Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Tag! :)

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately.  This week has been completely insane! :}  I was tagged by Spicemuffin several days ago, so I figured it was about time to get this post up! :)

1.) What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

I love the music and the decorations.  Listening to Christmas carols and songs that I heard as a child always brings me so many pleasant memories of Christmases past. :)  The decorations are special, too.  I feel like I'm greeting old friends as I open up the ornaments and knick-knacks that brighten up our home for the holidays.  I especially love sitting in the living room with all of the lights off,  looking at the beautiful lights on the tree.

2.) Who do you celebrate Christmas with?

My hubby and I usually celebrate most of Christmas with my family, although we get together with his family as well, usually on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day in the afternoon.

3.) What is your favorite gift that you have received?

I've had a lot of special gifts over the years.  Of course, the one that tops it all was the engagement ring I got from my hubby (then boyfriend) on Christmas Day of 2001. :D  Aside from that, one of my most memorable ones was the beautiful porcelain baby doll that my mom made for me the Christmas I was 11.  She was so cuddly and adorable, and incredibly special because my mom made her. :)  I still have her, although she's currently packed away.

4.) What's your favorite Christmas carol?

I love "What Child is This", "O Holy Night", and "Jesu Bambino".  And I just have to add that two of my favorite Christmas songs are "Round and Round the Christmas Tree" by Bing Crosby and "Home for the Holidays" by Perry Como.

5.) What's your favorite Christmas food?

Definitely my aunt's homemade fudge and gingerbread.  She brings them every year for Christmas.  Mmmm, I can almost taste them! ;)

6.) Can you sleep on Christmas Eve?

Um, now that I'm a mom and getting less sleep than I used to as a girl, it's easier for me to sleep than it used to be.  But I still get really excited and usually wake up to check the time several times throughout the night.

When I was a little girl, it was my job to wake everyone up on Christmas morning, but I had to wait until 5:30.  I can still remember waking up every hour and checking my clock with a flashlight (I didn't have a digital alarm clock or anything like that).  Then I'd count by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s to 100 to pass the time.  I did a LOT of counting most years. ;D

7.) When do you wake up on Christmas Day?

We normally wake up at 6:30 (we decided to push the time back an hour since the girls are so little).  Although last year, my hubby and I both couldn't sleep, so we went out to the living room at about 5:00 am and sat by the tree together.  It was a really special time.  That might just have to be a new Christmas tradition. :)

8.) What's your most memorable memory?

I'd have to say my hubby's Christmas proposal on the beach.  You can't get much better than that! :)

9.) What are your Christmas Traditions?

Our traditions have changed a bit over the years.  When I was in high school and college, and then when hubby and I were first married, we would go over to the coast with my side of the family and rent a beach house. 

When that started getting too expensive, we did Christmas Camp.  My brother was the cook at one of the local Christian camps (about 45 minutes away from us in the mountains).  We would go up to camp for 5 days with my side of the family and spend Christmas there.  Side note of interest:  one of these years I got to experience my very first "White Christmas".  It snowed on Christmas Eve, and when we woke up on Christmas morning, the ground was covered with a blanket of white.  It was absolutely beautiful! :)

My brother stopped working for the camp last year, so last Christmas we all met at my aunt's house and stayed for 5 days, just like before.  That's what we're planning on doing again this year, too.  It worked out very nicely.  Her home is big enough to house all of us comfortably without feeling crowded or claustrophobic.  Also, being in town was really nice since my hubby works for UPS and usually has to work late on the Friday before Christmas (sometimes on Christmas Eve, too...depending on what day it is).  It was great to be able to be with my family while I waited for him to get off, without having to worry about where he was or if he could get to us.

So, that's the place we go.  As far as other traditions, we always start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  We do 2-3 Advent Calendars starting in December to help the days go faster. :)  We usually head over to my aunt's house the Friday before Christmas and spend the entire weekend playing games, watching movies, visiting, and listening to Christmas music. 

On Christmas Eve, I tuck the girls into bed and read them the Christmas story from the Bible.  In the morning, we wake up at 6:30 and open our stockings.  We then have a traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits, and sausage gravy.  Then we open our gifts from one another.

This year will be a little bit different with Christmas being on a Sunday.  We may not go to church that morning.  I know that sounds horrible...but I'm just imagining piling 3 tired, crabby kids into the car and making them sit still for an hour, knowing full well that they have presents waiting for them back at Mimi's house!  I think we'll just play it by ear. ;)  Maybe we can listen to one of Pastor's sermons on the radio that morning. :)

10.) Do you have a real tree or an artificial tree?

Sadly, in recent years we've converted to an artificial tree.  I was always a real tree girl myself.  My family always went to the mountains to cut our tree and bring it home.  It's been our tradition for as long as I can remember.

However, the sad fact of life is that things have to change.  Another fact of life is that at least 2 of my children are ALWAYS sick over Thanksgiving weekend.  I don't know what it is, but no matter what I try, their immune systems have officially gone kaput by then.  And let's face it, going up to the mountains to cut a tree in the snow isn't too fun when you have a bad cold!

So, our tree-cutting tradition fell by the wayside over the last couple of years.  I've also discovered how nice it is to open a box, put a tree together (a pre-lit tree, no less!), plug it in, and be done!  No dying tree (since yours truly is HORRIBLE at remembering to water!), no constant vacuuming of pine needles, no waiting for hubby to finish stringing the lights before we can hang, there are some definite advantages to an artificial tree!! 

