This quiz comes from Roger:
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I always aspire to using wrapping paper, but end up using bags for most gifts.
2. Real tree or artificial?
We used to get a real tree every year, but now we use a fake one. It really is easier, even if every year our tree ends up looking like last year's tree.
3. When do you put up the tree?
When we say, "Wow, we gotta get the tree up, because Christmas is in X days!" I never get the people who have their trees already up on Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down?
Sometime in mid-January. Like I don't get the people who have the tree up on Thanksgiving, I also don't get the impulse to take it all down in December 26. Why the rush?
5. Do you like eggnog?
I tasted some last week that rocked my world, so I'll probably get some and mix it with rum. It's an unpleasant sounding name, though. Remember that episode of Star Trek TNG where Ryker is eating a bunch of Klingon dishes, and they all have names like "GAAGGHHH"? That's what "eggnog" sounds like to me.
6. Favorite gifts received as a child?
Huh. I'm not sure I can pick just one. Every year had its distinct gifts, its bits of magic that made my life great at that time. Sure, interests moved on and last year's toys would eventually fade, but I can honestly say that everything I received, with no exceptions that I can recall, was great whenever I received it. My parents, sister, and extended family were always really good at the Christmas gift thing.
Now, some toys I got do stand out in my memory. The first thing I saw when coming from my room to the tree in the living room in my kindergarten year was the stuffed Curious George I'd so desperately wanted. The next year there was, among others, a battery-driven dump-truck thing that was really cool; it moved on this little track and would dump its cargo and then turn around, all on its own, and go pick it up. Second grade's big gift was a starter model railroad set by Marklin (which is, I'm told, one of the finest model railroad manufacturers). Third and fourth grade are kind of fuzzy in my head for some reason, but at one of them I finally got my own record player which meant I no longer had to go to my parents' room to listen to my own records. (It also had an 8-track deck, huzzah!) And fifth grade was the year the VIC-20 arrived. Various years after that saw cool computer games, treasured books and records, and other wonderful items turn up under the tree. Ninth grade may have been when my parents bought me the kayak (now there's a pasttime I need to take up again), and a few years later, my E-flat trumpet.
I never had a bad Christmas as a kid.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
The Daughter, if only because I know I can't always get her all that she wants. It's the reality, but still, I hate that.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
The Daughter, because she's never yet complained about that one gift she didn't get. (That day is probably coming, though. I know I did it once, and then after the dirty look I got from my mother, never again.)
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes. It's fairly beat-up by this point, and maybe we should look into a new one. We also have a set of glass Christmas ornaments that depict the people of the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the Magi, and that baby who was there too. (These are pictured here.)
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Both, although I tend to be bad at getting the physical ones in the mail, so I end up giving physical ones personally to the people I know who are here.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Ah, geez...I hate ragging on Christmas presents. It was probably something I got not from a family member, but at the annual Christmas exchange with the other kids at school.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
This year I resolve to finally watch A Christmas Story, which I've never seen. I honestly don't know how it's managed to completely slip through my cracks except for the fact that we don't have cable and thus are never able to partake of whatever channel it is that runs the movie for twenty-four hours straight every year.
That said, I know it's not everybody's idea of a "Christmas movie", but to me it is: Love, Actually, which takes place at Christmas and is shot in such a way that at many points in its running time the movie actually sparkles. I also love to watch My Fair Lady at Christmastime, although that's not specifically a Christmas movie; I merely associate it with the season because that's when I first watched it. I also associate The Sound of Music with the season, but that's probably because it's an ideal family film and family time's always a priority this time of year.
(I don't much like It's a Wonderful Life, by the way.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
When I start thinking about it, really. I used to begin very early, in September even, but now I tend to be a November and December shopper. I do tend to end up shopping the last few days before Christmas, but that's not because I'm being the typical lackadaisical male, but rather because the way my paychecks run, I have to spread my shopping out thusly.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Unless donating something I received years ago to Goodwill or the donation bins at church counts, no. Although one year I did give a bottle of liquor I received for Christmas to a guy who helped us move, because he was quite the drinker and because the bottle was something I didn't really care for. (Kahlua, maybe.)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Candy cane ice cream, mint flavored anything, Christmas sugar cookies, caramel corn, et cetera. Oh, and those chocolates with liquor in them. Those make the day a lot of fun.
16. Lights on the tree?
I prefer white, but the artificial one we have now has colored lights pre-installed. We always add a strand of white lights, though. Mono-colored trees are always nice for a change, though, especially for smaller, "auxiliary" trees; on these, I like blue lights.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
I'm pretty sure I did a post on Christmas music once, in years past...let's see, oh yes, here it is, which turns out to be...another version of this very quiz. Harumph...anyway, I do love "Little Drummer Boy". (And I really don't like "Carol of the Bells". It just doesn't ring my...well, you get it.)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
We always stay home, although travel someday might be fun.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
The severed heads of my foes.
OK, fine, not really. An angel.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve. We find that Christmas morning is a lot less hectic that way; the entire day becomes more relaxing and festive.
One year, when I was a teenager and my sister was home either from college or grad school, we opened the gifts on Christmas Eve, after she'd had a bit too much to drink, and thus the next morning she pretty much got to open everything again: "Oh, wow, did I get this? From who? Wow!!"
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
All that "War on Christmas" crap I have to listen to. Look, folks, the fact is that the days are long gone when you can simply assume that everybody you're talking to is a Christian. Maybe you think that stinks, but you really need to get over it.
I also tire of people who can't seem to find the way to have fun, even with the shopping. Sure, there are lots of people around and it's crowded and it takes a while to get through the registers at Target. That's the baseline for this time of year, and you should factor that in as the cost of doing business and move on. I had a good time shopping on Black Friday afternoon this year, but I was really disheartened to hear people yelling at their kids in the middle of the stores after what had obviously been long days on their feet already.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
No color, actually, but I do love the painted glass ornaments, and I buy new ones every year, to the point where the tree is probably too "busy".
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
I don't really have a favorite. Sometimes we have turkey, sometimes we have ham. And one year, when The Wife was sick, I made pastitsio.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Books, time to write, music, good food, wine, a new winter coat, more know-how on maintenance jobs, less girth (still holding steady, but watch out, January!), world peace, January 20 to come as quickly as possible, an end to recession, and good will toward men. And pie. Gotta have pie.
26. Who is most likely to respond to this?
Anyone who looks at these quizzes and thinks, "Hey, I gotta post me some of that!"