Tuesday, December 16, 2008

4 the love of Christmas

Esther answered these 25 questions on her blog and I thought it would be fun to answer them for our family. The snow is falling outside and I'm about to curl up in the library next to our tree and do my devotional, but before I do, here's our family's version....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Next year I want to try these for some of the hard to wrap gifts. Sometimes we use gift bags - if we have them from previous years. I've never bought any for Christmas gifts, only reused them.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Both. When I was growing up we had a fake one every year except the year our farm was paid off. That year I insisted we go out to the woods and cut down one from the property. It was the ugliest tree, but oh so special. When we got married we picked out a real tree from the Snyder's Drug Store lot. When BrotherBear was a baby we went to Z's Trees to cut down our own. We did that until SisterBear's second Christmas when we purchased a tree from a lot, 'planted' it in Grandma and Grandpa's yard, then went out to 'chop' down our tree.

This year we chose a wild balsam from a nearby Christmas tree lot, but because we had a few artificial ones we've accumulated and our house is so big, we put a fake one up in the living room and one in Sam's room. Our other fake one is at my sister-in-laws apartment this year.

3. When do you put up the tree? I really like to wait until the first snow fall so it varies each year. Sometimes I get to anxious and get a tree without any snow on the ground. Last year it was December 10th - too late in my book. We've always had great luck with our real trees being up for a whole month and not dropping very many needles.

4. When do you take the tree down? It depends. I like to wait for a weekend where PapaBear can keep the kids distracted so I can work uninterrupted.

5. Do you like eggnog? Like doesn't even come close to my feelings about eggnog. I drink it by the gallon - straight from the container. It is in my top three on my favorite foods list. It is my main protein source for the month of December. I'm not the only one who loves it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The only thing I can think of right now is a 10 speed bike I got at my Grandma and Grandpa's house.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My father-in-law. Once I figure out what to get him, it's clear sailing from there. SisterBear has been difficult to buy for until this Christmas. She started liking art activities around her birthday so that saved us then. Now that she's starting to pretend with dolls and the play kitchen I've got some direction to go with her gift list. We don't do Princesses or Barbies in our house so that shortens the options quite a bit.

8. Easiest person to buy for? BrotherBear. If it has wheels, he'll like it.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Three of them. Two for the kids to play with and one that we keep up high and put the baby Jesus in on Christmas Eve.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. If I'm going to see the family over the holidays I save postage and give them their card in person.

11.Favorite Christmas tradition? There are so many! I can't pick one so here are some I can think of off the top of my head:

Driving around to look at Christmas lights
Singing Carols with PapaBear's extended family before PapaBear reads the Christmas story
Decorating Christmas cookies with PapaBear's family
Unwrapping a Christmas book each night in December
Writing a letter to Santa each year (they are displayed at Grandma and Grandpa's house)
Giving the kids an ornament each year
Making ornaments for PapaBear

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas. A Christmas Story. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Charlie Brown Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after Christmas. Seriously! I find some great deals and then spread out the rest of the spending throughout the year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? You bet.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? See #5.

16. Lights on the tree? White. Always white. We have some poinsettia garland over a doorway that has green and red lights and SisterBear has pink lights in her room, but our trees and outdoor decorations (none this year, hopefully next year) will always be white.

17. Favorite Christmas songs? "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Always makes me laugh. Of course I do like the more traditional ones too, but this one I don't hear that often so I'm not sick of it.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Growing up we either had to travel 3 hours or 6 hours to spend holidays with extended family, but our kids won't have to do that. We live 15 minutes from my in laws and no more than an hour or two from any of my family. The downside of this is that we can make it to two gatherings in one day. Hustling from place to place takes away from the magic of the day, yet I feel blessed to have so much family to spend holidays with.
Last year we spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house so the kids could experience what we did as children. We brought all our sleeping bags and slept downstairs by the fire. We even brought our stockings to hang on the fireplace. Now that we live in a park we have to be home to open and close the gate each year.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Sure I can, but what I really want to know is whether it's Donner or Donder.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star. A Moravian one. Unless there isn't room - I like my trees to reach the ceiling if possible.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? The four of us open gifts on Christmas Eve morning if there's going to be enough time. This year I have a photo shoot Christmas Eve morning so we might have to wait. We spend Christmas Eve with extended family and open the gift from the gift exchange that night. On Christmas Day we get our gifts from Santa in our stockings. We spend an afternoon/evening with PapaBear's parents opening gifts anywhere from the 23-26th. It all depends on the schedule that year. It's nice to spread things out and not be rushed. We'll spend an afternoon at my mom's new house on Friday, visit with a big group of friends this coming Saturday, and have my FIL's family over here the Sunday after Christmas.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Keeping up with the rest of my life's responsibilities. It's easy and fun to do all the Christmas traditions, but things easily fall apart around here when I don't stay on top of the cleaning and cooking. Last week was rough in that department. This week I planned my menu around the crockpot so things are running smoother. The other thing I struggle with is that we give homemade (food) gifts and I want them to be as fresh as possible. That leaves me scrambling the week of Christmas to get everything made and wrapped.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? We don't have a color theme to our ornaments. What I do is pick ornaments for the kids each year that relates to something they are interested in. This year Sam is getting a knit sucker. The kid loves candy so this one fits him perfectly. I found a J that looks like a cutout cookie with frosting for Julia. She learned how to say her name a few months ago (she'd been saying JoJo for a year). I write the year on each ornament so they will know how old their were when they received it. I still hang my ornaments from my childhood on our tree, making for a more old fashioned look to our "bony" tree.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? An electric fireplace. The snow is blowing into our house. Need I say more?

25. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving of course. That's not to say that I don't love the gifts we receive. We are blessed with a generous family and a Savior who gave us the best gift of all.


  1. What a great list to put together. I'm with you on the eggnog! It must be such a North American thing--I tried explaining it in Germany, and no one could grasp it. Drinking eggs?!
    I do hope you make those simple little gift bags next year, and thanks for including my project in your list!

  2. That pic of brother bear drinking out of the egg nog container is hilarious! You're the only one I've known who can take more than two sips of it at the same time. I like it...but like I said, only about three sips of it. :-)

  3. That was so fun to read! Your home always sounds so warm and inviting!


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