Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Start of Christmas

It is a tradition for us to pay a Christmas visit to Bents garden centre. Not for gardening stuff but to view their Christmas displays, maybe buy a new decoration and then eat an enormous cake. The photos in this post are all from there. ( I picked that giant Vienese whirl on the second shelf)The meme has been doing the rounds so you may all be very bored with it but as I am full of head cold and can't be bothered being original I thought I'd join in. Anyway, sometimes it is nice to belong to a crowd!

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Chocolate - I don't even know what eggnog tastes like. The chocolate has to be Cadbury's made with milk by my husband. No one makes it like him.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Well both of course. Where would the surprise be if they were not wrapped and how would you find them in the morning if they were not under the tree?

Colored lights on tree or white?

White. I do decorations as uncluttered and as un-tacky as possible.

When do you put your decorations up?
This year - today, but it varies. Up until my mid teens I thought that the proper day to put decorations up as Twelfth night, which is of course the night to take them down. But we always put them up on 12th Dec. Set in stone. It was ages before I realised that that that was because 12th was my Dad's birthday! So now it is never earlier than that but often later.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

I like the pickings of all the leftovers of buffet type food that I get to eat in the period between Christmas and New Year. Including Sour Cream Pringles. Yum. And, perversely, Matzoh which is a kosher passover cracker. Great with the pork based Ardenne pate!

Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

Until recently the big (BIG) Derby match in Rugby League between St.Helens ( my town ... "Come on you Saints, come on you Saints...) and Wigan ( ssssssss! Pie eaters!) took place on Boxing Day with the return match on Good Friday the venues alternating. Boxing Day meant dressing in as many layers as you could get through the turnstiles wearing. My cousins and all would go and we'd meet at the scoreboard end. One year my Grandma died just ten minutes into Boxing Day ( at home peacefully with family around her). We were all at the match that afternoon, red eyed and saying, "It's what she would have wanted." And it was. Sadly the season has changed now so the match no longer exists.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I don't remember at all, but I may have contributed to some other children learning the truth when at the church Sunday School party I hit Santa. Well, he was my Dad and he tickled me when I was on his knee, what did he expect!

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Oh no, no, no, no, no. That's spoily!

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Gold beads, white and scarlet baubles, gold butterflies. Understated and matching! In fact our tree is small and false and every December there would be great stress and unkind things said as we tried to remember how to fit the base together. Then one year I realised that the secret of a happy marriage is to forget returning the tree to the box but instead to shroud it with a black bin bag and shove it up in the loft still errected. The next year we realised that you could do that and leave the decorations on. So now decorating consists of removing the bin bag, hanging one Christmas quilt, throwing another one over the sofa, setting out a Germanic velvet cloaked wooden based Santa on the mantelpiece, three ceramic snowmen on the fire base, two wire reindeer on the windowsill, plugging in a modern menorah and a set of lights in a vase and handing a heart shaped wreath on the hall door. Done. No arguments. Time for a Vienese Whirl!

Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Depends if I have to go out. If I can stay in with the pickings ( see above) and a good book its pretty. But I hate to walk on it - I am afraid I may fall and break my teeth.

Can you ice skate?
I could when I was a student. I assume it is like riding a bike in that you never forget.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
My Mum used to look after an old lady and when 'Aunty Nancy' died ( I am sorry this is so morbid!) Mum got a very small inheritance which she spent on my sister and I. I got a 'music centre' as they were then called for my room. I was about 13 or so and felt very grown up indeed. My parents were actually quite good at anticipating things that we didn't quite know about yet but were about to get to the age of craving!

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
The whole present opening thing has to be done with my little sister ( who is now 35!) and my parents on Christmas morning. Its no fun without Jen there. Then I like that 'blank time' from Boxing day on when there is time to use the gifts you receive and plan ahead for goals in the New Year.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I hate Christmas pudding so I get Cartmel Village Sticky Toffee pudding instead. (Must be that brand. There was a nasty moment one year when we realised just as it was time to cook it that Mum had mistaken the packaging and brought the wrong brand. Very disappointing!) Also for Christmas Day tea there must be home made meringues, one white, one pink, sandwiched with cream, decorated with sprinkles and set in a fairycake case. That's a cupcake case for you Americans. (Gerrie - that should save you heading for your English to English dictionary!)

What is your favorite tradition?
Being together for the present opening. Also getting Dennis an advent calender as although he pretends it would be OK if he didn't have one, the little boy who lives inside him gets very excited by them. This year I kind of lost track of time and between finishing work and coming home on 1st Dec visisted 13 shops to try and find one. (including the small newsganets staffed by an Iranian who had only been working there a week and had no idea what I was talking about). In the 13th shop I had a choice of High School Musical ones or the very last, slightly bashed ertzatz Winne the Pooh one. Phew. Next year I buy in August!

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?

I like to make sure my Mum has lots and lots of gifts because she never buys herself anything but I'd be lying if I didn't say I like amassing my piles of things around me! I am blessed with a husband who buys in piles and knows where the online fabric shops are! (Den, if you read this and its not fabric this year, that's fine too!)

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Noel Noel for the descant bit

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Well they are OK but I never buy one. I'd rather gorge on Thorntons Dairy Butter tablet, a concoction of sugar and condensed milk.

Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Only in that nasty trinckety stuff will go straight to the charity shop. I don't have it in the house and no one who knows me well would buy it me if they thought on it so I feel no compunction to keep it if given me.


Gerrie said...

When we were in England and Scotland a few years ago, I tried Sticky Toffee Pudding in every restaurant where they had it on the menu. There was a great degree of difference. I like mine really sticky with caramelly toffee!!

Quilt Pixie said...

fun to read your Christmas traditions... so very different from life here in my home where we often don't bother with a tree, "Christmas dinner" can be anytime over the holidays that fits people's schedules, and presents are simply given with a smile and "I love you", often unwrapped... Wasn't that when I was a child, but dear son and I both find the "trappings" more work than joy.

We do have an advent tree though -- a small wooden Christmas tree with wooden decorations; one gets added each day through advent until its completely set up on Christmas... We have a couple of movies we often (though not always) watch, and a book or two that get read each season - Terry Pratchet's Hogfather for one :-)

floribunda said...

If you want to meet me in London on about February 27, I'll treat to a Viennese Whirl! And, I'll probably steal your meme for myself... we're way more bah-humbug than you.

magsramsay said...

Blimey , hasn't Bents grown!!!
I googled it to check whether it was the same place where I had the odd holiday job ( I was brought up nearby)
Haven't been back in over 20 years.