A meme. From Joke.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. One of my kids' regular babysitters was allergic to evergreen, so I bought a fake. I have to say, there's something very anti-climatic about putting up a fake tree. Without needing to wonder whether it will look good, whether it's pretty enough, or too tall, or will it dry out, and is my house going to burn down--well, where's the excitement?
3. When do you put up the tree?
Sometime around my birthday, which is today.
4. When do you take the tree down?
After the twelfth day of Christmas, and not a moment earlier. I like to amortize the labor of putting it up.
5. Do you like eggnog?
It's ... OK. Unless my mother made it, because then it tastes pretty much like bourbon and heavy cream--then she does this thing where she separates the eggs, beats the whites until they have soft peaks and lay the whites on top of the punch bowl so there's this ... raw egg fluff on it. This is very traditional and Virginian and everything, but it's completely gross. Oh, and that stuff in the cartons at the grocery store is disgusting. But I sort of like real eggnog made by people who make it brandy or rum. Except it's not worth the calories, so I don't bother with it.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A 16" Madame Alexander "Elise" doll from my grandmother that looked like this.
7. Do you have a creche?
Yes. I had my grandmother's bisque one from Germany, and then it was stolen from the storage space of a condo I lived in in Brighton, MA. (I'll bet the thieves were surprised, and I hope, a little ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES when they discovered the BABY JESUS in the box.) I searched on eBay and eventually found the same. exact. set. Except the donkey's leg hadn't broken off and then glued back on backwards. So you see? It all ended happily. So there, asshole creche-stealing iconoclastic thieving shitheads.
8. Hardest person to buy for?
Me. I hate everything. Especially surprises. This year I asked for socks. Black or brown. See--I'm not fussy. But will I get them? Probably not.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
My husband. Isn't it ironic? And unfair? He loves gadgets. (I hate them.) This year I'm getting him a GPS system. He'll love it. (I'd hate it.)
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A Grateful Dead clock from my older brother. I do not now--nor have I ever--liked the Dead. In fact, it wouldn't be too hyperbolic to state that I hate them.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. When I can be bothered.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Remember the Night, Preston Sturges, 1940, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. Sterling Holloway has a small role. And of course, there's always The Thin Man.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. Stuff I don't like goes straight to the compost heap that is our local thrift shop.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Sevruga caviar and sour cream on softly scrambled eggs, with a toasted, buttered English muffin and glass of champagne. And that's just breakfast.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear. Our fake tree came with clear ones already on it. Although I prefer a mix of clear and colored. People who think clear lights are more tasteful are fooling themselves. All tree lights are pretending to be candles, and not particularly successfully. And anyway, too much good taste reveals a ludicrous level of insecurity about one's social position.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming." (Click for a cheesey midi version.) Michael Praetorius rocks my world.
18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
Right now, stay home, because I have to sing a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. We'll take off for New England on the 27th. But somewhere down the road, I see travel in my future. When we're done with the whole Santa Claus thing and I'm not chained to the choir stalls, I'd like to go to Vienna. Or London. Or Paris. Or Rome. And let the colorful foreign people run the show for a change.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Yes. I'm a singer. Not only can I name them, but I'll do it (if I've had enough eggnog) by singing the introduction to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star. My children insisted. Before they were around to express an opinion, I used to put a plastic gold model of the Sears Tower on top of the tree.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning. We open our stockings, have breakfast, and then we do presents.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Worrying about what I'm supposed to be doing. Like baking Christmas cookies. The media applies a lot of pressure, trying to convince me to spend the next three weeks doing nothing but rolling out cooky dough, cutting out cookies, baking them and decorating them. Well, fuck that. I'm 100 percent white bread WASP, and my people were never the cooky bakers. My people like to eat traditional shitty desserts like plum pudding, fruit cake, and mince pies. So when my kids come whining around wanting to bake sugar cookies, I tell them they need to develop some ethnic pride.
23. What I love most about Christmas?
Aside from the religious aspect? I think the decorations. I like the greenery and swags and wreaths and lights that other, more-organized people put on their houses.