The whole “dress for the holidays” thing eludes me. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas or Easter, so there was no regular occasion that required a frilly dress. But dropping money on an item of kid clothing that will get worn once, maybe twice, before they outgrow them just seems silly. The one time I bought my then 7-year-old son a button-down shirt for a party, he stripped it off within 10 minutes and ran around in his undershirt for the rest of the evening.
On the other hand, I get that it’s fun (and respectful) to wear something fancy to a special occasion, and to look festive in the holiday card photo. I also get that some parents take great pleasure in dressing their kids. I don’t happen to be one of those parents.
I neither want my kids to look like slobs, nor do I want to deprive them of the experience of Fancy Dressing Up. One solution is to delegate the shopping. My husband loves clothes and now that my son is a teenager and is taking an interest in his appearance, he and his dad have great fun searching for just the right outfit.
My 9-year-old daughter is as no-nonsense as I am and prefers simple styles. I’m so grateful that, for now, we can still shop together in our own low-key way, mostly oblivious to trends and peer pressure.
So how do we stay practical while still having a shot at holiday style? We clean up and dress up the stuff the kids wear during the rest of the year.
Buy new shoes (or clean the old ones) 1 of 6New, clean shoes have a way of adding polish to just about anything. If you buy new, choose a versatile, comfortable style that can be worn with a dressy or casual outfit. For boys, that might be a pair of dark skateboard shoes; for girls, metallic ballet flats. Pictured: Boy's Shaun White Gower Skate Navy
Add a cardigan 2 of 6One of those summer tank dresses may bloom in the winter underneath a jewel-toned cardigan or shrug. Pair with tights and boots for a cozy ensemble. Pictured: Cherokee® Girls' Sequin Cardigan
Add accessories 3 of 6Why get a sparkly dress when you can just add a fancy headband or bracelet instead? Pictured: Remington Roses Headband - Pink
Wear dark turtlenecks 4 of 6During the no-button down years, black and navy turtlenecks were my son's go-to dress uniform. Pictured: Circo® Boys' Long-Sleeve Turtleneck
Wear dark jeans 5 of 6This may not fly in more formal situations, but at neighborhood parties and school functions, dark jeans + a neat shirt/top + aforementioned sparkly accessories + spiffy shoes looks great. Pictured: Circo® Girls' Skinny Denim Jeans - Antique Dark
Get them a haircut. 6 of 6Everything looks dressier when the hair is tidy. Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Do you keep your family festively stylish during the holidays? We’re giving away three $50 Target giftcards to brighten the season! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post with a personal tip on how you dress your children conveniently — and with style — during the holidays! Giveaway on 12/31/12.
Asha Dornfest is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less and publisher of Parent Hacks, a site crammed with tips for making family life easier.