Christmas Journal

My sister is working on a Christmas journal for my nephews and is sending prompts to both me and my mom. I thought it would be nice to post my responses here. Here are my responses through yesterday. I cleaned up the spelling errors I had made when I sent them to her. Hopefully she will change those for me when she puts them in the journal (hint hint sister).

Day 1
What are your favorite things about Christmas?

I love the Christmas tree. It is by far my most favorite symbol of Christmas. I love to just turn the lights on and the house lights off and just look at it and let it light the room. My other favorite thing about Christmas is giving gifts. It is so much fun to buy stuff for people, maybe stuff they want, maybe stuff they won't normally buy for themselves. It is always fun to see someone open something they didn't expect and be super excited about it. As frustrating as it can be to find that special gift, the end result is worth all the frustration.

Day 2
The first sign of Christmas is ....................

I am going with the first feeling of the season is for me. And that is...the first good snowfall. The one that sticks and that you need to shovel. The one that blankets the city in white.

Day 3
Shopping: When do you start planning? When do you start shopping? When do you think you will finish?

I usually start planning in October, but don't actually start shopping usually until November. I like to really start my shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but if I see stuff before then, I will pick it up. I think that I will finally finish a few days before Christmas. I always seem to be picking up little things here and there, stocking stuffers mostly. I enjoy the rush and the excitement of last minute shopping. Sometimes it takes until the very end to find that special present.

Day 4
When you look outside during the Christmas season, what do you see?

When I look outside, I see snow kissed trees and streets, brilliant lights and a sense of excitement.

Day 5
As a child did you write letters and/or visit Santa? Share a special memory.

I remember writing a letter to Santa in second grade. In fact, I think Mom still has it in my envelope of stuff. I remember visiting Santa at the mall. The one I remember best is when we lived in Wyoming and went to Casper; there was Santa and Mrs. Clause. I think the one that sticks out most though, is the one I don't remember. There is a picture of me and Dawn when I was just a baby on Santa's lap. That is the one I think about when I think of visiting Santa.

Day 6
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I truly believe that I never really believed in Santa. I don't know if it is because Dawn is so much older than me that by the time Santa would have been real, she didn't believe any more or because we did almost everything on Christmas Eve. I just don't ever really believing in Santa.

Day 7
How do you decorate and when do you start?
I usually start the first week of December. We are pretty simple a tree and some scattered knickknacks. We do have the village that is quite large now and the mantle lights and garland.

Day 8
Write about your tree and your favorite ornaments.

I love the tree. It is my most favorite thing about Christmas besides giving people gifts. But more about it. It is artificial. Always has been since I can remember. Dad used to put it together then the task was passed onto Dawn and then finally to me. It's pretty simple, about 5 or 5 1/2 feet, clear non-blinking lights and mostly homemade ornaments. The manufactured ornaments that are on it have some special meaning though. The ornaments I love the most are the personalized ones that Ellen Cauble made for us. I always look for those. My other most favorite ornaments are the "tube" scene ornaments that Dad made. I love to just sit in the dark at night with the tree lights on. There is something magical about the Christmas tree.

Day 9
Write about your traditions new & old.

When I think of traditions, I think of people who have grand traditions. I don't always think of the stuff we do as true tradition...but here it goes. We usually go to church on Christmas Eve and then come home and have some food, usually snacks and then open Christmas presents. The past five years, Mom and I have had a little Christmas party. We go to dinner, some place nice and exchange a gift. This year, we went to a concert after. On Christmas morning, we have breakfast with Aunt Parkie and Bob and then go to their house and exchange gifts. I guess another tradition is that every year I buy my nephews a new ornament. I got the idea from a lady I worked with who said that every year she got her kids an ornament so that when they were older and moved out, they would have decorations for their tree. I liked the idea and went with it. Last year, for the first time in a long time, we had people over for Christmas dinner. This will be the second year. Does that make tradition? I can't think of any more things that I would call tradition.

Day 10
What do you dread most about the holidays?

The crowds. Not being able to find the perfect gift. Time constraints! Being away from the people I love a lot. Those are the four that jump right out at me. There are times where I kind of dread being around certain people. I know I shouldn't but I do.

Day 11
How do you wrap presents? Paper or bags? Ribbons or bows?

This year I am doing all wrapping! No bags! I usually use a combination of the two. If it is an awkward item I use a bag, provided I have one big enough. I like to wrap the gifts though. It is more exciting to rip paper than to lift out some tissue paper! I didn't use ribbons or bows this year. It always seems like the bows get smashed or fall off. I like ribbon, but only used it to tie up two gifts this year. Sometimes the plain wrap is enough. I love the nice ribbon, wide, maybe fabric, but I much rather spend the money on the person than the wrapping.

Day 12
Favorite holiday show or movie

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It is my standard, classic holiday movie. I laugh every time I see it, no matter how many times I have watched it.

Day 13
How has Christmas changed for me over the years?

Before it used to be about getting stuff for me. Now it is about giving stuff to others. I love to buy for other people. It doesn't matter if I get one thing or twenty things, for me the joy is giving something to someone else. I especially like it now that I am a little more crafty and can make things for others. They seem to really appreciate those things more.

Day 14
What food do you eat or make only during the Christmas season?

I don't really make anything, except the occasional pistachio salad. Mom usually makes pumpkin bread that I love! We usually get a crab ball and Ritz crackers. Mixed nuts, fudge, cocktail pasties and for the last I'm not sure how many years, we have prime rib for Christmas dinner.

Day 15
What Holiday music do you listen to?

I like Manheim Steamroller. I also like music I can sing along to. Alone of course. Right now, I am listening to Rick Springfield's new Christmas album.


Day 16
Favorite holiday memory as a child

It is so funny, Mom and I were talking about this yesterday. I remember getting the Barbie Dream House. I was so shocked. I think I may have cried. I know that Dad spent the entire day Christmas Eve putting it together and then setting it up in my bedroom. It was the biggest surprise of my life I think. It was incredible. I don't remember anything else about that Christmas. Another thing that I always remember about Christmas was the very first cassette tape I got that was all my own. Dawn bought me Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. I remember that the wrapping had an orange scratch and sniff sticker on it too.

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