It's here again: the annual six-week extravaganza of eating, drinking, and getting gussied up. You've rolled the lint off your black velvet, checked your supply of Spanx, and shined up your rhinestones. Now let's talk about perfume possibilities for the situations we're most likely to encounter between now and New Year's Day.
The Office Holiday Party
Lucky me, my office holiday party will be in a private room at a lively bar with my terrific coworkers. We'll be eating cake indoors while through the plate glass windows drag queens smoke cigarettes between sets at the cabaret next door. But in other jobs I've endured many a lunchtime potluck and white elephant gift exchange in the conference room carefully timed not to exceed the 45-minute lunch hour.
How best to prepare: Watch The Office holiday party specials, especially the British one.
What you want your perfume to say: "I'm feeling the holiday spirit, but in a restrained, professional way that does not include wearing a lampshade on my head." Low to moderate sillage fragrances with a slightly more conservative bent might be the best bet here. Chanel No. 5 and Natori Eau de Parfum would be ladylike choices. The new Diptypque Vetyverio would be nice, too.
If you've already finished your shopping, you can skip ahead. The rest of you can join me in the corner where I'm putting a cold compress on my forehead and starting to panic. Would anyone notice if I gave everyone tube socks? (Once my brother called and said, "Ang, what do you want for Christmas? I have to be able to get it at the grocery store." I ended up with a fluorescent light bulb and a chopping board that year.)
How best to prepare: Vitamins, energy bars, and comprehensive lists. Or, skip the whole thing and send a meaty check to an organization helping people find food and housing. It's been a tough year for many people.
What you want your perfume to say: "I'm fast, focused, and won't burst into sobs when gridlocked in the parking garage." Alternatively: "If I hear freaking Jingle Bells one more time I'm going after Santa with a plastic icicle." For the zen approach, try a fragrance with calming, centering lavender, like Christian Dior Dune and Vero Profumo Kiki. Heck, I'd go Christmas shopping everyday if it meant I could wear the divinely elegant lavender-amber Jean Patou Moment Suprême. A cedar-infused spa scent would be good, too. Andrée Putman Préparation Parfumée and Costes come to mind. For the "move your shopping cart now or pay the consequences" mood, Piguet Bandit might do the trick.
Christmas Day and other Holiday Feasts
Spiritual matters aside, what are the holidays about if not eating and drinking? (And what's January for but vegetables and herbal tea?) I can usually count on a marathon of roast beef, tiny cupcakes, chilled seafood, sparkling wine, and hors d'oeuvres made in tartlet tins.
How best to prepare: Surrender. It's really all you can do. That and lay in some antacids.
What you want your perfume to say: "It's the longest night of the year, and I'm with people I love. And, oh, sure, I'll take another one of those." The first perfume I think of is Caron Nuit de Noel. Not only is its name perfect, but its subtle, nutty fragrance won't compete with dinner. Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles and Parfum d'Empire Wazumba would blend nicely with the Christmas tree, and Serge Lutens Chêne would suit a Solstice dinner with a big fire. The orange in Fendi Theorama, Caron Alpona, or Bois 1920 Sutra Ylang lend a wintery but celebratory feel, too.
New Year's Eve
Another year is coming to an end. Rather than dance all night, I like to have friends over for Champagne and clams casino by the fire, followed by old movies for whomever wants to stick around. I stay up late enough to see if animals really can talk while the clock strikes each of the twelve chimes of midnight. Usually the dog is already asleep.
How best to prepare: Go to the video store the day before so all the good movies won't be taken. Or, if you're going out, take a nap. Put cab money in your purse.
What you want your perfume to say: "As marvelous as this year was, next year will be even better. Life is full of crazy possibilities." Some obvious choices to wear New Year's Eve include Jean Patou Joy and Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse. If you're looking for a little nookie, I can recommend Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower or Amouage Jubilation 25. If you're planning on laughing and dancing all night, go all out with something lush and assertive like Badgley Mischka, Guerlain Nahéma, Bond No. 9 Chinatown, or, heck, Body Fantasies Sexiest Fantasies Va Va Voom!. If you're feeling introspective, maybe an incense-oriented fragrance would suit you best. Tauer Parfums Incense Rose would be beautiful, as would L'Artisan Parfumeur Dzongka, Amouage Jubilation XXV, and Sonoma Scent Studios Incense Pure. I'll be wearing XerJoff Irisss. I traded some copywriting for a bottle of it and get chills simply from smelling the inside of its cap. I can't think of a better way to bring in the new year.
What do you have to look forward to this month? And what perfume are you going to wear?