“It’s Christmas Eve. It’s-it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.”
– Frank Cross, Scrooged
No matter what you celebrate, the holiday season is the time of year when we all have the opportunity to forgive and forget, to fall in love (or out of love), and to share a few laughs with the people that mean the most to us. During this time of year, euphoria is in the air and we generally feel a little freer and outgoing; willing to fill up our already busy schedules with parties, dinners, nights out and the bar, and for some of us – time out on the mountain. It’s also the time of year where we get a little gussied up; maybe get a haircut or even tuck in the shirt at dinner? Hell, some people even put on evening gowns and suits (not together of course, that would be uncomfortable). But we’re active, outdoor people, and what’s common fare for most folks in terms of clothing and accoutrements, isn’t necessarily the same for us.
The following is a collection of clothing and gear compiled to help you survive the holidays ahead. It will assist you in picking out your wardrobe and deciding what to bring to a dinner party. It’ll also make sure you’re prepared if the occasion arises where you can slip out the back door after convincing some like-minded folks to hit the trail with you too.
CORE WARDROBE FOR HER:
Ladies like to look good and feel comfortable, while still being able to function. Here’s a few choice pieces we’ve pulled together that actually all look wicked-good together. Wow. Even we’re impressed.
Patagonia Women’s Recycled Down Hooded Coat
Melding both form and function together to allow you to transition from dinner party to whiskey sours by the fire, the Patagonia Women’s Recycled Down Hooded Coat is made from 100% recycled polyester, wool, and down. In short, not only will you be warm and dry outside, but you’ll look stunning – especially with the plaid print on the shoulders and hood.
Woolrich Roundtrip II Fair Isle Crew Tunic Sweater
Socializing is equal parts looking good and being comfortable, and the Woolrich Roundtrip II Fair Isle Crew Tunic Sweater has you covered in both of those areas. Made from a blend of acrylic and wool, the Roundtrip II Fair Isle Crew Tunic is long and soft and features a ribbed collar, cuffs, and waistband, making it the right choice for those post dinner-party snowball fights.
Sorel Women’s Caribou Boot – Buff
When it comes to tried and true footwear in the snow, look no further than the classics – like the Sorel Caribou Boot. Constructed from a seam-sealed waterproof full-grain suede upper, and the classic vulcanized rubber lower, the Caribou also features a thick ThermoPlus removable wool/acrylic boot liner. These beauties have been around for decades, are all the rage in style, and are destined to keep you upright and comfortable on a snowy evening stroll through downtown.
CORE WARDROBE FOR HIM:
As much as guys try to pass off their wardrobe choices as being simple and easy, they twist and toil just as much as their lady friends to try and look good. Here’s a sample from my own personal collection that I think I look stunning in. STUNNING I tell you!
Woolrich Men’s Utility Vest – Snap Front
This is the second time we’re recommending the Woolrich Men’s Utility Vest with snap front closure – because it really is all that and then some. Originally designed over 200 years ago, for train conductors working on the railroad, this wool vest is casual and practical, but also ready for the elements. We recommend the Wool Herringbone variant as it goes with pretty much anything, with the possible exception of jogging pants.
Duluth Trading Company Free Swingin’ Flannel Shirt
The only thing more essential to the right winter wardrobe than a flannel shirt, is a flannel that looks good with a sport coat. Enter the Duluth Trading Company Free Swingin’ Flannel Shirt. Made from 100% 5.6 oz brushed cotton and featuring Duluth’s Freedom Of Movement (F.O.M) armpit gussets, you’ll be able to chop wood for the fire in this flannel; or just sit by it looking good while sipping on some electric eggnog.
Dan Post Blayde Waterproof Wellington Square Toe Boots
Inspired by winters in Montana and a little too much Michael Martin Murphey, these Dan Post Blayde 11” boots are a modern and relaxed take on the classic cowboy boot. Lightweight and insulated, these shitkickers feature a waterproof membrane and pair well with jeans. They especially look great posted up on the bottom rung of a barstool. Additionally, after a day or two of breaking in, they’ll handle any trail just as well as your favorite hiking boots.
WHAT TO BRING TO THE PARTY:
The last thing you want to do is show up somewhere you’ve been invited empty-handed. Some folks like to bring a pie, other folks like to kick it up a notch. Whatever you bring – DO NOT BRING A FRUIT CAKE!
