Tuesday, December 5, 2006

On a More Cheery Note, Cathy_of_Alex Has Tagged Me With the Christmas Meme

This is a combo entry covering various Christmases from over half a century.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? It's always been egg nog, traditionally as an adult beverage with a shot of brandy and a healthy dollop of nutmeg. Howsomeever, one of my brother's who can't measure a shot accurately ran across a commercial Egg Nog under the name "Pennsylvania Dutch" in his favorite liquid refreshment emporium that comes pre-mixed and boy, is it good. we tossed out Mom's favorite recipe and have sworn allegiance to it ever since. With a healthy dollop of nutmeg added, of course!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa sled was always too full of items to put wrapping paper on them. And since he didn't use labels either, he very thoughtfully always piled lthem in five neat piles for we little ones so we wouldn't get confused and claim a toy that was not meant for us. He let Mom and Dad know whose was what. [I met a woman once whose gifts from Santa were always wrapped, and they always included her new clothes for the school year, three months late, but in the correct sizes and colors. She would spend all morning unwrapping things. Santa had no fear of a valuable item getting accidentally tossed with the trash, like a certain Dad I know].

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? The Tree must be an unsheared balsam. No plantation trees for this guy. Sometimes we would have to use a drill to place branches where God made a mistake so that our tree would look better. You need lots of space between branches to hang tinsel, colored lights (large) and various ornaments collected over many years. Multi-colored lights on the outside of houses too are important. Although occasionally on a home that stands by itself, a single color of white or blue often looks nice, perhaps with red lights within wreaths at each window.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? NO. Not much smooching after about age five in our family. Lots of love, though but not expressed often enough.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually one week before and take them down two or three weeks after.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Dressing with giblet gravy!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Leaving out Coke and cookies for Santa. Actually, the shopping and the wrapping of my personal presents are the best part.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth? What are you talking about, Cathy?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We opened presents to each other and to Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? See 3 above. Tinsel was stored between the pages of magazines so it could be saved from year to year. Dating myself, tinsel during WWII was made of cellophane and I recall vividly hanging and saving cellophane tinsel in the mid 1950s. One of the exciting moments of each year would be the moment when we would turn the lights on to see if our old favorite ones would work. We inherited some "Japanese carbon lights" from my grandparents that dated back to the 1930s that still worked in the 60s. One of the miserablable moments of each year was working with the old series lights where when one went out, they all went out. It might be a half hour project getting the string to relight again. But that was part of the fun of Christmas.

11. Snow? Love it or Dread it? Love it! As long as I don't have to shovel it!

12. Can you ice skate? Yes. Can I skate well? I could! When a youth, we lived a block from the rink and skated three or four hours every day. But it did get tiresome constantly going in a circle.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really. Clothes would not have been it. Maybe an Erector Set with a small motor.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you? Midnight Masses, all the old favorite carols being sung at Church and at home, beautifully decorated homes, stores, etc.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pumpkin Pie and whipped cream. I take smaller slices these days.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Being with family.

17. What tops your tree? There always has to be an angel atop any tree of mine. And it has to be a male angel. I don't know who banned Michael, Gabriel and Raphiael from Christmas! When the "Japanese Carbon lights" (see 10, above) still worked, we had a "star ball" with many white stars on a blue field that went right beneath the angel. Some of the other carbon lights were in the shape of a canary, a basket of fruit, a Japanese lantern, and others that I later purchased as Santa Claus and other figures.

18. Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? I can't imagine one with out the other. I always imagine that I have purchased the perfect gift. I wonder how many get exchanged? I never exchange. It just goes in a drawer or on the book shelf if I'm not crazy about it.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Silent Night. I spent one Christmas Eve when I was in the Army in Germany at the little chapel where that song was first sung. It was quite small, about the size of one of our adoration chapels today. But there are probably fifty other Christmas songs that I love, too, including things like "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" which was first popular when I was at the age where I was losing my first set of teeth.

20. Candy Canes? Maybe one, for tradition's sake!

I tag The Ironic Catholic and the Hadley's at Our Word And I'm going to send this to my brother in California to have him tag his kids and hopefully get all their answers back.


Anonymous said...

Not only do I not get visitors or comments on my blog, no one ever tags me either.
I'm like Charlie Brown!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: What a beautiful poignant meme.

Terry, whatchu talkin' 'bout? I tagged you for this one! Read MY blog

Anonymous said...

Great answers, Ray! I don't know why, but reading them, I feel like I'm watching some old Ozzie and Harriet Christmas show! Now I'm really feeling Christmas nostalgia :)

And, man! that Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog sounds like it's out of this world! I'll have to tell my sister about it, since she lives one state over!