Feature photo by betsyweber

With Christmas literally just around the corner, I felt it apropos to at least acknowledge the one time a year where everyone pretends to like each other and celebrate unity. As you can see, my attitude toward the season is slightly curmudgeonly, even Scrooge-esque, postures I have embraced wholeheartedly and took some pride in.

But recently something finally clicked in my brain; I was sitting at home on a blustery Wednesday night waiting for my kettle to start whistling so that I could partake in my evening ritual of drinking tea and reading Victorian literature (you know, to take notes for that Victorian horror script that I’ve been working on), when a memory popped into my head: I had to have been about five or six when this happened—it was Christmas morning and all throughout the house I remember the smells and sounds of my mother making pancakes and bacon. I went to the kitchen to find her and she greeted me with an exuberant “Merry Christmas!” I was absolutely delighted and furthermore excited about what came after breakfast: PRESENTS! This memory got me wondering, how on earth can I get to be that happy again? The answer was clear: Get over myself and embrace the spirit of the holiday and all of the things that come with it.

Now having resolved my feelings for the season, it’s time to talk about the hard part: the many obligations that come with the holidays, such as attending holiday parties and hanging out with family. What does a gentleman wear on occasions such as this, especially considering that 90% of the time there will be a camera present ready to snap a horrifying, Facebook-ready photo of you. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of the “ugly sweater,” why not?  They are festive, you can have a laugh and it’s the only time of the year for everyone to embrace their inner crazy cat lady. But consider this: one day you are going to look at an old photo album and see the picture of you from Christmas 2011 and have to explain the image to whomever you are showing it to. Do you really want to be remembered like that?

Instead of rocking the kitsch, consider a practical, tastefully colored V-neck sweater (a gentleman never wears a crew neck) that actually fits you well. You can dress this piece up by wearing a collared shirt under it, or you could wear it by itself with a nice pair of jeans and loafers. If V-necking isn’t your look, try a cardigan, another versatile sweater. This look is a bit more cozy and can be worn with practically anything (just ask Mr. Rogers). For a holiday party, it would be prudent to pair it with a nice pair of chinos or khakis or, if you are just with the family, a nice pair of jeans work just as well.

And this aside I cannot stress enough: Whatever you wear, remember to make sure that it fits you well and matches your own personal style. Have an awesome holiday season!

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