Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday Talk: Christmas Q & A and my Best Gift EVER

I love hearing about Christmas traditions that each family carefully carried out each year so I thought I'd share a little bit about myself today.  My sister did a fun Christmas Q & A last week and I wanted to join in the fun.  Also, we just got back Olive's official Santa pictures for this year.  We'll title this Serious Santa three years in a row.  She was not afraid, had a good chat with him and I think I'll make her wear smocked dresses until she refuses :)

Christmas 2015

My Christmas Q & A:

1. Wrapping Paper or gift bags?
I love the convenience of gift bags, but try hard to wrap Christmas gifts since I know it's more fun to open a package.  I also like to pick out cute paper and ribbon hoping that it'll get me excited to wrap!

2. Hardest person to buy for?
My in laws are always the last people on my list to shop for because they're hard to buy for.  They aren't difficult to please, but they're the kind of people that don't really need anything.  So we often opt for golf balls for my FIL and photo related gifts or fancy coffee for my MIL.

3. Easiest person to buy for?
 My friends always seem to be the first ones crossed off my shopping list.  I look for things for them year round so I'm always ready when their birthdays or Christmas roll around.

4. BEST GIFT you EVER received?
The best Christmas gift I ever received was an ENGAGEMENT RING!  My sweet hubby pulled out all the stops to make a Christmas Eve proposal happen.  He rushed home from school, picked out my ring, knew my ring size and had the ring presized to fit me and tucked the ring in his pocket.  We went through our usual Christmas Eve traditions of church and family gatherings.  He managed to ask my dad's permission and proposed at the end of the evening.  I wasn't expecting it and was just happy to be home on Christmas break from college together.  We've known each other since we were 5, dated throughout high school and college so it wasn't shocking, but I was definitely surprised at his timing.  He picked out a princess cut ring all on his own that I loved and it made the 2003 holiday season so special.

5. When do you start your Christmas shopping?
I usually start picking things up around September when the school year starts and then tuck it away until Christmas rolls around.  My goal is to be done with my shopping by December 1st and I'm happy to say that's happened the last two years in a row.

6. When do you open Christmas gifts?
 We do an early Christmas with our little family before we travel.  Open gifts with Kevin's family Christmas morning and my family Christmas Eve.  Then we squeeze in friend gift exchanges during Christmas break.

7. Real tree or fake?
I grew up with all fake trees - one in every room and started our married life with fake trees.  Our cats wouldn't quit climbing the tree and finally broke it.  I think my hubby was secretly excited because it was the perfect opportunity to toss the broken tree and give real trees a chance.  We've been buying real trees for at least 5 years and have loved starting this tradition.  It's so fun to head to the tree lot to pick out the perfect tree for the year.  Ideally, I'd have a few smaller artificial trees around the house and a large real one in the family room.  

8. When do you put up the tree?
We try to purchase our tree and get it put up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This year it was the first week of December.

9. When do you take down the tree?
We usually leave the tree up through the new year.

10. Star or angel on top of your tree?
Star.  We picked it out our first married Christmas and it's been topping our tree ever since.

11. White or colored Christmas lights?
Always white.  I grew up with white and love the look of them so we'll probably always stick with white.

12. Favorite ornament on your tree?
Almost impossible for me to answer, but I'd have to say the tiny hand print ornaments from Olive's first Christmas.  I think I'll forever tear up when I'm pulling them out to put on her tree.

13. Do you have a nativity scene?
We have several - toddler friendly to Willow tree.  We just got out the toddler one this year and the others are in storage.  I can't wait to pull out the lovely Willow Tree set my sister got us for a wedding present years ago.

14. Mail or email Christmas cards?
ALWAYS snail mail real cards.  We do photo cards every year and it is a tradition that I promise to make happen every single year.  My mom did photo cards when we were little long before they were the popular thing to do.  People always raved about them, we always made the process difficult for my mom and now I'm getting payback as the mom trying to wrangle my family into taking pictures for our cards.  Sorry mom.

15. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
One Christmas my sweet hubby tried so hard to surprise me with fun gifts.  He got me several things I'd love in theory, but none of them quite panned out.  He picked out a bed spread that wasn't my taste, cute boots that didn't fit and Notre Dame socks that ended up being kid size.  So we returned it all and went shopping for a pink ipod instead :)

16. Favorite Christmas movie? song?
I love Home Alone.  We watched it a million times when I was little and I never get tired of it.  I also love Elf.  My favorite Christmas song is probably Mary Did You Know.  It seems a bit overdone right now, but I've loved it for a long time.  I've also loved being pregnant twice at Christmas and really thinking about what it would have been like to be Mary during the Christmas season.

17. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Crazy crowded stores and traffic.  All those darn last minute shoppers - haha :)
18. Favorite Christmas food? candy?
I love Christmas cookies and sour santas, Cadbury chocolate balls along with Brach's raspberries

19. Gingerbread or sugar cookies?
Sugar cookies all the way!

20. Do you like fruitcake? eggnog?
My mom makes a beautiful fruitcake, but I've yet to try it because all of the textures freak me out.  Eggnog makes me gag a bit at the thought of it so I'd much rather get my Christmas calories elsewhere.

21. Does your family have a special holiday recipe you help make?
Two recipes from my Dad's mom - Mamaw's sugar cookies and Christmas Jello.  I try to help my mom make both of them during Christmas break and usually make a batch of her sugar cookies on my own.

22.  What was Christmas morning like as a child for you? Did you believe in Santa? 
Magical!!  My brother and sister would camp out on the floor of my room.  We'd hum silly songs, stay up way too late and giggle the night away.  Then we'd get up far too early and be allowed to open our stockings from Santa.  I always thought Santa took care of my stocking so I never really had a moment of believing and then not believing Santa was real.  I remember playing it up for my little brother when I got older.  My parents were asleep and we could wake them up for the day around 6:00am.  They'd come out, start breakfast and we'd read the real Christmas story from the Bible together.  We'd open gifts and my mom always picked out a different wrapping paper for each kid.  We'd take turn opening gifts, clean up the mess and eat breakfast.  Then we'd watch the Christmas parade and start getting ready for my Dad's family to come over for lunch.

23. Do you travel for Christmas or stay home?
We ALWAYS travel for Christmas.  We've relied on plans, cars and shuttles to get us home to be with our families every year for the last 11 years.  It's always been a top priority to be home for the holidays.  This year we are only two hours away so it feels like traveling for Christmas will be a walk in the park.

24. Have you ever spent a Christmas away from home? 
We've cut it close some years with missed flights and giant snow storms that shut down our cities, but we have always made it home for Christmas.  I can't imagine it any other way.  We often opted not to travel for other holidays when we lived far from home.

25. How will you spend Christmas day this year?
Breakfast with my in laws, Lunch with Kevin's extended family and dinner with my side of the family.  We're hoping for a good afternoon nap for the toddler and the pregnant lady.  It'll be a busy, wonderful day :)

Tell me about a few of YOUR Christmas traditions!!

Linking up with Momfessionals today

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  1. Aw I love your best Christmas gift story. So sweet that your husband went to all of that effort for his proposal to you. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Aww, I love a good Christmas engagement story - so sweet! And I agree with you that my in-laws are the hardest to buy for, mostly my FIL. He's always my last person I'm frantically rushing around looking for a gift for!

  3. What a fun Q & A! How awesome that your engagement happened on Christmas Eve!


  4. The textures of fruitcake get me too... but my grandmother LOVES it! We picked up one from Neiman's for her this year... and it's individually wrapped pieces so she can enjoy it all year 'round!! ;)

  5. Love hearing this Q & A. I wanna like fruitcake, bc it always sounds so good in theory, but... My FIL makes a bunch of little plum pudding cakes each year and I'm good for about two bites. Ha!

  6. Thanks so much for linking up today. LOVE this idea of a Christmas Q&A. It will be fun to look back at those memories!

  7. What a fun Q&A. That would definitely be a Christmas present that is hard to beat and I here you on the in-laws. We usually just get Russ' parents several small gift cards to different places they like to eat out at. They are IMPOSSIBLE to shop for. I definitely agree on the sugar cookies too. Who needs gingerbread?!

  8. This is so much fun. I didn't know you guys got engaged on Christmas Eve. What a wonderful time!! Such a fun thing to be able to celebrate over the holidays!

  9. Wrapping paper may be fun, but bags are hard to beat when you're short on time and traveling. And the parents and in-laws are so hard to shop for. By the time kids make enough money to buy stuff for their parents, their parents are pretty much set.


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