I was tagged in a fun Christmas blog post by my college friend, Sonya, over at Under the Desert Sky. If you don't read her fabulous blog you should. I haven't led you astray before, so you can trust that I won't now.
I honestly haven't been feeling all that Christmasy, so hopefully, this will put me back in the mood. I was in the Christmas spirit, but it left on Sunday.
1. When do you usually know it's the holidays?
I can't believe I'm going to plug this, but I know it's the holidays when I see Santa in his sleigh at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I actually sit in front of the tv in my pj's watching the parade, just like I did when I was a kid, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Santa. It's the only thing Macy's does, in my opinion, that's worth anything. Of course, as an adult, who usually hosts Thanksgiving dinner, I'm also usually cooking while I watch.
2. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Hmmmm...this is tough. I got myself the last 3 seasons of The West Wing on Thanksgiving, while I was cooking and watching the above-mentioned parade because I was able to purchase all three for less than what one season normally sells for. Thanks Amazon! Beyond that, there's really nothing I need and I never feel comfortable saying I just want something to someone, unless I'm jokingly saying I want a $3million bra (surprisingly, I didn't get that...hint...hint...hint). A few years ago, I wrote Santa a letter. It's on Little Merry Sunshine and you can search for it. Needless to say, Santa still hasn't delivered.
3. Do you go all out with decorations?
Yes. Outside lights. A tree with a unique theme each year. Decorations in almost every room, including the bathrooms. I'm all about the Christmas decorations. That said, this year, I held back because there's just too much going on personally to tackle that as well.
4. What are you doing Christmas Eve?
Going to the grocery store, Enterprise Rent-a-car, Home Depot and then either cleaning the garage or painting the eves. Really.
I also made early dinner reservations at The Olde Schoolhouse, which was formerly the one-room school house my grandfather, Jesse, attended. Don't tell my mom about that though. It's a surprise. And then we'll go to church where we'll sit in Nana's pew. After church, we'll probably drive around Palm Harbor looking at all the Christmas lights. There are a few neighborhoods that go all out. Everyone in the neighborhood decorates their house in a completely over-the-top manner. I'll take pictures.
5. What are you doing Christmas Day?
Packing my mom to move back to Chicago and continuing to clean out Nana's house. There's a chance we may drive over to Lakeland to see my mom's alma mater, Florida Southern College, although I doubt it.
Earlier in the year, I declared that we would not be exchanging Christmas gifts this year because of this trip. Evidently, some people (aka Dave) didn't follow those instructions. Unfortunately, the company he ordered my gift from printed what it was all over the outside of the box, so I know what it is. Fortunately, I'm truly excited to have a composter. Yes, really. I've wanted one for a long time. It's a gift only my brother could give me. It's okay that he broke disobeyed my edict. I got Dave and Mom a few gifts as well.
6. It's Christmas time. What are you reading?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It's on my top 10 list of all-time favorite books, but I hadn't read it in years. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago and keep wishing I had more time to read it. The book starts on Christmas Eve, so it's sort of a Christmas book.
7. Favorite movie to watch during the holidays?
That's easy. It's A Wonderful Life. I watch it every year and cry at exactly the same spots.
8. Favorite Christmas song?
O Holy Night sung by Celine Dion. Wow. It takes my breath away each time. O Come All Ye Faithful is a close second, with the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah right on its tails. I also love Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg. I just read the story behind the song and now I know why I love it so much. Anyone who's ever been in love has had this experience, whether it happened at Christmas or not.
9. Favorite holiday drink?
At my annual Marshall Field's Memorial Dinner & Christmas Party, I always serve a drink I had in The Walnut Room the last year it was Marshall Field's: a Fieldtini. It's green. Go figure. It's completely over-the-top, but wonderful.
10. How is your Christmas shopping going?
It's been done for ages because I hardly did any. I made 35 of Nana's fruitcakes, which have all been distributed and loved by each recipient. Well, except one, but that's okay.
11. If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it?
I have these wonderful memories of Christmas at the Northbrook home of my Gardner grandparents when I was little. All the cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family was there every year. It was so much fun getting us all around Grandma's dining room table (there was never a kid's table). I miss those big family Christmas's.
For many of the last 30 years, except for the Christmas' we spent in Batesville, Mississippi, Christmas has been Dave, my mom, and me, but for many of the last 10 years, it's been mostly just Dave and me or just me. They've been okay, but to me, the holidays are about family and it's tough being separated from them. I'm thrilled that Dave, mom and I are together this year and we sort of have Nana with us, even if it won't be a traditional Christmas.
12. Any holiday traditions?
Church on Christmas Eve. Nana's fruitcake. I always work really hard to make Christmas special for the people I love, whether it's a gift that has special meaning, making their favorite food, or spending extra time with them. Reading the Luke 2:1-20 version of the Christmas Story. It always chokes me up. On Christmas morning, we always open stockings first. I have it on good authority that Santa is leaving stockings at my house this year, but I probably shouldn't talk about it.
13. Favorite thing about the holidays?
My favorite part of the holidays is the religious services. I know that sounds odd since I don't go to church very often and I'm not deeply religious, but I just love all of the Advent and Christmas services.
That's it. Hopefully, next year, I'll feel more Christmasy.
Who to tag...
Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein from Monkey Muck
Barrie Spang from Barrie Briggs Spang
Susan at Yeah, And Another Thing