December 14, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Dammit - Part Deux

JohnL tags me with this Christmas meme. If my answers seem a bit Scrooge-like, it's because I've got to shlep off to my office holiday party and I'm not much looking forward to it:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? I don't really like either one but think I'd go with the chocolate.

YIPS from Steve-O: Hot chocolate with whip cream on top.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps. And with paper different from that used by Mom & Dad. We're color-coded at Orgle Manor.

YIPS from Steve-O: Wraps, of course, with labor provided by legally documented legal alien elves under the supervision of the AFL-CIO.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White on the tree, none on the house.

YIPS from Steve-O: Major bone of contention at Stately LLama Manor. What would Thurgood Marshall want, right? Alas, I lost that struggle, and the tree is segregated---white lights only. The live Christmas Tree that we planted in the backyard (that the kids named Stella Luna) however, has about 12 giant strings of colorful lights on them. It's nice, as Stella is on top of a little hill in the backyard, and the neighbors on all sides generally don't have any backyard holiday lights, so Stella really stands out. The Purple Playhouse in the backyard is done up Snoopy's Dog House style, with colorful lights criss-crossing the roof, and the icicle lines at the edges. If it were up to me, our house would be visible from the International Space Station, but long time readers, let alone real-life friends of The Dear One know quite well that it aint up to me...

4. Do you hang mistletoe? It grew wild in a mesquite tree in our yard in Texas when I was a boy, so we always culled some. Since coming East, I can't recollect that we've ever used it.

YIPS from Steve-O: Generally not.

5. When do you put your decorations up? The tree went up this past weekend, while various festive knick-knacks have been appearing for the last two weeks. I still haven't got round to putting the wreaths on the front door or the creche in the living room, but no doubt will do so this weekend. Everything comes down on Twelfth Night.

YIPS from Steve-O: Some stuff creeps out the weekend after Thanksgiving. The real sign of the season is when the Wretched Singing Santa doll comes out--ay carumba, the thing is enough to make you want to become a Scientologist. I actually have a video of Mr. Small dancing in front of the durn thing that I might have to post up just to make my point. The Tree usually goes up the second weekend of Advent, not for any points of theology but more because that's after classes have ended for me and it's easier for the family's schedule. The stockings only come out on Christmas Eve. The Dear One is in the process of needlepointing stockings for the kids. Lil' Miss Somersault's one was finished two years ago, and won the big honkin' blue ribbon for best in show in home arts at the County Fair. (I kid you not). She just finished Mr. Skinny's right before Thanksgiving, and it should be back from the Needle Lady any day now. Each one has taken about 2 yrs. to do, so Miss Stubborn's is projected for when she's 6. Oh, and the tree by tradition isn't taken down until the NFC Championship game, although one year it was the Super Bowl.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? The Old Reliable: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with two veg.

YIPS from Steve-O: Cookies. This year I'm pushing for us to have duck as the main course, so we'll see.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Going duck hunting with my dad on the Texas gulf coast the weekend after school was let out.

YIPS from Steve-O: Duck hunting? During wabbit season? Blasphemy!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I honestly don't remember, but my own eight year old has disavowed her belief while the six year old remains credible, so it was probably around that same time for me.

YIPS from Steve-O: Truth about Santa? I don't follow...

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope. But we put the gels' stockings where they can get at them easily on Christmas morning in the (often vain) hope of getting a bit more sleep as a result.

YIPS from Steve-O: Blasphemous tradition introduced by the French, no doubt.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights; lots of simple glass balls in various colors; a great many birds, trumpets and the like handed down from our parents' trees of old; silver stars to mark various births; mementos of places we've lived and/or visited; and (for now) the various paper and popsicle-stick doodads brought home from school by the gels. Non-breakables generally haunt the lower slopes while the more delicate goes higher up.

