Fiiiiiiiiinally getting around to completing HD's homework assignment.
1. What is the most outrageous gift you'd give someone for the holidays if you had unlimited funds?
This is really hard to answer because obviously the answer changes depending on who I'm thinking about. I guess the only person that I would really want to give an outrageous gift to would be Kristin. I would give Kristin a trip to an intensive immersion Spanish school. There was one our favorite town in Nicaragua that she's mentioned longingly before. I don't know how long something like that would take, but that's what I'd do. Pay her expenses, clear her schedule, give her some spending money, and ship her off. And, since chances are she wouldn't be completely happy unless Julia and I were with her, I guess I'd have to pay my expenses, clear my schedule, and ship me (and Julia) off with her. And, though Nicaragua calls to us, it would be really cool if there were one of those programs near to where Sublime lives, so we could visit with her and she could laugh at our Spanish.
2. What is the most outrageous gift you'd WANT from someone else?
And for me? Well, what I'd LOVE would be for someone to give me the gift of a housekeeper and Oprah's chef for a year. The housekeeper would only need to come once a week, and I'd be happy if Oprah's chef just cooked healthy delicious meals for our family five days a week -- I think I could handle the weekends... I know. So domesticated. But just think of all the other things I could do with my time if these domestic tasks were taken care of. Not to mention all the cute clothes I could probably fit back into if I ate better (and really not to mention all the other, ahem, evening endeavors I'd feel more like engaging in if I felt better about my body). So really, it's a multi-faceted and exotic gift. I know, I know, I could do the better eating without Oprah's chef, but I'm just so tired whine whine whine and this is a fantasy...
3. What is your family's weirdest holiday tradition?
My father's family are immigrants from Denmark. Unfortunately, at the time that they immigrated (late 1940s) it was thought that immigrants should put aside everything from their former cultures in order to socialize properly. So the children who were born in Denmark lost their language and culture, and the children who were born here never learned it to start with. Now the only things of Denmark left are some old family recipes, an aesthetic sense in home furnishings and art, some odd phrases that pop out at odd times from our mouths, my grandmother's increasingly strong accent as she ages into dementia, a fierce pride and longing for our homeland (several of us have learned Danish to compensate for the fact that we never knew it to start with), and Christmas. Christmas is when you'll encounter the most Danish cooking, the most Danish art displayed (as ornaments and decorations), the most Danish flags (flying proudly from our trees), and hear the most Danish phrases and carols coming out of our mouths. We celebrate Christmas with a huge party on Christmas Eve (ending with the traditional Rice Pudding topped with raspberry or current sauce where everyone looks for the hidden blanched almond to win a prize). Kristin would probably nominate the fact that we all eagerly eat this pudding as our family's strangest holiday tradition, but I would say that there are two other things tied for the distinction of Strangest Holiday Tradition, and they're both oral things, so I suppose I'm redefining this to be the Strangest Holiday Oral Tradition.
In Denmark (or maybe this was peculiar to our family) on Christmas Eve, families hold hands around the Christmas tree and dance while they sing carols. Several years ago when I was very young, it was my father's oldest brother's turn to host the family party. Their house was pretty small upstairs, and the tree was very crowded with presents -- no room for dancing. But downstairs his wife had a preschool set up, lots of room to dance, but no second Christmas tree. So they took their jumparoo (a strange piece of equipment that look like a colorful metal spider surrounded by a giant, inflated innertube for jumping on) and strung it with Christmas lights. It looked a bit like this (please forgive my crookedy lines). And that, my friends, is what the family danced and sang around that year. And ever since then it is tradition to threaten carol-reluctant people, "don't make us get out the jumparoo." It's not Christmas without the threat of the Jumparoo.
The other tradition is a joke. Every year my uncle has to tell the traditional joke. We all await this joke eagerly, and the year he refused to tell it just felt like someone had pissed in my Christmas sock. His job is to tell the joke. Our job is to groad loudly and wonder aloud how he can possibly tell the same joke year after year. And here's the joke:
"I'm sorry, kids. But it looks like Rudolph isn't going to be able to lead Santa's sleigh this year. [kids (or now, adults, since none of us are kids anymore): Ooooh, why not?] Well, he picked his nose and electrocuted himself. [groans from everyone]."
And there you have it. A little bit of holiday spirit to start this month out right. I'm studiously ignoring the fact that I still don't have a period and the RE can't see me until next Friday. Oh, yeah, and Julia's sick again. AGAIN.