TxMommy issued an open invitation to do this MeMe, so I'm taking her up on it.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? First egg nog, then hot chocolate-- but only if it's my super special Best Hot Chocolate Ever. No powdered stuff for me! And no marshmallows, only whipped cream. And not icky stuff, but ReddiWhip Extra Creamy, or home-whipped. And also, the egg nog has to be Alta Dena. Okay, I'm a snob. Sorry.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps them.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Well, right now we don't have a place big enough for a tree other than our almost 3 foot fiber optic one. But if we did, colored for the tree, for sure. Inside house lights can be white or colored; outside, I'm partial to colored, and no outside decorations too ornate.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? If the local Cub Scouts (who go up to the Angeles Crest and pick it and bag it for a fund-raiser-- not LDS troops, obviously) hit me up for it. My dad has some fake but I think that doesn't count.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Decorations? Huh, what? *blank stare* Seriously, we have two crèche scenes but with the cats and the kids, we don't put them up until a week or two before. I want to get a Playskool plastic one like my mother-in-law has so it can be out and be none the worse. We have a garland to hang our ornaments on but last year never got to it. We have lights, ditto. We have that little tree, which goes up when presents start accumulating. Last year we really didn't get to anything but the tree because we were going out of town for Christmas, and, well, it's not safe to leave them up with the cats home alone. Plus I was busy. Someday I want to have a place big enough to really decorate and get things up the day after Thanksgiving, which was always our tradition growing up.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Grandma Norma's Jell-o, which I talked about a bit in my Thanksgiving post; I WILL have that recipe!
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: I have so many... I remember one year my mom dropped us off at my dad's for Christmas Day (we alternated who had us on the Eve and who had us on the Day) and my dad had cooked, for breakfast, scarlet runner beans that we had grown in our own garden that winter. They were so tasty and warm that chilly morning as we opened our stockings. I also just remember the traditions; when we were with my mom on the Day, we would go to my Aunt Linda and Uncle Brian's house for Christmas brunch. It was always the same menu and I still love to think of all those mornings. And I remember getting dressed up for church or Mass or sometimes also Midnight Mass (my mom was Presbyterian, what we were baptized, and my dad was a "cultural Catholic".) It was extra-special at Christmas. I sometimes miss Christmas morning church now that I'm LDS. I was thrilled when it fell on a Sunday last year.
8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? I believed in Santa, but I didn't believe in him, if that makes any sense. I had much older sisters, and Santa in our house was always kind of an... in-joke. We all knew that he wasn't really real, but the tradition and the spirit of it (like my sisters would always get up early and we would try to sneak things in my mom's stocking that she wasn't expecting so she could have a surprise, too) was really special, that was what we believed in. But everyone "knew". My dad used to sign some of the packages from "Sandy Claws", Santa's lobster helper, instead of Santa, for laughs. Actually, he still does. :)
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not in the way I think the question means; growing up with divorced parents, we always had at least two Christmas celebrations with family, sometimes more, and so often one of them was Christmas Eve. But in my family, it was always: when the kids are up, open stockings together Christmas morning. Then when parent is up, open Santa presents and presents from each other (people living in the house.) All other presents are taken with or saved (depending on where it's to be held) to be opened at the big family celebration.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Right now, like I said, we don't. We have a fiber optic tree that makes pretty colors, no decorating really to do. But we do have a garland on which to hang our rapidly accumulating collection of ornaments-- gifts, crafts, buys at Cost Plus or craft fairs, rejects from parents' collections that we can't let them throw out...
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Um, it needs to stay up on the mountain tops where it belongs. I don't mind going to visit it and playing a bit in it, but it should stay AWAY from my house, please! I Don't Do Snow. That's one of the reasons I love L.A.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, actually I can! I'm always amazed because my ankles are prone to popping out of joint, but I can. I can't do fancy tricks or jumps, but I can go around the rink pretty well.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My husband proposed to me. That was a pretty awesome gift. Okay, it was a little early, but he did it by the tree and had a present and all.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? The joy and caring and tradition of the season. It eases that something in me that I miss without having ever known it (which I have been told is saudades.) My saudades are apt to be worse at Christmas time, and yet more easily soothed; they are happier than they are the rest of the year. Sometimes when they're really bad I just have to listen to Christmas music, even in May or August. I think it comes from the wonder of the thought of Christ as a baby; as a mother, all those stories and songs have taken on new meaning for me.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie, hands down. Home-made, not too much spice, vinegar pie crust. Well, that and egg nog ice cream!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Trader Joe's chocolate Advent calendars, which my sister used to always buy for me and which I now buy for my daughter, and caroling, especially at the convalescent home.
17. What tops your tree? Well, right now, a fiber optic star. But I have a crocheted angel for when we get a real tree.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving wins by a tiny smidge.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I have too many. I will list them all, though. Favorite non-religious carol: "Good King Wenceslas." Favorite hymns: "Adeste Fidelis/O Come All Ye Faithful" (yes, I actually understand and sometimes sing five verses in Latin), "Angels We Have Heard on High", "A Child is Born in Bethlehem." Favorite classical work appropriate for Christmas: "And the Glory of the Lord" from Handel's "Messiah", followed extremely closely by "For Unto Us a Child is Born" from the same. These are just my very very favorites, though; I have lots of really close runners-up!
That's it! I hope you are now more in the Christmas spirit. ;) I tag Rayann and Mean Mommy for this MeMe.