Monday, December 10, 2007

Xmas thingy - at long last

Welcome to the 'Christmas Edition' of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire email and paste into a new blank e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. It's the e season to be cheerful!!! 1) Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper with all kinds of frou-frou Martha Stewart-like accoutrements attached through the miracle of the almighty glue gun. Otherwise, after wrapping it in paper, I like to go nuts with the curly ribbon, wrapping it around and around and around the box so it takes 20 minutes to open the dam thing. 2) Tree real or artificial?
For economic reasons we've been stuck with the same fakey the last 7 years or so. I'd like to get a pre-lit fakey. Actually, a pre-lit real tree would be great but if I went out and got a real tree, my hubby would never pre-light it for me before I start in on my work. Unless I allowed him to pre-light it with his Zippo. (That's a cigarette lighter, you know.) I grew up on a farm with a forested, hilly back 40, and we always had a real tree. Most of the time the tree had grown on the hillside and we had to wire it to the wall because the trunk was crooked. We often invited the pastor and his intern out to tromp through the woods and cut down a Christmas tree. One year Pastor Hanson pointed skyward and says, "I want that one, there." So John felled an entire 50 ft pine tree and cut 6 feet off the top for the Pastor. It was beautiful, but the worst tree they ever had. Sap dripped all over their living room floor.
So I guess I don't mind my fakey tree. It's sap-less.3) When do you put the tree up?
Usually by Christmas. It's December 10 today, and the Christmas boxes have been sitting in the spot where the tree will go for the last 8 days. We finally got the thing put together last night, but no lights or ornaments are on it yet. We'll see how long it takes me… 4) When do you take the tree down?
When Rachel was a baby, the tree came down during Christmas dinner. I mean, it literally came down on the dining room table. But as for when we intend for the tree to come down, there was one year when I was a teenager we took the tree down on Valentines day. Well, the needles took themselves down long before that, but we took off the ornaments and hauled out the spruce skeleton as a fun(?) Valentines activity. Disposing of that carcass was an act of love. 5) Like eggnog?
By itself, in my coffee, with brandy, sure!
(Is there butter in it? See #15)6) Do you have a nativity scene?
It was a simple triptych (a 3-piece hinged fold-out thing) but it broke and never replaced it. All the new ones don't compare to the one I grew up with, and I just don't like them. It's just little plastic figures a la 1972 in a shoebox lined with tan velvet for the straw floor and brown velvet for the night sky. One of the three kings has a facial expression like he had just sucked on a sour kiwifruit. Another king's face looks like a victim in a painting by Goya. (Look it up.) I love those little guys. 7) Favorite gift received as a child?
Butter. (See #15)
No really, it was when I was seven. I received a tape recorder and the book "And Now, Miguel" with a set of tapes of my dad reading the book out loud to me. He played acoustic guitar as bumper music between chapters and sections. The book is long gone, but I still have the tapes.8) Hardest person to buy for?
My Dad and my Step dad John. They either have everything they need or are happy with what they've got. So I always fallback on food gifts whenever possible. Guy's gotta eat.
(Maybe butter would be good. See #15)9) Easiest person to buy for?
Frank and Rachel. I pay attention through the year when they unconsciously make out their wish lists for this 'n' that. 10) Worst Christmas gift ever received?
Three Yahtzee games from various relatives. Santa brought me extra Yahtzee scorecards that year. I am an only child. Who am I going to play all the Yahtzee with? Helloooo!
This may have been the first year I recognized the genius of careful re-gifting. 11) Mail or email a Christmas card?
Mail. My favorite is still the Xmas card I sent out with all the lampooned songs. That was fun. Still trying to top that. (Xmas Haiku was funny, though.) I lampooned about 7 or 8 songs to tell the story of what we did that past year. Later my mom told me she showed it to my H.S. English teacher at some community party and he and his brother sang my entire Christmas card - in harmony. 12) Favorite Christmas movie?
It's a tie between Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. I can quote both. quote both. Can you?13) When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Depends on when the paydays fall. One year I had it done by Halloween. I have failed to achieve that accomplishment ever since. As for supplies, every 5-7 years I stock up on paper and cards in January. (Whoops - the secret's out!)14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Of course. But I'll never tell what, or to whom. (Or how often!) I figure if the gift is perfect and my recipient loves it, then it doesn't really matter. The point is to make people happy, right?15) Favorite food to eat on Christmas?
Mainly butter, I guess.
Smörgåsbord: Sandbakkels (it's a Norwegian butter cookie shell), fattigmann (another Norwegian cookie), Swedish meatballs, Potato sausage, lutefisk in butter sauce, lefse with butter, hard tack with butter and pickled herring (wine sauce, not sour cream) (I didn't see the butter theme until just now. Hm.) And of course, there's all of Frank's ethnic stuff: wild rice, fry bread, fish…

Pass the butter! 16) Clear or colored tree lights?
I prefer clear, but if I can talk someone into putting the lights on the dang tree for me, I'll let them decide what color to use. 17) Favorite Christmas song?
Lo How A Rose … and Christmas Dragnet by Stan Freberg18) Travel during Christmas or stay home?
If I can't load a ton of stuff into my suitcase and hit the road to visit folks during Christmas, then I like to have everyone over. It doesn't matter, just as long as there are lots of happy people.19) Can you name Santa's reindeer?
Is this a test? By the way, it's Donder, not Donner. Did you know that?20) Angel or Star on tree top?
I have a retro 1930's glass ball with a pointy thing on top of my tree. You know what I mean? It's red and gold.21) Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?
One on Christmas eve the rest on Christmas morning, and more when we get together with the rest of the family.22) Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Musical Christmas toys in the stores in September, Christmas Muzak in the stores on Nov 1… When I was a kid, all the Christmas festivities began the day after Thanksgiving. Now it's already in your face while you're swerving home from your drunken Halloween bash. I love Christmas, but my God, two whole months is a lot. It's like eating a whole box of chocolates instead of treating your self with one or two. Or three. With butter.23) Favorite tradition?
Butter. No, really, it's butter. I love the traditional food that my Norwegian Grandma made, the traditional Ojibwe food from Frank's side, getting together with all my friends and relatives, and trying to re-create all the Christmas memories from my childhood. Pass the butter.

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