1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, with the biggest, fanciest bows I can manage…
2. Real tree or artificial? None – because of the cat. I did buy a 2-foot-tall tree made of paper pieces you link together, ‘cause I didn’t think Dusty could hurt that. But she chewed on it…
3. When do you put up the tree? Decorations go up sort of whenever… If I were hosting a party, we’d decorate for that and leave them up. The outside decorations aren’t up yet, either, ‘cause we’ve had rain… (Rain is a good thing – fire season should now be over – but putting out electrical stuff in the rain isn’t fun…)
4. When do you take the tree down? Again, whenever… We’re probably going to do brunch on January 6 (Twelfth Night…), and won’t get much decorating done before that, and will take everything down before the maids come the next time.
5. Do you like eggnog? Love it. Unfortunately, I’m the only one in the family who does, so there’s never any around.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My parents gave me a hard-bound score of Handel’s Messiah when I was in high school and just starting my singing career. (I was probably about 15, since I was only 17 when I graduated. Yes, I was singing professionally that early.) I sat in the corner ‘reading’ it all afternoon. It’s still around here someplace, although a bit the worse for wear by now… (I use a newer edition to actually sing out of these days.)
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Sometimes, though, I make one out of gingerbread (with a chocolate-cereal-and-marshmallow-treats stable thatched in shredded wheat…) instead.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My brother – he usually just gets money
9. Easiest person to buy for? My SSOO. He has so many interests there’s always something that suits.
10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Can’t remember any truly awful things. I’ve gotten some unlikely things that made me wonder who the giver thought they were buying for, but I guess I figure the important thing is that they thought enough of me to get something, anyway.
11. Mail or email Christmas card? Snail mail, almost exclusively. Although it occurs to me that I’d better come up with something for my Vox neighborhood, too. (Oops…)
12. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I start seeing things that would work for the various people I give gifts to. If that’s in August, OK. Actually, as of today, I’m done. (Don’t’ tell the SSOO – he declares there’s something wrong with anybody who finishes before Christmas Eve… 😎
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I admit it… Yep…
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My famous (or infamous) Fresh Mincemeat Pie. But even that’s not an official Christmas treat; I’ve made in in July…
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I’d love a real, green tree with clear, gold and silver ornaments, and lots of tiny clear lights. Not gonna happen, though…
17. Favorite Christmas song? I have no special favorite. But I love singing carols at the piano during my SSOO’s alma mater’s annual Christmas buffet party before their big Christmas choral program. We usually acquire some other folks, and end up with a small ensemble, and the pianists who volunteer are friends and enjoy having us sing along.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? I've done both. Christmas in Williamsburg, VA, was wonderful the year my family did that. (I sent a box of cooking equipment and special ingredients ahead to the rented condo, so that we could have a big special dinner, and the programs Colonial Williamsburg put on for the holidays were great.) But at home, we have the University’s program, my professional choir’s Christmas program (and Messiah sing-along), the church’s activities including the children’s pageant (this year with actual flying angel – courtesy of the SSOO and his brother, former circus performer and rigger, respectively)
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen/ Now Comet, now Cupid, now Donner and Blitzen… I have a headband with antlers and a name badge from the North Pole Enterprises Transportation Department – ‘Vixen’ – that I sometimes wear this time of year.
20. Do you have an angel on top or a star? I have a lovely Madam Alexander tree-top angel (not, unfortunately, gold, silver or crystal). But no tree…
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Never having any time to enjoy the season between rehearsals and performances. (Don’t ever try to schedule a musician for anything between Hallowe’en and New Year’s…) But I love doing it, or I wouldn’t, so I can’t realistically complain.