Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Curious

Do you send holiday cards or write Christmas letters? Or neither?

Do you have white or colored lights on your tree?

Do you do outdoor light displays?

Do your kids get into the Santa Clause stuff, or not seem to care? Do you promote him, or actively discourage him?

What do you usually have to eat on Christmas Day?

We are writing a letter this year, and we did last year, too. It's kind of hard to find the right balance between enough information (children's ages, current activities, adult's jobs and hobbies) and too much information (probably won't begin the holiday greeting by making sure everyone knows that I lost a pregnancy in August, then had hernia surgery in October.) It's also hard to know what tone to go with: fun and breezy, or heartfelt and overflowing with gratitude. But it's fun to include pictures to go with the kids' paragraphs, and it's fun to get to brag about them a little (though again, the balance problem: how much bragging evokes a smile, and how much bragging is just plain, you know, braggy?)

We have white lights on our Christmas tree, and a white-light star. Also, gold ribbon instead of garland. But our ornaments are totally random and mostly kiddy stuff, so it's hardly a stuffy, designer-looking tree. The tree skirt is a Christmas quilt that belonged to my late grandma.

We hung icicle lights around our front porch, and wrapped blue lights around the front lamppost. I also attempted, from atop a teetery ladder, to put lights on a tree, but it was a disaster and we aren't turning those lights on. Half the strands ended up being dead, and the tree is deceptively tall and I could only get lights on the bottom two branches, and... It looks really dreadful. And is going to be a pain in my arse to take down, too, since I decided to wind the strands around and around each branch instead of stringing them gracefully from branch to branch. Yeah, it's just bad all around.

I have mentioned Santa a few times in passing to Adelay, and we have a German Santa (complete with a beer stein) in our living room, but I don't think she has any idea or concept of him, and she already seems to grasp that adults bring gifts. So I think it may be a lost cause.

I usually eat candy out of my stocking for breakfast, and then at Jim's parents there's a traditional coffee cake. My mom usually has brunchy things too. But I have to admit I pretty much just eat sugar nonstop on Christmas. I set a wonderful example, I know.


kelli said...

Oh, fun!

We have colored lights and random ornaments and it looks very homemade. We send out holiday cards with a family picture, but no letter because I have exactly the same problem writing them as you pointed out.
We used to throw those netting web light things over the bushes, but we had the bushes taken out this year, so the yard is bare and dark.

I have avoided the discussion of Santa altogether, just because I think it's a lot of work to no purpose, but my kids know about him because Every. Single. Person we talk to in the month of December asks what he is bringing them. They just look confused mostly. If we're not allowed to say Merry Christmas, then people shouldn't ask about Santa, because one day my daughter is going to tell a room full of kids that there is no Santa just because people will NOT quit bugging her. And it's not kids, it's grownups!

Wow, apparently that drives me crazier than I realized. Sorry.

We eat birthday cake for breakfast on Christmas morning- it's Jesus's birthday, and he loves you so much you get his presents.... sort of... it's a good excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

These are all questions in my mind, too!

We send holidays cards with pictures of us all (well, mostly Zoe) on them. I keep thinking we need to do a Christmas letter to keep up with people who we rarely talk to but it creeps my husband out.

We don't have a tree because we are traveling this year. It's KILLING me though because I know Zoe would LOVE it.

We usually put you some white lights outside on our porch but we haven't gotten around to it this year yet. Um, yeah, since we're leaving in less than a week, I'm going to guess that isn't going to happen either!

We are SO struggling about Santa. This is the first year Zoe would even get it at all (she's 2 and 1/2). She loves "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and always points out Santas around town. But we haven't decided yet (got to soon, obviously!) if we will tell her that any of her gifts are from Santa. We aren't really religious either so I'm voting that we tell her ALL the stories about Christmas and let her lead. If she gets excited about Santa then I'm prepared to roll with it. My husband (the atheist) thinks we shouldn't "lie" to her at all. OY.

Christmas morning is all about the biggest breakfast ever. Eggs, bacon, coffee cake. My in-laws put egg nog in their coffee (and we forgive them). Then we have another HUGE meal at around 2 (or whenever we get to it after presents) and it's usually a honey baked ham (no cooking! little clean up!), rolls, salad, fruit, edam cheese (a family tradition though I can't think why), and finally to make sure we're totally stuffed, Christmas cookies.

Swistle said...

Fun questions!

We send holiday cards, with a photo tucked inside.

We have colored lights on the tree.

We also have three strings of colored lights on a big shrub outside.

We discuss the Santa Claus story, but as a story---we don't pretend it's real.

On Christmas Day we have ham and my grandma's recipe for macaroni and cheese, and two kinds of jello salad, and green beans from a can.

Marie Green said...

We send a letter with pictures and short updates on what we have all been doing. I use Publisher and design my own card.

We have LOTS of white lights on our (real) tree. My husband used at least 4 strands!

We do Santa, because as a child I thought it was so much fun. We did have a couple of Christmas-es when our kids were very young where we weren't sure what we were going to do- the whole lying to them thing and all. But I'm glad we do santa- it's so fun!

We don't have a traditional Christmas meal- it depends on where we are! We do go out for breakfast every Christmas Eve however.

Pickles and Dimes said...

This year, we just sent out a photo card for our Christmas card. Nice and simple (we were *this close* to not sending any cards).

We change up our color scheme every year for the tree. This year it has red lights and we hung a bazillion candy canes on it. We probably should've hung some red ornaments on it or added ribbon, but we were lazy. The star has white lights and we put white lights in the windows in front of the tree. However, half of the tree lights went out a week ago and we haven't gotten around to fixing it.

Depending on where we're spending Christmas Day, we either have prime rib (Jason's side) or seafood chowder and ham (my side). This year it's the chowder and ham.

