On the First Day of Christmas... I Answered Festive Questions

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Merry Christmas Everyone! Today is the first of my 'Twelve Days of Christmas Blogs' and I hope you enjoy it. 25 questions all about Christmas chosen by both Katy Chapman and me and answered by me on here and by Katy on her blog.

1. What was you favourite thing about Christmas as a child?

Helping Mum to make the Christmas cake in the months leading up to Christmas (eating the icing was my favourite bit), doing Christmassy stuff at school, especially the Christmas nativity/show, writing my list to Santa using the Argos catalogue for inspiration, receiving a letter back from Santa (other than my birthday it was the only time I got post with my name on), making paper chains and lanterns (thanks to my Watch With Mother video), putting up the decorations and tree and going to the pantomime at The Orchard Theatre.

2. What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Every year when we went to the pantomime Santa would bring me a special present early. One year we were sitting in the living room waiting to go and I heard a massive thump upstairs. I ran up and on my bed (all wrapped up obviously) was a Playmobil Grande Mansion. Now I’m grown up I know that Santa only delivers on Christmas Eve so I understand that my parents did it somehow, but I don’t know how they made the noise when they were sitting with me. Maybe it was Santa after all…

3. What has been your most memorable present?

A desk that my nan’s neighbour made for me. It was a big with a slanted top and a ridge at the bottom so that my paper wouldn't slide off. The desk top lifted up and had loads of space inside it to put all my pens and paper. I loved it!

4. When do you start to feel like Christmas is on its way?

Usually after my birthday. Yes, you are correct in thinking that I am a July born and that is way too early, but your judgement does not pierce my Christmas candy-made armour. In all seriousness though, Fireworks Night is when I feel I can legitimately start listening to my Christmas playlist, watch Christmas films and TV specials and get my Christmas planner out for the year. Yes, I have a Christmas planner. Judge all you want.

5. Do you have any Christmas traditions, either family ones or your own?

Christmas breakfast at Hazelhurst is always ham and sausage rolls. It was an Evans tradition and so when my dad and step-mum got married, it became a Newbury tradition and I love it so much that if I ever have children, it will become an Abegg tradition too.

6. What would be the top three songs on your Christmas playlist?

Oh, that’s so hard. It changes every year. This year I am loving ‘Thank God It's Christmas' by Queen, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ by Paper Aeroplanes, and ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ by Reel Big Fish.

7. What is your favourite Christmas film?
I want to say Love Actually, but I tend to watch that in the run up to Christmas, so for that pure, magical, Christmas joy then it has to be Miracle on 34th Street. Then again, I do love A Muppet Christmas Carol. Oh, no, wait... DIE HARD!

8. If Christmas were a scent, what would it be?
Any Christmas Yankee Candle. And cinnamon. And mulled wine. And Christmas cake. And gingerbread. Oh, and Zoella's Bake My Day perfume! But thinking back to my childhood when we went Christmas shopping in Bromley, there was always a stall selling roasted chestnuts and whenever I smell that I know Christmas isn’t far away.

9. Celebrations, Miniature Heroes, Quality Street or Roses?
I get my Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl and put a mixture of all of them in for guests (OK, me) to munch on and top them up as and when needed. I also hang Candy Canes around the edge. But for me personally I would happily have a tin full of Roses Strawberry Dreams. 

10. When do you put your Christmas tree up?
Whenever possible Mum and I put up our decorations the first weekend of December. If the first weekend in December is the 6th/7th then I try to push for the last weekend of November. I'd like to put them up five weeks before Christmas when I watch Love Actually and write my cards, but apparently that's too early. Just wait until I have my own house!

11. Do you favour a real tree or a fake one?
Fake because you can use it again and again and it doesn't make a mess, but I do love the smell of a real tree.

12. What are your feelings on tinsel?
It should be law that for the month of December everyone either wears it in their hair or as a belt/scarf/other acceptable fashion accessory.

13. Do you prefer clear or coloured lights?
I like clear lights because I feel they look more sparkly like snow, especially when they are on the tree with white tinsel and they make it sparkle even more.

14. What do you put on top of your tree: an angel or a star?
Star. If I had an angel I’d start worrying about Weeping Angels and I’d be terrified that I’d look at my tree, see it’s missing and turn around and see it standing right behind me.

15. What is your favourite Christmas decoration aside from the tree?
It has to be our Christmas Candle Carousel/Pyramid. Mum got it years ago at a Christmas Market in Munich (possibly Frankfurt) and I just love it. Because we haven't had Christmas at home for a long time, we haven't had reason to get it out. I was determined to have it out this year, but when Mum got the decorations out of the loft she couldn't find it, so I think we need to have a hunt ready for next year.

16. On Christmas Eve do you stay up to hear the sleigh bells or go to bed early so that Christmas comes quicker?
When I first started going down to my dad's for Christmas I would go to Midnight Mass so I would be awake as it became Christmas Day, but since my step-gran passed away we haven't gone so I've returned to going to bed at a reasonable time. And that's not a Christmas thing, it's just a Tracy thing. I love sleep. Going to bed early is like a Christmas present to myself.