Upslope Brewing Lee Hill Series Volume 10: Wild Christmas Ale with Cranberries
Aged in rye whiskey barrels and coming in at 9%, the Upslope Wild Christmas Ale with Cranberries is a small-batch, sour, limited release take on the company’s Christmas Ale. The perfect blend of tart and sweet, this Lee Hill Series release from Upslope is one beer you’ll try to hand off, but end up drinking on your own.
Being that things like this are all about presentation, present this ale in a Portland Growler Company 32oz Smooth Neck, Loop, Sprocket, or Grigri hand-throw ceramic growler – you may just get lucky even without the mistletoe.
Evan Williams Original Southern Eggnog
Right after Thanksgiving, the food stores in town start carrying Eggnog, the delicious holiday drink that you either love or hate. Either way, this stuff only gets better when mixed with bourbon, and Evan Williams has you covered with their Original Southern Eggnog. Thick, smooth, and smoky, this hooch isn’t as high-test as if you mixed it yourself, but it’ll keep you upright and allow you to remember the night.
Sharpe Hill Vineyard Ballet of Angels Wine
One of the top wines coming out of New England, Sharpe Hill Vineyard’s Ballet of Angels is a semi-dry white wine with a refreshing taste of peaches, pears, and grapefruit. It pairs well with a lighter meal, but really gets rocking over a game of Cards Against Humanity.
L.L. Bean Fatwood Crate
If you really want to hit a homerun with your host, skip the booze and bring along a crate L.L. Bean Fatwood. These sticks of resin soaked pine quickly and naturally start a fire while giving off a great winter-time aroma while doing so. Bean offers their Fatwood in a standard cardboard box as well – but the pine crate included here will ensure you get invited back to the holiday party next year.
Ecclecstacy Arts Ceremonial House Incense Cone Burner
Many moons ago, I was gifted this Ecclecstacy Arts Ceremonial House Incense burner by my brother and future wife as they were traveling home for the holidays from California. Not only does it fill my house with a beautiful fresh burning pine smell, but it also touched my heart. There’s just something sentimental about going native. I’m seriously getting choked up typing this.
TOOLS FOR THE ESCAPIST:
I have a tendency of either heading outside after a great holiday meal, or not showing up at all – favoring trail-time with a few loved ones over a big gathering. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get into the holiday mood, and at that point we’re usually knee-deep in positive emotions, and hopefully a little snow as well. Anyway, there’s no need to get into a broad spectrum of gear here – especially if you’re just trying to slip out the back, Jack. But here are a few items you shouldn’t be caught without when you’re trying to live it up in the land of ice and snow.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Whether you’re out by the fire, humping up a trail, or stumbling down Main St. – nothing beats a good headlamp in winter. Black Diamond’s Spot Headlamp is waterproof, lightweight, and features up to 200 lumens of LED illumination. What’s more, if you’re trying to keep a low profile – the Spot has a red-light night mode for easier map reading and sneaking about.
Leatherman Juice CS4
No wardrobe is complete without the proper multitool, and the Leatherman Juice CS4 is just the ticket for everyday use and uncorking random – if not required – bottles of wine. Featuring 15 onboard tools – which include a corkscrew, saw, and awl – The Juice CS4 is compact and sleek, allowing you to slip it away into your pocket until you need it.
Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime Flipper
You wouldn’t head out to of the house on a cold winter night without a jacket, right? So why would you leave without the right knife in your pocket? The OKC Carter Prime is a hearty flipper made from stonewashed D2 tool steel and titanium and features a thick modified wharncliffe blade shape for putting in work. For splitting kindling, popping a bottle, or opening all those holiday cards, the Carter Prime of OKC has you covered.
There you have it – a list of great things we’re recommending to you when it comes time for you to head out and start your holiday doings. We aren’t traditional people who fit into traditional holiday sweaters and fancy khakis. We’re the kind of people who don’t mind stepping in puddles and through snow drifts; the kind of people who will scale a boulder in someone’s front yard, or start a random snowball fight. We’re outdoor enthusiasts and we’ll show up to your party looking top notch, comfortable, and prepared for a night filled with fun, laughter, and exploration. That’s just the way it is; some things will never change.
Happy Holidays to you all! I hope you get to spend them with the ones you love. If not, perhaps on a trail or mountain that you’re lucky enough to call home.