I’ve made my list and (spell)checked it twice….Here’s my charming holiday guide to what’s naughty and what’s nice.
NAUGHTY – Getting Christmas Festive in Mid-November Glittering garlands, twinkling lights and all of those familiar songs make the holiday season feel magical, but when the candy canes are displayed on store shelves before the candy corn has even been cleared away, it’s too much too soon. Just imagine how annoying the song would be if it was called “The 47 days of Christmas”, even the current 12 seems almost gratuitous. I’m just not ready to hear ‘jingle bell rock’ on the radio or have a toy Santa waving at me when I enter a store until I’ve spent an entire day eating turkey and pumpkin pie while a big inflatable Snoopy is floating down 34th street. NICE – Taking Down Christmas Decorations Before Valentine’s Day It’s January first and you’re exhausted from the holiday season. You got the cards sent out on time (thank you overnight express!), you found perfect gifts for all of your loved ones (thank you American Express!) and you rang in the new year staying up past midnight and drinking champagne (thank you advil and espresso!). Finally, life can now go back to normal and you can focus on your new year’s goals to procrastinate less, spend less and drink less; it’s almost a relief to have the past month behind you……. Except for one thing; the last, big, time consuming remnant of the holidays is staring you right in the face from your living room…..that darn tree. Hopefully you’ll get the dry, pokey thing on the curb before it’s completely brown and an embarrassing mid January announcement to the neighborhood that you are gently easing into your ‘procrastinate less’ resolution. On the other hand, keeping the Christmas lights on the exterior of your house up but turned off is just as good as taking them down…..you’re only going to have to put them back up in 11 months! NAUGHTY – Giving Plastic Gift Cards As Presents The only people who can get away with this gift are single uncles who are used to living the bachelor life and have no idea what to get their nieces and nephews. It’s impersonal, thoughtless and the equivalent of throwing your hands up in the air and saying “I give up!”. The little cards that promise twenty bucks worth of itunes or frappucinos come in handy, but are basically just little plastic coupons…..not the most exciting thing to open up. I’d even say cash is better, at least then the recipients get to decide for themselves how to spend the gift of money. NICE – Giving Monogrammed Cards as Presents For about the same amount of money you’d spend on an impersonal gift card to the Gap or Starbucks, you can go online and order stationary beautifully embossed with your loved one’s initials. It is an affordable, thoughtful and elegant gift that anyone would love to unwrap and it’s more than just a gift of stationary – it’s the priceless gift of manners. Once I received my first set of personalized stationary, my etiquette level skyrocketed! I was so proud of the beautiful and very ‘fancy adult’ feeling cards, I looked for any excuse to send out a hand written ‘Thank You’ note. NAUGHTY – Sexy Santa’s Helper outfits ‘Tis the season for holiday parties and dressing festive but unless you want to look like a girl who might know how to dance like a pro around the North (ahem) pole, dressing like a ho, ho, ho is a no, no, no……at least when you’re out in public. Sure there is a saying “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” but imagine how less enticing presents would be if they were just hanging out under the tree, completely unwrapped and on display for everyone to see. It’s the mystery that makes this family oriented holiday so magical, no need to take the Polar express yourself train to sexy town. NICE – being a Modest Mary Christmas and a Classy Christmas Carol Inject the holiday spirit into your wardrobe with more fun and glamour. December is all about tinsel and twinkle and things that glitter…. It’ my perfect excuse to wear sequins EVERY DAY!! Go for rich colors, luxurious fabrics and super sparkle. Red satin pants and a white angora sweater would make you the jingle belle of any ball. Don’t be afraid to deck yourself out like a Christmas tree with sparkling ornaments and accessories hanging from every limb; piling on shiny bling and pretty little bows is the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas presence. In the end, the holiday season is all about spreading joy and celebrating the gifts of family and friends because after all, it’s a wonderful life. So just for the next month, don’t count the calories or the minutes you will inevitably spend waiting in a shopping line, count yourself blessed to share this time with others and count on seeing everyone at the gym the first two weeks of January when we’ll all be workin’ off those holiday cookies together.