maybe Valentine's Day… or St. Patrick's Day. Or maybe just Any Day — you know, like Whatever Day I Get It Together day.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I'm sure I've received a lousy gift or two, but I guess I let those things go pretty easily. (Is there a question about the Best?)
12. Favorite Christmas movie? "Love Actually." The full range of my emotions is worked over in that one, but it also fills my heart.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I do a little picking up throughout the year (and hope that I remember…); there's always some last minute running around between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fudge. And cookies. Cut-outs. Peanut Butter Kisses. Spritz. Herring. We always have herring at Christmas.
16. Lights on the tree? Lots. Clear.
17. Favorite Christmas song? I am a big fan of Christmas music, there aren't many songs that I don't like. (Just pick one!) "Celebrate Me Home," Kenny Loggins.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph.
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve at Mom's with sibs; Christmas morning at home with the "kids."
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Commercials are annoying. On the bright side, I'm thankful that I don't have little kids anymore because the commercials geared to kids are the worst! All those craptastic toys.
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love all of my antique ornaments… and the personalized ceramic ones that Grandma made… and the ones that used to belong to my other grandma.
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? Nothing. Well, I want LOTS of stuff and I also want nothing. Mostly, I want to feel better about the state of things — the world, the economy, my kids' futures. I would like to hear that the half-million jobs lost in November were re-created in December, with another half-million or so for a New Year's present, and so on with Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Any Day.
24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel. I've had a few different toppers, but it's always been an angel.
25. Favorite Christmas dinner? We love to try new things — Cornish hens, Beef Wellington, standing rib roast, glazed ham. Appearing at every holiday meal are corn pudding and Waldorf salad.