Fa La La La La: The Meme

I was tagged - oh, perhaps decades ago - by my friend Millie to do this fun Christmas Meme. She kept me an honest woman by tagging me, because I was about to steal it from my other friend No Cool Story...

Anyway, I am as excited to do this meme as I am to actually start decorating my house for the holidays and to post pictures tomorrow for Morning Glory's Christmas Tree Treasures.

It just so happens that doing a meme is less life-threatening a heck of a lot easier than getting to the boxes of Christmas decor in the closet at the moment. (Morning Glory - if I'm late, can I still come to the party?) So here it is...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

The season isn't real for me unless I have a cup of eggnog at least once. I got that from my grandpa. He like his with Pepsi. I like mine with root beer, or sometimes just a little diluted with some milk. Yum, yum, frothy goodness. But for general chilly winter days, I'm a hot cocoa drinker all the way. I like to mix sweetened condensed milk with baking cocoa and cinnamon, add boiling water and bask in the rich goodness. (We stirred that up a lot in Ukraine because there was no such thing as hot cocoa mix there and the regular milk was an invitation for dysentery.)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

OK, first off, if we're perpetuating a meme, let's send it along with proper grammar. If Santa does any sitting, it's while he's taking a break with the cookies and milk you left him. Otherwise, he sets the gifts out, wrapped or whatever.

Growing up, we never had a fireplace, so we left our stockings on the couch cushion of our choice and that's where Santa set the presents - some wrapped and some not. As soon as we had opened all the presents, we had a place to sit.

As a side note, he also always spelled our names wrong - mine with a "y" instead of an "i," my brother Craig was always "Greg" in Santa's books, my sister Joeli was "Julie," and so forth. Funny guy, that Santa. Doesn't want us to think he's tooo omniscient.

3. Colored lights or white on tree/house?

I'm a huge fan of thousands of white lights, but this year is the first year we've had outdoor lights, and Cal is enamored with colored ones. The magic is mostly for the kids anyway, so colored is what we went with outside for now. The tree has white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope. Which probably explains never having been kissed beneath it. But I get my kissing in, never you fear.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Since we have a December boy, we wait until after his birthday to deck the halls, so that he gets his own day before it's all tinsel and such, but we're still usually all decorated by the end of the first week of December. This year, I'm running a little more behind than I would like to.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Love a Christmas ham and Grandma's au gratin potatoes. Mom also makes the most fabulous potato soup or clam chowder in bread bowls, that we usually only have around the holidays. I also like to make some things I learned to make in Ukraine - varenyky (boiled potato dumplings), borscht, holubtsi (translated "little doves," but they are cabbage rolls), and David makes plov (the most fabulous rice dish on earth).

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

I'm using poetic license to change this to my favorite memories as a mom. The Christmas Cal was born was amazingly beautiful - record snowfalls in a place that usually has green muddy Christmases, so we jsut stayed inside with our little family all together. We had little or no discretionary income for lots of gifts or hooplah, but we had this amazing newborn son. Priceless.

Two years ago, there was apparently a shortage of actual newborn babies at Christmas time in our church congregation, so the lady in charge of the program asked if David, Henry and I would star as Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Henry was the most enormous baby Jesus ever (he was nearly 10 lbs at birth and at Christmas he was almost six months old already!) but he lay in his little manger, sound asleep, with one fist in the air the entire time they read the story.

8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa?

The bell still rings for me, people.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Never did growing up. I'm still not an "open early" person at all, but I do like to get my boys Christmas jammies to open and wear on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

We have one of those cool machine-gun-like things that you just aim at the tree - and pahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpahpah! Shizamm! Beautiful festive tree in an instant! Cindy Lou helps out with the topper - we pass her up the big tall ladder from arm to arm.

No...Simply lots of lights, wide wire ribbon instead of garland, some matching glass bulbs to fill in the most and then a large eclectic mix of meaningful ornaments. (To hopefully be on display here tomorrow.)

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

Love, love, love it. You can take the girl out of Colorado, but you can't take the Colorado out of the girl.

