Traditions of the Season
The Holidays are here and with it come the traditions that make each family unique. For some it’s carols and egg nog and for others it’s Chinese food and movies.
Interestingly, Kate and Robbie seem to like the same traditions and we are rather impressed that they hold to them as dearly as they do. We must have done something right these last 20 years. Kate started this on her blog and I had Robbie add to it. The results were, to us, fascinating.
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Robbie: Egg Nog
Katie: Hot chocolate, definitely.
Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Katie: Santa just leaves presents under the tree? Dear me. Nope, Santa wraps all our presents up.
Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Robbie: Colored lights on the Tree, white on the house.
Katie: Colored on the tree, white icicle lights on the house. Last year, during our disastrous (disastrously HILARIOUS) Secret Santa, my roommates and I had a great mix-up involving colored Christmas lights. They spent the rest of the year around my room and they looked great.
Do you hang mistletoe?
Katie: Ah, no. Awkward.
When do you put your decorations up?
Robbie: In December.
Katie: home, it’s maybe the first weekend of December. Here…there is a disgusting lack of decoration. I feel dirty and Scrooge-like.
What is your favorite holiday dish?
Katie: Possibly the chocolate-covered cherry cookies I make every year, possibly the tri-layered almond and raspberry cookies my mother will patiently make just this time of year. As you might guess, the sweet tooth reigns. I could easily skip dinner for the cookies.
Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Robbie: Sneaking down in the morning as a kid to see how big my stack of presents was.
Katie: Y’know, I don’t think I have one. No one memory stands out above all in terms of goodness. There are a couple that stands out in my mind in terms of awfulness, but that’s not what this is about.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Robbie: I was told about it in school and found my unwrapped presents in the house.
Katie: Oh God, third grade. I was on the bus going home from school and some particularly obnoxious and too-cool fifth-graders were talking about how there wasn’t a Santa. One kid even busted his parents in the act. I hated them, with all the hatred any eight year old can muster.
(Actually, she called me at the office one August day after hearing at a summer program that there was no Santa Claus when she was around 8. Between my insistence it was a lie and her desperate desire to believe it to be so, we got past that crisis until third grade.)
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Robbie: Yes, from out of town relatives.
Katie: In our family, we open all the relatives’ gifts Christmas Eve, which became a particularly nice tradition when we started having to go to Midnight Mass for either altar-serving or choir duties because it meant we had something to play with.
Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Robbie: Love it.
Katie: Lovelovelove it. LOVE it.
Can you ice skate?
Katie: Yes, moderately. We once had a spectacular tag game in a hockey rink in Stamford. Nothing beats going a million miles per hour on a frictionless surface and not being able to stop.
Do you remember your favorite gift?
Robbie: Yup. A long time ago I received a construction truck that broke into smaller vehicles for special purposes.
Katie: I can’t honestly speak to the gifts I received as a kid, but I’m not gonna lie. I think the Durmstrang messenger bag I got last Christmas is definitely up there, predominantly because it had no real purpose in my life (messenger bags and I have long love affairs) and it was just something I wanted, something frivolous and lovely. Tying with that would be the silver hourglass necklace I got a few Christmasses ago. I saw that thing in one of the mall jewelery shops while wrapping gifts for fencing and by the time I had come back for it with the money I needed, it was gone. I saw it again the next Christmas and was waiting to use my Christmas money to get it. I pointed it out to Mom one day right before Christmas and she got it for me that day. I wear that thing all the time. Because it was never in style, it can never go out of style.
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Robbie: Christmas Songs.
Katie: The feeling in the air around December. It’s so powerful it penetrates the panic of finals. It’s what gives baking cookies and listening to carols and doing Secret Santas their magic.
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Robbie: Apple pie.
Katie: I’m ALL about the Christmas cookies–of which we routinely have hundreds in the house during Christmas and New Year’s in my house…and they’re always good!
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Robbie: Christmas Eve.
Katie: Oooh…um. Probably the Christmas Eve pasta dinner, followed by the opening of the relatives’ gifts and then the ceremonial reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by my father. And then Midnight Mass, which has my absolute favorite music of the year to sing.
What tops your tree?
Robbie: An Angel.
Katie: We have this pretty little golden angel. One day, for my own tree, I think I’m going to get a tacky gold star.
Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?
Katie: Nothing beats giving the perfect present.
What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Robbie: “Christmas Shoes”
Katie: I have five (yikes!): “All I Want for Christmas is You,” by Mariah Carey; “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” by Andy Williams; “O Holy Night” sung by just about anyone with a voice, but especially my choir and Jocelyn O’Toole; the choir’s combined “Silent Night/Night of Silence”; and “Sleigh Ride,” by Johnny Mathis. Mind you, I love Sleigh Ride sung by just about anyone, but Johnny Mathis’ version evokes images of little penguins flapping their wings to the beat, as Allie, Kelly and I discovered sophomore year in high school right before Chemistry.
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?