What to Wear & Bring This Holiday Season

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One of our most popular posts in November was the What to Wear, Bring, Eat and Drink for Thanksgiving post so I thought I’d reprise it for the Christmas holidays. Since this time of takes on a life of itself and lasts for weeks (including parties etc) I am going to break it up into two posts and today share some ideas for what to wear and what to bring for hostess gifts.

      What to wear during the holidays can be hard, in fact, it may be one of the more challenging times of the year as far as getting dressed is. What to wear to a Christmas party? Will it be dressy or casual? What is the dress code for an office party? What can I wear that doesn’t cost a fortune when all my money is being spent on gifts? I totally get it!

I really wanted to put together a “what to wear” post for just those reasons, I always have all the same questions at this time of year. I think it’s even harder being in the ‘middle’ of life, as we always say Christy and I are somewhere older than a 20-something fashion blogger but not yet collecting social security. While it is important to feel like you look your best no matter what your age, investing in a little trendy black dress for just one party is probably not practical at our age. In fact, I just finished shopping (and shopping my closet!) for our upcoming holiday parties so all this is top of mind. So, here are some easy and affordable outfit ideas that should see you through the holidays.

The hardest thing to shop for I find is the work/office holiday party, especially if you haven’t been to it before. I dealt with this stress last year when my husband was in a new job. The event was held at a trendy city restaurant and I found that the women were wearing everything from sparkly cocktail dresses to pants and sweater sets. Since it was my first go-round with that crowd, I opted to stay safe with black skinny pants, my favorite leopard shoes, and a dressy top. I plan to stick with the same formula this year, falling somewhere in the middle of the dress code is usually safest.

Here are some options I considered for this year:


Velvet Lace Top

What is nice about a dressy top is that you can repeat it for New Year’s Eve!

Lace Cap Sleeve Wrap Top


Faux Wrap Velvet Top



There is no better time than the holidays for sequins, and this Blush Pink Sequined Top (it comes in black too) would be perfect for a party when the dress code is vague. Add a blazer or dressy sweater on top to dress it down, or statement earrings to dress it up. One of Christy’s go-to holiday outfits is a pretty sweater with a sequined skirt, that is another option if you don’t want to go as far as a dress for an event.



This is my favorite top of the post! It is a budget-friendly option if you are already feeling overspent this season. It’s just $19 and 20% off that with the code “frosty”, and it also comes in black. You can wear this on or off the shoulder, I’d pair this with our very favorite pearl choker and I think it would be simply amazing.



A simple top and some fabulous accessories are also an easy way to expand your wardrobe. I have lost track of how many holiday parties I have worn a basic but dressy tunic, black skinny pants (or get fancy with velvet pants!), strappy but classic heels, and a fun (usually this leopard) purse. If you know you need to wear a dress, or something fancier than pants and a top to an event, here are some great options.



This dress comes in several colors and I love the elegant velvet fabric. I think it’s conservative enough for an office party, and you can easily dress it down with a pair of heeled boots.


This is another cute, affordable and classic black dress that is perfect for a holiday party (or new years eve!). Again, it comes in a holiday-friendly velvet and has a stylish off the shoulder look.     If you fall in the category of “my budget is already zero” but you need something new for a party, this dress (or one like it) is a great option. This one gets great reviews at a great price and has prime shipping. Amazon Fashion is up and coming, it is a great place to grab something at the last minute (just be sure you aren’t ordering one from overseas that might not arrive until 2019!)


Another item most of us need to consider at this time of year is how to stay warm getting from home to the party. I saw a ton of these faux fur/teddy bear coats coming in and out of my daughter’s Nutcracker performance this past weekend when our temps were freezing. I knew I had to have one, and ordered this one below to wear to holiday parties.



Here are some other ones I considered:



If you are dressing for a more casual Christmas event here are a few fun options, obviously, I am a bit of a plaid fanatic at this time of year. I have several of these holiday tops (including the first one), I wear them with black pants and leopard shoes for my casual holiday look (like on Christmas Eve etc. ). I know that the plaid/leopard mix might sound a little funny but I think it works perfectly, as they say, leopard is a neutral!

Plaid Top

Plaid Skirt


Tartan Plaid Top


Tartan Vest (and another plaid vest option here)

      Holiday hostess gifts can be another last-minute problem, there is always so much else to think about at this time of year. There is always the go-to bottle of wine (be sure to use the $10 off $50 at Total Wine we shared in this post!). A bottle of wine in a pretty bag with a custom gift tag is usually appropriate to bring as a gift as long as your host drinks alcohol.



A simple gift with pretty packaging goes a long way.  I invested in these monogrammed tags last year and they have definitely upped my gift-giving game.



A themed gift is always nice at this time of year. I like to pick up a can of a quality hot chocolate mix along with fun fixings and put them together in a basket. You can also do several kinds of candy or cookies, who wouldn’t like that?  I buy inexpensive boxes at the craft store, fill them with cookies or candies and add a ribbon and a custom sticker. I buy them here and also use them to stick on gifts, another thing that makes life easy during this crazy time of year.


Holiday Open House at 11 Magnolia Lane--daily holiday inspiration from your favorite bloggers


Harney & Sons Tea and rock candy swizzle sticks--great gift idea | 11 Magnolia Lane


For a simple gift, a pretty tin of tea is always a nice hostess gift. We love this brand of tea! Add a nice mug to make it even more special.



Classic Peppermint Bark made our Thanksgiving list too. If you aren’t a baker you can buy this yummy brand, add a bow and have a welcome hostess gift. This is such a great teacher, neighbor, boss, friend gift too!



One of my very favorite gifts to receive is a pretty ornament. It is always fun to unpack them the next year and remember who the giver was, as well as the occasion. I love these etched glass ones and they are less than $10 shipped (use code Holiday for 25% off).



Also, these pewter salt and pepper shakers are still on sale (I am just going to order them and tuck them away for the next time I need a gift, and possibly get my own set too!).  If someone is hosting you for dinner these are perfect to give. Use code JINGLE for free shipping right now.



These Thymes Frasier Fir candles are the most magical smelling Christmas candles. They are among our “Favorite Things” that we post each year at this time because they make your entire home smell like Christmas. This two-pack will give you one for you and one for a friend!



I hope some of these ideas are helpful. If you are still gift shopping, you can check out all of our Gift Guides HERE. We have gift guides for pretty much everyone– Men & Boys, Women & Girls (female teachers/friends/mothers/daughters/aunts etc.) and one of our most popular gift guides because the gifts are unique and personal, our ETSY Gift Guide.



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Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky! Please see our full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Couldn’t get the link for the blush sequined top? The faux wrap top was linked again where the sequined top should have been.

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