Saturday, November 6, 2010

Haute Holidays

 ['09 Holiday decor at Miette Patisserie]

I don't keep it a secret that the Holidays are my favorite time of the year.  These days, I feel it is more common to hear from people that they dread the holiday season and cannot wait until it's over, so much so that I even find it cliche..."oh, of course the holidays are such a drag for you, poor thing." The holiday's are coming, so why not at least attempt to enjoy the season a little bit?  I think anyone who says they truly don't like any aspect of the holidays should try to at least appreciate the family and friends aspect of this time of year.  For me, there are SO many benefits: dressing in cozy warm clothes, fireplaces, the skiing season, nice dinners, holiday-inspired drinks...the buzzing holiday feel all over the city with lights and decorations, all the shopping and gift giving, the decorating, the food...I love it. 

1.  Decorating your household for Christmas seems like a pain in the butt, but I think it makes coming home so much more rewarding.  At the very least, do a "winter cleaning", and rearrange/organize your house in preparation for guests, or just to make it a little nicer for yourself.  I'm due for a good cleaning at home, and right after that is when I'll be busting out the decorations to make my home a little homier.  Maybe it'll even inspire you to host a little holiday shindig too!

2.  When decorating, I think it's key to stick to a theme.  You want to stay away from the mish mash of every type of holiday decoration out there all thrown together - tacky.  It will end up annoying you and discouraging you from decorating again in the future.  I like to choose one household color theme for each year - last year my tree was silver and blue.  This year, I may stick with red and white, or maybe gold and green.  Also, I always go with white Christmas lights only.  I think it looks much more neat, tasteful and aesthetic to the eye.  However, if you have kids, it can be fun to play with colored lights, but keep the other holiday decor tamed down to balance it out.  In my opinion, if you are going to make the effort to get a tree and decorate it, stick with only a real tree.  I have yet to see a fake tree that doesn't look really fake.  Another tip: consider going for a tabletop 3-foot tree.  It is just as festive as a human-sized tree with much less of a pain in the ass.  My favorite type of tree is Douglas Fir - it sheds the least and looks the best, but it doesn't pack as much of a smell as some other varieties unfortunately.  And lastly, the earliest to put up a Christmas tree is the day after Thanksgiving, and the last day until it needs to be thrown out is within one week after New Years Eve.  (I wish I could give some tips on Jewish decorating traditions..I'll have to consult with one of my Jewish friends for advice.)

3.  Start thinking about your gift giving now.  There's nothing that discourages me more from buying gifts for people than being rushed and indecisive at the last minute.  I'm already slowly looking around and taking note of what to get my friends and family this year.  Once you get the gift giving bug, it begins to run on its own momentum and excitement.  There's no feeling comparable to doing something nice for someone or giving them a well thought out gift.

4.  Holiday fashion can be really fun to play with.  My favorite winter wardrobe picks include: velvet, jewel tones, lace, fur (faux or real depending on your preference), black and brown together during the daytime, scarves (of course), and last but not least, winter white.  The old saying that you shouldn't wear white after labor day is baloney and completely outdated.  White is one of the freshest, chic-est colors you can wear no matter your size.  When done right, white won't add pounds, and it will leave you fresh faced and glowing.  Also, if done right, you can still wear your open toed heels if you wear them with tights (not nude).  My favorite go-to for the holiday season are black tights in every variety, and I like pairing them with everything from dresses, to shorts, to skirts.

5.  Don't forget to tip well around the holiday season.  Keep in mind that service industry workers commonly do not have holidays off like most of society, and are usually working on those days.  Show your appreciation by expressing kindness, gratitude and a nice tip is always a perk as well.

6.  To prepare for holiday traveling, read my Tips on Traveling in Style blog to ensure your easygoing yet fabulous flying experience.  Also, organization is key: locate that passport and travel documentation now and put it in a safe spot.

7.  If you're thinking of throwing a holiday party, start planning now.  Also, I highly recommend making it a pot luck unless you're prepared to pay at least $500 for food and bev alone.  I've thrown one for the past 4 years, and while it can be a little stressful to plan, it has always been worth it.  I'd recommend having one if your house is large enough to hold 30-50 people.  And when attending holiday parties, always RSVP to the event, ask permission to bring guests, show up generally on time, bring a small gift for the host, consider bringing your camera and taking pictures (since the host is usually too busy to do it themselves) and it's always nice to offer to help with anything while you're there.

8.  It can be easy to pack on weight over the holidays.  Save the splurging for holiday parties or on the actual holidays themselves, not all season when you're constantly surrounded by goodies on a daily basis.  Also, I've heard of people who go sober for the month of January to de-tox from all the boozing.  I've always wanted to do this, and I think it can be a great way to drop some added lbs from the November and December months.

9.  Stay away from wearing any kind of bells or flashing light jewelry.

It's officially the holidays, so even if you're a "holiday hater", try and embrace the season.  It will make it easier on you and everyone else.  You'll be surprise how fun it can be!  Cheers!


Tis the season for champs!
[Free people bandeau, Rare Opulence ballgown skirt]

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