Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Tag

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Sarah of Dreams and Dragons  has tagged me with the Christmas Tag!
This tag is pretty much the same as all other blog tags, so I shall simply begin answering the questions.  :D

Thanks for the tag, Sarah!  This will be fun.

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What is your favorite Christmas treat?

Hmm.... I really love snickerdoodles, and gingersnaps, and those peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses in the center.  But there's this thing that we make that is a date stuffed with an almond, wrapped in bacon, and then baked.  Those things are SO YUMMY!  XD  I love them so much.  Which is funny because I never thought that dates were a thing that I would like.

Are there any special traditions that your family has to celebrate Christmas?

I don't know if we have anything terribly unique- but we do celebrate both Christmas eve and Christmas morning.  

How do you usually celebrate Christmas?

On the Eve, we get together with our Big Family- that's aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas, in-laws, and once or twice removed folks.  We read the Christmas story, sing songs, exchange gifts, and gorge ourselves on homemade snacks.  
On Christmas morning, it's just our immediate family.  We open our personal presents, have a lazy morning and a special breakfast, and basically just loaf around and use our gifts for the next few days until it's time to get back to work.  :)

Do you enjoy getting presents for your friends and family?  Do  you buy your gifts or go the homemade route?

I do enjoy giving gifts- I like to see their faces when they open their presents.  I especially like seeing them use the presents afterward.  I buy gifts and make gifts depending on who I'm giving to, and how much time I have.  I wouldn't give my uncles homemade gifts because they really aren't the sort who would find a use for paintings, wood-burnings, or crocheted slippers.   But my grandma and mom both love that stuff, so that's usually what they get.  

Is it cold where you live?  Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Oh yeah, it's very cold where I live.  North Dakota is classed as semi-arid.  Our temperatures swing between as hot as 100 Fahrenheit in the summer, and -40 or -50  Fahrenheit in the winter.  Most years we've got snow before Thanksgiving, and its almost thigh-deep by Christmas.  These past few years, however, we've had two brown Christmases in a row, which is freakish our standards.  This year is the first one that's been white in a while.  I'm very happy to have the snow back.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Some books, The Hobbit:  Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition, some raspberry-flavored hot cocoa packs, junk food, Girl With a Pearl Earring Soundtrack.  I'd also really appreciate some tall black medieval leather boots, but I have a large shoe size (Comes with being tall) and I wear therapeutic inserts, so it's tough for other people to buy shoes for me. 

What's your favorite Christmas song?

I love Oh, Holy Night! and What Child is This?, several Celtic Christmas tunes, including Suantrai and Don Oiche ud i mBeithil

(The first two songs were sung by my grandmother and my mom!  :D)

What is your favorite Christmas Memory?

It's hard to pick just one memory.  For the last several Christmases, I've been sick with the flu over the holidays! Not to mention, now that I'm nineteen I seem to have a harder time remembering specific Christmases.  But a couple of years ago, I opened up a present from my parents that contained a journal and a blank CD.  There was a note saying that it was representative of the money they were going to use to pay for my first book to be published, and my first album they would record.  It was one of the most touching moments I've ever felt- before that, I had been prepping myself to find a job and save my money until I could afford it.  But in that moment, my dreams were realized, and I very nearly cried.  And that's something, since I'm not often moved to tears!

What does your Christmas tree look like?

Here is a picture!  :D

What are you reading in December?  Anything festive?

No, nothing festive.  I'm still trying to get through Frank Herbert's Dune.  I'm ashamed it's taking this long, but to be fair I have been busy trying to complete illustrations for my fairy tale book.

Are you an organized little elf, or are you still shopping/preparing on Christmas Eve?

I'm usually done with my stuff by Christmas eve.  I like to get that load off my chest.  

How soon do you start getting into the Christmas spirit?

After Thanksgiving, definitely.  As much as I love Christmas, it can get tiring if I'm not careful.  

Do you make any Christmas crafts? Decorations? Send physical Christmas cards?

I almost always do paintings for my family members, either that or woodburnings.  I don't make cards often, but when I do I use watercolor to paint flowers and such.  :)

Here's a painting I did for my mom this year:  

What's on the menu for Christmas day?

Hors d'oervres, mostly.  Cookies, crackers, meat, cheese, fruit, salad, cake, egg nog, sherbet, pie, pickles, olives, you name it!  Last night, someone brought lazagna (which was awesome!) and a Puetorican ham roast.

What makes it FEEL like Christmas for you? (Weather, specific tradition, food, smell, person, etc.?)

Everything about it!  Snow, music, the kids' excitement, those Rankin-Bass holiday movies...

Do you have relatives coming?  Excited?  Nervous?

I have a lot of relatives that come for Christmas, but I don't really get nervous.  :)  I do like seeing my extended family members, since we hardly ever get together.

What famous Christmas character do you most identify with? (Scrooge, Elf, Tiny Tim, the Grinch, Santa, etc.)

Rudolf, because my nickname is Rudy.  They used to call me "Emma-rudy-toody".  

If you were to start a new Christmas tradition, what would it be?

I don't think I would add anything new to our traditions.  Though when reading the Christmas story, I would want to read a bit from Genesis about the Fall of Man, a bit from the old testament prophets, and finally the birth of Jesus Christ, therefore establishing the history and context of the event.  :)

What Christmas movie do you like to watch this time of year or what's your favorite?

The Santa Claus is a family favorite.  We watch it every year.  
On the years when I am sick with the flu, I watch The Man from Snowy River and Emma by myself. On those nights, I used to spend a lot of time on the Underground, hoping some of the members would be there to wish each other a merry Christmas.

What's your favorite Christmas book or book with a Christmassy part?

I actually don't have one!  I don't read many books that have a Christmassy theme.  Though I suppose Narnia counts, in a way.  :)

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And now, since it's already the evening of Christmas Day, I don't think I'll pass the tag on officially- but if you see this and want to do it, be my guest!  Consider yourself tagged.  I look forward to seeing your posts if you do.

-Emmarayn Redding


  1. Lovely answers! That gift was so sweet, and I love the painting you did.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! :D I'm glad you like the painting. My camera didn't pick up on the depth and color as well as I would have liked, but you can still get the gist of it.

  2. I love that idea of reading from Genesis and the prophets, before reading about the birth of Christ. Can I steal that?

    1. Of course! I think it's a great way of establishing the true wonder of Jesus's birth. After all, a person who's unfamiliar with God wouldn't understand the significance if they didn't first know the danger our sin puts us in.

  3. What a beautiful painting--your mom is so lucky to have a daughter who would take the time to paint that for her!