Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate almost for sure. I've only had one or two glasses of egg nog ever that I liked. I don't remember where or when though, so I can't replicate the experience.
Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? When I was a child, I was hilariously spoiled by my "broken" family. Santa left wrapped presents under the tree for me at Grandma's, Mom's and Dad's. I remember many years when the presents weren't so much "under the tree" as "occupying the entire living room floor" at Mom's. I think Santa may have left a present or two at the other Grandma's house too.
Colored lights on tree/house or white? Guys in the window! My mother has these elf/gnome who-knows-what little guys. I think there are five or six of them. The Guys. They're clearly quite old; they light up, and they.. blink. They blink... I don't want to say "unreliably", but... there's no telling when a guy is just going to take to blinking. They're the highlight of the Christmas decorations. The Guys.
Here we just have four strands of partially burnt out white lights that I tangled all over the balcony. The tree has colored lights.
Do you hang mistletoe? We had a plastic misteltoe that we hung. None here in Phoenix.
When do you put your decorations up? This weekend, apparently. Historically, my family did our decorating when we got around to it. In December for sure.
What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Taco Bell? Another true joy of the having many families is that my sister and I have never really been into holiday food. So, "I just ate"/"I'll eat at _______ later" became the M.O. for avoiding the food and just eating pie all day. I guess not counting the drive through food my sister and I have made a tradition of grabbing between parties... mashed potatoes were the only thing I was ever happy to have on my plate.
Favorite Holiday memory as a child: My mother's family gets together on Christmas Eve. And the whole huge crowd of us cousins would go to the third floor at Grandma's house and look for Rudolph. And then we'd hear the sleigh bells and come tearing down the stairs to the first floor.
I seem to remember aunts and uncles standing on the landing at the second floor waiting to get pictures of the whole crowd of us flying down the stairs. When the first people down would arrive at the bottom, the front door would slam as all the aunts and uncles were calling out "Bye, Santa! You *just* missed him!" and the presents would have magically appeared in the living room while we were all upstairs.
My grandfather had a Santa suit; he was the Santa at our Country Club and I'm sure at other places as well. Things politicians with perfectly round bellies do... and I could swear I can remember seeing the back end of Santa walking out the front door one year, but I may have just decided I saw it. (Because Santa was a personal friend of the family, he visted us FIRST and hung out a minute with the adults. Obviously, as an invited guest, he came in and used the front door, not the chimney.)
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Whispers from other children and a fair bit of thinking really hard lead me to stop believing somewhere between third and fourth grade. It was a process.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We had a whole process and DAYS of opening gifts. We always opened our presents from Mom's family on Christmas Eve. We had several Christmas mornings with Dad and I think some of those years, after we stopped believing in Santa, we opened our gifts from Mom on Christmas Eve in the morning. When we still believed, we did Mom and Dad's and Dad's family all on Christmas. Plus at least one year we went to a step mother's family's and got presents and then the step father's family typically had a few gifts for us.
(Lest you think we were completely spoiled rotten, we typically only aquired new unneccessary items like toys and stuffed animals on Christmas and for our birthdays. But seriously? I don't think I ever asked Santa for a gift I didn't get except maybe for live animals. Maybe.)
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Well, now that I have my own little tree... we did it rather quickly. I actually did most of the decorating while my boyfriend taped the tree stand to the table. Because the stand seems to have melted in the outside storage over the summer.
When I was a child, we decorated Mom's tree just as a collective effort using an assortment of ornaments that I think were mostly homemade. It wasn't so much decorating the Christmas tree as it was Exploding Christmas Cheer All Over the Damned House. Mom went all out with the decorating.
Dad's tree was more of a production. He had hardwood floors and was quite concerned about broken ornaments. And so we'd start out with a "be very careful" and then "children don't touch glass" and then one year Shelly broke a wooden ornament and she was relegated to tinsel only.
Snow? Like, for the holidays? Typically, not in Cincinnati.
Can you ice skate? Enough.
Do you remember your favorite gift? I think the thing I was most excited about was when I was eleven and I found PIERCED EARRINGS in my stocking (Shelly had them too) and then Mom took us both to Van Lunen's and we got to get our ears pierced. That might even be my single favorite Christmas memory.
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? When I was a child, playing Kick the Can with my cousins. Now? Probably the big party on Christmas Eve.
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I don't think I have one?
What is your favorite holiday tradition? I don't think I have one currently. Before last year when we did Christmas in Phoenix, I'd guess it was the act of spending an entire day driving from party to party and trying to find food somewhere in between with my sister.
What tops your tree? A star. My grandmother had a ballerina on her tree that we'd hang at the top. The important part of what's on the top of the tree where we are on Christmas Eve is that my mother's family will make a sport out of trying to shoot it off with champagne corks.
Which do you prefer: Giving or Receiving? Giving. For sure. I get so excited about the giving that if I don't do all my shopping at the last minute, I find it almost impossible to not give the gift ahead of time.
What is your favorite Christmas Song? Whatever one my mom's mangling enthusiastically at the moment.
Candy Canes - Yuck or Yum? It's candy! Yum! One year when we got out the decorations, we found candy canes from the year before (possibly they were partially eaten, but I'm not sure...) in our stockings. And my sister and I ate them. Mom used to have to make strict rules about how many candy canes we were allowed to eat so we'd still have some on the tree.