Mommy Daisy said...

If I do anything, I send Christmas cards. The past few years I've only sent out a few though.

White lights. I have red and white and gold ribbons and bows on the tree. Then some accent ornaments, then sentimental and kid-friendly ornaments too. (Well, I posted a picture a few weeks ago.)

No outdoor lights this year. I have some icicle ones, but Matt didn't get out early enough to get them up.

Zachariah has never really gotten into Santa much, and I've never pushed it. We speak more about Christmas as Jesus' birthday celebration, and then we exchange gifts with family and friends. He knows that grandparents/aunts/uncles get him gifts, and that's fine with him. I never believed in Santa so I guess I like it this way.

Christmas morning my mom makes a big breakfast (varies every year from breakfast casseroles to waffles to sausage gracy and biscuits for this year). We have lunch with Matt's extended family and mine too (two separate meals). My families is basically like Thanksgiving all over again plus the Christmas cookies and fudge and other goodies. In the evening we'll go to my Mom's family's dinner and have appetizer type things with all the Christmas goodies too. And Matt's dad started a Christmas Eve tradition with us of steaks for supper. Mmm.

Jess said...

We do not do holiday communication of any sort. Perhaps we'll send out photos once we have kids.

We have white lights on our tree. I grew up with colored tree lights but Torsten feels very strongly about white ones, and I have found that I really like them too, and that they set off the ornaments very nicely.

No, but maybe we'll do some tasteful white lights once we have a yard.

I think we will tell our kids the Santa story, but I don't really know.

My dad makes a traditional English dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Yum.

jess said...

We do the photo cards from shutterfly. I just ordered them yesterday.

White - only because they weren't tangled this year. I think we did colored last year, but I didn't pack them properly and it seemed like too much work to unravel.

I want to do outdoor light displays, but Adam finds a way to talk me out of it every year. This year he said we shouldn't waste the money on electricity (this is also why my mantle and tree have not been lit since I put them up). :(

Adam and I argue about this. I would prefer not to do the whole Santa thing and he really wants to do it. I guess we have a few years to figure out what we will do.

Growing up it was our tradition to have Cinnabon on Christmas morning. We then snacked all day and went to dinner at my Grandmas. This year we are thinking about doing our own dinenr with a turkey and everything.

Devan said...

We don't do a letter, because each child has a totally braggy website year round.
We do cards only.
We have white lights on one tree - our display tree - in the front room window and colored with random ornaments on our living room tree.
This is the first year we've had two trees.
We do promote Santa, but he only brings one gift + stockings per child, so he's not a huge deal.

We always have orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas and we often have other, healthier things too. Then we eat birthday cake (we make Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas Eve) the rest of the day along with a bunch of other crap. We might have turkey or something this year.

Anonymous said...

1. Cards and a picture of the family, but no letters.
2. White
3. No. We own lights for the outside of the house but have been to lazy to put them up thus far.
4. Maddie's too young to care about Sanata. We'll promote him, though. Both Gerald and I have fond memories of our childhood Santa.
5. This is my first year with the gastric bypass, so I'm sure I'll be eating sensibly this year. (The meat is typically ham in my family.)

Valley Momma said...

We usually send Christmas cards, although I haven't gotten around to addressing them yet this year! We usually take a picture of the kids (which is some kind of fun, let me tell ya!) and include it with the card.

Multi-colored lights for sure are on our tree! Although I prefer about 10 strands of lights... since my hubby puts the lights on, we only have about 3 strands on. Oh well!

We have white icicle lights along the roof line and two lighted trees on the stoop. We got a super cool retro plastic light up Santa claus this year! We alternate white and blue net lights on our bushes, too.

Since my son is just turning 4, this is his first year to be into Santa Claus. The past years he has been oblivious. I loved Santa when I was little and am soooo totally hoping my kids do, too.

Christmas Eve was usually our big meal... the main dish -- COUNTRY HAM! Love me some of that salty salty COUNTRY HAM!

Kelsey said...

1. We send a photo and letter - I love getting them so I think they're okay to send. We have lots of distant friends and family - I think they like getting the updates. Many people in our extended family don't read the blog!

2. Lots of white lights - we have a funky tree, it's really narrow, and I bet we have six strands of lights on there, worked up and down the branches. The benefit of the skinny tree is that we just carry it to the basement when the lights are still on it - I only relight it every three years or so.

3. We have NO outdoor decorations. At our old house we had lit garland on the little front porch. This house is designed in a way that makes it hard to decorate without doing a LOT of work, no cute little area to light. We'll have to figure something out soon though, because Harper is starting to make noise about our lack of outdoor decor. Maybe next year?

4. We both have great memories of the Santa stuff, so we have fun with it. We do the Jesus element of Christmas as well. Harper is totally into the magical stuff this year!

5. Since getting married and having kids we usually head to my in-laws for breakfast and we ALWAYS have monkey bread, along with things like fruit and eggs. Dinner changes from year to year.

Astarte said...

We do a letter inside a card, one of those cards that you insert a picture into and can then use as a frame if you want to stand it up somewhere. I find it hard to find the balance, too, and I don't even include the letter in the envelopes that go to people we talk to all the time, or in the ones that go to the piano teacher, etc.

We do both colored lights. We have a pre-lit tree that is all white, and then we add colored lights to that. This year we got the LED lights, and I actually like them. They're a weird shape, but I haven't blown the circuit once, so they really must do what they claim.

We have outside stuff all over the place. I put up a lighted garland over the door, and have a beautiful wreath that I couldn't resist from Lowes next to the door. Then, we have star lights and giant Christmas balls around the front porch. The stone wall on the side of the house where the street corner is has colored lights swagged down the entire length. Then, on the upstairs sleeping porch, I hung the smaller outdoor Christmas balls and colored lights.