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Winning the Holidays, Step One: Upgrade Your Kitsch

  • Najib Benouar

News flash: Thanksgiving is next week.

Which means, officially, that the holiday season is upon us. And while you might think it’s all fun, cuddling, togetherness and games... it’s not. It’s a competition. And we’re going to help you win it, in this new ongoing series we’re calling “Kempt’s Guide to Winning the Holidays.” (Catchy, right? We’ll be tagging it all, so you can find it here.) And for our inaugural post, we’re starting with the utmost basics: your holiday kitsch.

Here are the five upgrades to your holiday kitsch that should prepare you mentally, physically and reindeer-sweater-ly for total holiday domination...»

The Pocket Calendar

At this point, you’ve probably got a calendar attached to your email, your phone and (possibly) your watch—but there’s just no substitute for paper. Especially if the item in question is small enough to slip into a jacket pocket.

This Postalco model is our obsession of the morning. It’s modeled after ’50s-era folios, which means pressed cotton covers and the kind of minimalist design that would make Dieter Rams proud.

And at just four inches wide, it’s slim enough to bring with you everywhere your phone goes.

The Other Kind of Desktop Calendar

Like landlines and mimeographs, physical calendars are a rare sight these days—which means they’re a prime opportunity for desktop nostalgia.

Take, for example, this Field Notes calendar, which looks like it dropped off a metal desk circa 1953. (Except for, you know, the dates.) It runs from November 2011 to April 2013, and while it’s nothing you won’t find on your phone, there’s a certain tactile satisfaction to tearing off the months one page at a time.

On the reverse side, you’ll find a list of important dates like the anniversary of “Howl” (Oct 3), Yeager’s first supersonic flight (Oct 14), and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s birthday (Jan 4)—so now you’ll have no excuse for forgetting.

From Our Watch Guy: The Leap Year

  • Najib Benouar


If there’s one thing that our vintage watch travails have impressed upon us, it’s this: The big names are big for a reason. Patek Phillipe is a prime example, especially their Perpetual Calendar.

They’ve spent the better part of a century perfecting it—and making a few different versions—but most pieces have the usual configuration: day and month at noon, moon phase and date at six. Usually. Today we stumbled upon one just a little different, but in a good way, known simply as Ref.5050.

Find out more...»

The Days Go Popping By


We’ve seen a fair number of calendars, but now that they’re popping up on laptops and blackberries, the physical item has to offer something a bit more tactile.

For instance, a small popping sound. This bubble calendar lays out the year as a series of inflated puffs waiting to be burst…which is pretty accurate now that we think about it. Special occasions are written in circles around the number, but good luck marking your vacation on it.

You’ll just have to store a note in your phone.