I’m very aware i got tagged by a couple of people before i went south to stay with family – unfortunately, then, i just didn’t have time to do them. However, i do promise to go back, find them and do them.

but for today, a memage from Obi-Mom Kenobi – “we haven’t much time“. certainly sounds about right!!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper, every time. Unless its a really really awkward shaped present, and even then i’d rather resort to a box rather than a gift bag. Gift bags are okay for other people, but for myself, i dunno. i like the whole process of wrapping presents, making them look beautiful and so on. Do i have themes? sometimes. I won’t stick to it to the expense of buying whole new sets every year though, unless i’ve run out or something. This year my focus is on brown paper, wrapping paper and ribbon. (yes i’ll post pics.)

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. I know all the arguments about the toxins that have gone into an artificial tree etc. etc., and i do prefer a real tree on an aesthetic level, but my tree i got from freecycle, so its the best option of all, i think. that i can afford, anyway.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Weekend before Christmas. The first year i was here, I couldn’t wait and put it up i think at the beginning of December. by the time christmas came around, the magic had gone. These days i leave it till the weekend before… i think we enjoy it more. Also, since i use cut greenery in my christmas decorations, if i put them up too early then they’ll have wilted and be past their best by the time the important people (family) get to see it – not acceptable.

4. There is no question #4.

ohkay.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Don’t think i’ve ever had it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
The one i really remember is the kids-from-fame outfit i had begged for for ages.  Made of that grey knitted material, short skirt and jumper, you were supposed to wear them with tights and ankle boots to match. That was when i was 11 i think. A few years later, when i was about .. 13 or 14 i think, they got me a ghetto blaster, which was totally unexpected, cos i hadn’t asked for anything that year.

7. Hardest person to buy for?
Dad. It used to be Grandpa, but Dad’s kind of inherited that mantle. He even drives Mom bananas. yes, dad, you do! GIVE HER A XMAS LIST!.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Mom, Gran, Michiel. I know them all so well i can walk into a bookstore and find them books in 30 seconds flat.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. We had a pair of reindeers, disney like reindeers, statue things. I think Mom still has them, she puts them in the porch now. Back then, though, we’d stand them either side of the pot that had the christmas tree in it, until the presents went under the tree (and even then we tended not to put them all under there cos the dog would get them).

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, especially to family and close friends. I make my own cards, as you’ll know if you’re a reader of my blog. I do email those i don’t have snail mail addresses for though, or the ones that are on the other side of the pond.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I’m just not going to say. cos family read this. its just safer that way.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The snowman one, raymond briggs story. i like that. what else. the slipper and the rose – yes, its trash, but i like it. .

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
In theory, boxing day. in practice.. January (since I’m not insane enough to brave the boxing day sales), if i see a good deal. best time to pick up wrapping paper etc.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. I’d feel far too guilty.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
thing? you mean i’m restricted to ONE thing? no way.. that’s impossible to answer. Chocolate. crisps. turkey. pigs in blankets. stuffing. gravy. roast potatoes. xmas cake. xmas pudding. mince pies. turkeyleftoversandwichesohmygodyum….

16. What decorations are on your tree?
ones i’ve collected over the years, in silver and pale blue/lilac colours, and some ones of Michiel’s, also in white/silver. I’m not allowed to put up lights that are multicoloured or blink, or a tree that is decorated with a mishmash of colours. He accepts when we have kids, that’ll most likely happen anyway, but for now, it won’t. I don’t mess with the tree. its the same every year.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Tossup between “Walking in the Air” by Aled Jones (the Snowman song), “Do they know its christmas” by band aid, and “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
At the moment… stay at home. When i was a kid though, we’d travel for christmas. start out in Devon, xmas morning, drive up to Leicestershire to see one set of grandparents, stay there overnight, then the following day drive to the other side of Birmingham to see other set of family, before driving back to Devon that night. My best friend when i was a teenager used to say i was the only person he knew who spent xmas in the back of a car. And the tradition of getting at least 3 or 4 paperbacks dates to then as well.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
only Rudolph. And Blitzen. Donner. Nup. that’s it.

20. Angel on top of tree or star?
Ours is a star, but mum’s is an angel – an old doll, with an outfit sewn by mum. we put the first white light up her skirt, up her bum, to light her up. used to make me giggle every year. Yes, i’m easily amused.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
When i was little, with us being on the road, we were restricted to opening either books or things we could wear (i.e. new outfits etc.). I used to get woken up by Mum, then go into their bed next to dad while Mum sat at the end, and Mum would pull out the right presents from my xmas sack (stocking wasn’t big enough). I’d give presents to Mum and Dad too, and i think they’d give presents to each other. Then we’d hit the road. That tradition continued right up till i moved out for the last time when i was 28. When we got to my grandparent’s house, they lived in the old headmistres’s house, and the old village school was still attached to their house, with this huge walk in fireplace. We’d gather in a horseshoe around the large blazing fire that grandpa had lit around 5am, and exchange presents then, around 11am. That tradition continued even when we were no longer celebrating christmas at my grandparent’s, but at mum and dad’s house, doing presents around 11am on xmas morning. These days though, although Michiel and I swap pressies on xmas day, my parents and grandmother come to visit on 27th, and that’s our Christmas day, and I don’t have things together enough to leave the stove at 11am, so we do presents in the afternoon instead.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The way the entire nation seems to think they have to stock up for 3 months worth of terribly cold bitter weather. The shops will be closed for ONE DAY, PEOPLE… ONE DAY!!!! *mutters*

23 What theme or color are you using when you decorate?
on the tree – already answered. On the candle sconces, natural greenery, or shades of gold, red, silver.. i prefer quite traditional decorations. Other than that, we don’t do many other decorations, Michiel doesn’t like things hung up everywhere so we’re quite restrained.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Xmas dinner this year is leg of lamb with roasties, pigs in blankets, sprouts, broccoli, stuffing, wine, and peas. 27th dinner is turkey with stuffing in the bird, seperate sage and onion stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots, gravy (made from the giblets). 27th is the same every year.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
a new digital camera. already arranged. Other than that? for all those i love to be happy and healthy.

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