Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I've been so busy, and cranky, lately that the whole Christmas season seems to be in a parallel universe. I'm just waiting for a spare moment to take a breath and stop and smell the fir trees. In the meantime, I'm stealing a little employer time to try to focus back on the holidays.

So, it's 5:45 on Friday night, and guess where I am? Yep, still at work! Never fear, I'm gonna use inspiration from two other blogs to bring inspiration to YOU!

The Spirit of Giving

First, I know most, if not all of you, already read Cake Wrecks. But if you don't, or if you've fallen out of the habit (ahem), I strongly encourage you to go check out the December 11th post. Jen is using her newfound fame and fortune to spread the wealth...literally! She and her husband will be donating $200 to 14 different charities over the next two weeks.

And here's where you come in...Jen is challenging all her readers to donate just $1 each day. That's only $14 to you and me, but when you add up all her readers, that's tens of thousands of dollars! She's also asking readers to suggest their favorite charities, since she and John can't come up with 14 of them on their own.

I thought this was a fantastic way to raise a whole hell of a lot of money, and her first charity is the kind of thing I wish more people were aware of--it raises money to supply clean drinking water to developing countries.

Go check out Cake Wrecks and see how you can help!

Christmas Questionnaire

On to something a little more light-hearted. In trying to re-direct my focus, I found a fun way to spend some time thinking about the whole Christmas season, past and present. It was by doing this fun Holiday Questionnaire I stole borrowed from Casa Hice (who also stole borrowed it from another blog. So, feel free to steal borrow it forward!) What a great way to gain some insight into our different holiday traditions.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
When in doubt, chokkit is always the way to go!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
I always thought it was the elves, but Santa's presents were always wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White on the tree...and they'd probably be white on the house, if we had time to put them up! Our neighbor wants to hang lights on our 40-foot high leyland cypress; big-bulbed old-fashioned ones, so maybe we'll end up multi-colored too.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nah, we don't need no stinkin' mistletoe to steal a kiss!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
The weekend after Thanksgiving--which is a big surprise to me, that we actually manage to be so prompt about it!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Christmas has never really been about special food for me...except for the Christmas cookies! Unfortunately, with our stove at half-power, I doubt I'll try to make any this year. Oh, but I might try to establish a new favorite dish; last year Miss Chef made a duck that was to-die-for. I'm crossing my fingers that she'll be willing to repeat that this year!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
It's one I just barely remember. I must have been about 4 or 5. My older brother had gotten a Big Wheel earlier that year, and I really, really, really, really wanted one too. So of course I put it on my list for Santa. That part I don't actually remember, but I do remember my brother coming in to wake me up at dawn on Christmas morning: "Wake up! Santa came, and he brought your Big Wheel!" Truth be told, I was a little disappointed he blew the surprise, but he was so excited for me, it still remains a vivid memory. And I did use that Big Wheel for a long time!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Actually, I figured out the Easter Bunny first. And when I asked my mom about it, then made the leap to Santa Claus...well, let's say Mom should never play poker in Vegas.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Nope. Miss Chef and I both enjoy the anticipation too much!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Our first or second year together, Miss Chef declared we would have a theme. A theme? I'd never heard of such a thing. My family always just piled on as many ornaments as we could, so much that you'd barely see the tree. But now Miss Chef and I choose a color theme each year. This year, we went with red, gold and white. One year we did cartoons and children's shows. Someday I want to do a food tree--I'm already starting to collect ornaments!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I grew up in the snow belt, so there wasn't much of a just Was. Although there were one or two winters when we didn't have snow on Christmas day itself, and that was definitely disappointing. After spending almost a decade in the south, I do get very excited about any snow, since it only lasts a day; not long enough to turn into that dreadful black slush. Plus, Rosie goes crazy nuts in the snow--what fun!

12. Can you ice skate?
Not that you can tell.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? many good ones. Other than the Big Wheel, there was my Baby Alive, and the one year my parents surprised me with a parakeet! Oh, and last year I asked my brother to just donate to Heifer International. They went all out and paid for a water buffalo. I still feel happy thinking about being able to make that happen--so that gift has certainly lasted a while!

