Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas meme

I found this at my friend Ruth's place today. Fa-la, ho ho ho.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper! In my gift-giving glory days, I worked for a Hallmark store. Now, if I can get paper all the way around the gift, and a bow slapped on it, I'm pretty happy. To date, I have achieved exactly ZERO shopping for this particular Christmas. Sigh.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Real. Frasier Fir, if possible. Need the smell. Like the short needles!

3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever we can find a couple of unfilled hours in mid-December. Last Sunday afternoon, this time around...though, if circumstances would permit, I'd do it the old-fashioned way, putting up the tree on Christmas Eve and taking it down on the 12th day of Christmas. Oh, well.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Whenever we can find a couple of unfilled hours in mid-January...and the gumption, since this is much less fun than putting it up!

5. Do you like eggnog?
In a paraphrase of the old Alka-Seltzer commercial: "I like eggnog, but it doesn't like me!"

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmmm...I'd have to go with boxed sets of the "Little House" books and five Judy Blume books, whose covers were read right off.

Embarassingly, I have a picture of me at 12-years-old-or-so, looking rather enraptured over Shaun Cassidy's first album. :-)

7. Hardest person to buy for?
My sister

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Beloved, hands down

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Beloved collects interesting "folk art" sorts of nativity scenes; we have them from Finland, Colombia, the Maasai tribe, lots of places!

BTW...they are NOT anything like this.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, but not 'til's one of Beloved's favorite projects to write and illustrate a newsy account of our year. She's great at it; they're funny and warm...much more interesting than we actually are!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Two words: stretch pants.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
We have a tradition at our house...Beloved & I watch the following together (usually all in a row) every Christmas week:
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • A Christmas Story (this goes back decades in Beloved's family)
That'd be a three-way tie for me: I love the neuroses and music of "Charlie Brown," and the last scene where they're all "loo loo loo-ing" together (Beloved & I sent a photo card one year of the two of us doing that); love the "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" song, and like to root for his little dog; "A Christmas Story" is the single best repository of great cultural-reference lines since "The Princess Bride," and makes me laugh every time.

This scene, BTW, may be the reason I wanted to name my dog Linus; it's the most consistently meaningful cultural Christmas experience of my life:

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Spotty. No good answer.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Homemade lefse and pepparkakor.

16. Lights on the tree?
White, please. Red wooden beads. Ornaments in mostly red and clear-varnished wood, with the exception of Beloved's penguins and my Snoopys.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
  • Best CD Anne Sofie von Otter, Home for Christmas. FANTASTIC. Her version of "Dancing Day" alone is worth the purchase price.
  • Classical Britten's Ceremony of Carols

  • Congregation Silent Night, done simply and in candlelight. This year, we're having a harp accompany us.
  • Radio Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas" or Michael W. Smith's "All Is Well"

  • Choir "Before the Marvel of this Night" or the Schulz-Widmar version of "Midnight Clear," both found in the Augsburg Choirbook:

I especially like this verse, which is so relevant this year:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and warring humankind hears not
the love-song which they bring;
oh, hush your noise and cease your strife,
and hear the angels sing.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

It's the most churchiful time of the year (save Holy Week), so we're in town on Christmas Eve (traditional dinner with friends between services), and usually my sister's place on Christmas Day. Big family thing over New Year's weekend, for which we travel.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph (the most famous reindeer of alllllll)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Rodney the Reindeer

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Whenever we're together is OK with me.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Vacuous parties, the fact that the retail season now starts in September/October, and electronic trees/snowmen/santas/ reindeer/penguins/night-of-the-living-ceramic-carolers beeping out carols.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, green been casserole (with crispy French onions), lefse, a pretty tossed salad with pomegranates, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. Mmm.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
  • A light that shines through these rather dark times.
  • Peace on earth.
  • Safe travel for everyone.
  • Time to sit down and just BE with Beloved and the pups.
  • Practically speaking, more memory for the we can install the operating system that I can use my new orange iPod.
26. What do you like most about Christmas?

Hope, goodwill, and great choral music!


Chorus said...

Great choral music indeed!

And the rubber ducky nativity scene is AWESOME.

Jan said...

This is wonderful! I loved your chatty answers. We finally have a tree, but don't have anything on it yet. My daughter used to collect penguins, so I am always attracted to them.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Lovely play.

BTW, I finally remember my worst Christmas present. A former boyfriend gave me basketball shoes. He's known as basketball shoe Richard to this day.