1. Do you enjoy receiving or giving presents more?
I enjoy giving gifts and seeing the recipient’s face light up when they open the package and find something they really like.
I enjoy receiving gifts, too. This past Mother’s Day, BigBob totally surprised me with a new leather briefcase. He had noticed how ratty my other bags looked and went shopping by himself. Usually, we just go shopping together, make a purchase, and consider it a gift for a particular occasion. But he selected a briefcase without consulting me and, to my delight, picked a bag I love and use all the time. So the moment when he presented it to me was special.
2. What is your favorite holiday film?
3. Have you started or finished your gift shopping?
I have purchased a few things, but have more to buy.
4. What does this time of year mean to you?
Vacation! We always take the holiday weeks off to stay home, relax, and visit with friends. We enjoy quiet evenings in front of the fireplace, a little eggnog and brandy, and a completely low-stress holiday season.
5. What is your favorite holiday song?
I couldn’t possibly pick just one, but “Lo, How a Rose ‘Ere Blooming” is among my favorites.
6. What do you love about the holiday season?
The ability to completely relax and enjoy being at home.
7. What do you hate about the holiday season?
Any form of obligation, whether it be a compulsion to exchange gifts with a particular individual, spend time with certain folks or attend planned events. For the most part, I have eliminated all such obligations from my life. My parents are both dead, as are BigBob’s, and we no longer feel obligated to celebrate in a particularized way at a specific time in a predetermined location just for the sake of “keeping peace.” One of the benefits of getting older is the freedom to say, “No, thank you.”
8. Do religious ceremonies play a part in your holiday traditions? If yes, how?
Not any longer. For many years, I was a church organist and played many holiday services. I also accompanied and sang in numerous choirs, performed solos, etc. I am surprised at how little I miss those events. The only one I miss even a little bit is the Christmas Eve candlelight service, but I’m looking forward to choosing whether or not I want to attend a candlelight service this year, depending on how I feel when the time arrives. As I write this, I think I would like to sit in the pew among the other congregants and have absolutely no responsibility for how the service goes. I just want to sing the beautiful carols and savor the beauty of a decorated sanctuary. Then go home, finished with any semblance of organized religion for another year.
Of course, my musical pursuits continue to keep me busy. This past Tuesday, the Stockton Concert Band’s winter concert was a huge success and tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., I will be performing in the Lodi Community Band’s annual Christmas Concert!
9. Who will you spend the holidays with?
We are going to have a very quiet, peaceful Christmas here at home. It will be just the six of us: BigBob, me, the boys, Sophie, and Buddy.