The first of which would obviously be not to worry about it too much — no one on this earth could ever be too cool for Christmas, you know — but that said, there are, of course, a few basic guidelines that will steer you in the direction of the Hipster Christmas of your dreams. Or, if you're lucky, in the direction of the North Pole itself?! Aaaah!
Do: Go On A Late Night Tree Pick-Up
Dragging home an entire tree on a cold, crowded street is much more bearable and fun when the rush is over and you have a few drinks in you.
Don't: Be Afraid to go Synthetic
Yes, everyone would rather have a perfect Douglas Fir that smells like childhood, but that isn't always feasible. And, pretty much, if you live anywhere other than a fancy mansion that you've populated with your fancy children, you can get away with everything from plastic trees to inflatable wreaths. Any holiday spirit is always better than none.
Do: Shake Up the Classics
There could never be anything wrong with listening to Bing Crosby sing "The Christmas Song" for the rest of our days. But variety is the spice of life, and if you're really just chomping at the bit for the opportunity to show off your excellent, eclectic taste, this is it. Pretty much everyone you can think of who's ever touched a musical instrument has put out a Christmas album for extra cash at some point, so go nuts. Or, you know, just crib from our foolproof L Magazine holiday playlist. Whichever.
Don't: Blindly Trust Novelty
Did I ever tell you about the time I picked up that Yuletide Disco album on a whim? Nightmarish. Vet your music wisely.
Do: Embrace The Fat
Normally, I'm a little weary of the whole "bacon in/on everything!" and "never enough butter!" trend that seems to have foodie culture by the throat right now, but for the holidays, it's perfect. Make as many souped-up pigs in blankets and extra fancy cookies as your heart desires.
Don't: Serve Healthy Snacks
"Oh, I'm so glad someone thought of adding carrots sticks and tahini dip to this holiday party spread because..." *Baaaaaarf*
Do: Buy Local
I think that's what the young people like to do now, isn't it? Also, by doing this you're funneling money straight back into the local economy, and therefore giving two presents for the price of one, if you think about it. Aww.
Don't: Buy Joke Gifts
Sure, that tin for making cupcakes in the shape of penises is just hilarious, and everyone will have a good chuckle when it's opened. For 5 minutes. Then it will transition into the next phase of its life, which is to be an utterly useless waste of space in your friend's home, forever.
Do: Insist Upon a Yankee Swap
The thing about young, presumably hip people is that a lot of them tend to work in or around creative industries. Thus, they are also presumably broke people. Yankee swaps allow you to get away with bringing one pretty cheap gift to cover the whole party. Also, they're totally fun and everyone should have them, always.
Don't: Serve PBR
Even if you plan to use the cans for decoration later. Especially if you plan to use the cans for decoration later. The whole point of the holidays is for things to feel more special than usual, so step it up and make some damn punch.
Do: Take a Picture With a Department Store Santa
Confusing and terrifying as a child (at least it was for me), fun and silly as an adult.
Don't: Try to Joke With Him About Bad Santa
Willing to bet he's heard it already. And how would you like it if someone showed up to your side gig and joked about you being an alcoholic perv?
Do: Break Out Your Finest Christmas Sweater
No time like the present to dust off your one garment of clothing that has bells attached to it, after all.
Don't: Try to Play it off as "Ironic"
My mom and all her mom friends have been joking for years about ugly holiday sweater season, and everyone happily participates. It's just a fun tradition that everyone enjoys, so there's no real way to embrace irony here unless you show up in a loincloth fashioned out of a stocking or something. In which case you're not hip so much as an idiot and possible sex offender. Also, it's Christmas, so just relax. Stick with the sweater. It will be fun, and hide that holiday party gut that's been growing all month. What more could you ask for?
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.