Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Quiz

I was super busy today, deep cleaning the kitchen in advance of the Holidays. I got the oven and microwave clean, as well as about half of the cabinets. I watered and trimmed the plants, yanked down a brown vine that had tried to strangulate the window blinds before it up and died, and filled the aquarium-that-doesn't-have-a-fish-yet with more water. I need to get a fish or a frog to replace our dearly-departed Siamese Fighting Fish, Cookie Monster ('cause he was blue), but we haven't decided on fish or frog yet, so the aquarium remains empty but for water.

Earlier, the SuperCat had taken another in her series of epic baths, launching her fleet of ducks, and swimming around for close to 90 minutes while I picked up in our adjacent bedroom. The bedroom is a bit cleaner, and I'm pretty happy with what I managed to do today. I'm finally getting into the holiday mood (after like, 8 years without it), so I'm trying to take advantage of it by getting things accomplished.

funny pictures
more animals

A friend sent me this quiz in email, and instead of just answering it and sending it back (which I did do) , I'm posting it here. Let me know if you answer the questions; feel free to post a link to your answers or post the answers in the comments field if you'd like.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Due to playfully pouncing kitties, lumbering dog-oxen, and rampaging SuperCats, we try to avoid sitting down with large rolls of wrapping paper and sticky tape at all costs, and use (then subsequently re-use) gift bags as often as possible.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Artificial. Real trees are pretty and smell nice, but real trees are an allergy issue around here. Plus, real trees last a few weeks at best, while an artificial tree lasts for years and years. Thus, it seems greener somehow to have a fake plastic tree.

3. When do you put up the tree?

The weekend after Thanksgiving. That feels like the right not-too-soon-not-too-late time break out the presents!
The ribbons!
The wrappings!
The tags!
And the tinsel!
The trimmings!
The trappings!

5. Do you like eggnog?

Love it. So far this year we've had "regular" nog; "light" nog (relatively speaking, of course. Egg nog is not "light"); and soy nog. Soy nog is better than I would have guessed, and I plan to get it from now on. When the SuperCat was very small - and she was born very small - she showed an early preference for egg nog. She was so small and tiny, and she needed the calories, so we gave her egg nog (pasteurized, of course) whenever we possibly could. She's still a huge nog fan, just like Mommy.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

Lincoln Logs from my Dad when I was about 5 or so.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

My husband. Generally speaking, he doesn't want a lot of stuff, and if he wants it, he probably has it already. It's very difficult to come up with new things he'll like.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Any of the kids. They want (variously) toys, clothes and/or money. Very straightforward. And they are always appreciative, which is nice.

9. Do you have a Nativity scene?

A crèche? Yes. For some reason, most Catholics seem to call it a crèche, which means "manger" or "crib" rather than calling it a Nativity scene. I have three. A smallish mostly-plastic one, a handmade wooden one, and one made from polymer clay that I made several years ago. The tradition I am familiar with is to keep the baby Jesus out of the crib/manger/crèche until Christmas day, to signify His birth.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Sometimes, we get around to mailing them, but not usually, so often it's email or phone calls.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

A hideous short-sleeved bright green sweater with a white striped neck band from an aunt who did the shopping for my grandmother that year. Yuck. Seriously yuck.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

A Christmas Story (You'll shoot your eye out, kid!)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Year round if I see something I like, but after Labor Day in earnest. I dislike crowds, so I try to get it out of the way before they kick in in earnest.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Yes, a few times. Not the hideous green sweater, though. I donated that. I don't like to return stuff, ever. I would rather do anything than stand in line to return things, so unless it was broken, I try to make-do, donate it, or give it away.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

I haven't had it in years, but my grandmother's Peanut Butter Divinity Fudge. I need to dig up the recipe and make some. The other favorite would be turkey and gravy. Oh, and Chex Mix. Gluten-free, Rice-Chex-only Chex Mix.

16. What decorations are on your tree?

Mostly blown glass. White lights. Things the kids made over the years.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

Don't really have a single one. I like Fairytale of New York, obviously (see previous post). I love Carol of the Bells, which everyone knows, but many people don't seem to know the name of.

And a song called Walking In The Air, by the English composer Howard Blake, for the film version of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman. It is simply beautiful.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?

Both. I really would prefer to stay home, but we usually end up away from home, which I find sort of stressful, sort of not. Aside from my kids, I don't really have a lot of family, and I prefer to stay home; my husband has a lot of family, though, and he understandably wants us all to be together. So it's sort of stressful, but tempered by the fact that he's happy, so I'm ok with it.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

Yes. Yes, I can.
Donder & Blitzen (originally Dunder & Blixem - the Dutch words for Thunder & Lightning).
And sometimes, the non-canonical Rudolph.

20. Angel on top of tree or star?

A tin star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning. It doesn't feel right to open gifts Christmas Eve.

Because we often travel, we often end up either opening gifts at home Christmas Eve and then go "out and about" Christmas morning; or go "out and about" Christmas day and open gifts whenever we get home Christmas night.

When I was little, my Dad often worked Christmas Eve night, so we didn't see him until Christmas morning, and it would have been impossible to think of opening more than one gift on Christmas Eve without my Dad being there.

If we opened one gift, if was the one from our grandparents back East. That was only because we'd called long-distance to talk to our grandparents to wish them Merry Christmas and to thank them for their gifts, so we'd open them to know what they were.

Long distance was always such a huge big deal back then, reserved for holidays or special announcements. It wasn't something you did just because.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

All of those sappy made-for-TV-mushy-romantic-Christmas-movies. For example: pretty much whatever is on the Lifetime Movie Channel this month(^).

Oh! And the fact that The Night The Reindeer Died isn't a real movie. Because if it was real, it would be awesome. Lee Majors-awesome. Just think about that for a minute, will ya'?

I'd like to say that consumerism, greed, and all that bothers me, since it does seem to be magnified around this time of year. And it does, but probably not as much as maudlin sentiment.

23 What theme or color are you using when you decorate?

I hadn't put up my largish collection of ornaments in many years, due to a number of factors; until this year. During the years we didn't put up the big tree, I fell into putting up a tiny tree with turquoise, pink and silver ornaments. It was really pretty. This year, I'm back to the "everything goes" color scheme, with turquoise, blue and silver decorations outside.

As for a theme, it's eclectic, just like all of my other decorating endeavors. I like vintage and unusual ornaments.

♫ Oh, Christmas Tree ♫

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

Food? Turkey and gravy (see question # 15). We don't seem to have any one thing that has to be served to call it Christmas dinner. I knew someone years ago who always had fish soup. I know people who always make Dresdner Stollen(^), a German bread-like cake (link pops to recipe). I've known other people to always have lasagna, spaghetti or beef roast. I have a friend whose family always eats shrimp.

Maybe we should start a tradition. Any suggestions?

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

Hmmm. Not too much, really, apart from the usual... Peace On Earth... Goodwill Towards All Men... and a new flannel night gown.

If Santa is listening, a DVD of The Snowman would be nice, since I haven't seen it in many years and would like to share it with the SuperCat.
Since I've been extra-good, maybe a self-healing cutting mat for sewing, and/or a charm or two for my bracelet.

Current mood: (accomplished)

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