Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - Holiday Edition (Vol. 8)

1. When do you put up and take down your Christmas decorations?

Putting up decorations usually depends on our financial situation. Whenever we can afford to go out and buy a tree, that's when we start decorating. It's usually the first weekend in December. I love having all the Christmas decorations to look at for the whole month and the beautiful smell of a Christmas tree to greet me when I walk through the door.

Typically, New Years Day is when we take down our Christmas tree. I find New Years Day to be so depressing. Yes, it's the start of a brand-new year but everything feels so final. Another year has past, the holidays are over, and there's not much to look forward to for awhile. A new year is exciting, don't get me wrong, but I love the holiday season so much that I hate waiting around for it for another 11 months.

2. What do you do to simplify the holiday season?

Tough question. I don't think I feel the same stress as other people do for the holidays. The biggest stress is making sure all my online orders are delivered on time (and right)! This year, I only ordered from 3 stores and have all my packages. We're pretty low-key for the holidays. We decorate, but we don't go over the top. This year, we didn't even put outside lighting. (But I do have a snowman/Santa Claus snow scene cling-on's rocking on our glass doors.) I don't attend many Christmas parties. And Christmas Day is pretty easy and relaxing, just opening gifts, spending time with family, and playing games.

3. What do you do to remind yourself and your family what the Christmas season is all about?

We don't really need to do much reminding. I know what Christmas is about and my family knows what Christmas is about. While it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, buying gifts and stressing out over holiday parties, I know this season is about so much more than a Christmas tree and perfectly wrapped presents. It's lovely getting and giving gifts. I'm not going to deny that. But the true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus and God sending His only Son for us, to take my sins upon His shoulders and ease me of the burden.

4. How do you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Ha...I just went through this entire question in the novel I wrote yesterday: Christmas Traditions Through the Years.

5. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

I love the fact that we wait until Christmas morning to open all our presents. I love this tradition so much, I get a little sad for people when I hear they open their gifts earlier. I love the whole anticipation and excitement surrounding Christmas and gift-giving. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have any presents to open (or for someone else to open) on Christmas Day. Now, I realize Christmas is about a lot more than just the gifts but gift-giving is a big part of Christmas. You can't deny that fact!

6. Did you do the whole Santa thing growing up? What do you like/not like about continuing the tradition?

Of course! We even put out milk and cookies and one year, "Santa" wrote us a letter! Santa Claus was such a magical part of Christmas. I miss the innocence of Santa Claus. When I was in 2nd grade, I was told the truth about SC by friends in my class and was told I was a "baby" for still believing in him. It's just so incredibly sad when you find out Santa Claus isn't real, especially when your classmates have to tell you!

7. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

I love using the Nestle Tollhouse recipe for chocolate chip/M&M Christmas cookies. Yes, it's something you can make any time of year but I save this recipe for Christmas because I end up eating half the batter when I make it anyway. They are delicious!

We also make sugar cookies and cut out shapes with them. Then we decorate with icing and M&M's. Those are good but I still go back to my old favorites.

8. How do you take your egg nog?

I don't really drink egg nog. I've only had it once and it was super sweet. And since my mom doesn't like it, we never buy it. I would like to try it again so maybe I'll pick some up on my next trip to the grocery store! (And that may be your answer to the question!)

9. What is your favorite Christmas carol and why?

My mom asked me this question last weekend and honestly, I didn't have an answer for her! To be honest, there are two brand-new songs out on the radio that I just can't get enough of! "You're Here" by Francesca Battistelli and "How Many Kings" by downhere. Both have amazing messages and both are Christ-centered, which I love. I'm not really a big fan of new Christmas songs, because they're usually shallow and super boring. But these are amazing.

I do love "The Christmas Shoes" even though it makes me cry every time I hear it. As for a classic Christmas carol, probably "Away In a Manger."

10. When was the last time you had a white Christmas?

Never! I live in Florida and the past few years, we've had 80-degree Christmases. And since it's all I've ever known, it's not really a disappointment for me. We've had a few years of cold Christmases (in the fifties - and yes, that's FREEZING!) but never a white Christmas. It would be very interesting to experience a white Christmas but for now, I'm fine with having a Florida Christmas.
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