Cribbed from Mimi’s blog:
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? It’d be eggnog, if we weren’t fasting and all the store eggnog (which is pasteurized) is gone by Christmas Day.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Oh, they get wrapped, of course!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? We’ve had both. Currently it’s colored lights. The first time I saw white lights was in Germany in 1968, and I thought they were so boring. Now I really like them.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.
5. When do you put your decorations up? The day before St. Nicholas, December 5 — that way, he knows ours is a Christmas house and he can visit it. 😉 We leave them up till “Russian Christmas,” as we used to call January 7 in New York.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Babka. You can have it both Christmas and Easter.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Probably the year I turned 15, my first ever Midnight Mass, and my first ever glass of wine. I was sitting on the sofa admiring the Christmas tree through a mildly alcoholic haze when my mother gasped and said, “Oh, I forgot all about your birthday!” And I said, “Oh! Yeah! I did too!” (It’s December 24.)
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My mother told me on my 7th birthday. She said she was afraid I’d hear about it at school.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Didn’t used to as a kid, but now we do.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With a variety of Christmas ornaments, colored lights, and “garlic” (garland). I like the white garland best, because if you get just the right kind, it really looks like snow.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Both, actually. I love the way it looks on the trees, especially the wet, “floompy” snow. But I hate shovelling it!
12. Can you ice skate? No, and I wish I could!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Probably my piano. It’s as old as my son.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? The birth of our Lord, of course.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? German stollen! Buttery, nutty, smothered in powdered sugar — sheer heaven.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? My stepfather is Polish, and on Christmas Eve, we all break a piece of oplatki, a thin wafer like a Catholic Communion wafer. Each person gets a piece, and then you share it with everyone around the table and wish each other a blessed Christmas. You never eat your own oplatek, but it’s supposed to be gone by the time you leave the house.
17. What tops your tree? An angel, who invariable lurches to one side or the other. We’ve decided she’s on a permanent bender.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving, actually. I can never wait to see people’s faces as they open their gifts.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Nothing that anyone would recognize who wasn’t Orthodox! It’s “Today the Virgin gives birth in a cave.” There’s something about “He Whom the heavens cannot contain is contained in a womb” that blows my mind every year. But if I have to give a more commonly known Christmas carol, it’d be “Carol of the Bells,” hands down.
20. Candy canes: We never have them, but I like the idea of them.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” — Alastair Sim version only — are tied for first place.
22. What do you leave for Santa? We’ve never done that. As a kid, I’d never heard of it.
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