When it comes to celebrity Christmases, there is never a shortage of ostentatious glamour. Whether it’s a publicized Christmas card such as the Kardashians’ or a radio broadcast with Joan Crawford and her children from 1949, family is used to make the holidays happier. To preface this, I must say that I love Joan Crawford and do not feel the same about the Kardashians but, when it comes to modern celebrity, they usually have the most stylish Christmas card. The Kardashian Christmas card is a photo op more staged than a fashion editorial found within the pages of Vogue; everyone is playing the appropriate part while wearing an impeccably put together designer outfit. The women are usually all wearing dramatic gowns and, let’s face it, Kim is the center of attention for the most part while Kris plays the role of loving mother and all the others flock around the edges of a grand staircase (or whatever the setting may be).
When Joan Crawford would have a radio broadcast discussing her family’s plans for Christmas, there was always a fireplace mentioned, a mantle ready to be hung with stockings (on Christmas Eve), a big tree with lots of presents underneath and the mention of caroling. Joan’s favorite Christmas carol was “Silent Night” while the children seemed to like “Jingle Bells” (all very rehearsed, of course: and no, we’re not going to discuss Mommie Dearest). It was always stressed that the children would have to earn their Christmas presents by exhibiting good behavior and that many of the toys would be given to charity (to children’s hospitals and such).
One of my favorite things about the holiday is looking at vintage photos of movie stars dressed as Santa Claus, posing with enormous candy canes, fake snow, and glittering Christmas trees. There’s a photo of Jayne Mansfield standing beside a Christmas tree in Hollywood and there’s enough tinsel to make your eyes burn. I personally love the individual strands of tinsel placed on Christmas tree branches: it sparkles divinely in the light of a fireplace while one drinks a little too much egg nog. I also love the old photos of stars in their winter furs looking ever so jolly. But let us not forget what Christmas is really about; it’s not a cheesecake photo shoot with a celebrity straddling a chimney prop, it’s about family and being around those you love. So, go ahead and be loving and glamorous (and don’t forget to pick up the latest issue of People magazine).
By Katherine Sloan