1. When do you put up and take down your Christmas decorations?
We most often put the tree up right around Thanksgiving, and I think the general plan was to take it down shortly after new years… but I remember one year we still had the Christmas tree up at Spring Break. My younger brother starts listening to Christmas music in the summer… I guess we liked to stretch the season out as much as possible 😉
This year is my first year living by myself, and my first year that I didn’t go “home” for Christmas, and so it was also the first time I decorated myself. I bought a fake Christmas tree and some decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and set it up in my loft as soon as I got home. I plan to take it down as soon as I get home from my new years travels, but I know I’m going to miss having something fill that spot!
2. What do you do to simplify the holiday season?
I’m not quite sure how to answer this question. For the past three years, I have been a law student on winter break, so I have enjoyed the simplicity of not having classes to go to or reading to do. I never really get caught up in the “stress” of the holidays because I’m too focused on relaxing during my precious few weeks off of the madness. This year, Christmas just snuck right up on me. It really doesn’t even feel like December to me. It’s wild.
I guess I simplify things by not doing things that stress me out. If I realize I’m getting stressed out about gifts/sending cards/etc., I just take a step back, and figure out what I can do that is simple and won’t cause me stress. On that note, I was TOTALLY planning on sending Christmas cards this year, but time got away from me. I will spend the next year collecting addresses and make sure I get on it early next year. Apparently since I’m a professional now, sending cards is practically required.
3. What do you do to remind yourself and your family what the Christmas season is all about?
Hmm… again, I’m not one to get really stressed out and wrapped up in what Christmas is “not about.” In terms of what Christmas is about for Christians (celebrating the birth of Christ), I know that back in the day when we actually had Christmas traditions, we always went to the candlelight service at church on Christmas eve, and we always read the story of Jesus’ birth on Christmas morning before opening presents.
4. How do you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
I’ve been in a season that is kind of “between traditions” for years now. But before my brothers both got significant others and moved away (and never have been able to come back home for Christmas since), we (my brothers and I) used to always spend some time on Christmas Eve with my dad and his family, then we’d go to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve at church with my mom. After church, we have a big family get together at my mom’s parents house with all the aunts/uncles/cousins on my mom’s side of the family. Then, we go home with my mom and wake up on Christmas morning and open presents with my mom… and then just hang out together for the rest of the day.
The last four years, I have been the only one home for Christmas (out of my siblings) and my dad’s mom and grandma (my great grandma) passed away a little before that. So basically, at some point on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day I would find a little time to go spend with my dad, and then I’d still go to the candlelight thing and then my mom’s family’s christmas get together, and then spend Christmas Day alone with my mom. (My aunt and my cousin Thomas actually live with my mom, so a few of those years the 4 of us opened presents together Christmas morning).
This year, my mom is coming to visit me in L.A., and one of my brothers is coming out for Christmas Eve. Very, very different Christmas this year!
5. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
My favorite Christmas tradition is eating my mom’s sugar cookies… Seriously. Hahahaha. Candlelight christmas services are a close second, although I don’t think I’m going to one this year because my mom gets into LAX at 9pmish on Christmas Eve. She’s going to miss hers and I’m going to miss mine… But at least we’ll be together! 🙂 Aaaaaaaand she’s bringing the cookies! ❤
6. Did you do the whole Santa thing growing up? What do you like/not like about continuing the tradition?
I totally knew Santa was mom when I was like 4. Way too suspicious that my mom’s handwriting and Santa’s handwriting were identical. Unfortunately for my parents, I was a little too clever for things like Santa, the tooth fairy, unexplained cleaning to prepare for a surprise birthday party, etc. One year in grade school I was actually REALLY surprised for my birthday. I still have no idea how my mom and grandparents pulled that off.
I think the idea of Santa is fun because it adds an extra bit of magic to the holiday (if your children aren’t too smart for their own good like me). Also, it provides incentive for kids to be good throughout the year. However, I am torn because I don’t really dig the whole lying thing. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily want to tell my kids Santa isn’t real and have them ruin christmas for all their friends. I think I can at least solve the incentive to be good part by telling my kids that Christmas is a bonus, like Mommy gets a bonus if she meets her 1950 billable hours requirement, and they only get their “bonus” if they meet their good behavior requirement 😉
7. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
Sugar cookies, but only if they are sugar cookies made with my mom’s recipe. Otherwise I also like snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, and fudge 🙂 But really I basically eat my mom’s sugar cookies like no other food exists on earth 🙂
8. How do you take your egg nog?
Bleh. I am not an egg nog fan. My brother Kevin used to LOVE that stuff (probably still does?). Not this girl. I have also never been the type to just sit down and drink a glass of milk, so that might explain it.
9. What is your favorite Christmas carol and why?
O Holy Night– gives me CHILLS and makes me tear up every time I hear it/sing it. Especially this part:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born!
Oh night divine! Oh night! Oh night divine!
Wow, I just started singing it in my loft to make sure the words were right, and it made me feel a little teary.
10. When was the last time you had a white Christmas?
Technically last year was a white christmas, but not in the good way. On my way back from Europe after spending a semester there (with 8 huge bags in tow because I had to bring back all of Alexander’s bags due to him leaving early because of his dad’s sudden passing). I arrived in L.A. to find out British Airways had lost one of my bags (unfortunately the bag with all my shoes besides the boots I was wearing), and Las Vegas, my destination, was shut down due to snow! First time in 40 years! I managed to get to Vegas the next day, only for an insane snow storm to hit Portland so I couldn’t get to Portland for over a week and was essentially “stranded” in Vegas. I finally flew home to Portland on Christmas Day or the day after, and almost got stuck in Reno, again due to snow!
When I finally got to Portland, my mom hadn’t been able to go home for days due to snow on her hill so she was staying with my grandparents. Cramped conditions with the grandparents and no internet wasn’t going to work for me after the week I’d had, so I paid for two nights in a hotel for my mom and I until we finally managed to get up the hill and into my mom’s apartment.
A White Christmas is only a good thing when you already are where you plan to be for Christmas, so you can just sit inside with the fam and enjoy the pretty sight 🙂 (or go out in play in it!)