Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Getting to Know You: Holiday Edition

I am so sorry I have not posted in so long. This is that time of the semester where George is always on the computer, from dawn until the wee hours of the morning, working on final papers and other such scholarly tasks. So I am banished from the computer. I really have no time to post today either. I have a funny story to continue my study on greedy children and the Christmas season, a little "blogthing" I saw on someone else's blog that I thought was fun and wanted to post on, and all manner of other things composing themselves into posts in my head, but they will all have to wait. I have been saving this fun little forward in my inbox (something very unlike me- I like for my entire inbox to be viewable on one page so there is only ever room for 25 messages total) since last Christmas. I thought it would be fun to answer the questions today and tag everyone to do the same either in the comments or on your own blog. It kind of takes a while, so feel free to just answer the ones that seem fun to you. I always love hearing what other people do to make this season more special.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate because I've never actually had eggnog, but I usually think hot chocolate is too sweet unless mixed with coffee (mmmmm).

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa does not come to our house. But Father Christmas does. He writes each child a letter and paints a beautiful watercolor for them on the front. This is my very favorite thing about Christmas morning. The letters are all placed under the tree so that we all come into the room to see three beautiful paintings displayed.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We have white in the living room, but I put up colored ones on the little miniature fake tree in the kids' room.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We had a lot of mistletoe in Birmingham so I always hung it there. I have not done it here in St. Louis simply because I haven't found any.

5. When do you put your decorations up? We usually try to get a tree at the first of December, sometime on or before my birthday (which was yesterday), and sometimes I will even pullout the other decorations and my snowman dishes as early as the day after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Excluding dessert?! I don't know, I like to change my menu up every year. I think of Thanksgiving as being the same thing year after year and so it's fun to try different things at Christmas. My favorite is probably prime rib. I may have to make one again this year. Nothing beats a beautiful Christmas roast.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: This one is tough because we moved a lot growing up so there are not many constants- Sometimes we went to Christmas Eve services, sometimes we didn't. Sometimes we saw extended family, sometimes we didn't. Sometimes we got a live tree, but for a while we had an awful plastic tree! I can't remember the year we convinced my parents we needed a real one, so that's not a real "memory," but way to go, us! My sisters and I used to get pretty fired up about all the food coming in the mail from extended family. We had an aunt who used to send a gingerbread house when we were little, and another aunt who sent a big can of gourmet popcorn every year. Then we have two aunts and uncles who both send oranges and grapefruit. Why it never registered with them that if they were both getting it from each other we were getting more than we could eat from both of them, I have no idea. They still do it. But one order comes with mixed nuts and glazed apricots. There are only like eight glazed apricots, but they are the prize of the holiday mail order food! I know you can get a whole crate of them at Williams Sonoma for like $30; and if I ever send mail order holiday food, they are at the top of my list.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I never even got to believe in him in the first place!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We usually have George's family over on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts with them that night. So, yes.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? George gets me and the children a new ornament every year and presents them after we put the lights on the tree. They are always beautiful blown glass ornaments made by Old World Christmas. Every year the tree is more beautiful than the year before with all the new additions. I also have a small collection of vintage glass Christmas ornaments that mixes in nicely. There are a couple of other family members who get the children ornaments every year as well, so we have ourselves quite the menagerie!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it in Missouri. I do not love it in the South where there is no equipment for making the roads safe. I had always been terrified of it until we moved here where they can actually take care of the roads. For one thing, the snow her is real so it probably isn't as hard to get up anyway. In the South, it is slushy and melts during the day and freezes back solid at night making a very pretty but very scary situation on power lines and roads. But anywhere, it is beautiful and I don't mind the cold.

12. Can you ice skate? It's been a while, but I used to could.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Nope. I am sure I sound like a jerk for saying that. I remember lots of nice gifts from over the years but nothing really stands out. Well, I guess this was a Christmas present of sorts- I lost my wedding band while I was pregnant with August and after a while we realized we would be moving and kept holding out hope that we would find my ring then. So it was over a year and a half that I had no wedding band and then when we moved to St. Louis George bought me a new one. But was that at my birthday? Or was it at Christmas? I know I didn't open it Christmas morning... This is beginning to sound like "Fuzzy Memories" with Jack Handy! Anyway, I like the new band better than my first one and it even fits during pregnancy (yea!).

