1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for all but the most odd-sized presents.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial.
3. When do you put up the tree? Traditionally the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year halfway through December.
4. When do you take the tree down? What? I have to take it down? Grumble, grumble.
5. Do you like eggnog? Absolutely. The really rich stuff we dump straight into the ice cream freezer. Eggnog ice cream is amazing with a good pumpkin pie.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I got a kitten from Santa at the Ward Christmas party. My parents worked it all out, and it was really, really cool.
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? A plastic one for the porch, a ceramic one for the mantel, and a little acrylic one the kids can play with.
8. Hardest person to buy for? Me. Yes, lately I have had to buy for myself, and man am I tough.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Alyssa - a couple of trains, a Spiderman shirt - Piece of cake.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Maybe not the worst, but possibly the most unfortunate was the snowsuit I got for my 11th Christmas. The winter in Omaha was quite mild that year, and I think it only snowed twice. By the next winter we were living in Hawaii. 'Nuff said.
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? We get some of each. We used to mail cards religiously. Maybe I'll try and send an e-card tomorrow.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Muppet Christmas Carol. Irreverent and funny, yet true to the spirit of Dicken's original in all the important places. "Light the lamp, not the rat!"
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Sometime in July. I try to pick things up on closeout throughout the year. Before July, it's a birthday present. After July (September for Anna) it's a Christmas present.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I regifted a present to myself one year. I got a little ornament from my boss at work. Christmas eve I discovered that Santa had failed to give me an ornament in my stocking like everyone else. The kids hadn't seen this ornament, so I put it in the stocking and gave him the credit.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Gingerbread.
16 Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear for the main, "formal" tree. Colored on the kid's tree. This year, there are no lights on the tree.
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We're homebodies, although I would love to travel and experience Christmas around the world. I'd especially like to attend a Christmas barbie on the beach in Australia.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes, but when I try I get in trouble with Anna. She says they already have names.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present on Christmas Eve. The rest Christmas morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Gosh-awful arrangements of otherwise beautiful Christmas music.
23. Favorite Christmas tradition? Watching a classic Christmas movie on Christmas Eve. There's something about sitting still and watching a holiday video late at night to calm down even the most excited child.
24. Up early or sleeping in? We negotiate a time with the girls before bed Christmas eve. I don't push too hard, though. As a kid, there was no such thing as too early.
25. Who hands out the gifts? Anna has kind of taken over that task. She's got the energy, and does it well, so what the heck.
26. Does Santa wrap your gifts? Yes. He uses special, exclusive Santa paper, and writes the recipient's name on the package in block letters with a black marker.
27. Do you tell the Christmas story? Yes, on Christmas Eve, we read it from the Bible.28. Do you leave cookies for Santa? If we have any pumpkin pie, we leave that along with eggnog. Otherwise, it's cookies and milk.