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Yet another lousy excuse for a blog post: The Holiday Edition!

While I am a firm believer that quality always supersedes quantity, I also tend to be kinda lazy, so when I come across something I can pass off as a post, I tend to gravitate towards it. So when my friend Christine sent me one of those “fill in the blank” emails, I figured, what the heck? So here goes:

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here’s what you’re supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just Copy (not forward) this entire email blogpost and paste into a new e-mail blogpost that you can send post to your own blog. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to You……Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Whatever — My mom usually brings gifts to my house in the bags they gave her at the store. So really, I don’t have high expectations when it comes to packaging.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial. Again, this stems from laziness. My friend Desiree had a “Christmas tree closet” put in her house. She just rolls it out, plugs it in and presto! Instant Christmas! (I’m more than a little jealous.)

3. When do you put up the tree?

Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, but not always.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Ah, well. I take a cue from my Catholic friends here: Epiphany (Jan 9?). Gives me a little extra time to procrastinate. (My original answer was “Advent”, but my friend Dee set me straight on that one.)

5. Do you like eggnog?

Yes, in small quantities. One year my mom had a big punchbowl full of eggnog spiked with rum. Our cats got into it. Not pretty. We were all hoping not to draw the short straw when it came time to decide who was going to change the litter box. (I know, I know — TMI.)

6. Favorite gift received as a child?A battery operated pink poodle on a leash that walked and barked. I walked that thing up and down the street until it died. Good times.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

My husband, who says “Don’t buy me anything”, and actually means it. Conversely, when I say, “Don’t buy me anything, just pray for peace on earth and good will towards men”, what I actually mean is “Buy me that tricked-out zoom lens for my Canon EOS.”

8. Easiest person to buy for?

My 7 year old daughter who wants all things “American Girl”. (I said easy, not cheap!)

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

I have several. Or, as my friend Kara’s old boss is fond of saying, “They got 4 or 5 of them barn sets!”

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Are you kidding me? I can barely get my bills to the mailbox.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

When my dad walked out on my mom on Christmas Day. That was pretty sucktacular. The good news is that I gave him (and myself) the gift of forgiveness. Something that some other family members have yet to do. So, for them, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

Movie? Elf. But I’m a sucker for the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is coming to Town, Rudolf and the like.

13. When do you start shopping?

Oh, right about now.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Does a bear (rhymes with) sit in the woods?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Everything except the obligatory fruitcake. Like funny man Jim Gaffigan says: “Fruit? Good. Cake? Great! Fruitcake? Nasty crap.”

16. Lights on the tree?

Yes – my tree is pre-lit. But I miss the days of the big, multi-color lights. I think they’re making a come back, though.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

“The Gift” (from Garth Brook’s “Beyond the Season” Christmas Album):

A poor orphan girl named Maria was walking to market one day
She stopped for a rest by the roadside where a bird with a broken wing lay
A few moments passed till she saw it for it’s feathers were covered with sand
But soon clean and wrapped it was travelling in the warmth of Maria’s small hand

She happily gave her last peso on a cage made of rushes and twine
She fed it loose corn from the market and watched it grow stronger with time

Now the Christmas Eve service was coming and the church shone with tinsel and light
And all of the town folks brought presents to lay by the manager that night
There were diamonds and incense and perfumes in packages fit for a king
But for one ragged bird in a small cage, Maria had nothing to bring

She waited till just before midnight so no one would see her go in
And crying she knelt by the manger for her gift was unworthy of Him

Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness “Maria, what brings you to Me?
If the bird in the cage is your offering, open the door let Me see”
Though she trembled she did as He asked her and out of the cage bird flew
Soaring up into the rafters on a wing that had healed good as new

Just then the midnight bells rang out and the little bird started to sing
A song that no words could recapture whose beauty was fit for a king
Now Maria felt blessed just to listen to that cascade of notes sweet and long
As her offering was lifted to heaven by the very first nightingale’s song.

