1. The ol’ Tannenbaum--fake or real? When does it go up? And when does it come down?
When I was younger our tree was always real in our house. In my Granny's house it was also real and we even went out into our pasture to cut it down. Her's was usually a petite kind of tree with sparse decorations and there was always a plastic Santa Clause about a foot and a half tall standing below it with a light bulb up his behind. We still have him. We started putting up a plastic tree in my Granny's house several years ago so it was never the same after that but still OK. In my mom's house we started putting up a plastic tree when my boyfriend at the time (husband now) moved in with us because he's allergic to the real ones. Then when we got a place of our own we also use a fake one. It's OK though cause it's pretty.
This year, since I'm packing to move and the house is a wreck, we've put up a 4ft prelit tree. It's awesome looking. Most big trees take a gazillion dollars to decorate because you have to buy so many decorations for it. However, this little looker is just filled to the brim because he's not as tall as my other one. I put him up on 2 boxes that I've packed some household items in, covered the boxes with a sheet. So he's very impressive sitting up so high.
Usually, not this year tho, my tree goes up the evening after Thanksgiving and comes down Jan 1st.
2. Shopping--fake or real? Oh, wait, that’s the last question. Here we are--do you wait until the last minute or plan ahead? Do you give gift cards?
I usually do presents. I think it's because I like to ponder on just the perfect gift for the people I buy for. Where my mom is concerned I like to get her things that really touch her heart. Last year, I sat her down on the couch, gathered all her grandchildren around her and took her picture. But I told her not to get up yet. Then, I told her that she'd always be surrounded by her grandchildren no matter where she is, and no matter where they are, as long as she is wearing this! (flurry of movement as I drew it from my pocket) Then I opened a box where, nestled inside, was a grandmother's ring. It has her birthstone sitting in the center, then 6 stones around it with each grandchild's name engraved next to their stone. Everyone cried. So, I like to give gifts when I can.
Last year tho, the hubby wanted gift cards to Lowe's so I got him, my dad and his dad one. They liked them but I was left a bit empty feeling.
I always start early. As a matter of fact, this year I started in August. I just have so many people I buy for that waiting till the last minute would mean not paying my bills for the month of December. My favorite day to shop is the day after Thanksgiving! That's when I do a lot of my shopping and on that day I just go nuts with it! We have a great time every year on that day. People are just a hoot! Well ok, some of them are jerks but the rest are pretty funny. I do, however, still end up shopping for some last minute items and try to balance out the children so you'll see me running around like a fool on Christmas Eve with all the MEN that wait till that day to do ALL their shopping.
3. And finally, where do you carry out your celebrating, of whatever sort it might be? At your house, at a relative’s house in the area, or out of town?
In years past, we've always done Christmas Eve at my Granny's, Christmas morning at my house, then over to Grandma's to do Christmas morning, then we do lunch at Granny's. Somewhere during the week we always worked the hubby's parents in there because we have to juggle to get his brother and family there too.
This year, we'll do Eve at my mom's but this is just a gathering, not to trade gifts. Christmas morning at my house, then over to Grandma's (she just lives next door) then to my house to clean up, then we cook lunch at Grandma's house. After lunch we'll go to my in-laws and do gifts over there. Since Granny went to the nursing home, we just get her out on Christmas day and bring her to my mom's (her daughter's) for gift giving and lunch.
All in all we have a great season and try to get everyone together for it. It's sad that we've grown apart over the years somewhat but we try to keep it together during the holidays.