1. When do you put up and take down your Christmas decorations?
I usually put them up around the third Sunday of Advent, so that’s typically a week or two before Christmas. I like to wait until Epiphay to take them down, as it’s the last day of the Christmas season for Catholics.
2. What do you do to simplify the holiday season?
We’ve vastly downsized the cooking part of the holiday. This year, we didn’t host a Christmas Open House as we’ve done in previous years so that’s felt nice. I try to get as much shopping done in advance as possible.
3. What do you do to remind yourself and your family what the Christmas season is all about?
My sons are teens, so they’ve pretty much figured it all out. I sing in my parish choir, so I enter into the season pretty early with Advent music and then sing at both Midnight Mass and Christmas Day. We have an Advent wreath. I usually read through a book of daily Advent Devotions.
4. How do you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Both days are with family. This year, we will spend Christmas Eve with my brother and his family who have just moved to Toronto. They have young children, so it will be a relatively early night. Then I’ll be at church at 11 pm to prep for Midnight Mass with the choir. Christmas Day will be spent at home. Stockings first thing in the morning, and then Mass at 11:30. My brother and his family and my mom will join us Christmas afternoon for gifts and dinner.
5. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
It has to be the music, sacred and secular. On the latter side, I am particularly enjoying Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas this year, as well as Holly Cole’s Christmas disc Baby It’s Cold Outside.
6. Did you do the whole Santa thing growing up? What do you like/not like about continuing the tradition?
We did it, and continued it with our children. We told our kids (when they asked) that it was up to them whether they believed in Santa, but that Santa would continue to visit. Now, we all buy Santa gifts for each other at Christmas.
7. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
Snowballs – essentially a shortbread ball coated with coconut. Yumsters! But I’m all about shortbread of any kind. Butter and sugar. What else does one need?
8. How do you take your egg nog?
With rum and nutmeg. Everytime I say “nutmeg” I think of Stephen Colbert’s Christmas and John Legend’s hilarious number!
9. What is your favorite Christmas carol and why?
I don’t think I have one. But off the top, Lo, how a Rose e’er Blooming has to be near the top.
10. When was the last time you had a white Christmas?
Growing up in Ottawa, we had one every year, I think. Here in Toronto? Most years. I never got used to Christmas decorations in Atlanta with no snow.