12.16.2006

Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts

In the spirit of the holidays I have blatantly stolen this meme from Kate:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate. I’m not even sure I’ve ever had eggnog, but the association in my mind is that of “bad”. Hot chocolate on the other hand… I never met a chocolate product (sans nuts) that I didn’t like.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Of course Santa wraps the presents! And he uses the same paper and ribbons and bows (especially the ribbons and bows) every year! I bet my parents have bows in the Big Box of Bows from 1975. My parents were nothing if not thrifty. They recycled before recycling became hip.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Personally I like the classic classiness of white lights, on the house, on the bushes, in the windows, on the tree. (But not those blinking ones, heavens no.) But, when I was growing up (let’s say the ‘80s) there was no such thing as white lights, especially not for outdoors. We had those giant colored bulbs that my father would outline the house with. I’m not even sure they still make them. The kids and grandkids of some of my parents friends call their house the “gingerbread house” because my dad still risks climbing on the roof to hang up those colored lights, and you don’t see them around too much any more. So, colored lights for nostalgia, white lights for my modern sensibility.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope, never have. I’m not even where you can get it here in the city. And in all honesty there was only year I was dating at Christmastime, and he was a Jew. Go figure. (That fact makes present-day Christmases kind a thorn in my side…)

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Traditionally the weekend after Thanksgiving. Growing up, if it was bitterly cold sometimes the house lights would have to wait until a warm spell.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Excluding dessert? Um…. I don’t know, Christmas dinner was always kind of a non-event in our house growing up, definitely taking second place to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not even sure if we had “dishes” that appeared every year. I think the main dish was usually a ham. (A delicious honey-glazed ham.)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Playing old records of Christmas carols. We had this one that included Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts (…that’s the way the holidays start…) and the Skater’s Waltz (I don’t know if that’s the real name) that my sister and I would play over and over… Another favorite was the Muppet’s Christmas album with John Denver. I think it is called “A Christmas Together”. A Peace Carol and Where the River Meets the Sea are real gems.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Honestly I don’t remember. I know we believed, and then we didn’t believe. It may have been connected to snooping for Christmas presents when the parents weren’t around…

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, but only because my sister and I would whine and whine and whine until they finally gave in. This was repeated every year.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Growing up we had the colored lights, tinsel (I shudder at the thought now), and lots of ornaments my mother ultimately received as gifts from her students (and not all of them good ones…) The Christmas tree of my dreams has white lights, coordinated glass and fabric ornaments, and possibly cranberry strings. Rather Victorian in flavor (although I don’t know if those things are Victorian). That tree will remain in my dreams until I can afford a big enough place to have it…

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it! After having spent sever different Christmases in warm-weather climes I can safely say it isn’t Christmas without snow! (In a similar vein, doesn’t it seem like it was snowier in our youths than today (for me this was the ‘80s)? Now it seems like we are lucky to have a White Christmas…

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but even though I grew up in a cold climate I really didn’t learn in earnest until college, where we had a rink for our school team which offered free skating time for students many times a week during the winter!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I really can’t. Is that terrible or what?

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Theoretically, the general “peace on earth, good will towards men” attitude that is supposed to be pervasive… Here in the city though the attitude seems to be more “get out of my way or I will knock you down” – it’s so damn crowded here for the holidays!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Gingerbread cookies, the really spicy kind. My sister’s godmother makes the best.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
For my entire adult life (basically since I was in college) my family has gone to New Hampshire for Christmas. It’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, there is a greater chance of snow there than either here or my parent’s house, and there are retail outlet malls fairly close by.

17. What tops your tree?
A gold tinsely star tops my parent’s tree. I envision a beautiful glass or wrought gold star on mine, but for now, nada for my non-existent tree.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
Both. J But on the receiving end I prefer consumable gifts honestly, because I have too much junk as it is and too small an apartment to store it all.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Bing Crosby singing White Christmas in Holiday Inn. (Yes! Didn't you know that White Christmas was recorded for Holiday Inn, not White Christmas, which came later!) I just love Bing… Frank Sinatra too. Pretty much all the classic carols from the 40s through the 60s. I hate the modern crap we hear today, I really do.

20. Candy Canes… Yuck or Yum?
I’m kind of ambivalent about candy canes – I’ll eat them if they’re around, but I don’t seek them out, nor do I buy them (except as decoration sometimes, not really to eat). Kate’s suggestion to use them as a stirrer in hot chocolate certainly sounds like a good idea to me though.

3 Comments:

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Kate A. said...

The Big Box of Bows from 1975!! Oh my god, that one really got me - I'm pretty sure my mom still has her version of that box! But I shouldn't talk - I think I still have a collection of pretty gift bags somewhere that I've received and are too pretty to throw away but I don't know what else to do with them...

It IS true that there used to be more snow, I'll swear it. We used to play king-of-the-mountain in the snow drifts every year, and they were BIG mountains, and since about the time I was finishing high school Michigan hasn't got that much snow once, and has gotten enough for a modest king-of-the-hill maybe only every third year or so.

You're right about last year's NYC blizzard, though - that was awesome. We just took a little walk in our neighborhood, but we had that same feeling of time standing still. That is great stuff.

And I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who feels that way about NYC pizza! I've gotten into pretty dirty arguments with several people over that one, but only people who've never been to Chicago! :-)

I suppose it's okay, though, for people to love crappy pizza out of nostalgia when I love huge, fire-hazardous multi-colored lights out of nostalgia...

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Marisa Elana said...

So my question to add to the list... do you put onions in your potato latkes? And question number two... do you attempt to put holiday decorations on your cat? These are important questions! *grin*

 
At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Candy canes in hot chocolate is wonderful!!!!

I think my folks have the "big box of bows" as well! HA!

 

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