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Right now, it's the guilt-free opportunity to stop everything, and just spend time with Miss Chef. When I think of Christmas, I picture the two of us on the couch, carols on the radio,

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Again, I don't associate any particular dessert with this holiday. But anything with chocolate will do!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
As seldom as we get to do it together, making cookies. I had a memorable time making green cookies with my nephew when he was about six! These, obviously, were from a different batch...

I first grew attached to this tradition as a kid. When I was very young, it would be a family activity--Mom made and rolled out the dough, and we kids (and Dad) would help cut out the cookies and decorate them.

As I grew older, I became vaguely aware that this was one time that Dad really had fun. He was a pretty traditional dad when it came to discipline, but he has a good sense of humor, and I've always enjoyed the times when he let his hair down, so to speak. Faced with a tray of blank cookies, he would suddenly decide all his snowmen were going to be blue, with big red noses, or Santa was going to wear yellow boots this year. Ever since, decorating cookies has been a leave-yer-baggage-at-the-kitchen-door time for fun.

17. What tops your tree?
We have three toppers, depending on our theme..and mood. Two stars--one gold, one silver--and the gold-clad angel crowning our tree this year.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Oh, that's a hard one. I do think I can honestly say I prefer giving. But only since I've loved Miss Chef have I really understood what joy it can bring to see someone open your gift. And how fulfilling it is to make somebody else happy.

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Meh. Fine when I'm in the mood, though I'm rarely in a candy cane mood. But I will say I only want traditional, peppermint-flavored ones--none of this aggressive cinnamon hot stuff. Bah, humbug.

20 Favorite Christmas Show?
It's a tie between Rudolph and Peanuts...and the music on the Peanuts show just might be a tie-breaker.

21. Saddest Christmas Song?
I don't think of any Christmas songs as really sad...but there's a song about a kid buying shoes for his dying mother that gets Miss Chef all teared up. I've never heard the whole song!

22. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
It changes from day to day. A well-done "Carol of the Bells" has been known to give me the shivers.

As always, thanks for stopping by...and leave me a comment, so I know you were here, you ghostly little followers, you!


  1. Great list of Christmas cheer! Thanks for sharing.

    And how about Cake Wrecks!?!?! What a fantastic and generous idea. Thanks for he tip. It's a fabulous Christmas idea.

    Happy holidays,

  2. I was here, dear, but only skimmed the questionnaire. My entire Christmas spirit is directed at my new grandson, now 3.5 wks old, and I'm spending no energy on my apt.!!! I just want to go hold Henry!

    Grandma Nancy in Iowa

  3. Thanks for sharing that - it made great reading. It's always interesting to read about northern hemisphere Christmases. It's the middle of summer here!

  4. How are you gonna survive during the holidays with a stove at half power. gah! Girl....You've got cookies to bake and decorate as blue Santas with red noses and all that!

    I loved the idea that you were given a gift that donated a water buffalo. Looks like the poor thing also served as a wonderful play gym, too. lol!

    I started off doing a themed tree...western with cowboys and stuff, but the kidlets kept getting ornaments from everyone and the tree just got filled up with all sorts of cutsie decor.

    Candy canes are only yummy when tucked into a cup of cocoa......with peppermint schnapps, too. hehehe!


  5. Hi again! I don't know where the best place is to reply to your comments - on my blog? Or here on yours? Or do you have an email address tucked away somewhere? Cheers.

  6. Flartus! Where the hell have I been? Usually when someone mentions Casa Hice my nose itches and I sniff out the internet until I find the guilty blog. Thank you so much for stealing "my" Christmas meme. You did it proud, girlfriend.

    But Cake Wrecks... I don't go there very often any more. It changed. And although I applaud Jen's desire to spread some Christmas cheer, I'll stick to donating to the Jacksonville City Rescue Mission. We do it several times a year, but make our biggest donation at Christmas. To us, the homeless is an urgent cause and one we are proud to support. Believe it or not, it does get cold in Florida and even our shelters get jammed. Regardless of where anyone sends their contribution dollars, the act of giving is what matters.

    Your Christmas photos are so beautiful and toasty. Love the decs.


  7. Um Missy... I tried to call you tonight but couldn't find a white pages listing. Email me your number please?

    Oh. And ask Garret how many times I've mentioned you and Miss Chef living in Charlotte and how we all have to get together sometime. Do it. I dare you!


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