[NOTE: Since I'm emailing this in, the formatting may appear even more poor than usual. And there are no links. Both circumstances I'll fix later when I'm outside the guvamint's internet access restriction.]
From Terry at Possumblog- Yippee.
"We understand that there are several different types of highly competitive holiday celebrations ongoing at this time of year, so we expect you all to behave and be nice to each other's religious and/or non-religious proclivities and not make the Animated Swingin' Singin' Santa Lite-Up Guest Greeter cry."
Here's the questions, followed by my answers.
1. Are you an early bird in the prep for the holidays, and if so, how early do you start?
As for my preparations, nope, not so much. I've never been one of those guys that starts buying presents around Memorial Day with the intention of being done shopping before Labor Day. I'm busy then and all through the year, so preparations get started sometime after Thanksgiving.
2. If you decorate your house, when do the decorations go up, and what are they?
I've posted pictures of my decorations in the past but due to the internet restrictions I'm under I can't go find it and link to it right now. I'll fix that tonight if I can. Anyway, the decorations go up after the Thanksgiving pilgrim children decorations come down, usually the week after Turkey Day. We do only blue miniature lights along the front of the roof and the porch overhang and wrapped into our trees. This year I switched from the miniature incandescent lights on a string to the rope style and while they are pretty, they aren't very bright or remarkable. Like my Dad, I like the ease of putting up the rope lights and the tidy clips that hold them in place. I'm just not enamored of the lack of illumination.
We also celebrate by putting out a nativity scene each year. This set has become a treasured heirloom in our family that we have used for about 15 years. In the beginning it was just the 3 essential characters but we have added to the collection over the years. Now there are 3 wise men, a shepherd, 3 angels with trumpets on the porch roof who we refer to as the Heavenly Host Trio, a Halleluiah angel who rises above the crèche that we built a few years ago and several animals in residence though my grey donkey was disappeared a couple years back. All the characters are hollow plastic and lit internally so the stringing of extension cords is a real exercise to get everyone lit.
I actually received a very nice thank you card after last Christmas from a nearby neighbor for our nativity scene and the peacefulness it promotes in contrast to my neighbor's lit, animated Santas, flashing reindeer, inflated snowmen and rotating candy canes.
Now, this one is something of a repeat from last year, so you have the option of rewrapping it and giving it to someone else if you don't want it. Also, it pertains more to those who celebrate gift-giving holidays (i.e., not Festivus), so if you don't give people stuff, you might just have to come up with another question more suited to your situation, such as, "What is your least favorite Feat of Strength?" Anyway:
3. Do you go out of your way to find special, well-thought-out presents, or are you so harried and confused that gift cards make more sense?
Yes. And no. I do try to find that special gift if I can find the inspiration or the wish list. For my spouse, its really tough because she just doesn't value many of the traditional gifts that make it easy to score a gift-giving hit. Jewelry and clothes and leather accessories just really don't do much for her, so there's no point in spending much on those things. For the boy still at home, music, cars and car stuff makes it pretty easy. For my married son and my daughter-in-law, they are hard to shop for. It needs doing tonight as a matter of fact! It might be a gift card or two for them if some inspiration doesn't show itself sometime today.
Shopping for grandbaby Astin is easy and fun!