17. What is your idea of the perfect Christmas Day?
I'd actually like to start on Christmas Eve if that is OK. Everyone gets to the house late in the afternoon. There would be a Christmas Eve box in the middle of the living room and when we open it there's a pair of Christmas pyjamas for everyone and stocking with everyone's names on. There's also loads of popcorn, sweets and hot chocolate along with a family Christmas film for us to all watch together. As the film is ending we hear singing coming from outside so we put our coats, hats, gloves and scarves on and join the carol singers for a few songs. By now it's getting late and it's time for the children to go to bed. We read The Night Before Christmas to them and their excitement knocks them out for the count. With the children asleep, it's time for the adults to party and we have friends around for a few hours before climbing into bed ourselves. On Christmas morning the children would wake up and open the presents that they’ve found in their stockings. Then they’d wake us all up much too early, but we wouldn’t mind because it would have snowed overnight and it just looks so magical and they are so excited that we forgive them. We’d all have our traditional Christmas breakfast while we're still in our PJs and then go through to the living room and gather in front of the real fire and Christmas tree to open our presents. While we're opening our presents, it starts to snow again and the children go a bit (OK, more than a bit) crazy so we get bundled up in our winter clothes and go outside for a snowball fight. By the time the adults have admitted defeat to the children and we've got changed into warm, dry clothes, it's nearly lunch time. We all sit down to the dinner table and a wondrous feast appears as if by magic on the table (I know it was believable up to this point, but it's my perfect Christmas and during my perfect Christmas no-one has to lift a finger!). We pull the crackers, put on our hats, pocket our gifts for later (it's the perfect Christmas so the things are actually useful/wanted) and we read the abysmal jokes while tucking into the best meal ever. Once we've finished every course the table magically clears itself so that the whole family can enjoy the rest of the day together. The afternoon is spent playing games and listening to music until we decide we are too tired to function and we curl up in the living room to watch a film. It's at this point that I should mention that the sofas would be HUGE and everyone can fit on them comfortably and put their feet up. Some of us inevitably fall asleep and miss the end of the film, but we are all together and have a wonderful day and that's all that really matters.

18. What do you wear on Christmas Day?
I wear something different every year. A few of years ago it was a posh frock, last year it was a grey top, leggings and winter leg warmers with pom-poms. If I'm spending Christmas Day with my niece and nephews then it's got to be something comfy that I can run around in easily. This year I am wearing a dress I got from George at Asda that is covered in Santa hats, holly, candy canes and gingerbread men. I've also got my Mickey and Minnie Christmas jumper on standby in case I get cold because it's fricking awesome and I love it!

19. What's the deal with presents in your house? How, when, from who?
So as I’ve already explained, I used to get a special present from Santa when we went to the pantomime. Then on Christmas morning I’d find a stocking at the end of my bed which had lots of little gifts in. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and After Eights in there as well as other little things. Then when we went go downstairs everyone’s presents would be under the tree and we’d all sit and open them together. When I started going down to my dad’s for Christmas I had a pillowcase instead of a stocking for a while, but then I got my stocking back. Everyone else’s presents were still under the tree, but we would have to wait until after breakfast and after the Browns had been come round for Christmas drinkies. Then as we all got older and Santa started to visit other children so we changed the way we did things. Everyone has a pot with their name on and in the run up to Christmas we all put what we want to spend in each other’s pots. We then give my mum and step-mum our Christmas wish lists and they go out and get all the shopping. It works really well because we can either have lots of little presents or one or two big presents.

20. You've just pulled a Christmas cracker and it's the best you've ever had. What gift do you have and what is the joke?
The gift would be a set of marbles because I’m always losing mine and the joke would be ‘What did no-one bid for Rudolf and Blitzen on eBay?’ ‘Because they were two deer!’ Get it? Two deer! It sounds like ‘too dear’! *laughs hysterically with tears rolling down her face and holding her sides to stop them from splitting*

21. What does a typical Christmas dinner mean for you?
Sit down. Swap seats because my niece and nephews decide they want to sit next to me. Swap again because they decide they want to sit next to each other. Pull crackers. Put hats on. Watch my 8-and-10-years-older-than-me brothers make holes in their hats and wear them as superhero masks. Read out bad jokes. Swap cracker gifts. Eat starter. Pile my plate full of turkey, ham, pigs in blankets, roasties, Yorkshire puds, carrots, broccoli, stuffing and gravy. Choose from about three different desserts, my preference being chocolate mousse with After Eights. Drink copious amounts of WKD Blue. Accept the fact I will not be able to move until the New Year.

22. What do you do on Boxing Day?
It depends. With our family we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day one year and Boxing Day the next and alternate. This is so both my brothers and their families can spend Christmas Day with each family every other year. This year Christmas Day is on Christmas Day (it makes sense to us!) and I don't know what ours plans are for Boxing Day yet. Drink more WKD Blue and watch films? Unfortunately I won't be at home to do parkrun. What. A. Shame.

23. When is Christmas 'over' for you?
I know you don't have to take decorations down until Epiphany, but I like to get up on New Year's Day morning (afternoon if it was a heavy one seeing the previous year off) and take everything down. New Year, New Start. Deep in my heart though, Christmas is NEVER over! 

24. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? No cheating!
Kinda cheating as I bought a copy of The Night Before Christmas recently as I wanted to start reading it to my niece and nephews on Christmas Eve and now that's the only way I can remember it. "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On, Cupid! On, Comet! On, Donner and Blitzen!" Did you know that Donner was originally called Donder? He was according to my copy of the book anyway. Of course, there is also Rudolf who joined the team in modern times when smog became an issue!

25. Do you believe in Santa?
Duh! Of course I do! Are you telling me you don't? Did you not read my story about the Playmobil Grande Mansion?!
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