Want to play along? Leave a comment that you did the quiz and I'll make sure to read each of them.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Actually, neither. Is that horrible? Egg nog is a little heavy for my liking, and hot chocolate often gives me a tummy ache. My favorite holiday drink? A hot cup of tea in front of the fire. Biscotti too, please.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Growing up Santa always made sure to have different wrapping paper than the rest of the family gifts (of course he would, right?). Even after I knew the truth, little things like this totally added to the magic for me. They were wrapped and in piles for each sibling. Family presents were under the tree but seeing a huge pile of gifts with your name on it brings back such joy.
3. Colored lights or white on the tree? What about on the house? White on the tree. I still strictly follow this rule because the warm glow it creates is magic. Plus, in old fashioned times when they used real candles on the tree, the flames would have been white. And always colored on the house so we get best of both worlds. My brother Brandon and I were always in charge of the exterior of the house when we were older. We'd spend an entire day, sometimes six or eight hours fixing the outside until it was just right. When I was a lot younger we had a three story pine tree in our front yard. My dad would use a huge ladder and drape colored lights from its limbs. Seeing it lit up made me so happy.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, I did when we were living at the condo but it dried out and kinda fell apart. Oh well.
5. When do you put up your decorations? Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving. Although sometimes I wish we had a real tree, the fact that my fakey can be up for 1.5 months makes it worth it.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Oh man. There are a lot. For years my Grandparents served shrimp on Christmas Eve. A couple of times they also had Beef Wellington, which seriously blew me away. I also adore our traditional Christmas morning casserole made with hash browns, ham and eggs.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? When I was about 13 we went with close family friends to a tree farm to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. It was cold, snow gently falling. I was with my best friend in the world and my siblings and her brother. We laughed and played until finding the perfect tree. Upon arriving home our Moms decided to start on some dinner and told us to "go play". We found the neighbors driveway flooded and frozen into a perfect sheet of ice. For the next hour we pretended to ice skate across the smooth surface laughing and playing the entire time. It was dark, cold and wonderful. I remember saying something along the lines of "this is the most wonderful Christmas activity ever!"
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Kindergarten. A friend told me. I was heartbroken and quickly figured out the truth about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We always opened new PJs on Christmas Eve.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I love Christmas trees that tell a family story with lots of interesting and personal ornaments. I've collected ornaments on all the trips I've taken and it is so fun when decorating to find the Yosemite ornament, or the Italy ornament. I can't wait to start adding homemade ornaments that my kiddos make.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love it! I just adore it at Christmas time. And as long as it is fresh (not icy and black) than I like it in January too. Come February and March I'm over it. Come April/May? I'm beyond over the snow and ready for spring.
12. Can you ice skate? I was a figure skater for eight years growing up. Private lessons, shows and even competitions. Now I'm not nearly as good, but still faster than my-once-hockey-playing husband. ;)
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? For some crazy reason when I was in third grade I really wanted crutches for Christmas. No idea why. But I got them and was over the moon. I also got my Addy American Girl doll when I was 13. She was a complete surprise and still is one of my favorite belongings.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Starting and building family traditions. St. Nicholas tea, my family's cookie day, E's family's cookie day, Christmas Eve, the list goes on and on.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I'm not much of a dessert fan. Is that wrong? I much rather fill up on another helping of dinner.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? For a long time (nearly my entire life) Christmas Eve was my favorite tradition. My grandparents would host the formal affair. My sister and I would often go to the hair salon that day and get an "up-do" and wear our most fancy dresses to the evening. Since my Grandpa's death and my Grandma's stroke Christmas Eve is totally different and not nearly as special. But we are trying. This year my mom is hosting and I can't wait to see what she has in mind.
17. What tops your tree? At the condo where we had nice tall ceilings we had a gold star top the tree. At our current house the tree touches the ceiling so we don't have a topper. It doesn't look lonely though, we have ornaments all the way to the tip top.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Who doesn't love getting a special Christmas gift they've yearned for? But I really do love giving. If I somehow don't realize someone is opening the present from me, and I miss it, I always feel so bummed. But I hardly ever miss it.
19. Candy canes: yuck or yum? I'll pass.
20. Favorite Christmas movie? The Christmas Story, of course. I can't get enough.
21. Saddest Christmas song? Um? No idea. That Christmas Shoes song is sad and sappy, but not my style. I've always liked O Holy Night as far as religious songs go.
22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. I love it. And also I really like Walking in a Winter's Wonderland by The Carpenters.
23. What is your favorite Christmas memory as an adult? Oh man, there are so many. However introducing E to all of my family's Christmas traditions has to top the list. The first time I invited him to my Grandparent's Christmas Eve party we were both only 18.
I also love the memory of our annual Luminary Walk. We would walk from my Grandparent's house on the winter solstice to the cemetery near by. On this specific night the cemetery would have hundreds of thousands of luminaries lit. We were cold and happy. Upon returning to my Grandparent's house we'd dig into a huge dish of chili and spiced apple cider. This tradition fizzled out when my Grandma had her stroke. James was only a month old when he went on his one and only Luminary Walk. It is a great memory.
24. Describe your perfect Christmas morning? Hard question because as I start my own family this is changing. Growing up it would be waking up at seven and running downstairs with my parents in tow to enjoy presents, food, music and sweets. Over the last eight or so years we've joined E's family on Christmas morning and it is just as magical. Lots of presents, so much food and stockings that are overflowing.
Within the next few years I want to start my own family's Christmas morning traditions. Lots of presents, staying in jammies all day, a yummy breakfast with a visiting set of Grandparents for breakfast and more gifts. Maybe some hot chocolate with candy canes. But for now we are happy to still join E's family for most of the morning. It is wonderful.
25. Can you fall asleep on Christmas Eve? As a kid? Never. I also woke up early so excited that Christmas had finally come. Now? I can fall asleep easily.
This post reminds me so much of this one (Top Ten Holiday Traditions) I did years ago. Some things have really changed. Most are the same.