1. Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog?
Either one is fine – but one or the other must be consumed both while decorating the tree and again on Christmas Eve. If snow shoveling is required on Christmas Day, then Hot Chocolate is required after the shoveling is done.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapping – in different paper than what is used for all other gifts.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored lights on the tree are a must. We also use colored lights outside, but that is not a requirement. White lights are allowed inside specific light-up ornaments and decorations.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. I don’t want to share Christmas kisses with Dad and Sue doesn’t need any incentive to give sloppy wet kisses to everybody all the time.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
After the first of December.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Chex Mix. I always make huge batches of it for the Holidays. We give lots of it away and eat even more of it.
7. Favorite Holiday memory?
Christmas 2003 – the last time I saw my younger brother conscious. Dad and I had a great two days at John’s house for Christmas Eve/Day. Cash was tight for me that year, so I made a lot of gifts, including a video that I gave to both Dad and John with a photo montage of us Hall boys through the years.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I’ve always known the truth about Santa Claus. And the truth is that yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. He exists as surely as love and generosity and devotion exist. Period. Amen.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
NO! The anticipation of the gift opening ceremony must be built to a fever pitch. No gift opening until after breakfast and chores on Christmas Day – at the earliest. Best if it can be drawn out until after lunch.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
With minimal stress, maximum joy and love, and much supervision from both Dad and Sue. Lot’s of lights, a few key ornaments, and enough tinsel to hide how little actual decoration took place.
When John & I were kids my mother always insured that the tree decorating process was as stressful as possible. Dad & I have eliminated all of the stress. We just have fun with it.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
It isn’t Christmas without snow.
12. Can you ice skate?
Forwards and backwards. But you’d better let me carry a hockey stick for assistance these days.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
When I was a little guy my Uncle Ken gave John & I a marvelous Hot Wheels garage with a working (hand cranked) elevator AND EVERYTHING! We loved that immensely. I think it was also the same year that Dad made G.I. Joe tents for us out of his old Army dress slacks. They were the coolest tents ever – and they were hand made for us by Dad. Nobody else in the world had them.
As an adult, my favorite gift is each Christmas morning that Dad & I get to share together.
14. What’s the most important thing?
Being with family and friends. As I get older the size of both groups continues to shrink, but the significance of spending that time together, enjoying each other’s company grows each year.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Surprisingly, to me, it was the Haystack cookies that my mother used to make. They consisted of clumps of chow mein noodles held together in a rough haystack shape by big globs of melted butterscotch chips. I haven’t had them since she stopped cooking in ’82 or ’83, but they will always remain my favorite.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
As a child, it was Dad baking bread. We would be chased outside to play in the snow so as to avoid disturbing the critical dough raising process. Eventually we would be called inside and treated to warm slices of fresh bread dripping with butter. And the smell would fill the house for days.
As an adult it has been the requisite viewing of “A Christmas Story” with Dad. This year Dad and I are going to resurrect the bread making process on Christmas Eve Day – so that may return as the favorite tradition.
17. What tops your tree?
This year it is a big gold star with a dozen colored lights on its face.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving, hands down, giving that specially selected gift that the recipient didn’t even know that they wanted. The look on their face as the figure out that while they didn’t know they wanted it they now can’t imagine life without it is priceless beyond belief. It is difficult to pull off, but SO worth it.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
It is hard to beat “Silent Night” – although “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” comes awfully close.
20. Candy canes, Yuck or Yum?
O.K. I guess. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them, but I’m tired of them before I finish the first one. Although now that they come in a bunch of different flavors my opinion of them is rising – Chocolate Mint and Cherry Cream are moving up on the list.
O.K. Dod – consider yourself tagged!