Posted by: nhfalcon | December 8, 2008

A Christmas Meme

I just received this e-mail from my sister and brother-in-law. Rather than respond in that fashion, though, I thought it would make for a great, timely meme:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I should do wrapping paper, I know, but gift bags are just SO much easier. Sorry – I’m a lazy Grinch, ok?

I do feel compelled to tell the story of the first time I ever used gift bags with Cookiemaker, though. I was fully prepared to pay the Salvation Army to do the wrapping for me (they had a booth set up in the mall I worked at at the time, and I figured the money was going to a good cause, so why not, right?). My boss at the time, however, pointed out that there was a dollar store in the mall, so why not just do gift bags? “Brilliant!” I thought.

Cookiemaker did not share my enthusiasm on Christmas morn, however. Her response when she saw her gifts?

Gift bags?! You couldn’t even wrap them?”

Do I need to tell you my response to her response? 😉

2. Real tree or Artificial? My preference is real, but for this year, anyway, artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree ? This year it went up this past Saturday (when I was at work, of course). I forget exactly when I’ve done it in the past. To me it’s not Christmas season until December 1st, though, so I’ll never put one up prior to that day.

4.When do you take the tree down? It usually lasts until at least New Year’s Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? I do. Apparently nobody else in the house does, though…

6.Favorite gift received as a child? Surprisingly enough, not one single gift really jumps out from my memory. My family and friends have always been really good at giving me great gifts.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The parents. They never provide a list, and when I ask for one I almost never get a response.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Believe it or not, Cookiemaker. I think there’s only been one year when I did not have a bloody clue as to what to get her.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Not at the moment, no, but I do think it’s a requisite part of the Xmas home decor, so I’ll do what I can to rectify that asap.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have no qualms whatsoever about email Xmas cards. They’re usually free, everybody has email these days, and it’s the thought that counts, right? Cookiemaker, however, vigorously disagrees. Considering the fact that she’s often Scrooge-like in most other aspects, it doesn’t bother her a whit to spend the money on Hallmark and American Greetings and the US Postal Service. Go figure…

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? It was during high school. Sophomore, junior, or senior year, I’m not sure which. Definitely not freshman year, though. Anyway, my parents had this tradition where they’d hand the Sears and JC Penneys catalogs to my sister and I, we’d circle the things we wanted, my parents would buy some of those things, and then hand the catalogs to my paternal grandparents (my maternal grandparents had long since passed on) for them to buy whatever they wished from the remainder.

Anyway, this one year I had circled some neckties from the Penneys catalog. Keep in mind this was around ’85 or ’86, ok? The ties were thin, the colors and patterns bold. Think Miami Vice, all right?

Did I get those ties?

NO! My grandparents decided they would interject their sense of “style” into what what ties they would buy me. I got ties wide enough to double as frickin’ hang gliders, with paisley patterns, in colors so muted they could’ve worked as camouflage for Delta Force.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I’m assuming by “movie” we mean a true movie, not a Christmas TV special. If it were a special, I’d say Emmit Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. For a true movie, though, I’ll run with White Christmas.

Danny Kaye got the better looking girl in that flick, btw. 🙂

13. Least Favorite Christmas Movie? This wasn’t in the original list. I had to add it, though. Without any hesitation or doubt, A Christmas Story. I just do NOT get the attraction to that movie! Christmas Vacation doesn’t do much for me, either.

Except for this scene. 🙂

14. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I used to have a tradition of waiting until December 1st to go Christmas shopping. Somehow it actually helped me to get into the Christmas spirit. Then practicality kicked in. Now I get a gift as soon as one jumps out at me. I’m pretty sure I actually have all of my shopping done already.

15. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope (though those ties were tempting…)

16.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookiemaker has her moniker for a reason. 🙂 

17. Lights on the the tree? Absolutely. Colored, if you please.

18. Favorite Christmas song? Ooooh, tough one! When I was a kid, I would have said “Rudolph” in a heartbeat. Now? I’m not so sure. I really like “Here Is Christmas” by Ann and Nancy Wilson. 

19.Travel at Christmas or stay home? There’s always been a little of both on Christmas in my life. Usually home in the morning, and then traveling somewhere (grandparents, in-laws, parents) later.

20. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Of course. Who can’t?! I do like Homer Simpson’s attempt from way back when, when he inserted Richard Nixon and Donna Dixon in a couple of places.

21. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

22. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? When I was a kid the tradition was one present on Christmas Eve (which was always chosen by the parents and was always a new set of PJs), and then the big haul was in the morning. Nowadays everything is done in the morning. 

23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Remember this post? How about this one? This one? The one thing that really gets me, though, is the number of people who return Christmas gifts. Who does that?! Seriously?! My parents taught me that whether or not you liked the gift (remember the ties?) doesn’t matter. The point is that somebody took the time and the effort and the money to get you a gift, so you appreciate that time and effort and money and YOU DO NOT EVEN DREAM ABOUT RETURNING IT!

I remember one year a teenage girl coming in to the jewelry store with her mother to return a ring her boyfriend had gotten her for Christmas. Was it tiny? Yes. Was it only about $100? Yes. But to a teenage boy $100 is a lot of money (shit, to me $100 is a lot of money!). And it was a diamond ring. I did what I was supposed to do and tried to convince the girl not to return it, and when I felt that wasn’t working I tried to convince her to exchange it. No matter how hard I tried, however, it was becoming obvious to Mom that I was really pissed at Princess’ attitude. Finally, Mom said “Well, dear, what do you think? Like the man said, you do have 90 days to make up your mind. Why not wear it for a while and see if you change your mind?”

Thank god Mom agreed with my perspective. Princess, however? Well, this was her response, after one final dismissive glance at the ring:

“(explosive breath of disdain) But it’s so little!”

I could not stop myself. I stared this spoiled little brat square in the face and said:

“Well, I guess it’s NOT the thought that counts, huh?!”

24. Favorite ornament theme or color? None, though I firmly believe that in general the Christmas colors are red and green. 

25. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham. Oh, and my paternal grandmother used to make this AMAZING scallop dish, too. It was in some sort of creamy sauce and had this kind of crust on top, maybe made out of breadcrumbs or something. Oh, YUM!

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? (I’m stealing this one from my sister and brother-and-law, cuz, well, it’s perfect) For all my friends and family to be healthy & happy.



  1. I did this – or, at least, something similar – almost exactly a year ago (a year ago yesterday, as a matter of fact). It’s here:

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