I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Illinois, meeting Hazel and spending some quality time hanging out with Jamie and his Thomas the Tank Engine videos.

I have a plant to water, a car to unload, dinner to rustle up, a weird-smelling gerbil cage to clean, and some lesson prep work to do for tomorrow, so the travelogue and collection of adorable baby photos will have to wait. In the meantime, I swiped this little meme off Brigid’s blog and thought it would make a nice intro to the holiday season:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Bags. I don’t have time to dink around with wrapping paper, and bags are reusable, which makes them better for the environment.

2. Real tree or artificial?

3. When do you put up the tree?
When I have 20 minutes to spare.

4. When do you take the tree down?
When I have 10 minutes to spare.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Only if I’m in the mood for it, which I’m usually not.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Does my little sister count?

7. Hardest person for whom you buy presents?
Dad. He never wants anything.

8. Easiest person for whom you buy presents?

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, if I remember and get them out on time.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can’t recall any really bad ones.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
“A Christmas Story” is the best film ever made.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
When I get a hand free.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not that I can recall.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

16. Lights on the tree?
Color wheel under it. Lights plus aluminum tree equal electrocution hazard.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Probably “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Varies from year to year.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
On an aluminum tree? Neither.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
Retro. I’m hoping to score a set of sputniks to go on the tree this year.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Nothing. I’m holding out for four new beehives this spring (two to replace the ones we lost this summer, and two new ones — the Italians aren’t cutting it, so I’m dying to experiment with Russians, Buckfasts and Carnies).