I was looking for a photo on my old blog and ran across these questions on a Christmas post. What better way to kick off a new month than with a fun little survey? Blogging friends, feel free to borrow these questions as a writing prompt- I'd love to hear about your holiday traditions, too! : )
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use both. Bags are usually cuter, and easier to deal with, but they're not quite as fun as wrapping paper!
2. Real tree or Artificial? My tree is definitely fake. My aunt and my grandparents always have real trees, but for 99% of my life, we've done fake. And now that I have my own home, I will always do fake because of all the scary stories of real ones catching on fire!
3. When do you put up the tree? My family used to put it up early. Brandon doesn't really care. He is not as into Christmas as I am. I would be happy putting it up the day after Thanksgiving, but I try to aim for December 1. And I have my dad come over and help me do it, because he is good at Christmas and, as I said, Brandon really doesn't care one way or the other!
4. Favorite gift received as a child? I can't choose just one! Though some of my favorites that I can remember were probably dolls- I know I got an American Girl Bitty Baby doll for Christmas one year, and I also had the Kirsten doll from AG as well (but I can't recall if that was Christmas or a birthday gift.) My family as a whole tries really hard to get gifts that the recipient will really care about, so every year actually IS special.
5. Hardest person to buy for? Grandparents, definitely. I do have a hard time shopping for people sometimes because I love giving gifts and I always find lots of things I want to give people, and my budget is embarrassingly tight when it comes to the holidays. So in a way, you could say everyone is the hardest to shop for because I have a hard time finding stuff that I'm happy with that fits in my budget!
6. Easiest person to buy for? Brandon. His Christmas list is just birthday list leftovers. And his birthday list is Christmas leftovers. Usually he just tells me to order whatever Star Wars books have come out over the past six months, and I add a few surprises.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, just one. My mom has a bunch, though- she collects them and keeps some out all year round!
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Anything that I ever got at a church youth group function, as no one in there liked me and I always got the crappy presents. We would have a gag gift game and someone would always bring just garbage, I think for the sole purpose of making sure I got it. Like burned out lightbulbs. Just trash. It hurt my feelings, actually.
9. Favorite Christmas Movie? I have several! For laughs, I like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Elf is pretty good, too. For warm fuzzy nostalgia, I like the Muppet Christmas Carol, a Muppet Family Christmas, and the John Denver Muppet Christmas special (which I do not own on DVD because it's out of print and EXPENSIVE.)
10. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fried oysters and cream puffs. My grandmother only makes fried oysters for Christmas. They're soooooo good. And she makes cream puffs- homemade pastry filled with vanilla custard and drizzled with chocolate sauce. But these aren't the little profiteroles you might see some places. These suckers are as big as your hand. Sometimes bigger.
11. Lights on the tree? I like the fat, colorful bulbs my grandparents use. My tree is pre-lit. I can't imagine a tree without lights.
12. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes. I think most people that celebrate Christmas and have been exposed to Christmas songs can.
13. Favorite ornament theme or color? We don't do themes. All of our ornaments are random, mostly from pop culture (Star Wars, super heroes, Hello Kitty.) And then we have some that belonged to my family when I was a kid, one from the year we got married, one from the year we bought a house, and a few others. Oh, and my friends and I do an ornament exchange every year, so I have those.
14. Favorite Christmas song? I can't pick just one. I have maybe four hundred Christmas songs on my computer! If I could pick an entire album, it would be "A Christmas Together" from John Denver and the Muppets.
15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I have never been away from my family (and my hometown) at Christmas. Just about all of my family lives in Louisville, so we just travel around to everyone's houses. This has gotten exponentially more complicated since I got married. When I was a kid, we spent Christmas Eve with my great grandmother and my pappaw's family. Then Christmas morning at my house with my parents and maternal grandparents, lunch with my dad's family, and dinner at my aunt's. In between those last two, the family would come to our house to see our presents- and then we saw my cousin's presents when we went to my aunt's. Now we go to Brandon's maternal grandparents' on Christmas Eve. The last few years my parents have come over for breakfast (since we bought the house) and my grandparents come over when they can. Lunch is still at mammaw and pappaw's house, and directly after that we head over to see the extended Jones family. Then we go over to my aunt's, at least for a little while, because I like tradition (and the food we have at her house!) and finally, at the end of the day, Brandon's parents and brothers come over and we exchange gifts. It's exhausting!
16. What do you want for Christmas this year? This year, like every year, I ask for a few DVDs and books, and gift cards so Brandon and I can go out for our anniversary (or at least get carry-out.) I also try to ask for a few things that we need for the house that don't really fit into our budget, like a gift card for Lowe's, or something like that. We got a weed-eater last year or maybe the year before that. :)
17. Most memorable magical Christmas memory from adulthood? I wouldn't call it magical. I don't think our Christmases are magical, but they are warm and family filled and generally happy. But my most memorable Christmas memory from adulthood is definitely Christmas 2011. We were buying a house- we hadn't extended the rental agreement on our apartment because we were waiting to close, and at the last minute it turned out that there were some paperwork problems from the owner's before the people we were buying it from. Just some filing mistakes. But we were freaking out, and our realtor stepped in and saved the day and demanded that they got everything cleared up. So on December 23, we closed on our house, and we spent all of Christmas Eve moving in! We woke up early and my in-laws and my grandparents and uncle came over and helped us move everything. I stayed at the house with my mother in law and my youngest brother in law, taking care of the boxes, putting things away and stuff, while everyone else made three trips to move all the furniture and boxes over. My in-laws stayed until the afternoon to try to help put things away after everything was relocated, and then they left at about 3. My dad came by to help me set up the tree, so it would actually feel a bit like Christmas (we didn't put any decorations out at the apartment because we'd just have to pack them up again!) Two hours later, I dragged my sore and exhausted self out of the house with Brandon and we headed out to his grandparents' for Christmas Eve dinner. I could barely sit at the kitchen table, I was so sore! But I slept well that night, and the next morning my family brought over donuts and we had breakfast together and they got to see the house (my mom and my brother hadn't been able to come see it when we were looking at buying it!) So that crazy Christmas is definitely my most memorable one. It's hard to believe that we've been here for three years now!