I do miss the pine scent, but last year my brother gave me these pine-scented sticks you can hang on your artificial tree to make it smell like the real thing.  It helps...a little. ;)

I do hope we can go back to having a real tree once the girls are a little bit older.  I'd love for them to be able to experience the same Christmas tree-cutting adventures that I used to have. :)  I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens, though. 

Thanks for the tag, Spicemuffin! :)  It was fun being able to reminisce over Christmas memories and traditions.

I tag:

Mickey's Girl
Jen of Dolls and Nachos
Phoebe of Love That Doll
And anyone else who'd like to participate!

Have fun, everyone! :)  More posts are coming soon!

P.S.  Do you like my new Christmas playlist?  I had so much fun putting it together. :)


Alice xox said...

It was fun reading about how you do Christmas! :)

We have a fake tree this year too... some nonsense about money. Bah! (We already had the fake tree.) I will say, ornaments hang much prettier on real trees! Fake ones put them in such a line. Oh well. When the cat goes under it she won't make it shed needles. LOL. :)

And I love your playlist! It actually has some of my own favorites so I've left your blog up on another tab today just to listen, haha!

Claire said...

I love your new Christmas playlist! My dad was going crazy when he heard Handel Messiah's "Hallelujah!" It brings tears to his eyes every time he hears it play. It was fun to read about your Christmas traditions. One question I've always wanted to ask was why you were a stay at home mom. I would like to do that when I start a family, and was wondering what the benefits and disadvantages were.

Mickey's Girl said...

I answered on my blog. Thank you for tagging me! I've never been tagged before! :)

Mickey's Girl

Anonymous said...

We love the new music, beautiful. We are tired of our music already so we took it off. lol

You have a wonderful Christmas and neat traditions. We sure miss having a real Christmas, we have no family or church to have Christmas with so it is just Nana and I and the dolls. Nothing is as fun when it is just the two of you and no family.

Sounds like you are all going to have so much fun for Christmas all together and spending time with family. How totally fun. I remember the fun we used to have when Grandee was still alive.

It is wonderful that your girls can grow up in a fun group and church and enjoy the holidays too.

Glad to see you posting,

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful comments, everyone. :) I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

Alice, I'm sorry you've had to compromise with a fake tree, too. ;) Maybe next year...

I'm glad you're enjoying the new playlist. :)

Hi Claire. :) I love the Hallelujah chorus, too. I have to admit, I get pretty teary myself when it plays. ;)

I'd love to answer your question about being a stay-at-home mome, but I'd like to devote more time and space to it than I can in a comment. I'll make that the topic of an upcoming post, okay? :)

Mickey's Girl, you're welcome! I'll have to stop by and see your answers. :)

TracAn, I'm sorry that your Christmases are hard now. I'm very thankful for my family and my church, especially during the holidays.

I can relate just a little bit to what you're going through. One of the reasons we started going to the coast for Christmas when I was in high school was the fact that I'd lost 3 of my 4 grandparents by the time I was a sophomore in high school (in the space of about 5 years). We'd always spent Christmas Eve with my dad's parents and Christmas Day with my mom's parents (aftet a special morning with just my dad, my mom, my brother, and me). It was really hard that first year when so many of them were gone, and we knew the usual traditions wouldn't be as fun. It was one of my aunts that suggested doing something completely different that year so that we could have new traditions and new memories.

The funny thing is, I am a total traditionalist, and I was sure I would HATE going to the ocean for Christmas (I know, sounds crazy, right?). I was so sad about my grandparents and the crumbling of traditions years in the making. It wouldn't feel like Christmas at all.

As you can imagine, we had a wonderful year together and started new long-standing traditions. As our traditions have changed, I've struggled a bit each time. But I've learned that as painful as change can be, there can be unforseen blessings that accompany it.

I wish we could invite you and your Nana to spend Christmas with us, too! :) I'll be praying that you two have a wonderful Christmas together, full of God's unexpected blessings.

agfriend1 said...

Merry Christmas! I like real trees but I think we will get the artifical tree out this year just to be able to put the extra money towards presents. I like making a gingerbread house, making chain links out of construnction paper with my daughter in Christmas colors, stringing popcorn and cranberries. My favorite food around christmas is the fudge we make and all the christmas cookies. Yummy. We usually do a christmas cookie exchange with friends too, also fun. Silent night and oh christmas tree are favorite songs. I think this will be one of my favorite presents from my hubby- I'm getting molly and just am so excited, favorite past present is a gold locket he got me. Don't feel bad about church on Sunday either,, we probably won't go either, but we will have a bible reading like you do on Christmas eve.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for commenting, agfriend1. :) It's always fun hearing about other people's Christmas traditions.

How exciting that you're getting Molly! :D Molly is my youngest daughter's favorite. I'm hoping to get her one when she's a bit older (she's only 3 1/2 and not the most gentle child in the world). :}

Although we probably won't be at church on Christmas morning, we do definitely stress the importance of the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus. We have a big nativity set that we keep in a central location in the living room, and we often discuss why we celebrate Christmas. It's getting more and more difficult to help them keep that focus. I find myself being sucked into the commercialism and materialism of the season as much as anyone else. It's vitally important to me that our girls grow up with an understanding of what Christmas is really all about, though. :)