My sister Susan tagged me with this meme. I won't tag anybody myself, but anyone who wants to steal this should feel free -- and then let me know, because I love finding out about people's holidays traditions and memories.
Wrapping paper or gift bags? Either/or. This year I refused to buy new paper and vowed I would use up whatever paper and bags I already have. Thus people may be getting gifts in birthday or Easter wrap.
Real tree or artificial? Real.
When do you put up the tree? About 10 days before Christmas.
When do take the tree down? New Year's Day. It always depresses me a little.
Do you like eggnog? Very much. Too much, probably. It's great spiked with a little Kahlua.
Favorite gift received as a child? A dollhouse I received when I was 11. I had asked for a camera that Christmas and was at first disappointed by the dollhouse, which had to be built from scratch from a kit and couldn't be enjoyed for months; once the construction was underway, though, I fell in love with that dollhouse and had it for many years.
Do you have a nativity scene? No.
Hardest person to buy for? It varies from year to year. This year it's probably my niece Erin, whom I don't see very often or know well, and whose parents have thus far failed to give me any good gift suggestions.
Easiest person to buy for? See above. This year, my nephew Jake. Thanks for the ideas, Susan!
Worst Christmas gift ever received? I've never gotten anything really terrible.
Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. We've got to get them out this week! They're the first photo cards we've ever done, and I think they came out looking terrific.
Favorite Christmas movie? It's a toss-up between It's a Wonderful Life and The Apartment.
When do you start shopping for Christmas? Early December, unless I happen to see something earlier than that.
Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Eggnog, fudge, peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. Oh, hell, the holiday is mostly an excuse to stuff myself with sweets.
Clear lights or colored on the tree? We have tiny clear lights with pinecone-shaped covers, which give the tree a lovely amber glow and a rustic look.
Favorite Christmas song? "In the Bleak Midwinter."
Do you have an angel or a star on top? A star.
Travel at Christmas or stay home? Again, it varies from year to year. This year we're celebrating with Sean's family in Santa Barbara on Christmas Eve and with my family at my sister Mary's house in Sierra Madre on Christmas day.
Can you name Santa's reindeer? Yes.
Most annoying thing about this time of year? The crowds.
Favorite Christmas memory? My dad used to give us "table gifts" on Christmas night. At dinner that night, a little pile of gifts would sit in the middle of the table with a ribbon from each running to a card with each person's name on it (thus, assigned seating). After dinner but before dessert, we'd open the gifts. They were always silly things that Dad had picked out especially for us, and he'd often have a funny story or comment to accompany each gift. I can remember getting a deck of fortunetelling cards, a plastic pipe you could blow through that would make a little foam ball hover in the air, a book light, and a gum ear.
Favorite thing about this time of year? Spending time with family and friends.