1. What is your favorite Christmas film?
Sam ~ I am a complete sucker for Love Actually, and have watched it every holiday season since I was about 14. I’m usually not a huge rom-com fan, but something about that movie just calls to me. Maybe the warm, Christmas-y feels, or the lovely British accents… but mostly just Hugh Grant’s hilarious dance scene. And his attempt at caroling to the children. Basically, Hugh Grant doing anything.
Kelly – The Santa Claus warms my heart ever year, Elf makes me laugh until I cry, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown just tickles my nostalgia in a very specific way. I can sing every word to Spot’s Magical Christmas and somehow still enjoy it (concerning? Oh well). Please don’t make me choose.
2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Sam ~ Yes, although I can’t remember the specifics. Snow is quite rare back home, so most Christmases tend to be wet and grey. It never really bothered me growing up, and I now live in Montreal so I get my snow fix every year.
Kelly – Yes! And every year without snow feels a little bit off. There’s just a little added magic when that white stuff begins to fall. Everything shines a little brighter and the nights have this lovely, quiet purple haze. Montreal will never take my love of snow from me. Never!
3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Sam ~ I go home to Vancouver each Christmas, and spend most of my time lazing around with my parents, friends, two dogs, and my cat.
Kelly – all over, really. For the longest time my family spent Christmas morning at my home in Pennsylvania and then drove to Connecticut for a big family Christmas dinner, and then up to Boston for Boxing Day. These days my parents live in Massachusetts, so I’ll be going home to stay with friends for a few days and then traveling up to stay with my family in the new house (a somewhat nerve wracking, somewhat exciting prospect).
4. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Kelly – I’m a sucker for Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting’s Baby It’s Cold Outside or, of course, anything Michael Bublé.
Sam ~ Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, or Johnny Mercer’s Winter Wonderland. My mom plays all three on repeat during every holiday season, and there is little that reminds me more of Christmases past than the heartwarming refrain of “in the meadow we can build a snowman…”
5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
Sam ~ Growing up my family followed the tradition of opening one present each on Christmas Eve, but I’m now able to contain myself and wait until Christmas morning.
Kelly – Ditto! Except, this was one of those things growing up that I thought was unique about my family, but apparently everyone does it. Who knew?
6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Sam ~ Dasher and Prancer and Connor and Vixen? That is literally all I can remember… I also feel like there’s a Blizzard in there. Does he have more…? Oh! And Rudolph of course.
Kelly – CONNOR??? Oh Sam…
“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen…”
Kelly – My Christmas traditions were sacred, set in stone, signed, sealed, and delivered for my entire life, but this year we’re starting over. My parents have moved, everything is changed, and it’s time for new traditions. It’s a little sad – I had this Christmas Cookie party every year from the age of 5 to the age of 19 that started serving as our high school reunions which I will dearly miss – but change
can be is good.
Sam ~ To be honest I can’t really think of any hallowed traditions that I follow every year. I suppose my family does have holiday rituals, but they’re quite vague – family time is a must, but the specific activities change from year to year.
8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Sam ~ At home we always get a real tree, and the cat ends up with pine needles nestled in her fur and the dogs play around and knock ornaments off the lower branches until the entire living room is kind of a Christmas-y disaster. It’s perfect.
Kelly – Nothing beats that smell, so my Dad and I always go pick out a real Christmas tree for our home. At our apartment this year we set up a big fake one and it is both beautiful and beautifully convenient, so I can’t knock it.
9. What is your all-time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?
Sam ~ mmm, maybe stuffing or rum balls or peppermint bark or mochas or… wow, now I’m salivating.
Kelly – twice. baked. potatoes. Next.
10. Be honest: do you like giving or receiving presents better?
Kelly – Oh come on, there is nothing better than watching someone you love open up a gift that you’ve been sitting on for a month and seeing their face light up. Nothing.
Sam ~ I agree with Kelly, but receiving that perfect gift is pretty great too.
11. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
Sam ~ my parents were really strict about TV and video games growing up, and I had it drilled into me from a young age that “too much TV makes your brain go mushy.” But, after years of pleading, they gave me a Nintendo DS for Christmas when I was 13. I was obsessed with Animal Crossing, this ridiculous game that involved working off a constantly increasing mortgage. (I was a very pragmatic child, and paying off a mortgage in a video game seemed like a logical use of my time).
Kelly – MY WII! I was so obnoxious about “subtly” hinting at how much I wanted it that I’m surprised my parents didn’t just not get it for me out of spite (because that would have been darkly hilarious for anyone that day who wasn’t me). But they didn’t do that, thank God, and I literally screamed when I opened it (again, obnoxious!!) We still use that Wii to this day. College friendships have been both forged and fought over during games of Mario Kart.
12. What would be your dream place to visit over the holiday season?
Sam ~ FIJI. As the first place to celebrate the New Year (due to its proximity to the International Date Line) Fiji throws huge celebrations on December 31st. Imagine ringing in the New Year in a tropical paradise… too bad its takes 26 hours and $3000 to fly there.
Kelly – Hogwarts.
Sam ~ …scratch Fiji, Hogwarts all the way.
13. Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
Sam ~ I’m not terrible at present wrapping, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the corners to fold down perfectly. Luckily I have uber-nitpicky, wrapping-obsessed friends to do it for me.
Kelly – LIKE ME! All-pro. I love it.
Kelly – I was on the train en route from Montreal to New York looking out over the gray wintry waters of Lake Champlain as we whizzed by and it was finally starting to dawn on me that I was truly going home, that in a few short hours I was going to see my friends, my parents, my dog. For now, the stress of exams was over. The stress of assimilation was put on pause. I leaned my forehead against the cool glass and felt a tear run down my cheek. Merry Christmas.
Sam ~ That time my cat accidentally drank some eggnog and threw up.
15. What made you realize the truth about Santa?
Sam ~ I remember having extremely serious discussions over the plausibility of Santa Claus with a friend in grade three. We both agreed that Santa wasn’t a magical fat man from the North Pole but weren’t willing to completely abandon the fantasy. Instead, we decided that Santa Claus was a government employee whose job was to deliver presents to children and maintain the facade of jolly old Saint Nick. Like I said, intensely pragmatic child here.
Kelly – As a child who genuinely believed I still had a chance at receiving my Hogwarts letter until I was 13, the magical story surrounding Santa Claus never really bothered me. In fact, it was glorious. Christmas felt like magic, so it only made sense. There was an episode of Bones where they made a joke about Santa not being real and my mom instinctively looked over at me with these wide, guilty eyes and that was that. I remember deciding that night that I would have one last hurrah, one last kiddie Christmas of going along with the Santa story. I remember writing a letter to Santa sort of poking fun at the whole idea (“I saw Mom has helped you out with some of the shopping this year“) but I don’t think my parents got it.
16. Do you make New Years Resolutions? Do you stick to them?
Sam ~ I used to make them when I was younger, but I never actually stuck to them. Mostly because I would make huge declarations in moments of profound inspiration like “I’m going to work out every single day!” or “I’m going to read 150 books this year!” and then realize there was no way that either of those were possible. I’m going to try to come up with more realistic resolutions for 2016, and hopefully I’ll finally be able to stick to them.
Kelly – The one question where I get to be the pragmatic one! I always make New Years Resolutions but they are always tiny (and, as a result, achievable). For 2015 I wanted to read 12 leisure books (1 a month) and learn how to apply eyeliner like a grown-ass woman. Check and check.
17. What makes the holidays special to you?
Kelly – I really like the idea of everyone collectively deciding to do kind of weird, earnest, cheerful shit together. The meaning of Christmas is that we choose to give it meaning and I find that so lovely.
Sam ~ That joyous, magical, Christmas-y feeling that’s in the air this time of year. Also, again, stuffing.
Dear Readers, what makes Christmas special to you? We thought this tag was so fun and would love to see some of you answer it as well. Sending love and season’s greetings your way!