The Xmas Questions of 2016
1. Do you send out Xmas cards and if so how many do you send?
Nope. We stopped that madness about 6 years ago, give or take. I mean, Facebook keeps us current with most people and we no longer have Sparky to talk about in the Official Letter. We're very boring.2. Do you write and send a holiday letter to describe your year?
Oops, see above. I came to hate writing that letter every year!3. What do you think of photo cards?
I love them if they are family photos. I think outside of family and very close friends, it's very easy to fall into pretentiousness or out-and-out silliness.4. How about the tree thing – do you have one every year? Do you prefer a real or artificial?
We try to get the tree up every year. Last year it was just barely up before Christmas. This year it went up on Tuesday and Wednesday (I think) last week. Last year, the tree was still up in February for a few days. This year it's coming down over this coming weekend. Next year, I think we're going to have to suck it up and put both trees up. We have too many ornaments!!5. Describe your typical tree (size, decorations, type). If you don’t have a tree, do you decorate and if so, tell us about it. (If you don’t decorate make up a story here…)
I'd prefer real, in some respects, but I have allergies. And they drop so many needles!
The current fake tree is only about 7 feet tall, but it's pre-lit and much easier to put together than the older fake tree, which is larger (maybe 8" tall? definitely wider, too). We've had that one for probably close to 20 years and it's fine, but such a pain. There is no "theme" to our tree, but I have a growing collection of bird ornaments of different varieties, and we get at least 4-5 new Hallmark ornaments every year for Star Trek (though this year, somehow Alien and a couple of Star Wars, and Caddyshack). We also have a fair number of Packers-related stuff on the tree. Some ornaments from my childhood--apparently, Beast's family didn't save any of theirs, which is weird--and all of the ones Sparky has collected since he was a baby. He easily will have enough to decorate a respectably-sized tree whenever he gets around to wanting to do that sort of thing. We also always put out the creche and few other Christmas things--churches, angels, Santas, some stuffed animals--and a good-sized box of books, tapes, CD's and other Christmas kitsch.6. Do you hang up stockings? Whose names are on them (and relationships)?
We have three stockings, and they do not have names on them. Sparky's is blue with a bunch of appliqued crap all over it; mine is quilted white sateen with embroidered snowflakes, and Beast's is red cotton-wool with some fake fur around the top.7. Your favorite Xmas movie(s) are:
I don't really "do" holiday movies. I mean I like A Christmas Story and Scrooged but I don't rewatch movies (or TV shows) with a great deal of enjoyment for the most part.8. Tell us about an Xmas movie you hate.
I'm not at all a fan of the "movie-of-the-year" stuff that floats around this time of year on the Hallmarks, Bravo, E!....etc. etc. channels.9. What’s [your] favorite Xmas song(s)?
I like the hymns. Especially the ones that aren't as well known. I love "O Holy Night" if it's being sung by someone with a good voice. "Joy to the World" reminds me of my dad. "We Three Kings" reminds me of my mom, as does "The First Noel" (both of which for silly reasons; in fact, from a musical point of view, I could live without the latter song forever and a day). I also like "The 12 Days of Christmas" believe it or not. And "The 12 Pains of Christmas" for that matter.10. What holiday song makes you want to hurl?
I'm about done with "Winter Wonderland" for the rest of my life. And I've never really cared for "Back Door Santa" at all.11. What do you prefer for your holiday meal?
Food. I'm really not fussy at all. I prefer not having to cook.12. When do you open your gifts?
Normally, we open them Christmas morning. We used to open some on the Eve back when MIL and FIL were still sending Sparky the entire Toys R Us catalog every year.13. Do you buy gifts for your pet?
Sometimes. I didn't get around to getting Pinto anything special this year. That's probably just as well; he's been having some, uhm, lower GI tract issues the last couple of weeks.14. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?
Over the years, I've gotten a great deal of crap. I can't think of any ONE that was outstandingly (and unintentionally) bad though. Usually the bad stuff is planned to be bad, as a joke.15. Do you ever travel for the holiday?
We haven't done so in years. This year we drove an hour to my niece and nephew's house to hang for dinner and play with the kids, and act as a buffer between Alan's (divorced for decades, but still barely speaking) parents.16. Did you see Santa as a child?
Only at the mall and on TV.17. Have you ever gone caroling?
I absolutely LOVE caroling! I wish we did it more often. Our church used to do it, but we haven't for years. Probably no one has thought of it.18. Do you drive around and look at the Xmas lights?
We have done this traditionally after our Christmas Eve feast at the local Chinese place. Once we have killed enough time, we head to late church. This year, the time was all goofed up, so we just ate, churched, and came straight home.19. Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Almost every year, to be honest. The whitest was 1982. I was home from college and Denver got dumped on big time. I spent Christmas Day in the driveway with my dad shoveling. We were, seriously, out there for a good 6 hours over the course of the day. But the sun was out by then, and it was sort of fun "racing" Dad.20. Do you know how to ice skate? If yes, when did you skate the last time?
I haven't had ice skates on since I was in high school. I think my church youth group went ice skating a couple of times. I hated it: no ankle strength, no skill, and extreme fear of falling really isn't a recipe for fun.21. Are we crazy for thinking that the holiday season is WAY too commercial?
It is what it is. It's entirely possible to ignore all that. I did pretty well in that department this year. If only we could turn off the crappy Muzak at the stores, it would be so much easier. I really can't stand buying groceries with those mothertruckin' Chipmunks warbling at 100 decibels.22. Have you ever worked Xmas eve or Xmas day?
I've worked at least part of Christmas Eve for most of my career. It is not normally a holiday in the library "industry" unless you work in a union shop. This year, it was.23. What are your Xmas pet peeves?
I hate getting wound up with "too much to do" and feeling overwhelmed. I hate feeling guilty about not doing "everything." However, over the years, Beast and I have agreed that it's totally not worth it to kill ourselves, so we try really hard not to turn December into a hurricane of buying, decorating and panicking. And we enjoy it just the same, probably more, than people who stay awake nights worrying about getting things "perfect."24. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family time. Hanging out. The days getting longer!25. Here's your chance to say something significant to our players. Go for it!
I'm pretty stoked about these signs for our house and yard going into 2017. The local PSN* spread the word and took the orders, and I can't wait for the ground to clear (and thaw a little) so I can jab the one in the ground. One of the best Christmas gifts I've given myself, ever.*If you have to ask, I'm afraid I can't tell you publicly. :-)
May all of you have a hate-free New Year!