Sarah Jane had this up today and I couldn't help myself. I'm so excited about Christmas. Last year, my husband and I were on our honeymoon, so I didn't get to decorate or cook or anything. This is basically our first Christmas! I may be going a bit overboard but I've never had so much fun leading up to a holiday.
1.Eggnog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate! But I don’t make it according to package directions. I measure using one of my mugs one mug worth of skim milk and one mug worth of water. I heat this up on the stovetop to barely simmering, then stir in 3 packets of Swiss Miss. We bought a huge box of this at Sam’s last year when it was on sale. Simmer that a little bit until everything blends nicely and some of the water evaporates. Sometimes I even stir in crushed peppermints or the occasional Andes mint. Makes the perfect rich, warm, chocolatey snack for before bed.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We don’t have littles yet, so we’re still discussing how to handle the whole “Santa” thing. We do wrap our gifts to each other. We even wrap any empty boxes we have around to 1) Make it look fuller than it is and 2) Keep each other guessing as to what is gifts and what is filler.
3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? We use white lights this year. They’re built into our (unfortunately fake) Christmas tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. I stick to wreaths and ribbons.
5. When do you put your Christmas decorations up? This is the first year I’ve decorated! Last year we were on our honeymoon, so I didn’t do much beyond setting up the nativity set. This year it’s been an ongoing process. The wreath went up on the door on Thanksgiving, I just hung two more ribbons today, and there’s more ideas still flooding my little head.
6. Favorite holiday dish? Cranberry Relish! I wish this was made more often. Fresh cranberries, oranges segments, sugar, all roughly chopped together. I can’t do the cranberry jelly though. Just the relish.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? My favorite holiday memory is that we were always at home. Several years from my childhood have blended together because they were so similar and so peaceful. My sister and I would always get up super early. Whoever got up first would go into the other’s room and sit on her bed. We had to stay in our rooms until 7am. Then, we’d creep into my parents’ room and sit on their bed grinning at them until they woke up. Finally, they’d sigh and make a big deal about us bothering them (all in jest of course). Daddy always had to “check” to see if Santa had come, so he went downstairs first to set up the video camera and plug in the tree lights. When he gave the all-clear, we’d rush down. We always read the Christmas story out of the Bible and “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” After opening stockings, we made blueberry muffins with crumble topping. We’d play with our new toys while they were cooking. Only around 8:30 would we even get to the gifts from each other. One person opened at a time while the others looked on. We never finished “Christmas Morning” before 11. We also never traveled on Christmas. It was a happy family time.
8. When did you learn the truth about Santa? I don’t remember, but I do know it didn’t bother me or surprise me very much. What was strange is that my parents chose to have the best gifts from “Santa” instead of from themselves. My brother’s 9 this year and I think he knows that it is Mom and Daddy but is playing along because they enjoy doing it so much.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No! Never! Christmas Eve is for candlelight service at church and a relaxing (usually make-your-own-pizza) dinner.
10. How do you decorate a tree? As I said, this is the first year I’ve gotten to decorate, so I’m so excited! We decorated our wedding with those glass ball ornaments in white, silver, and various shades of purple, so I have literally 1,200 to work with. This year we’re using just the large white and silver ones. Mixed in with those are big red silk poinsettias I got on sale at Michael’s on a Black Friday sale – 10 for $1. I think I may stick some candy canes on there too… it’s a work in progress. Other than the balls, though, we don’t own a single ornament.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love snow, but only if I can stay home. Although having a little snowball fight with the neighborhood children on my way to school yesterday morning was pretty special. I love watching it fall. But I only want it to stick around if it stays pretty.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes! Shaune and I met at an ice skating party, actually, so we love to go to the open air rink in Forest Park, Saint Louis. It brings back good memories. Now, am I a good ice skater? NO! I can go forward. Most of the time.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I have several favorites from different stages of my life. When I was 8, I received my first American Girl Doll. She’s the beautiful Asian “Girl of Today” (my parents encouraged multiculturalism – I also have Josephina from Mexico and Kirsten). She was my best friend for many years and became my dress form for pattern design as I grew. I learned so much about how pattern pieces work from her! My second favorite was when I got Helen Joseph-Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design. It’s a textbook all on flat-pattern drafting. It coached me through two prom dresses and countless other projects. Either the year right before or right after that gift I also got the Better Homes and Gardens Baking Cookbook. Mmmmmm… Oh! And, the year I got engaged, my parents gave me the entire Willow Tree Nativity set. You know, those neutral-colored angels with no faces? So classy and beautiful.
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? To de-clutter the schedule and truly enjoy the process of shopping, cooking, and being together. To remember why we are celebrating and be certain that God is honored throughout.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pretty much all of it. Dessert is my favorite part of dinner.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We just started this tradition this year because I saw it in a magazine. We made a rice krispy treat train to be a centerpiece for the table during the season. This is instead of a gingerbread house. I’ve already got plans for how I want to decorate it and what cereals I want to use for the next several years!
17. What tops your tree? A plaid bow. It’s made from the same ribbon I’m using elsewhere in the house.
18. Which do you prefer-Giving or Receiving? Giving is so exciting for me. I love the process of saving money, thinking carefully, shopping for that “just right” gift, and watching my family open it. I could go without receiving, actually, I get so much fun out of giving.
19. Favorite Christmas song? “Mary, Did You Know.” I get shivers every time I hear this. I’m hoping Hubby will learn it for guitar this year so we can sing together.
20. Candy Canes-Yuck or Yum? I decorate with them but rarely remember to eat them. I do like them though.
21. Favorite Christmas show? Do you want to know the sad truth? I’ve never seen any of the classics. The only two Christmas movies I’ve ever seen – both of which I love – are The Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Charlie Brown is the best though.
22. Saddest Christmas song? There’s a new one out right now about a family member being in the Middle East for Christmas and “maybe next year you’ll be home.” It makes me cry.