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Well, obviously, that it is the celebration of the birth of our Savior. But I guess secondly, that it stays fun and I don't let the to do list stress me out to the point of not enjoying all that there is to do.Okay, so that second thing needs a little work :)

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I try out different things every year. I love the baking! I always make iced sugar cookies, ginger snaps, and biscotti. But I always like to try new cookie recipes out and to make different cakes and pies. My old reliable is chocolate chip pecan pie, but I usually make one of those at Thanksgiving.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I love the ornaments George gets and the letters from Father Christmas. I love listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree. I love all the baking too! I love hostessing some sort of gathering most though I think. All three of the children have been baptized the week before Christmas and I love having a reception for them- except that most of the family has quit making the trip so that by the time Elspeth was baptized last year we only had four guests. In Birmingham, we had friends over for Christmas dinner every year. It was so much fun. Now we have George's family over the night before. I just love having a full house.

17. What tops your tree? We still don't have a tree topper. The one highest to the top this year is the "holy family" ornament, pictured above, that George just gave me on Saturday.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I think everyone prefers giving don't they. Receiving is awkward. And I always feel guilty because I am so persnickety. I love giving though, but I wonder if people always think I give them weird things. Budgets make it hard. The best gifts are the ones you see randomly throughout the year and think "this person has to have this!" I never can save those until Christmas though; I end up giving them at the spur of the moment as a "happy."

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Oh, wow, so many to pick from. I love Christmas carols because they remind us of the Gospel in such a beautiful way. I hate badly done Christmas carols. Christina Aguilera singing "O Holy Night?" That is just wrong. But "O Holy Night" is a favorite. This year I am really enjoying "Do You Hear What I Hear?" for some reason. And I always love "Mary's Little Boy Child." My all time favorite is "Magnificat" which is the song Mary sings after Gabriel visits her. We sang the most beautiful arrangement of this song growing up and I cannot find the music to it anywhere. It is the thing I miss most about not spending Christmas in Nashville. Oh, and I also love the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

20. Candy Canes Yuck or Yum? I love candy canes. The best are the soft King Leo ones. My mom used to get me a canister of those every year for my birthday. Yum!


Wrights said...

Oooh! This is fun!
1.)Hot Chocolate for sure. Especially made with whole milk (which I didn't know until I had a child who drank whole milk.)
2.)We always had a chair growing up where Santa would leave the presents. My parents didn't wrap anything but Nathaniel and I wrap for each other and some for the kids.
3.)White lights-they are my favorite!
4.)Never had mistletoe
5.)We decorate the Sunday right after Thanksgiving and I do not like to break tradition so this year we went to get the tree in the rain--it had to sit in the garage for 2 days to dry out but we had the tree because I insisted:)
6.)Christmas morning breakfast: breakfast casserole, cheese grits and sausage balls
7.)My sisters and I always slept in the same bed on Christmas Eve--until I got married. I kind of miss that tradition
8.)I never remember believing in Santa though my mom insists that we did now that I have children who don't really hear about Santa!
9.)We never could open on Christmas Eve. We begged to every year but my parents didn't let us. Nathaniel will not open one present before Christmas. It has to be Christmas morning.
10.)We get a new ornament for the girls every year and one with all 4 of our names on it and hang white lights
11.)I love snow--probably because we never get it. There is nothing like waking up to see snow on a school day and then going back to bed.
12.)I used to could ice skate--it's been awhile!
13.)Anna Walton was born right before Christmas in 2005 and I was overjoyed. I really didn't care about any other gift that year.
14.)Let's say that Jesus' birthday is a given so after that, keeping traditions. I love traditions and the funness of Christmas
15.)iced sugar cookies that we cut and decorate every year and thumbprint cookies
16.)we alternate this year so our traditions are different every year but I still love Christmas morning breakfast at my parents' house. My mom uses the Christmas china and has it all set up so pretty (even though we are in our p.j.s!) and we sit by the fire and my dad reads the Christmas story
17.)nothing is on top of our tree. growing up we had a dove that looked like a real dove-a little creepy, honestly:)
18.)Giving for sure. I hate opening presents in front of other people and I love trying to be creative with the budget and think of things people would like
19.)I love the whole Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and this year Away in a Manger because Anna Walton sings it and it makes me cry. It's really sweet.
20.) Love candy canes and I am totally with you on the King Leo kind being the absolute best.

