More than Clothes


   The holidays evoke different feelings for everyone. Some love them, some don’t. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, I guarantee you remember what you wore during or what you received for at least one holiday. This is the magic of the season: smells, symbols and clothing all bring back memories.

   You could remember a fabulous frock you purchased to wow at your office holiday party but, more often than not, it’s the not-so-fabulous items and the gifts from others that hold the dearest memories. My favorites are the embellished holiday sweaters people dust off each year – not fashionable – but the holidays wouldn’t be complete without them.

   In our house, we opened gifts on Christmas Eve after dinner. The dishes had to be done (no dishwasher – gasp!) before we could start. My siblings and I got smart and soon we were eating deli sandwiches on paper plates so we could get to the goods sooner.

   And there were always clothes. My sister and I would confer to decide what we were going to wear the next day at our annual holiday open house. It was always something new that I couldn’t wait to present to the world. But we didn’t always get everything we wanted.

   I remember opening a pair of long knit slippers one year that someone made for me called mukluks (it’s a Midwestern thing) and I thought they were gross; they looked like crocheted lameness and sat in my closet for years before getting tossed. What I would give to have those now: cozy, handmade slippers to remind me of the holidays and of home. Plus, who knew they would be a precursor to UGGs and entirely fashionable?

   For another Christmas when I was in High School I received the most beautiful, mini, A-line black leather skirt from my brother. Made by Vakko, it was soft, beautiful and expensive. I loved that skirt more than anything but the memory that sticks with me the most is the pure joy on my brother’s face in being able to buy and give it to me. Of course, I eventually gave it away, too. Why didn’t anyone stop me? That skirt would be perfect this season but, even though I don’t physically own it, the special memories will stay with me forever.

   That’s the thing about the holidays: each item of clothing you buy and receive should mean something and should create a lasting memory. This is probably good advice to employ all year long.


By Jamie Banks