We’ve got a hunch that you’re going to find yourself in front of the television sometime in the next few days, probably watching a holiday movie. And, all things being equal, you’d prefer to watch the most stylish film available.
So we took the liberty of surveying your options, and distilling them down to the season’s magical number of 12. Not all of them are distinctly Christmas movies at the outset (take Edward Scissorhands or Trading Places), but they’ve all got a lot to do with the holiday spirit and lessons of kindheartedness—and, most importantly, there's a lot of holiday-appropriate stylishness on display. If you’re feeling exceptionally ambitious, you should have enough time to run through all 12 movies if you get started... now.
To truly win the holidays, you’ve got to have a multifaceted attack that barrages all five senses into yuletide submission.
And when it comes to making your humble abode smell like holiday spirit, you’re going to need some help—in the form of a tasteful cedar-, balsam- or pine-scented candle.
Your thoughts may have instantly jumped to something tree-shaped or even one of those air fresheners you’ve seen hanging from a rearview mirror. Stop right there. This couldn’t be further from what we’re advocating.
This is about the unmistakable coziness of flickering flames alongside the general winter-wonderland-y smells of freshly cut evergreen. And retaining your dignity while making your place smell how being wrapped in the warm, velvety embrace of Santa’s beard feels.
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.
It’s also a good five weeks before Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which has traditionally marked the beginning of holiday season. Target has suggested that its customers would welcome their extended layaway options this year and view holiday ads several weeks before Halloween as a welcome distraction from negative political commercials.
A bit of straight talk: if you need to purchase your Christmas presents on three-month layaway, you’re either shopping for too many people or shopping in the wrong store. Also, exchanging political ads for holiday ads in mid-October is like swapping out strep throat for a stomach bug.
We do not endorse wearing a Santa hat to every party you attend over the next two weeks—especially if any of the parties in question are Kwanzaa-themed. There will be cameras, old friends and alcohol. A single costume-y element—like, say, a socklike, red velvet topper—could throw the whole thing out of whack, doing permanent damage to your reputation and your dignity.
Sock It to Me: Valet’s guide to the perfect Christmas stocking. Naturally, it includes chocolate. [Valet]
Pink Moon: If you’re up at 9am tomorrow, you may notice the moon taking on an ominously red hue, thanks to the lunar eclipse. If you’re not, we’re sure there will be lots of pictures. [The Atlantic Wire]
Chicken and Waffles, Together at Last: A gentleman’s guide to making chicken-and-waffle popovers, which sounds like the greatest food ever. [The Awl]
Actually, the Perfect Gift: Ladies and gentlemen, a 4.5-liter bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. How do you even pour it? [Fantastic Man]
It’s a classic, but the Christmas sweater has its share of issues. Bright colors and big patterns? Sure. Baggy, shapeless wool? Not so much. We’d say an update is in order.
This Folk sweater just arrived (already on sale) at Bblessing, and while the window for wearing it is probably limited to the next three weeks, we can’t help but gawk a little. A standard downtown version of the classic item would have been interesting enough, but the real prize here is the Carmen-Miranda-meets-Space-Invaders pattern running across the arms in place of the usual fair isle variant. We bet it goes great with egg nog.
By now, we bet you’re looking for a gift or two, so we thought we’d open up our archives for any last minute seekers. A tie may not be breaking much new ground, but a well-kept notebook or a well-bound book is always enough to raise a few eyebrows, especially if you choose the right one.
With that in mind, we present: the Kempt gift guide, a handful of very good ideas for any refined gentleman on your list. And you’ll have just enough time to get them to your door for the main event.
The New York department stores seem to be taking a page from stockbrokers—the page marked “frenzied panic.”
It was only a few weeks ago that Barneys and Bloomingdale’s announced a simultaneous across the board 40% markdown, but it looks there’s no bottom. Barneys has since raised the number to 60%, with Bergdorf and Saks offering up to 70%. It’s a feeding frenzy, and it has very little to do with Christmas.