I’m finding it harder to be a gentleman today. Every time I hold the door open, I’m afraid she doesn’t know the gentleman still exists. I could throw my jacket in the mud for a woman, and I don’t think it would ever make her day. Now the holidays are fast approaching, and I’m wondering if today’s woman needs or even wants an arm to hold going down those icy stairs in her heels. Are we still kissing under mistletoe? And when is it appropriate to wear an ugly Christmas sweater? Never, that’s when. We can do all our Christmas shopping from home so we’re certainly not helping any old ladies carry their bags to the car anymore. Are we attending candlelight church services out of habit or out of guilt? And It’s A Wonderful Life will forever be a classic, but if I have to choose between that and watching John McClane trapped at the top of a skyscraper on Christmas Eve killing terrorists, well, I’m locked and loaded.
Now that you know how to survive and stay cool in the 21st Century as a gentleman, here’s your guide to the holidays.
Welcome to the digital age. Avoid the over-crowded malls and shopping centers this year, and loosen up the gridlock by keeping your car in the garage. There’s enough snow and teenagers texting and driving on the road today to cause a seven-car-pile-up at every major intersection. A gentleman can get all his shopping done in just a few clicks at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy without losing a moment of sleep.
Spike the eggnog. Leave the punch to the kids.
Telling anyone under the age of nine that Santa Clause doesn’t exist is never a gentlemanly thing to do. Leave this world-wrecking task up to those fourth grade punk-asses on the back of the bus.
A kiss on the cheek beneath mistletoe in the doorway is always appropriate.
Holding mistletoe over your head at the office holiday party is not only entirely inappropriate, it’s also borderline desperate, and the only thing you’ll be getting under your tree this year is a restraining order. ‘Tis the season.
Kissing your boss’s wife on the cheek when the mistletoe is across the room is frowned upon. Kissing the wives of your brothers, fathers, or friends is never appropriate no matter what time of the year it is, or where the mistletoe is located.
It’s still protocol to kiss for luck at midnight. So sweep the single woman next to you off her feet on New Years Eve. Kiss her at midnight whether she’s your best friend or a perfect stranger.
A gentleman never expects to receive.
Give. Give extravagantly.
Buy a Christmas gift for the person in your life who you believe would least expect a present from you. Someone recently did this for me, and the gesture was simple: a pack of fine-point black pens, which no writer should ever be without. I was elated. I lose pens faster than a seven-year-old loses teeth. The gift made my day. I never expected it. And I look forward to passing that feeling on to someone else.
Be practical. Give what’s needed. I received a package from my sister, the incredible author of Calling All Cool Moms, last night. She could have bought me more books or clothes or gift cards (or a car, that would have been practical. I also would have accepted a motorcycle, helicopter, hang-glider, horse and buggy, shoes with tiny little wheels on them), but she jam-packed a box full of food instead. I couldn’t image a more needed gift this week.
Unless it’s for Starbucks, gift cards are old news. It’s time to get personal, again.
Hand-write the messages on your annual Christmas cards this year.
—Family should also laugh together, and for me, nothing did this better for my family than Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. Some of my favorite holiday memories are all the times I enjoyed a Good Old-Fashioned Girswald Family Christmas with my sister and father, quoting that the “..stores are a bit hooter than they, hotter than they are,” even though I wasn’t quite sure what that meant the first few years, but I knew I was supposed to laugh.
Professional fashion consultant and close friend of mine, Jason Walker says, “Men need to take more risks with accessories this holiday season: scarves and hats are in, and rings aren’t just for married men anymore.”
I miss the days of Christmas Carols. The only Fa-la-la-la-la-ing we seem to be doing these days is in the bedroom. Don’t be afraid to take those Christmas songs back to the streets with your close friends or family.
A gentleman stands up for what he believes. Ditch the Happy Holidays. Wish someone a Merry Christmas.
Socks are never a bad gift. Give those with a pair of TOMS <–by clicking right there — shoes (an organization which donates a pair of shoes to children in third world countries with every pair purchased) and you’ll be almost as cool as my good friend Chad, the gentleman dancing in this video –> Awesome First Dance
Even if you don’t believe in that little eight-pound guy in the manger who saved all mankind, a gentleman should consider a Christmas Eve church service because you might just find the true meaning of Christmas has been inside you all along. Did you know they have electric guitars in church now?
A gentleman starts his own traditions.
My father often writes letters to us, or his grandson, Jack, recapping the year full of painfully hilarious truths that have us laughing well into the night. Over the last three years I hear my status within those letters hasn’t been updated: “Your Uncle Max is still in Hollywood, broke, and starving, but he remains a gentleman about it.”
© Copyright 2010 Make It MAD
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