Getting To Know You - Holiday Edition
1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? - Hot chocolate. I always think I want eggnog, but it never ends up being as good as I imagine it will be, mostly because I try the stuff you just buy in a carton at the grocery store. (But one year I DID make a very nice recipe, quite frothy with a lot of bourbon in it, and it was good, but that was the only time it exceeded my expectations.)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? - He wraps them, but they only appear under the tree on Christmas Eve, after the kids have gone to bed, because otherwise they'd never make it to Christmas Day. This means Santa does a LOT of wrapping at the last minute.
3. Colored light on tree/house or white? - Coloured, all the way. When we lived in Wellesley, there was an unofficial policy that only white lights were tasteful enough for such an upscale neighbourhood. As we were the White Trash Of Wellesley, I bitterly resented that policy, and splurged on many coloured lights as soon as we moved back to Ottawa.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? - Never. We'd have been embarrassed to do all that silly kissing stuff in my house when we were kids; I don't think I'd even recognize it if I saw it.
5. When do you put your decorations up? - Usually about 2 weeks before Christmas, because I just keep forgetting to do it any earlier. Except the outdoor lights, which stay up all year long, because I'll be damned if I'll climb up on that ladder more than once.
6. What is your favourite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? - We never really do anything special in the main meal; I suppose turkey, though we sometimes have roast beef too.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child - Sitting underneath the tree, finding little hollows in the branches which could be illuminated by the coloured lights, and setting my toys in them. I'd make up all sorts of stories of adventures in the woods.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? - When I was in Grade 3, walking to school with a friend who just matter-of-factly told me. I pretended that I'd known all along, just like her, but I was crushed inside.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? - No. My mother was a sadist, who not only made us wait until Christmas morning, but AFTER we'd had breakfast, and AFTER she'd poured her coffee! We were allowed to open our stocking (we both shared ONE), but that was all.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? - Lots of lights, and unbreakable ornaments, many of them brought back from our time in India. I particularly like the stuffed elephants and the Rajasthani horsemen on their stuffed horses (some of them two-headed, like a pushme-pullyou). They look very dashing with their turbans and curling moustaches.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? - I love it when it's coming down. I dread having to shovel it or drive in it. But it's better than freezing rain.
12. Can you ice skate? - Nope. Never learned - too afraid of falling down and getting hurt. Can't ski or ride a bike, either.
13. Do you remember your favourite gift? - I think it was 'The Complete Sherlock Holmes' in hardcover I'd been coveting for ages. I was about 14, and I'd practically worn out the library copy.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? - Family, even though I now live too far away to visit anymore, we still talk by phone.
15. What is your favourite holiday dessert? - Butter tarts. They're not really specific to the holiday, but we always used to have a special batch of them for Christmas.
16. What is your favourite holiday tradition? - Watching the Alistair Sim version of "A Christmas Carol".
17. What tops your tree? - An angel I got while we lived in Washington, DC. It's a reproduction of one from the Reagans' tree, and I got it from the Smithsonian.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? - I think I like giving more now, though when I was younger it was receiving.
19. What is your favourite Christmas song? - Hmm, that's a hard one. I think "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", though I also like "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" because it's so nice the way it switches to the minor key in the middle.
20. Candy Canes, yuck or yum? - Yuck. They're just nice to look at.
21. Favourite Christmas movie? - As per #16, "A Christmas Carol", with Alistair Sim.
22. What do you leave for Santa? - Nothing anymore, but when we were young we used to leave out milk and cookies, and a carrot for his reindeer.