Holiday Socializing: A Field Guide

Alright, people. The season is upon us. We’ve long recovered from our Halloween candy hangover, just in time to realize that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and on its heels a slew of other social affairs—office parties, family get-togethers, kids’ parties, and all the festivities that can induce both joy and heartburn in equal measure.

Don’t panic. Making holiday socializing manageable—even enjoyable!—is simply a matter of what to wear, what to bring, and what to outsource. We’ve got your back on all three fronts, with some help from our friends over at InsideHook, bless their hardworking souls. Let’s get to it.

Make a fashion strategy.

Art of Manliness wrapped up holiday dressing pretty neatly with this illustration. Let’s bring it to life with the help of Inside Hook’s Fall Style Issue.

Want to be the sharpest chap at any cocktail, client, or Christmas party? This is your look for the season (click to enlarge):
Cozy up to fall style with InsideHook


Thanksgiving with the fam (and any other afternoon or medium-dressy occasion) will be as comfortable as it is stylish in this versatile getup that’ll get you through the season with ease (click to enlarge):
Cozy up to fall style with InsideHook

Peruse the complete Inside Hook Fall Style Issue for a full plate of cold-weather fashion options to cover your every social need.

Never show up empty-handed.

It’s one of those social rules that never changes but doesn’t get any easier either. If you’re lucky, a party invitation comes with a casual request for specific libations or even a potluck contribution, but more often you have to ideate on your own.

Simply put, know your host but don’t get too personal, keep it low-maintenance and seasonal, and wrap the damn thing. In other words, make sure your host isn’t on the wagon before handing them a bottle of scotch, remember that bath gifts are creepy no matter how nice they smell, live plants require work from the recipient (which is rude), and you’re too classy to just hand someone a bottle of wine in the liquor store bag. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions from Inside Hook:


1. Pewter Foxhead Jigger   2. Warm Mug Kit    3. Campfire Incense   4. Cast Iron Spice Mill   5. Old-Timey Matches   6. Moonshine Candle   7. Texas BBQ Smoking Bags   8. Cabin Spray


1. Tea Light Lantern   2. Linen Banner   3. Honey Flight   4. The Guide   5. Steel Dinner Bell   6. Avion Espresso Liquer   7. Whiskey Wedge   8. Nordic Wool Blanket

Check out the complete Holiday Party Host Gift Guide over at Inside Hook, and here’s an inside tip while you’re at it: shop for some extra gifts now so you’re never unprepared for a surprise invitation.

So you’re throwing a party…

Well, aren’t you ambitious. Look: entertaining, whether an intimate gathering or an all-out rager, is a logistical obstacle course with no small amount of social magic required, too. We believe in focusing your energies on the latter (because you can’t outsource your own charisma), and calling in the pros for the rest. Fortunately, you can do so from the comfort of your own internet, and we’ve rounded up all your key contacts for stress-free entertaining:

Like Tinder for private chefs, Kitchit lets you pair up for a night with a world-class chef perfectly matched to your desires. They’ll coordinate your menu, adapt to your kitchen landscape, use the tools you’ve got, and produce the meal of your dreams so you can focus on charming your guests.

Thirstie connects you to all the best wine, beer, and liquor brands via an easy-to-use app, delivered within the hour—along with up-to-the-minute cocktail recipes, tasting notes, and mixology trends. Get started with their favorite holiday cocktails, selected especially for the Eleven James Style Compass. And don’t forget, Style Compass readers can use promo code EJSPIRITS to get $8 off your next order!

Sprucing up your pad with minimal effort is as simple as some well-selected plant life. Floral elegance arrives in a hurry with same-day deliveries from The Bouqs Co. Elegant sophistication is a few taps away with the Bouqs app, and it feels good to know their flora-sourcing is eco-friendly, to boot.

Vetted, trusted, and friendly cleaning professionals are at your fingertips with Handy, a life-saving service with a slob-proof app. Cleaning not quite enough to bring your crib to total guest-worthiness? Handy now offers painting, plumbing, painting, electrical, and general handyman services for when cosmetic treatment just ain’t enough.

Got it under control? Well done! Take it to the next level with the additional support of entertaining guru Ted Allen, over at Esquire.

Oh, and everybody: have fun out there, alright?

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