Now that the sun has started to set before 4pm and holiday music is playing 24/7 in my home and everywhere else (from taxis to the local bookstore), it's finally time to acknowledge that Christmas is truly around the corner. One of my #Postcircle pals, Scottish crafter and beauty expert Roxie, posted a Christmas Tag and challenged fellow bloggers to fill it out as well. This reminds me of the ubiquitous chain letter emails that floated around while I was in middle school. This season always makes me a bit nostalgic, so to get in touch with my inner child, I will give this Tag a go.
And if you're reading this and decide to take it up as well, leave a comment and I'd love to read your answers!
(L) The Lo + Gibson fam in 2013 / (R) An angel, once upon a time
I've found that as time goes on, I watch fewer Christmas movies -- but not for any particular reason. There are two movies, though, that I always think about and hope to watch: It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone. The first is such a warm and fuzzy classic that I hope everyone has seen it at some point. The latter, though, was a movie that my college roommate and I made a tradition of watching every single winter. It always makes us laugh and cringe, and the Drifters' version of "White Christmas" is perpetually stuck in my mind (and associated with aftershave).
2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
What about Christmas afternoon? Growing up, my family woke up late and always had to take a formal family photo in front of the tree, so we would end up opening our presents sometime in the afternoon or sometimes even in the evening. (My brother and I learned to be very patient children.) Nowadays, especially if I am with my nephew and niece, it probably happens more consistently on Christmas morning since the little ones are early risers and can't wait.
3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
As a child, my ballet school was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, so some of my favorite memories are associated with dancing in the Nutcracker. Imagine being six years old, wearing a sparkly white angel dress with golden wings and crown, and having the real live adult Sugar Plum Fairy give you a hug backstage! While waiting in the dressing room for our scene, the other angels and I would play jacks, gossip about our favorite ballerinas, and hope to one day become a party girl or polichinelle -- some of the more coveted roles for girls. Alas, I never did get to play one of those roles, but I did get to pelt costumed mice with foam cheese as a toy soldier. Even today, I can listen to the Nutcracker score on repeat (to the chagrin of the Tall Man), with the Balanchine choreography like sugar plums dancing in my head.
4. Favourite festive food?
Peppermint hot chocolate, please! Once it starts to get a bit chilly, I always love having some to warm me up. I also have a hard time saying no to pumpkin pie -- who said it's only for Thanksgiving?
5. Favourite Christmas gift?
The Tall Man bought me a DSLR camera for our first Christmas as a married couple, to hone my photography skills on our honeymoon. Another thing that comes to mind isn't quite a Christmas gift but a Christmas opportunity to visit my brother and sister-in-law while they were living outside London. Spending the holidays in England, with Christmas crackers, fireworks, and all, was one to remember.
6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Mulled cider or wine filling the air with apple, cinnamon, clove, star anise, and anything in that combination.
7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Growing up, we would often decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. My mom has been collecting all kinds of personalized ornaments since who-knows-when, so many of the ornaments have sentimental value. Many of them were crafts from childhood or have photos, and she still likes to have one ornament for every year. Now that holidays are spent alternating between two families, I'm still figuring out the Gibson traditions. I'll let you know after this Christmas!
8. What tops your tree?
Since the Tall Man and I live in a college dorm, we don't have a tree but a Christmas wreath hanging on the wall with ornaments but nothing perched on top.
9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for
but never received?
A horse! I got horse figurines and books about horses over time, but never the real thing. I even helpfully mentioned that we lived across the street from a horse farm, so the horse would already have somewhere to live! My parents never gave in, though.
10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Having time during Advent and Christmas to reflect on the miraculous mystery of Christ come to earth. And sending Christmas cards to friends and family across the country and around the world -- I love writing greetings and getting updates from people I don't get to see very often. It's like giving and getting a hug from far away :)
Happy Advent and almost Christmas!