Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I Didn't Do for the Holidays

I didn't send out cards (yet! I still might!) and I didn't run around town delivering presents.  One by one I hope to tick things off my list, if not all then some of them.  This holiday has been one of the most intense since my father passed away on Christmas day in 1990.  Loss and shocking news, warmth and joy, and perfectly timed snow.  It's a lot for one person all at once.

So here's one thing off my list, a tag from Kevin, better late than never.  

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Can't I have both?  If I have to choose, then egg nog, but only if it's the real stuff and has rum in it.  And where's the mulled wine and spiced cider?  They always get left out.  Well, I guess they don't at our house.
2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them in real cloth with gorgeous ribbon.  That's how you can tell the gifts apart from the kind you get from family and friends.
3. Colored or white lights? White and the smaller the better, because they look like stars.  I like colors but white will always be my favorite, especially the bluish white.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Usually.  Not every year.  Unfortunately it doesn't grow this far north or I'd send Rory up an oak to gather it.  Sounds mean but he likes that sort of thing.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Changes year to year.  Usually shortly before Yule (December 21) because we bring in a living tree and it can only be in the house so long before it breaks dormancy.  Breaking dormancy during winter is a bad thing, btw.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Oh man, you're going to make me choose?  Roast duck.  Prime rib.  My grandmother's potato salad.  Spiral-sliced ham.  Homemade fruit compote (haven't had that in years!)  
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? My Uncle Frank (I miss you!) took my sister and I out for a walk in the snow while the family piled the presents they'd hidden around the house under the tree.  When we got back my mom rang a bell and announced Santa had arrived while we were gone.  It was a magical moment, with the quiet, peaceful time followed by the burst of sound and color.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? When I took up the torch and began giving.  I love playing my part.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes.  When I was a child we used to open all our gifts on the eve, and then stockings were for the morning.  These days we usually open a gift on Yule, a gift on Christmas eve and everything else on Christmas morning.  This schedule is the kids' choice--we'd be okay with opening them all on Yule but they want to delay gratification as long as possible.  We've also done the twelve days before but that became too much for us.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? With gifted and inherited decorations.  I don't think I've ever bought a decoration for myself, except tinsel.  Some years I did popcorn and cranberry strands but most years I do tinsel or ribbon and the ornaments and lights.
11. Snow: Love it or hate it? I love the snow.  I don't even try to drive in it most of the time, which is a treat.  I like being cooped up in the house on accidental purpose.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes.  I'm not very good but I learned from my father at a young age.  My father played ice hockey and he was very good.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? As a child, it was my very first 'grown up' stereo.  I love music and that was the best thing for a long time.  As an adult--I'm typing on it right now.  But these things change year to year. 
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Romance!  Actually, that was just to rib Kevin.  I love doing things with and for the kids and Rory.  It seems like we connect on a much deeper level during the holidays, whether it's holding vigil, keeping the flame, playing board games or running around town finding gifts and keeping secrets so that we can enjoy the moment of surprise when a gift is opened.  I love the sense of peace and calm in the morning, and being all together for more than an hour or two.  I love the break from the routine of work, eat and rest cycles and declaring this is family time, and it's wonderful that just about everyone else agrees and doesn't interfere.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Shortbread, truffles, cream puffs, rum balls, apple pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Vigil and the keeping of the flame.
17. What is on top of your tree? A crimson bird, of course.
18. Which do you like best giving or receiving? I love giving the perfect gift.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? The Holly and the Ivy.  I wish the original pagan version was still around.  Some folks have attempted to 'restore' it with mixed success.  I find it interesting that so much of the pagan lyrics survived, especially in the first verse and chorus.
20. Do you like candy canes? I like the small ones.  The big ones are just too much.  And they have to be real mint.  Flavors--yech.  I guess the cinnamon ones are okay.


The Moody Minstrel said...

I was hoping against all odds that you'd do this tag simply because I knew your answers would be worth reading!

Happy holidays!

Kai Jones said...

My answers.