The Christmas Tag

24 December 2015

I was tagged by Rachel over at Confessions of a Book Geek about a week ago and I totally missed it because of my self-imposed Christmas hiatus. I did so much socialising I didn’t have time for blog posts and I definitely didn’t have time for blog reading, so now I am going to have a Christmas themed week for the run up to Christmas.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

This one is easy, I literally finished watching it before I started writing this post. My favourite Christmas movie isn’t one of the obvious choices like Home Alone (which I love) or A Muppets Christmas Carol (which is my second favourite Christmas movie) but it is instead The Family Stone, a film which is serious and makes you cry and nothing like you would expect of a Christmas movie.
If you haven’t seen it, the premise of The Family Stone is that the eldest son, Everett, is bringing his girlfriend, Meredith, home to his family for the holidays. The family is large and complex and the family is diverse and wonderful. They are the kind of family you would want to be a part of in tv land if you could. The family is not welcoming to Meredith, who comes across very uptight, and various dramas ensue. I won’t spoil the story, but let me just say there is far more on the surface than just a large territorial family disapproving of the eldest son's choice in a future wife. Also, the one brother is deaf and has the most adorable husband and the entire family just has the perfect attitude to being yourself, but then have no ability to be welcoming to outsiders.

I adore this film for Rachel McAdams as the bitchy youngest daughter, and I adored Luke Wilson as Ben, and Diane Keaton as Sybil, the family matriarch, is just perfect. This film is just perfect and you should all watch it if you can.

Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

People open presents on Christmas Eve? That sounds like blasphemy to me. We are definitely a Christmas morning family, although in recent years it’s more like Christmas afternoon as we visit my nan at home first thing on Christmas morning and open presents with her before coming home for my mom to finish preparing Christmas dinner and then me and my brother can sit opening presents (I am normal the more eager one, I love presents any time of year).

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

I cannot think of a single Christmas memory which stands out beyond any other. I do kind of miss being little when I still believed in Santa and waking up to a sack of presents at the bottom of my bed. We had these sacks which both my brother and I would hand at the end of our beds and my mom would then fill them with our presents during the night whilst we slept. She would label all those ones up as being from Santa and there would be some under our tree which were from everyone else. I miss waking in the morning to that sack of presents and being so excited to open them, but we always had to wait until my parents were awake before we could go downstairs and open them together. I would wake ridiculously early (think about 5 or 6 am) and unpack all my presents from the sack shaking each one and trying to guess what it was. I would spend hours doing that until I heard my parents bedroom door open and I would then hurriedly repack everything and peek out the doorway to see if it was someone getting up or just going to the toilet.

I kind of miss that sense of excitement Christmas day held. Now I’m excited for Christmas, but not so much that I wake up at a ridiculous time waiting for it.

Favourite Christmas food?

This one is ridiculously easy. Pigs in blankets. You can have them any other time of year (and we do), but they are a staple on our plates for Christmas dinner. They are the thing people fight over to get the last one. They are a magical food. I know the term pigs n blankets means different things in different countries (because I googled it to find out) and here in the UK, they are little sausages wrapped in bacon, although my mom does big sausages wrapped in bacon too. They are delicious.

I also really love stollen as sold in Lidl and Aldi. I had no clue what it was but my mom buys some every year at Christmas and it is delicious. I am a massive fan of marzipan anyway, so a tasty cake thing with marzipan in it is amazing. After another Google of this food, it turns out the marzipan middle is actually optional, but I refuse to accept stollen without it, then it’s basically just a fruitcake, and that’s boring.

Favourite Christmas gift?

This one is practically impossible. I can’t claim any of my presents when I was little are my favourites as most of them are toys I no longer own, and as I got old I basically did all my own Christmas shopping with my mom giving me money to go get something I want. I have no single present which stands out in my mind. I think it may have been my very first laptop or the first hi-fi system I got. I think it would be the hi-fi system, I got that and Britney Spears’s first album and Billie Piper’s album (because she sang before she started acting) and I was in love. I would listen to these albums on repeat and read the lyrics from the little CD booklets pretending I was a famous singer creating dance routines. I must have been 8 or 9 and it was the best thing I owned. I slowly built up a cheesy pop CD collection which I wish I still owned.

Favourite Christmas scent?

Is there any one particular scent to Christmas? I think my favourite thing to smell is simply the smell of Christmas dinner cooking. That is when you know it’s Christmas. You’ve opened all your presents and seen all your family and you are sat around with your new game, toy or wearing a cozy new jumper, you’ve got a cheesy film on TV and you can smell dinner cooking and it’s nice. That’s what Christmas is like for me.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Most years we’re all wrapping presents because we’ve put it off all month and we absolutely need to get the presents under the tree that day, but mostly we don’t have one. We’ll all be working on Christmas Eve in my house, so the morning will fell like any other day with also returning home at various times depending on when our bosses let us leave. I know a lot of people tend to go to the pub, and it is real big thing to go out drinking and partying on Christmas Eve (although, why would you want to be hungover on Christmas day?) but I tend to just stay home with my family and we cozy up watching whatever rubbish is on TV. I see friends in the evening and exchange gifts, so short trips to the pub may be required, but really it’s like any other day except we’re also trying to get things ready for Christmas.

What tops your tree?

A star, but we actually have three trees in my house (I know, three! And my brother and I found a fourth when we were getting the decorations out of the loft which my mom hadn’t thrown away for some reason) and stars actually only top 2 of our trees. I made the angel which tops our third tree which lights our landing. I will try and take photos so you can enjoy it. It’s what I spent my Sunday doing, creating an angel tree topper because my mom didn’t realise we didn’t have one until too late this year, so she’ll buy one for next year now.

As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for and never received?

Crazy extravagant gift requests? That sounds nothing like me. I’ve always been very restrained as I know it’s the thought that counts… can anyone else tell this is a crazy lie?
I have always been so easily influenced by advertising so all those toy adverts that come on in the run up to Christmas? Yeah, I’m the person they were designed for. I wanted so many things I would never have used simply because the TV told me I needed it. I wanted one of those big Barbie electric cars so much for no other reason than it looked cool. I wanted a Baby Born every year for ages because it seemed like the thing to have, but my mom could always see through my media influenced choices and my genuine wants and was pretty good at getting the presents I would most enjoy. I know I must have been the most expensive and demanding child, which makes me feel guilty looking back because my mom was a single parent for a long time before she met my stepdad and it couldn’t have been easy. It’s why I try to buy her really extravagant presents now to make up for it. Also, I’m making the most of being able to spoil my mom before I going and get more adult responsibilities.

What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

I don’t want to say the presents… but it really is the presents. I have not matured beyond that little girl shaking her presents at 5 am on Christmas day trying to guess what they are. I like new things, but my favourite gifts are always the surprise ones. I now really like giving presents as well, though. The look on people’s faces when you get them a really good present is just perfect. I like being the person to give them that smile. I also really like all the good food that comes out.

And there you have my Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and please do this tag (with the limited amount of time you have) and let me know. Now, to go sit and watch more Christmas films… I think I still have A Muppets Christmas Carol somewhere.
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