Posted in News
December 12, 2013

Retro Nog: Secrets to a Merry Little Xmas…

50by Madeline Iva

What makes you love Christmas? For me it was my grandmother.  She brought the x in xmas.  She had a kind of classic 50’s sophisticated spirit that lingers in my heart to this day.  For her holidays were about food, drink, and making merry. When I think of the holiday season I think of her cooking, her generosity–as well as her whack tree ornaments.

In addition to grandma, a few key Christmas movies shaped my holiday ‘tude over the years.

whiteFirst there was WHITE CHRISTMAS.  I saw White Christmas* one too many times at an impressionable age.  White Christmas embodies a lot of S’s: single, sophisticated, singing, sweaters, & snow.

When I hit my twenties I became entranced with THE THIN MAN. Nick n Nora–the perfect child-free couple–celebrates the holidays with friends, cocktails parties, and a few carefully selected self-indulgent gifts.

Lastly there’s CHRISTMAS IN CONNETICUT.  It’s about a single woman who doesn’t cook or tend the hearth.  She doesn’t have a domestic finger in her body in fact.  Yet there’s still a big ass tree, some singing, lots of  snow, cocktails, and a mostly child-free environment—-Are you hearing a theme here people?  There’s an attitude towards the holidays that I’ve internalized over the years.

John, I think we're going to need a bigger tree.
John, I think we’re going to need a bigger tree.

So for folks who get cranky around the holidays here’s the cure you’ve been looking for. Get rid of your inner Grinch-ies by following these simple rules:

1) Buy yourself fabulous gifts.  This will improve your holiday cheer immediately.

Don't worry Biffy, I already bought myself what I wanted and I'm SO glad I did!
Don’t worry Biffy, I already bought myself that bracelet I wanted and I’m SO glad I did!

2) Embrace singing, sweaters, & snow.  Get out those great sexy sweaters as the weather gets chilly. Sing along to the xmas music while doing chores and in the holiday traffic.  But more than that, embrace that very specific 50’s holiday spirit–it’s a domestically sexy and sophisticated thing.  Embrace your inner purr.

Nat will never harsh your mellow.
Nat will never harsh your mellow.

3) Listen to Nat King Cole & other Christmas music–obviously.  Take an evening to make your own mix if you haven’t already.  Mix in classic tunes with some newer stuff.  Don’t subject yourself to the radio and others music choices.  It’s instantly cranky-inducing to have to listen to grating tunes others like that you yourself abhor.

4) Listen to your inner happy person.  Have those people and things around that you like–don’t bother with everything else.  The 50’s were about keeping things simple.  You had good boundaries.  People did a few simple things and the rest was tossing out good wishes for the holidays like it was Christmas confetti.

Looks like it's just you, me, and Lucky for Christmas this year.
Looks like it’s just you, me, and Lucky for Christmas this year.

So just get the stuff done that really makes you happy…What about your family? Well think about it this way.  If you’re happy, they’ll be happy.

If there are other parts of the holiday-making are important to your husband say, then let him do the all the work to make it happen.  That way he can have things exactly the way he wants them.

5) Stay away from relatives that annoy you.  Be generous in sending them your thoughts of love.  Ditto xmas cards and gifts sent by mail.

The one prominent fact these movies bear home is that xmas is best spent with friends  and without annoying family members.  Remind relatives that you love them and wish them a very merry xmas.  Even though you’d just LOVE to come to their house, go to midnight mass, wear that ugly sweater they got you last year–unfortunately, you just can’t possibly.  cardsThou shalt spend all thy holidays with relatives is not one of the ten commendments.

partay6) Throw a holiday party–if you invite them they will come.  You like to drink? Make it a cocktail party.  You like to bake? Make it a holiday cookie party instead.  Big or small–what do you prefer?

7) Recognize that no, Virginia, Christmas is not just for children.  If you do happen to find yourself with little people underfoot think of them as elves in training.  Expect them to behave accordingly.  They’re anxious to prove they’ve been good anyway. They want to wrap gifts, they want to bake, they want to lick stamps on Christmas cards.

Tell them they are hosts n hostesses in training. Let them carry drinks to guests.  They’ll love it once they get the hang of it, and they’ll be far less bored. Watch them get your guests sloshed in no time.

8) Aim for holiday food and treats with nuts in them.  A big sugar crash makes for big cranky pants.  While I’d never say abstain from sweets over the holidays (what am I–a monster?) nuts contain protein that helps to soften the blow as you come down from that sugar high.  It helps you avoid feeling compelled to act like every piece of holiday fudge may be your last.

Nog9)Indulge in judicious amounts of egg-nog multiple times a day.  Thick, rich, velvety nog.  It’s the sexy bombshell  of all xmas drinks. The embodiment of this entire 50’s-ish xmas theme. Keep a steady supply on hand.  Doctor it with a thimble full of whisky or rum.  You should see mood-lifting effects a few minutes after each dosage.

CraveSo readers, I’m wishing you a very happy holiday experience.  Please give us one item on our wish list and follow our blog.

Meanwhile, along with a heavy dosage of nog, you can give in to your romance cravings by buying CRAVINGS–our own Liz Everly’s latest romantic suspenese release.  Chock full of luscious chocolate and decadent sex. Check it out here!


  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    You rock, Madeline. Awesome suggestions for making it through Christmas madness. I’m particularly fond of the eggnog part. Oh eggnog, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, starting with eggnog lattes. Sooooo delicious. Get me one of those, plop myself on the couch and fire up a Christmas classic DVD. Oh yeah, and naturally I’m wearing the most comfy sweatpants on the planet.

    I also love the retro pix you’ve got up in this post. Really great!

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Thanks! I am following my own advice this year and so far it’s been grand. Egg nog latte sounds heavenly. 🙂

    Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorAuthor Charmaine Gordon

    Madeline, this is a wonderful post. Pass the eggnog and may all your Christmas’s be healthy, successful and bright.

    Reply to Author Charmaine Gordon

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