12. Can you ice skate?

No. I've never downhill skied either. I know, a travesty for a Colorado girl. Couldn't afford it when I wasn't afraid, and now I have children, so I have to live more conservatively.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

My mom had a beautiful calendar one year and when I was home visiting in June, I told her that I loved the picture/painting that was on that month and mentioned that it would be so beautiful framed. She remembered the whole rest of the year and had it matted and framed for me. It was the most perfect surprise - I cried because she remembered from all those months before, and it is still a treasure to me. It's the first thing I hang up whenever we move somewhere new.

David gave me a string of pearls our first dating Christmas. They are beautiful and perfect, and one of the truly elegant things that I own.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

The story of the birth of the Savior never grows old to me, and I love the feeling of newness that accompanies the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new. And if all I had was family and Christmas music, I would be totally happy.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

I honestly cannot think of one. Love my Aunt Sheri's sugar cookies and my Dad's crumble-top apple pie, and my mom and grandma make an awesomely rich cherry chocolate cake. I'm also big on homemade candies. I just don't think I could choose just one. One kind of "dessert" - actually it's a snack - that I miss from home is a big bowl of nuts and a nutcracker and those little picks. Grandpa always liked to munch on nuts, cheese and salami on crackers in between holiday meals. Just reminds me of the big family Christmases we used to have.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

We're working up some new ones with our little boys. I don't remember any definite ones from my childhood and most of David's are related to Christmas in Arizona (not totally adaptable to colder climates). I love the idea of advent candles (that you light red ones, and on Christmas morning they are white, because Christ is come into the world - it makes the wonder and beauty on Christmas morning as much about Christ as it is about Santa)- so I'm developing a little personal family twist on that. I'll keep you posted.

17. What tops your tree?

A little country angel with a straw hat instead of a halo that one of my youth teachers gave us for our wedding. She made it herself and included a little note to use it for our first Christmas together. We've topped our tree with it ever since. (Picture coming soon.)

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Giving. Actually, I love the list-making incident to giving, and I love to find perfect things for people, and I love doing for others.

But I'm learning that gracious receiving is part of Christmas, too - and there's nothing I love more than a surprise and to know I'm loved or appreciated in a way that I don't always see in myself.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Too many to count...O Holy Night...I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day...Mary, Did You Know?...Angels We Have Heard on High. This year I taught the children at church, "Stars Were Gleaming" and it is now a favorite, too.

20. What is your favorite Christmas story?

After the story of Christ's birth and the Book of Mormon story of faith in the birth of the Messiah, I love "The Christmas Truce" (Silent Night from the trenches), and "The Tale of Three Trees."


someone else said...

Ah, this was delightful to read! Number 13 was really sweet!

See you tomorrow...

Code Yellow Mom said...

Oh - I forgot to tag someone!!!

'Tis the season - if you want this meme for your own, you can have it! How's that?

Do let me know if you post it, I'll come by for hot cocoa.

Millie said...

Beautiful, beautiful stuff. I loved the "the bell still rings for me" comment. That actually brought tears to my eyes. Can you just stop with the tear-bringing already? :)

I want recipes for your Ukrainian foods. Please.

Millie said...

P.S. Oh, the "sits" them thing bugged me too. But I wasn't brave enough to take liberties.

Valarie said...

soda in your eggnog? does that diminish the creaminess?

I'm with you on 14, except add food. Family, Christmas music and yummy food. That's all I need.

Blogger profile name said...

Awesome story about the Christmas pageant. What is the exact recipe for that hot chocolate? Sounds delicious. I have already bought my kids pajamas to open on Christmas Eve, too.

Angela said...

There are like 12 things I want to comment on here, but I feel behind because I didn't know you had come back to the blogging world in such a whirlwind.

Your little grammar lesson is hilarious. Nervy, and hilarious.

Santa misspelling is HILARIOUS and SO like your mom. I LOVE it.

I'm drooling over your prospective holiday dishes. I'll be there by noon.

I think the reason we are such good friends is because you like giving and I like receiving. It all makes sense now. Oh, and I like misspelling and you like correcting. :) JUst kidding.

Angela said...
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