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No, I Will Not Wear a Festive Outfit to Your Holiday Party

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Why Holiday Parties Are Just Like Halloween

It’s that time of year again: You’re gathering with friends, colleagues, acquaintances, maybe even a nemesis or two. You need a special outfit you can only wear one night of the year in order to engage in the festivities. You know you’re going to feel sick in the morning. Sound familiar? Wake up, sheeple. A holiday party is just fancy Halloween for adults.

It’s the secret the holiday party industrial complex doesn’t want you to know. Because what else could convince you that you need to stock up on velvet clothing? Lots of it. Dresses, slippers, tuxedo jackets, it doesn’t matter so long as it’s in this festive material. Before you know it, we’ll be convinced no holiday party is complete without a fresh pair of velvet underwear.

Tell me this isn’t exactly like Halloween, a day on which you can be pegged as “boring” for not wearing a costume. But what if I don’t want to spend $69.99 to dress up as this horribly insensitive “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim?” Do you know how drunk I can get with $69.99? That’s drinks-for-the-whole-bar money if you’re in an NYC bar with two, maybe three, other people in it! The only difference is the inflated cost of getting holiday party-ready. A new blazer, at least a nice one, is going to cost several times more than anything you’d wear trick-or-treating.

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We don’t get stories like “Finally, Black Tie Dress Shoes You’ll Wear More Than Once,” because holiday parties inspire rational spending. No, we’re spending money on things that are only appropriate exactly once every 12 months. How many times a year do you really have an opportunity to pull out that green velvet turtleneck? The answer is one.

Putting “festive attire” on an invitation is cruel. You can’t wear your normal suit — because where’s the holiday spirit in that? — and you can’t wear your standard casual clothes either. Both would make you stick out like a sore thumb in a sea of people who look like they’re waiting for a Tom Ford casting call to commence.

You can try and buy tweener products that bridge the gap of acceptability between holiday and normal environments, but don’t fit perfectly in either. You can spend a bunch of money on attire you swear to wear next year. Or you can just feel left out for a few hours. I still don’t know, am I talking about Halloween or a holiday party here? Either way, I hope you have a nice one.

Cam Wolf, menswear editor

Should You Be Incorporating Crystals into Your Skincare Routine?

You probably have at least one friend on Instagram who boasts about her crystal collection and its energies and healing powers, right?

Well, now the crystal craze has gone a step further and found its place in our skincare routines. Metals, gemstones, and crystals are popping up in serums, creams, and more, all supposedly to give us clearer, brighter skin, but is there any science to suggest that it actually works? 

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Today's Non-Gift Guide Pick
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Who: Kathryn Heintz
What they do: Executive Director, New York City Audubon
What they want: Founder Donation to the Statue of Liberty Museum, $18.86

My husband and I have tried to uphold an agreement we made when we got married, back when we were watching every penny to pay the rent. Our gift rule was never anything over $20 and the thing had to have meaning. That taught us some life lessons about stuff: First, you really don't need much of it to be happy, and second, the thought really does count. Our cup runneth over in the stuff department these days. In fact, we have a lot of de-acquisitioning to do.

So my ideal gift this year is the gift that gives twice — a charitable contribution. And I've found the perfect one for 2016: $18.86 will make a founder donation to help build the new Statue of Liberty Museum. (The statue was dedicated in 1886.) The donations will be listed in a registry inside of the museum when it opens in 2019, so the gift will always be there when you visit.

But there is more! Not only will it help build a new museum that enhances interpretation of our immigrant heritage and appreciation for the liberty our nation espouses, it will also recognize our determination to be sustainable. The architects have designed an earth-friendly and even bird-friendly structure that will ensure safe passage for millions of avian migrants each year as they fly by our great beacon of freedom.

Check out the rest of our non-gift guide picks here. Want to make donations your gift of choice instead? We've got you covered on that front too.

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