Christmas Around The World Swap Questionnaire
1. Are you religious? Religious no, spiritual yes. I don't consider myself a Christian, but I do agree with and believe in many of the same ideals.
2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I've been knitting for two years this coming January. I'd definitely consider myself an advanced intermediate...the skills that I have learned, I'm pretty darn good at, but there is still plenty more out there yet to discover. Such is the beauty of knitting. :-D
3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? I love to read, especially mysteries or short stories. I'm a history nerd. I also enjoy cross stitch and embroidery, though I've not had much time to devote to it as of late. I LOVE antique samplers, and collect cool sampler patterns. Eventually, I'd like to work up a number of reproductions to hang on my walls. I love antiques, especially anything from the 20s-30s or earlier. And, I'm married to a musician, so I'm sort of a music geek by default.
4. Favorite color(s)? Green! I love greens, especially olive tones. I'm fond of jewel tones, like deep ruby red & sapphire blue, and I look best in neutrals & earth tones, like camel & olive & such. The only colours I *don't* like are neons, like hot pink or lime green.
5. Do you collect anything? Sock yarn! :-) Sock patterns, too. Um, I likes me some socks, iffn ya couldn't tell. Hee!
6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? Nope, not actually allergic to anything, but I am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke.
7. Do you have any pets? One crazy kitty that likes to supervise my knitting. She doesn't shed a huge amount, but the occasional hair is rather inevitable.
8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, mostly, or hot herbal tea. I don't do caffiene, so black teas are out. I love a good hot chocolate, though, especially with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in. Yum.
9. Cookies or Sweets? Um, yes? :-D I've a serious sweet tooth, so there is no "or" here. Chocolate is my friend, especially in fudge form.
10. Do you knit socks? Well, one does have to justify all the sock yarn, doesn't one? Indeedy I do knit socks! Loff them. I'm working on my 20th pair right now, actually.
11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I like knitting most anything, really. I love a good challenge, so Fair Isle and lace rock my boat. Cables make me incredibly happy (married to an Irishman, so it fits). I've made a number of nice sweaters, hats, scarves, & such over the last two years. I'm not as fond of scarves, because it seems like they never end, but I do make them if the occasion fits. (I'm making a geekcentric scarf for my dad for Christmas right now, actually.) I make weird stuff for my cat. There's not much I won't make, really, if I have a use for the finished object. Can't stand ponchos, though...
12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? Heck yeah!! As soon as possible after Thanksgiving, the tree goes up. I adore the Christmas season, and like to wallow in it as long as I can. It's much harder for me to get sick of it than it is for most people, as I don't work in retail (so I don't have to have all the unpleasant aspects, like long lines of cranky customers, muzak that won't quit, etc.), and I don't have television, so I don't get bombarded with commercials & jingles & holiday specials. It's not as up my nose as it is for most folks, and as a result, I can more easily filter out the less amusing aspects of the season, and keep the ones that I enjoy. Life Is Good. ;-)
13. Favorite holiday treats? Every year, I make several different varieties of fudge. My peanut butter fudge ROCKS, thankyouverymuch. I've also a nice butter cookie recipe, with little dots of raspberry & strawberry jam, and dusted with confectioner's sugar. I sometimes make my mom's old Christmas cookie recipe, which isn't particularly sweet, but flavored with nutmeg, and then frosted & decorated with the kids. I like to make spiced almonds & pecans (my mom is addicted to them--they're just like the ones at the fair), and frankly, I even love the non-treat holiday foods, like the roast turkey & stuffing & such. Mom usually gets some Godiva truffles for the table, too, which is always a nice treat. Loves me some Godiva!
14. Favorite holiday smells? Oooh, I'm really sensitive to smell, so this one is important to me! They say that a large part of memory is directly related to the olfactory sense, which seems right on to me. I LOVE spicy scents like cinnamon & cloves, and pine, and spiced oranges, and apples & cinnamon. I really love some of the Yankee Candle Company fragrances, like Brown Sugar & Spices, or Mistletoe. I always like to set out a lot of candles at the holidays, and make the whole house smell nice. It just sort of makes everything seem cozier.
15. Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate. Pretty traditional, I think. We tend to repeat ourselves year after year, and I quite like it that way. There's something very comforting in tradition, in knowing that no matter what ugliness rages on in the world outside, that things will always stay sane & comfortable by your own hearth (even if the hearth in question has to be metaphorical, like in our teeny little apartment). Christmas Eve is spent at home with my sweet little family, watching The Night Before Christmas (it was the Alistair Sim version when I was a kid, but now it's the Muppet version, which is my all-time favourite Christmas movie ever). After dinner, each person gets to choose one present to open, then the rest has to wait until morning. Christmas morning, I whip up a batch of muffins or cinnamon rolls, and we pretty much tear into the presents first thing. Stockings are always last, and then after the wrapping paper has been cleaned up, we head down to my parent's house for the rest of the day. Mother's tree is always quite a sight, very Victorian & beautiful, and she makes it a point to wrap all the gifts beautifully. (She even makes her wrapping paper match the color scheme of the tree & parlor...she's weird that way.) Dad's got a fire going in the fireplace, and the dining room table is heavy with cookies & truffles & thin sliced ham & onion rolls & all sorts of tasty things. We find it's easier to just graze when the mood strikes, rather than spend all the time preparing an elaborate sit-down dinner on Christmas. It's also a lovely excuse to get out my great-great-grandmother's fine china, which just makes the whole table sparkle. We generally stay at my parent's farm until nighttime, and then pack up the car (my folks love Christmas shopping for our boys) & head home. The weeks leading up to Christmas are spent watching all the cool Christmas videos we can get our hands on, baking, wrapping, and all the other assorted fun traditional Christmas stuff.
16. What are your favorite holiday traditions? Well, I suppose I got a bit carried away in the last question, so there's not much else to say. :-P I love piling the kids in the car & driving around to look at the Christmas lights. I love snuggling up on the couch & watching Charlie Brown's Christmas special for the fifteenth time. I love putting up the tree, hanging ornaments, and pondering all the happy memories they hold. Aside from wrapping five million oddly shaped items for my kids (why does everything they want come in really weirdly shaped packages?!), there's not much I *don't* like about Christmas.
17. Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about....” Family. Watching my little guys' faces, knowing they're still young & innocent enough to fully believe in all the magic the world can hold. Seeing my beloved husband, who's really not much more than an overgrown kid himself. Happy memories, and connection with a timelessness that we don't often experience.
18. If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….? Probably a slightly shabby, but well loved patchwork angel. Just a small one, with a muslin face & yarn hair (hee!), embroidered black eyes, & a little patchwork calico dress fraying at the edges. Not much to look at, but well loved, and watching over the whole family every year.
19. What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given? A couple years ago, when I was first learning to knit, my insightful husband realized the addiction was coming even before I did, and decided that what I really needed was a comfy corner all my own in which to feed that addiction. He gave me the most beautiful chair for my corner of the bedroom, super comfy & really attractive to boot, and a really bright lamp so that I can see the stitches. That was just the most thoughtful thing EVER. Of course, last year he made a large blocking board fitted into the back of a huge picture frame (so that it can have an out-of-the-way place to live when not in use), so he's pretty good at the whole thoughtful thing. I gave my youngest son a pair of socks last year that he still wears all. the. time, even though he's long since grown out of them. (The heel is in his instep, but he doesn't care. He just loves 'em to bits.)
20. When do you start your Christmas? Well, I start the season immediately after Thanksgiving. I get my husband to haul the decorations & tree & stuff out of storage the day or two before Thanksgiving, and then first thing in the morning the day after, I start putting everything up. I'm really lucky that he'll humour me so. He works in retail, and gets pretty darn sick of things most years.
21. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them? Ha! Every year I have grand plans of actually getting Christmas cards out, but in nine years of marriage, I've only actually succeeded two or three times. Oy. I always bought them, when I did actually do them. I've sort of given up on them recently, not because I don't want to send them, but because I don't want to stress about it. I've got enough to worry about, they're not very high on the priority list. Hopefully when I get older, I'll be able to do 'em again with more regularity.
22. What is your favorite Christmas dish? Well, like I said, we mostly do a buffet-type Christmas dinner, with little finger sandwiches & such that everyone can grab at their leisure. That said, the turkey or ham on my mom's onion-dill rolls, with a thin spread of english mustard...oh my. SO good.
23. Carolers are at your door. What do you do? Good heavens...I don't know! I've never had carolers at my door! I live in an apartment now, and before that, I lived in the country. I went caroling a time or two, though, and several nice ladies offered us hot chocolate or hot apple cider, which was lovely.
24. When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Like I mentioned before, one on Christmas Eve (helps with wiggly children, you know), and the rest on Christmas morning.
25. Do you celebrate with family or friends or both? Christmas & Christmas Eve, in my opinion, is a time for family. I love doing things with friends in the weeks leading up to & just after, of course, but those two days are just for family, to me.
I'm really looking forward to this swap, and I'm hoping that this post marks the beginning of my return to blogging. I've taken the summer off, and truth be told, there's just SO MUCH that's happened over the summer that I don't even know where to begin! It's hard not to be super wordy, too, even though that's my personal m.o. We'll see...