That song gets me EVERY TIME!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen, and Rudolf

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?


21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

One on Christmas eve, the rest Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

Too much money spent on things people won’t even remember come February. (Do you remember what you got last year?) Also, people who ignore the Salvation Army guy. He’s ringing a bell for goodness sake! You don’t have to give him anything, but at least acknowledge that he’s standing out there in the cold. (Well, unless he’s in Houston, then he might be sweating.)

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

Fred Flintstone Santa from my childhood. (I actually stole it from my brother Fred. Shhhhh!)

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?,

Turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwich the next day. Yes, I know that technically I’m eating a meat, jelly and bread sandwich, but dang! It’s good!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

For someone to read my blog in Antarctica. Then I’ll have dots on every continent. Incredibly self-absorbed — I know.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this?

Helen, Beth, Mare, Sherri, Angela, Kris

27. Who is least likely to respond to this?


28. What was your most memorable magical memory from your adulthood?

Coming home from Christmas eve services in the SNOW (in Katy, Texas). Amazing!

29. Have you ever been involved in a Christmas gift prank?

If by “prank” you mean, after hearing the 21 year old fill in pastor begin his sermon (2 weeks before Christmas) by saying, “Do you remember when you found out there was no Santa Claus?”, then secretly placing a Grinch doll in his office chair, then yes. Yes I have. Funny thing is, in a church with over 400 members, everyone just assumed it was me. Am I that transparent? Dang!

30. Favorite Christmas Cartoon?

The Grinch who stole Christmas. But it used to scare me a bit when I was little.

Well, that was tons of fun. For an exquisitely beautiful post on the best Christmas gifts to give this year, check out Annie’s Blog


Tonight was our neighborhood’s annual Halloween Hayride. I live in a really unique neighborhood of approximately 40 homes on lots anywhere from 1 to 5 acres each. It’s a great place to live, especially if you have kids. It’s basically a giant cul-de-sac with 2 small cul-de-sacs branching off of the main one. There is only one way in and one way out of the neighborhood, so we don’t have any thru traffic. As I said, a great place to raise a family. One of the only drawbacks to living here is that there are no street lights and no sidewalks. About 15 years ago some neighbors got together and decided it would be great to have all the kids pile onto the back of a trailer lined with bales of hay, and drive around the neighborhood and all trick or treat together. It provides safety for the kids and is a great way to get to know your neighbors. As an added bonus, rather than answering your door several times a night, you only have the one onslaught of kids, then you can put the candy away, and call it a night. It’s awesome. My kids love it, and they get some really great candy and treats. Last year, one neighbor was giving out FULL SIZED SNICKERS BARS — Awesome. So, I just sat down to go through my daughter’s treat bag. As a good mom, it’s important that I check to see if any of the candy is tainted and to remove any of the strawberry twizzlers and keep them for myself. Motherhood has its privileges. So, I grab a handful of stuff, lay it down on the counter and spot this:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that some health conscience people like to give out healthy alternatives such as pretzels, oranges and other crap that kids don’t like to get. Halloween themed pencils are also a good choice if you don’t want to give candy. But people, Halloween is not a re-gifting holiday. While it may be tempting to go through your junk drawer and spread the wealth to your neighbor’s kids, it’s just not in the spirit of the holiday. Not that I’m against re-gifting — I have done it myself. (Of course, I’ve never re-gifted to any of my wonderful friends that read this blog, but you know, some other people.) Anyway, who thinks to themselves, “What 3 to 10 year old child wouldn’t be delighted to receive a Ricky Martin Livin’ La Vida Loca mini keychain?”
I’m going to do a bit of undercover investigating around the neighborhood. Christmas will be here sooner than you think, and while I will give out wonderful homemade candy to many of neighbors, the giver of this little Halloween trinket will be re-gifted a small, beautifully wrapped box with a card that simply says: “Feliz Navidad”.