Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice!

Man, I am entirely ready for the days to start getting longer. There've been a lot of days lately when it seems like I've hardly seen the sun at all. Especially when I'm on night shift; by the time I'm up and showered and ready to set foot outside, the ol' hydrogen ball is long gone.

Anyway, in the spirit of the holiday season, here's a Christmas meme I've seen floating about here and there:

1. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?

No. I haven't done a Christmas tree in years. I did ask my mother if, since she and my grandmother were coming out this year, they wanted me to put one up, and she said, nah, they didn't really care. And, heck, the last time I went to Mom's for Christmas, she didn't bother putting one up, and we spent the holiday in Death Valley. So I don't think any of us are too hung up on the tradition these days. Anyway, I've had the experience of trying to have a Christmas tree and a small kitten in the same house, and I don't need that much chaos in my life.

I did hang up a spring of artificial holly over the shelf where I have the wrapped presents sitting. (I would have preferred real holly, but I'm pretty sure it's poisonous, and, again, I really don't trust that kitten.) I like it. Even if it's fake, it feels strangely honest. Like it's actually a symbol of life continuing through the dark of winter, and finding something bright and festive in a time of bleakness and cold.

2. Do you put up Christmas lights on the exterior of your home?

No. It's far too much work, and, while a simple string of white lights on a house is pretty, an entire neighborhood full of garish lights makes me grumpy.

3. What's your favorite Christmas song/carol?

I generally prefer wild and wacky novelty songs if I'm going to play Christmas music at all, but I do confess an odd fondness for "The Carol of the Bells."

4. What do you like better - turkey or ham?

Turkey. I love turkey.

5. Do you open up any Christmas presents on Christmas Eve?

When I was a kid, it was always strictly hands-off until Christmas morning. Later in life, that metamorphosed into, "Well, maybe just one on Christmas Eve." These days, it's as likely to be, "What the hell, let's open 'em all now and sleep in tomorrow."

6. Have you ever been Christmas caroling?

I think so, when I was very young. I don't remember it well.

7. What was your most memorable Christmas gift(s) that you received?

I don't know. I still remember the thrill of seeing the big ol' Barbie Dream House, sitting there in the living room all assembled on Christmas morning. Even now, when I look back and think, "Barbies? What was the matter with me?"

8. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

The Grinch, all the way.

9. Have you ever built a real snowman?

I think I made a few lame attempts at it when I was a kid.

10. Have you ever peeked into a present and found out what it was before Christmas?

Not deliberately -- I don't like spoilers, damn it! -- but I keep finding out by accident. Sigh.

11. What is on the top of your Christmas tree?

See question 1! But if I had one, it'd be a star. I'm pretty sure I've got one of those somewhere.

12. Do you own a Santa hat?

There wasn't one in my Box o' Christmas Stuff when I last looked, so apparently not.

13. When was the last time you had your picture taken with Santa Claus?

Sometime in my pre-teens, I think.

14. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Started and finished, except for the present for my brother-in-law that got lost in the mail and which they just re-shipped. Grr.

15. Do you put candy canes on your Christmas tree?

If I had a Christmas tree, there would absolutely be candy canes on it. Heck, I might just get the candy canes, anyway.

16. Who is hardest person to buy for?

My mother. She never claims to want anything, or if she does, it's usually something so minor and cheap you'd be embarrassed to get it for her.

17. Who is the easiest person to buy for?

My sister, because we have a lot of similar interests.

18. How old were you when you realized Santa was imaginary?

Seven, I think. I reasoned it out from the available evidence, thus starting myself on the lifelong trail to hardcore skepticism.

19. What does your morning of Christmas routine consist of?

These days, lazing around not doing much. Which is nice.

20. Egg nog?

No, thank you.

21. What do you want for Christmas this year?

A new mp3 player (because mine appears to be dying, which alarms me terribly), a dishwasher, and a complete set of Deep Space 9 DVDs. But I'll settle for a couple of books and a sweater.

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