The Dame Tips for Fabulous Living: The Holiday Edition

Photo, Erik Putz

Photo, Erik Putz

The Dame Tips are a monthly guest series by wntta's resident Don Draper: an elegant hedonist who suffers no fools, The Dame herself, writer Ali Schofield.

Welcome to the end of the year, my dears! December is a party, much to my delight and despair. I may be The Dame but I generally don’t like people, so this time of year can be tedious and exhausting. In most cases I’d rather spend the holidays with a bottle of bourbon, TCM classic Christmas movies or bingeing RuPaul’s Drag Race. When it comes to those whose company I do covet, the holidays are a lovely time to catch up over heroic homemade pate a choux.

Let me start by saying thank you for all your notes of concern over my wretched back, you truly are dears and I cherished your well wishes. I have mostly recuperated, though I’m still going to physio so I do not end up on the floor again – what a terrible ordeal. As I lay there on my bedroom floor in my nightgown at 2AM sprawled in a dramatic twisty fashion, I actually thought, ‘I am freshly showered. I am wearing a beautiful negligée (because broken back does not mean broken spirit) and the house is, as my Gma used to say, “clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”’ (While I’m thinking about it, Gma’s advice could likewise be applied to other aspects of life… but I digress.) I reassured myself that if I had to call emergency services, it could happen without embarrassment. Luckily, I was able to get up again and my manfriend was a darling and took care of me in every way, including the kind of passion that necessitated three days of turtlenecks. God bless him and his runner’s stamina.

I have to admit, at first I struggled with this month’s tips because I just found absolutely everything a goddam cliché. I didn’t want to be some tired third rate Buzzfeed Karen telling you to shop local or some shit, because I’m sure you do, and actually, I don’t really care. As I’m sure you’ve learned by now, when I write to you I aim to bring more nuance than what you would get from a subway poster, and lucky for you I feel I’ve delivered with a deluxe holiday edition of Dame Tips to get you through this month with a grin.

  • Meet Linda and remember her name if you must – If you’re anything like me, when you meet someone at a holiday party you probably don’t even listen when they tell you their name. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a little rude. To help with this intention, some suggest imagining there is a great deal of cash or a fantastic shag on the line if you remember a person’s name at the end of the night (to be clear, I said the latter). What I try to do is remember something about a person’s appearance, or if I’m very lucky and they say something interesting, use that as a means of remembering who they are. To be clear, I’m not suggesting you judge them, but it’s not my fault if that helps. Hand to god, this is what helps me. “Oh, her with the Longchamp bag? That’s Meaghan.” (Yes I’d imagine that someone who owns a Longchamp bag would have all those secret unnecessary letters in her name.) If you genuinely care about those you meet (and good for you!) check out these suggestions which might actually help. Just remember that it’s much more important that they remember you.

  • Be a good guest – This should go without saying but being our first Christmas together I want to make sure we’re all on the same page: if you’re going to a holiday house party, bring a gift for the host or hostess. Any disciple of mine will be a goddam class act and bring a token for the person whose libations they’re drinking, on top of the customary bottle of wine that contributes to the party. A lot of work goes into throwing a soirée and a small trinket for their home bar or gift card for the glass you will inevitably break goes a long way to make your visit memorable. It’s good manners, and good manners make you a better person.

  • A drink to get you through – I couldn’t leave you for the holidays without suggesting a drink to hold you over. This one is a good old favourite: a hot toddy (to be clear, the only Todd that’s ever really been hot.) You don’t need to wait for a cold to come on to enjoy this winter classic, it’s a perfect drink for when the entertaining is over. Combine 1.5 oz of Writers’ Tears (or other good whiskey) with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey. Stir in freshly boiled water and garnish with a lemon round and cinnamon stick. You get so much refined sugar in all sorts of holiday treats, this nightcap is tasty virtually guilt free.

  • The number one way to get through the holidays – Cannabis. If you haven’t yet, and you are even the least bit inclined, the holidays are the perfect time to take your first foray into legal marijuana. If you’re like me and also find the information on the Ontario Cannabis Store website abysmal, try a free strain matching service like On their website you can create a profile based on what you’re looking for out of your evening toke or surf the strains yourself. Are you looking for something to sooth you during an anxious moment, or perhaps a bowl to smoke that will lull you to sleep? There’s a pot for that and Cannvas will help you find it.

  • Words to party by – Oscar Wilde once said that you can never be overeducated or overdressed. I can say with all sincerity that this is one of my personal mottos, and a great piece of advice for the holiday season in particular. Go ahead and wear that sequined dress you’ve had in your closet since last year, you saucy minx. You will look spectacular, everyone will think so.

Is that enough to get you through the month my dears? It better be because my rocks glass is empty. What’s that? What am I doing for New Years? Well, I dislike New Year’s immensely but that’s a long diatribe I will spare you from for the time being. So, if it’s anything like the previous few years I’ll ring in the new year from my bathtub, most of the way through a bottle of proper champagne. That said, my manfriend may coax me out of the house this year… as you know by now he has some very effective methods of persuasion. Here’s hoping you have similar plans for keeping warm and telling 2018 to get the fuck out.

Until the new year my pets, all my love to you and yours this holiday season,

The Dame

Ali SchofieldThe Dame