I've been tagged - by Jenny. I don't think there is anyone else to tag.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Definitely wrapping paper - have you ever tried to stack gift bags? It RUINS them! I am spoiled but I love to have coordinating wrapping paper and ribbons that are more or less themed. And never underestimate the wow-factor of a simple ribbon.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. We have had real ones in the past, but between the $70-$100 cost of a good fir tree and the years of finding needles throughout the house in the most unLIKEly places, you can't beat an artificial tree. And then there's the old safety issue. You can always get GREAT oil diffusers to give that "fresh pine" smell.
3. When do you put up the tree? Historically, the tree went up the weekend before Thanksgiving. Our home has been in a couple of charity tours so those years, it all went up in October or the first week of November. For someone who used to start listening to Christmas music in July, this is not an unusual thing to happen.
4.When do you take the tree down? Whenever we get to it. One year, back in 1999 when we lived in Trinidad, I ended up going back to the States with Tim (it was his and Megan's first year at UT) and didn't come back till March - and all that decor was still up. Now, that's a GREAT reason to have the aforementioned artificial tree! I met Megan for the first time at the Houston airport after that Christmas - she met Tim and me at our gate (remember when you could still DO that?!?). Megan came back to Trinidad for spring break and she knew what she was in for with this family when she walked into this home in March, in the Caribbean, to be met by full-blown Christmas decked out house! And she still took us on, bless her.
5. Do you like eggnog? It it's freshly made and alcohol free.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? One? Only one?? I love(d) dolls and Santa never failed me. From Chatty Cathy to Baby Pat-a-Burp to late '50s Barbies, I got dolls. I quit collecting them about the time Kennedy and Ben were born. I had REAL dolls to play with!
7. Do you have a nativity scene? No - we do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. I know this isn't going to go over well with some people, but Christmas as a religious holiday is a man-made, not God authorized, celebration. It is founded in pagan celebrations to false gods and was "varnished" in the 600's to become "respectable" so that the celebrations people had become used to could continue. I always hear "Jesus is the reason for the season" but while that may be true, it's only so because people made it that way, not God. As we are to neither add nor take away from the Word, we are not at liberty to dictate to God how He is to be worshipped or honored.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Jennifer, the water baby not withstanding - having said that, there isn't any indication that the person actually LIKES what is bought for them - just finding them easy to buy for! :)
9. Hardest person to buy for? Mike's folks
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I frankly can't remember - probably had to do with a fruitcake or something
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail! And I like making them - I'm just not very prompt on getting it done. And I like newsletters as well as long as they aren't the "Dr. and Mrs. Barf" variety. Those kind become fire kindling pretty fast. I really do NOT want to hear that you were mistaken for a student at your high school reunion or that you got a new Mercedes AGAIN for the past umpteen years.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas - purely because it is a movie Mike has always wanted to watch every Christmas Eve, no matter where in the world we were.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Dec. 26th
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Beef Tenderloin, pecan pie
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? White although I do like colored lights - we've had both but currently have white (or technically "clear")
17. Favorite Christmas song? Anything choral, English and written by David Rutter. One of the highlights of my musical concert attendances was hearing the Kings College Choir perform in London at the Royal Albert Hall - that and the "Messiah from Scratch" concert in the same venue where 90% of the audience is also singing Handel's "Messiah" - chills, really.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? When the kids lived at home, we always had Christmas at home, wherever that happened to be. My folks would almost always travel to spend it with us. These days we go where the kids are - sometimes at our home in Katy, sometimes up in the DFW area. We're flexible.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Of course.
20. Angel on the tree top, or a star? None of the above - we have a Muffy Vanderbear up there this year. We've had Snoopy Santa in the past. But now that I think of it, we also have a German wax angel in brocade we got at one of the Kristkindl Markts in Germany.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning - always!
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Getting castigated by denominational friends about me not celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday and then not being given a chance to explain the basis of my own belief system.
23. What I love most about Christmas? That feeling of happiness and hope that MOST people get. There's an air or expectation in the air - people generally seem nicer to each other (except on the freeway - ha!). And I love the traditions - getting out the ornaments and decorations and playing "remember when" - doing things because your mom did them and her mom did them - that sort of thing. The generous spirit is given reign and shines during this time of year. Plus, it's just so much FUN!