YIPS from Steve-O: Similar strategy. We have a set of Burgundy and gold balls (dubbed the jingle bells by Miss Somersault) that started off as a Redskins joke when we were married but have become sacred tradition. We also have a ton of the White House Historical Society's Christmas ornaments, as well as a few of the Supreme Court Historical Society's ones. Nothing quite says separation of church and state quite like the Supreme Court Historical Society Christmas ornaments, if you ask me. We also have a lot from Williamsburg and Monticello, so if you're looking for a Christmas Tree which has a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a model of Jefferson's house, and Washington crossing the Delaware, you've found it at Stately LLama Manor. Oh, and Oscar the Grouch popping out of a trash can.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Are you kidding? This is Dee Cee! Run awaaaaaaaaay!!!!

YIPS from Steve-O: Jingle jingle, baby.

12. Can you ice skate? About as well as I can roller skate, which is to say not very.

YIPS from Steve-O: Of course. And I can off-puck check in a manner that would make Kevin McHale blush.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I honestly cannot.

YIPS from Steve-O: Growing up? A Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll from the Sears Catalog when I would have been around 8.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Not getting shanghied into ushering one of the Christmas Eve services at church.

YIPS from Steve-O: Lessons and Carols with the whole family, for reasons I'll detail in a later post.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Sod dessert - I'll go straight for the port and Stilton.

YIPS from Steve-O: Pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Well, I've got lots, of course, some big and some little. One of the littlest but most pleasurable (and yes, it sounds silly) is that I love to gather up all the wrapping paper torn off the presents and burn it in the fireplace. Don't ask why. I just enjoy it.

YIPS from Steve-O: I'm with Robbo on this, but the silliest one has to be wearing the ribbons around my neck. Don't know why, or how it started. That and some years we wear silly hats while opening presents.

17. What tops your tree? The tree top has always been something of an issue for us. We started with a tin star that I picked up in some artisan shop in Lexington, VA. Then we moved on to the old white dove that had always capped my parents' tree, but after a few years it just got too ratty. Then we tried a sort of paper angel thingy. Nowadays, we have a big silver star surrounded by some kind of wire cage. I'm still not especially happy with it, but it'll do for the moment.

YIPS from Steve-O:An angel made by The Dear One's best friend from college, which is really neat.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I'm at that comfortable state of really not expecting anything for myself. So long as the Missus and the Llama-ettes are happy, I'm happy.

YIPS from Steve-O: Insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here Shut up, Beavis! Perfectly honest, I like shopping and giving the gifts. That's more fun to me.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Again, there are lots. Like JohnL, I love O Come, O Come Emmanuel. And I regularly get chills from the chorus "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" from The Messiah.

YIPS from Steve-O: In the traditional/classical vein, #1 is Adeste Fideles. I downloaded from itunes the Bing Crosby version, which we had at home growing up. Automatic waterworks for me. Other traditional show stoppers for me are Once in Royal David's City (the a capella solo at the beginning just always knocks me on my butt, and it's the hymn they traditionally start Lessons and Carols with at my church), as well as the aforementioned O Come O Come Emanuel, although growing up we always had a breather beat in the first line between Emanuel and Ransom. Like the pacing of the song better that way. Modern stuff----the Vince Giraldi Charlie Brown album is on heavy rotation, as is Wyndam Hill stuff. And go ahead and shoot me, beat me, make me write bad checks, but I really like the old Amy Grant Christmas Album. Let the mockery commence.

20. Candy canes: Feh.

YIPS from Steve-O: Humbug.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? Don't really have one.

YIPS from Steve-O: Dude? It's a Wonderful Life works on me. Every. Flippin'. Time. The Dear One is a big fan of The Family Man. And of course A Christmas Story is iconic.

22. What do you leave for Santa? "Santa" always gets himself a nice, big glass of Laphroaigh. Sometimes two, if he's had a lot of work to do.

YIPS from Steve-O: One year the kids wanted to leave out some Hot Pockets, and they don't know how close they were to getting that king-sized bag of Kingsford.

Tag, you're it.

Posted by Robert at December 14, 2006 03:35 PM | TrackBack

Thanks, guys. Great answers.

Posted by: JohnL at December 15, 2006 10:30 AM