Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ho Ho Ho, I Swear!!

holiday top
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Fasten your seatbelts, everyone -- 'cause ready or not, we're skidding into the holidays!

Let PeaceBang help you avoid some common holiday season pitfalls.

The holidays are about thanking God for abundance, for celebrating the birth of Christ, the return of the Sun, the light that would not go out, the affirmation of community values, and... did I forget one?
Oh yes, the permission to drink champagne and make-out with a good looking stranger at midnight. Praise the Lord!!

Seriously, though, this is one time of year that we must really stand apart and model a more sane, sober presence, health, groundedness, peacefulness and good will. Lots of folks are going to get terribly depressed trying to meet all the expectations of the holidays: how are they going to feel coming to you if you're wearing a huge blinking Santa tie and plush reindeer ears in a show of seasonal jollity? The answer is, they're probably not. Who wants to sit in a chair and confide their spiritual pain to someone with huge Christmas tree decorations dangling from her earlobes?

We're talked about the horrible cutesie holiday-themed wear you shouldn't get anywhere near. Let's talk about other holiday pitfalls, fashion and other-wise:

(1) Dress like you always do, only better.

Just because it's the holidays doesn't mean you can appear at parties sporting monster cleavage or super-vampy footwear. PeaceBang is all in favor of cleavage and vampy footwear, but not at congregational gatherings. Stick to beautiful, tailored items: a velvet blazer with a nice pair of trousers or a skirt for Rev. Suzy, a lovely red sweater and tie for Pastor Biff. Winter white can be beautiful and suggest purity at a very cluttered time of year: check it out.

Ladies, no glittery hose or really short skirts. Think understated elegance. On the other hand, do spruce up. That shapeless, long, tan corduroy skirt is not party wear, not even with a snowman sweater (which you should give away immediately).

Men, unless you're tending the bar at a party or passing out appetizers, there should be nothing like this:

christmas elf

(2) They're At a Party, You're Making a Pastoral Call

Women, your best bet for the holidays may be simply to add a beautiful, snazzy shell under your favorite dark suit. Throw on a huge decorative pin, a pair of heels, a nice bright lipstick (nothing pink or coral) and you're good to go. You can wear it all season to everything: people understand that you're in constant attendance at events throughout the holidays. Don't feel you have to have a new dress for each occasion. A suit says much better than a dress, "I'm here at this party but this is still a professional appearance for me, so don't keep refilling my glass."

(3) Don't Skid Out

Speaking of which, drunkeness is ugly, sweet pertaters. Don't use the holidays as permission to get drunk (or even dangerously tipsy) with any church-related persons. Stick with the unspiked eggnog and prepare to smile tolerantly at the humiliating antics that may be going on around you. You're lucky to have been invited. Be gracious, keep conversations short (you surely don't want to collect boozy confessions, do you?), and leave as early as you can get away with. Then go drink spiked eggnog with your personal friends. All you want. Just make they're prepared to have you spend the night.

(4) Keep Your Diet To Yourself

Think twice before telling people that you do not want sweet treats as a gift. Remember what Jesus said about parading your virtue around in public. PeaceBang once asked her congregation not to contribute to the amplification of her waistline around the holidays, but they just kept doing it. What PeaceBang learned is that people love to give yummy gifts, and the only gracious response is to thank them for it, and either eat it or share it. That plate of cookies can go right over to your spiritual director's office with a fresh bow on it, and that's what I call a win-win situation!

(5) Stick With Your Best Basics, And Visit Your Dry Cleaner Often

You're going to be on the run from just about now through January. Get everything cleaned and pressed and organize your closet today, before it all really hits. Line up your snow boots, shine up a pair of nice shoes and take them to the office so you don't have to preach in duck boots, and stock up on clean hankies. You do not want to be sewing buttons on the morning of Christmas Eve services -- do it all now. Check your socks and pantyhose supply, and make sure the lint roller is handy. Put a roll of breath mints in your bag, your car and your desk, and take your vestments to the cleaners.

This is not the season to agonize about accessories. You don't have time. Try on a few outfits, make sure they fit and are presentable, and rotate them.



Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Truly excellent advice. Thank you!

This one should go in your book.


12:04 AM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

PB, I liked the gray sweater with beaded neckline on the model in the picture. I'm guessing that wasn't a "don't" picture, but I'd like to be sure. Could you comment on what you do/don't like about that pic?

Many thanks!

And may I offer a tip to the ladies? Be sure you have a flattering, recent haircut that is freshly styled. Though I don't color my hair, I would think that if you do, getting your hair colored along with the fresh cut would be a good thing, too. If our faces are the first thing most people notice, then hair is a part of that first glance. This time of year really isn't a good time to experiment with either cut or color, it seems to me. Go with what you know works and let it work for you.

(Actually, I guess that advice works for the brethren, too.)

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please help me! I'm from the south. I live in new england. It is dark here. It has been raining all week. It has been unseasonably warm, but I know that it will soon be cold. Really cold. I feel like logging onto REI and buying all the cold weather expidition wear that I can find. But I assume PB would not be happy with me preaching in ski bibs. How do you do warm but not cylindrical??

5:03 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

Anonymous: I don't know what PeaceBang will say, but I wear nylons under everything. The best part about that is you are warm and have a nice line without a panty line!

I also own many lovely scarves. I don't do well with turtlenecks, but I find keeping my neck warm keeps the rest of me warm.

You will need to invest in some winter boots, especially if you are in a city.

In a word: slush!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Linera Lucas said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have two important words for you:
silk long underwear. (Okay, three important words.)Available from LLBean or REI or Eddie Bauer, or your local mall. No bulge, no itch, and they really keep a body warm.

10:10 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Psalmist, the sweater on the model is a DO, and you can buy it online at

Southern darling, we have been having the strangest weather up here this autumn. Why, I went out last night in a skirt with no nylons, a lightweight sweater and NO WRAP AT ALL.
GLobal WARMing!

But when that cold hits, you will be a chilly billy. PeaceBang recommends layers. Layers and an outer coat big enough to wear over them. Lay in a supply of a few lovely blazers and make those the cornerstone of your winter wardrobe. Under them, think light-weight sweaters or blouses with cotton shells underneath. The trick is to keep the layers THIN ONES so you don't look like a big overstuffed sausage. Are you male or female. If female, a great trick is to wear opaque tights all the timne, and socks over them.
If male, silk longjohns under pants will be good.
Wool is wonderfully warming -- invest in good woolen garments wherever possible.
If there's a SYMS near you, they're an excellent source of discounted sweaters. Loehmann's is another. Look them up and make a visit just for the pleasure of combing through piles and piles of highly discounted wool and cashmere.

Let us know how you do! xoxo PB

9:53 AM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

Thank you for the clarification, PB. Whew! Thought maybe my improving taste had taken a nosedive!

And thank you for the reminder about Syms. Back when I was well within the normal petite sizes, I found some of the most wonderful "interview" clothes and shoes there. One navy blue coatdress I still have, and if I ever manage to lose enough weight and am willing to trade out the dated brass buttons, it's classic enough to wear again. Gorgeous wool serge; just the thing for those twelve or so days here in Texas when the temp is actually cold.

How could I have forgot about Syms???

2:43 PM  

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