‘Tis the Season

By Daniel van Voorhis

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Frosted window panes and all that…. It’s the winter, holiday, Christmas season and you have one job: don’t complain about it. From something about cups at a coffee shop to “commercialization” and what the appropriate greeting should be you have the right, nay mandate, to be jolly and warm. It’s the greatest time of the year and I, the Man About Town will be your guide to style, music and office party etiquette. I will be the Clark Griswold to your Scrooge. I am George Bailey. I am the bringer of Christmas cheer.

So it isn’t Thanksgiving yet and you are already hearing Christmas songs. Don’t complain. Nothing beats Christmas songs. We have a small window to enjoy “fa-la-las”, “one horse open sleighs” and the celebration of the incarnation (this is, for Christians one of the central events of the church year. It is in fact “the reason for the season” but that rhyme is trite and bothersome. Just call it Advent and Christmas).

So, first, break out those winter clothes. Utilitarian cold weather attire is perfectly appropriate. If it has dropped below 50 (or 70 where I am in Southern California) put on the usually abominable beanie. Layer up. Rock the earmuffs. Staying warm is the goal. But you can do it in style.

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Throw some red into your wardrobe. You might want to mute it a little in large doses, but rock the candy apple red socks with your slacks. Add a red tie or pocket square onto your navy suit. ‘Tis the season.

Avoid too much green and red together. They are complimentary colors, but complimentary colors attract the most attention. It is good for the house (and festive as hell), but watch out for the over stimulating wardrobe. Mute your red or green when worn together. Or wear shades of one of the colors with a warm brown. The desired “Christmas-y” effect is achieved without as much attention. Check out this site for some basic color theory.

Novelty neckties, sweaters, or shirts with Christmas slogans should be avoided. You can break this rule.  But, please, do it sparingly.

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Mistletoe and snowflake patterns make for nice décor, but don’t need to be worn on your person.

When in public, it is most polite to respond to seasonal greetings with a similar response. Repeat back to the person what they say or add a, “to you as well,” with a smile. If they don’t say “Christmas” they are not going to be “converted” with your insistence on saying Christmas (as if that identifies you as a Christian and thus begins a conversation).

If you want to complain about some aspect of the season, keep it quietly to yourself. Some of us are having the time of our lives!

Get a real tree unless you have actual allergies. You get a real tree inside your house.  What?!?! Yes! This is bizarre and wonderful and you have a TREE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE! (Damn I love this season).

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Develop your own traditions. You don’t need to use Pinterest. If it is popcorn strings on the tree, Mannheim Steamroller (against the protest of most), reindeer on the front lawn, go nuts. Fly your Christmas freak flag and do not be ashamed.

Let kids think Santa is real for as long as possible. Even if you couch it with a wink, let’s play the game for the sake of a distinct American folklore (our Santa is not the same as others; for example, in the Netherlands Santa comes from Spain with slaves in toe and will kidnap you if you’ve been naughty).

I will continue my series with Christmas music, parties, and traditions. Get ready. It’s the greatest time of the year. Start celebrating now. You only have 39 days left.

All the Best, and a Very Merry Christmas,

The Man About Town

Written while listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

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2 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season

  1. I have a tradition: each year, I listen to Tom Lehrer’s Christmas carol: “On Christmas Day, you can’t get sore / Your fellow man you must adore / There’ll be time to rob him all the more / The other three hundred and sixty-four.” A very funny man, he was.

    And each year, I also read Lewis’ Christmas essays from “God in the Dock.” Between him and Lehrer, it’s enough to make you cynical (perhaps not the best thing?).

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