Hope you had a good b-day with nothing Christmas about it!!!

Abby said...

Thanks for playing, Rebekah! And for sending the sweet birthday card! I am sad no one else wants to play, but I am hoping maybe their will still be a couple of people who want to share!

george edema said...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I think I'd like a good nog because all I've had is cheap nog and I kind of enjoy it. But Hot Chocolate is the bee's knees.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa Santa is a myth loosely based on a third century bishop named Nicholas. Some Santa stories preserve the themes of his namesake rather well, some advance the wonder and potential of the spirit of the season of celebrating the coming of the King and the grand implications of his reign, but most are exploitative and nonsensical.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Same as you.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Same as you.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Same as you.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Excluding dessert?! Anything Abby makes is great. And you can't go wrong with Thanksgiving repeats.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: I remember the family gatherings on my dad's side with great fondness. It was great seeing that huge pile of presents and wondering what was in there for me. The years when I was into Star Wars, Transformers, and Stompers were particularly exciting. I was also remembering tonight how I used slide under our tree to check out the presents and I'd lay there looking up into the branches of the tree for a long time. It felt like I was in a different world.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I was always suspicious, the story didn't make sense. If he was so busy how did he have time to be at a West Michigan mall? Why was he in so many commercials? Why were there so many conflicting accounts? It didn't help that I never got presents from Santa himself. The first present I got with a tag that said from Santa was when I was eight years old - one of my aunts gave me a comic G.I. Joe comic book. Anyway, there were too many unanswered questions, and my parents didn't push it.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Sometimes.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Same as you.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it when it's lovable. But a lovable snow fall is rare in the places I lived. During my first 10 years, when I lived in Michigan, the snow was awesome. I have a lot of good snow memories from those days.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but I'm not good and it is a guaranteed back ache.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? not off the top of my head.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Really enjoying the time and connecting it with reality. The idea of arbitrary holiday celebration is annoying to me. I want to build an experience where everything is somehow connected to something meaningful. There has should always be an answer ready for why we are doing what we are doing. Otherwise it is just an excuse to do what we want to do. For instance, I have a hard time with Christmas trees sometimes. I like them, but I don't get it. Why would we kill a tree and bring it into our house to celebrate Christ's birth? In the first three or four years of our marriage I would find a scrappy wild cedar in the middle of a vacant lot or lost in the woods and bring it home for our Christmas tree. The idea was that the tree was taken from its destiny of lostness or destruction and brought into the family celebration and glorified. That made sense. But I eventually lost that battle, mostly because Abby loves a good tree so much that it was difficult depriving her of that and forcing a nasty tree into the picture.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I guess I like decorated sugar cookies the best. But I'll eat most desserts.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The letters Father Christmas sends to the kids.

17. What tops your tree? we have a topless tree, woo hoo!

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I am trying to get better at both.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Most Christmas songs drive me crazy. I'm not good at remembering what songs I like best. Right now I like the Bing Crosby - David Bowie duet, There is one that Judy Rogers does of that has the line, "'I,' said the donkey." Sufjan Stevens does a version of that one as well. It's pretty good.

20. Candy Canes Yuck or Yum? I only like the soft King Leos, all others are Yuck.

Abby said...

I love you, George! Can everyone else see how funny and cute my little husband is? I thought of that song today, only it is Betty Jean Robinson who sings it and not Judy Rogers. Yes, I LOVE that song too. And the other one I thought of was the old folk song that maybe we have somewhere of Natalie Merchant performing "Children Go where I Send Thee." Here is a cool link to Johnny Cash performing it!

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