Every clutch, crossbody and Clare Vivier you need to get you through the the next month, no matter where you’re going.
With all the good that comes mitten-in-mitten with the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (TM)—namely lattes, the caloric equivalent of three Big Macs—there’s a whole lot of not-so-relaxing time that comes with it. We’re talking high-school reunions, bouncing from family gathering to family gathering and squeezing in a few seasonal theme parties along the way.
Needless to say, whether it’s a little gift to yourself, a stiff drink or a solid month of overeating, we’re not here to judge your cure for the holiday blues. But for us? It’s less about an antidote and more of an arsenal—a strategically packed pseudo-first aid kit of celebratory sustenance, squeezed into some of our favorite bags of the season.
The Cliché-But-Seemingly-Still-A-Thing Ugly Sweater Party
Remember when you thought the Ugly Sweater Party would die with the 2008 yuletide? Fast-forward five ornamental knit monstrosities and one defiant regular sweater later, and nope… still a thing. Time to accept it—the hideous sweater has officially become as synonymous with Western holiday celebrations as forcing your significant other to watch Love Actually, zooming in on the Kardashian Kard, and an angelic teen Justin Beiber crooning ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ with a woman 24 years his senior (ah, wholesome holiday fun). This year, take it a step further by completing the mismatchery with an Ugly Christmas Bag (or, at least what your dad would deem an Ugly Christmas Bag—he doesn’t have to know you’ll also be toting it around the other 355 days a year). Stuff it with enough requisite kitsch to bring even the most raucous of Ugly Sweater Festivities up a notch—a disposable camera with surprise emoji decals, mini candy canes to make it rain (naturally), and the tackiest seasonal bottle opener you can get your hands on.
The Hometown Reunion, Ft. The Hometown High School Ex
Ah, the inevitable and unfortunately annual high school reunion. It wouldn’t be so bad if this didn’t also mean an inevitable catch-up (one-up) session with your high school ex—and your high school ex-fling, and your high school ex-best friend… it’s just such a magical occasion—and playing dumb while being introduced to his oft-stalked current girlfriend (“I’m sorry, what was your name again?”). But you’re all mature, educated adults now, right? You can handle a little small talk by the cheese board. Either way, best err on the safe side and pack some first aid artillery in your look-at-what-a-young-professional-I’ve-blossomed-into clutch: blotting papers to pat away any stress-inducing encounters; Altoids, so you can be The Girl With The Altoids; pressed powder to conceal the fact that you drank an extra glass or four of social lubricant; a list of emergency conversation-starters when you’ve both been talking about the cheese board for 22 minutes (“anyone up for a little Heads Up?”). And, of course, a killer dark red lipstick, because always.
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Maybe-Someday In-Laws'
Time to go full marriage-material on this holiday calendar. We’re talking showing up at his or her parents’ house equipped with unproblematic hemlines, all-opaque-everything and a (seemingly) homemade dish in-hand. Channel your inner GAP campaign and Dress Normal to let your magical, winning personality shine through—and, of course, if that fails, stuff a family-fun board game in your weekender, offer his mom one of your precious SK-II masks and, for the love of binge eating, do the dishes.
The Family Ski Trip Your Mom Has Been Planning for Like Three Years
It’s been a few years since your last fam-jam holiday vacation, and Mom is determined to make this one for the books (or at least the Facebooks). After her “T-minus” texts and daily packing-reminder emails, you’ve finally narrowed down your slope side ‘ssentials to a mere two trunks and a carry-on (what, winter clothes are like twice the size of everything else!). As for your everyday crossbody, we’d opt for a shearling bucket bag stuffed to the brim with winter-proof products: Medicated Lucas Papaw lip ointment, a thick Kiehl’s hand cream, an Olloclip for those hilltop Kodak moments, and an external charger, because a) a cold battery dies faster than a pop star engagement, and b) chances are you’re going to need a little plug-in time after Dad launches into a lecture about your investments (or lack thereof).
The Annual Office Xmas Party of Ruined Reputations
There's something about putting on a party dress and clinking glasses with your coworkers that makes all the office mess-ups and meltdowns seem to disappear. And that something is called an open bar. Kidding. Kind of. But in all seriousness, the annual holiday party is one of the only workplace mandatories you actually look forward to attending (in spite of the inevitable shame-spiral that ensues the following Mondaywhen you all realize you still have two weeks left together before the holidays). Plus, it's an excuse to treat yourself to that too-festive-to-warrant-dropping-coin-on clutch you've been shopping-cart courting for months. Fill it with the essentials: a vampy lip pencil for candlelit coworker table talk, tissues for when your true feelings about that mishandled project come out (and trust us, they will), a pre-filled out cab chit for when you inevitably forget how to Uber and Advil—'cause you'll need an arms-reach remedy for that migraine come Saturday morning.