1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
2. Real tree or artificial?
A teeny artificial one. Real would be good, but I live on my own so it seems a bit silly.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Beginning of Advent
4. When do you take the tree down?
As late as poss. Crib stays up for ages and ages.
5. Do you like eggnog?
Never had it. What is it? Seen it mentioned in films ....
6. Favourite gift received as a child?
My birthday is on Christmas Day, so I have received lots of prezzies on that day and don't really distinguish between them. (Apart from the fact they are all great.)
7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
2 cribs. One ACN from the Holy Land and one my Mum got me in Crakow which is very little, very colourful and is like a mini mid European Onion domed affair in bright colours.
8. Hardest person to buy for?
I just go for the direct approach and ask people what they would like. Menfolk tend to want tokens (yawn, but that's what they want, so that's what they get.) Womenfolk, well I know what they like and they are always appreciative, so no probs really. I like looking for things for people.
9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I'm with Fr Justin. Bit mean this whole prezzies are rubbish thing. There was a Christmas where my entire family bought me tights in many colours - including red and yellow. Think Joseph. Must have been some mid 80s fashion meets girly rite of passage. 17 pairs as I remember. Not rubbish exactly, just a little odd. I did wear them, maybe not the yellow ones. I don't really wear that colour.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. See post below. No round robins. Fountain pen, ACN. Done. I like sending people things.
11. Favourite Christmas Movie?
I watched Brief Encounter with Grandma after Midnight Mass in the last few years. We went to bed at 3am? She thought it was the one where she throws herself under the train, but I reminded her that was Anna Karenina. Cheery, eh? She liked the clipped 40s accents, romance, though making the correct moral decision in the end, 'Darling, you've been away,' distant wistful looks etc and the Rach Piano Concerto. Perfect for that, can't quite be bothered to go to bed, not cooking Xmas Dinner later, early morning. Who says octogenarians have no go?
I like The Snowman. It looks beautiful and sounds beautiful.
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Chocs have been given to The Passage when I had a year 7 form. Even I can't eat 13 boxes.
14. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?
Xmas Dinner, Xmas Pudding, Xmas Cake. Cold turkey and stuffing with oven chips following Xmas Day. Left overs are fun. I used to really like it when all the shops were shut and you were walled up with your family eating leftovers and playing with your prezzies, mixed in with lots of sweets. Few walks. James Bond film on Xmas Day. Deck chairs out becuase there weren't enough chairs. The lounge turned into a cinema. Kids at the front on the floor really watching seriously, Grandma generation in the third row, commenting on the Queen's outfit on the Speech, drinking tea and chatting through the car chases...but I digress.
15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Coloured, but I couldn't get too fussed. Not those blue ones you see in London. They look cold.
16. Favourite Christmas song?
The Shepherd's farewell from Berlioz L'Enface du Christ.
My Hod says that it's sentimental. Good.
I copied this from Fr Justin and seem to have deleted no 17.
Was that home or away?
As a child alternate years at home or at my Aunt and Uncle's about 20 miles away. Both exciting. About 13/14 people 6 kids, 5 in the parent generation and 2 or so in the grandparent generation. Total present fest for me especially and great fun. I'm not really fussed now about my birthday or presents (though they are nice off course,) but it was very exciting at the time.
18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We've got naughty in recent years. All after Midnight Mass, including the year we went to Westminster Cathedral. We arrived at 10.30 or so and my Dad said we'd just have a peek and decided immediately that it was time to take a seat as it was already 2/3s full rising to jam packed including all the side chapels and totally packed staning everywhere.
As a child, early, but with my parents as once as a very young child I whipped through them and didn't know who had given me what, which made thanking people difficult.
Where's the question about thank you letters? I hated them as a child, but like them now. I'm pleased I was made to do them, especially to Grand Aunts who we rarely saw, but who always sent tokens - 50p from Boots in one case. 50p was a lot in the 70s, but Boots didn't sell what it does now. I think I cashed that one in with my parents. I appreciate a lot more now the fag that they went to.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Magazines full of stuff to buy and I know I've gone on a lot about presents, but that was as a child and we didn't get stuff apart from birthday and Chrsitmas and they are the same for me.
What I seem to see is all about adults. It's not about how to make people welcome in your home. When did you last see something about catering for the elderly? Or, little jobs kids can do to help? How to help the person 'doing' Christmas. Sharing the load etc. You could make a really interesting feature on lots of different things families do. There's lots of good stuff out there that would be good to learn about.
Articles in newspapers about office parties, people getting drunk and behaving badly.
Drunks on trains.
People making comments about me not drinking much in London, when they know I have to travel home on my own. People making comments about me taking taxis late a night when they know I have to travel home on my own. As I point out occasionally, no-one will notice til I don't show up for work the next day, if anything does goes wrong. I don't feel worried about what I do. I have my system, it's worked so far, but it does depend on being sober. It doesn't depend on copying everone else.
End of moan.
22. Best thing about this time of year?
Few. Stop writing. Check you have filled in your Centre Number, Candidate Number and name. Hold up your script for an invigilator to collect.
Can I go now? Did I pass?
You too can take the Christmas test, if you are short of stuff to do. Let me know and I'll read it.