13 December 2014

Blogmas Day 13: Holly Jolly Holiday Tag

An old family ornament on the tree last year

It's getting very busy at home as we prepare to put up our Christmas decorations and shop for holiday surprises, but we're almost all set on the former front now! Nearly every room of the house has been given a good cleaning, fresh linens are being hung, and our boxes of decorations are ready to unpack tonight or tomorrow.

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, I thought I'd take a quick break to do the Holly Jolly Holiday Tag questions for today's Blogmas post! I chose these twelve questions from fifteen that I found in a video by Kayley Hyde:

1. Do you start your Christmas shopping on Black Friday or wait until the last minute?

Somewhere in between. Throughout the year I'll save gift ideas on a secret Pinterest board as I come across them, and around Thanksgiving I might begin to browse a little bit, but I'm not typically ready to purchase anything before the second week of December.

2. If you could be in any Christmas movie what would it be?

My original answer for this was my favorite Christmas movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol, but then my mother and sister pointed out that living in Eloise at Christmastime, with its Plaza Hotel setting, would have its perks. But The Muppet Christmas Carol is just so cozy, and the Muppets are so lovable, so I'm torn!

3. Which do you like better: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

I've always found Christmas Eve to be the more exciting and magical time, perhaps because stories like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker take place on Christmas Eve night.
4. When does your family put up your Christmas tree and who decorates it?

We've put up the tree once as early as Thanksgiving and once as late as Christmas Eve, but most often it goes up sometime between the 13th and the 18th. Everyone in my family helps to decorate it, but I've been in charge of the lights since I was a teenager.

5. White lights or colored lights?

Most definitely colored! I used to think I liked white lights just as much, but we had them one year and they seemed too bright and not quite as magical.
6. Are you guilty of peeking at your presents or do you like the surprise?

When I was younger I used to try to peek, unsuccessfully, but now I prefer the surprise.

7. Tell us your Christmas Eve traditions!

Our Christmas Eve celebrations start around sunset, which is often when we'll put on The Muppet Christmas Carol, although sometimes we watch it later at night. For our meal we usually have something casual but festive, with cookies for dessert. Our other activities vary from year to year, but sometimes we open a few gifts, or play games, or read festive books and poems.

8. What tops your tree?

We have a rather fragile angel dressed in a somewhat Victorian, almost Pre-Raphaelite style. She's tricky to attach, but very pretty.

9. Have you ever gone Christmas caroling?

I never have, and while it seems like fun in theory, I think I'd be too embarrassed to ever actually try it!

10. Do you countdown to Christmas? If so, how many days are left?

As I shared in a previous Blogmas post, we do count the days until Christmas with an advent calendar, and there are currently 10 - 12 days left depending on whether or not you count today and Christmas day.

11. What are some foods and treats you can count on having every holiday season?

Our holiday meals vary from year to year, which I like because it gives us the chance to experiment and try new things, but we do always have some kind of cookies. In recent years the assortment generally consists of almond crescents, jam thumbprints, vanilla biscotti, and chocolate chip cookie bars.

12. How has Christmas kept its magic for you as you've grown older?

It's a bit of a cliche, but as I've gotten older giving gifts to others has brought back some of that childhood excitement. Learning about the roots and meanings of Christmas traditions has also helped me to find a new, perhaps even more mysterious magic in the season than I experienced as a child, and the older I've gotten the more I've appreciated the idea of the new year and a fresh start. Finally, finding new activities and traditions to add to the old has kept Christmas fun and lively as the years go by.

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