A Bossy Guide to Surviving the Season of the Spirit

Hello, beleaguered masses of Dames Nation! 
We hope you didn't miss us too much on our sabbatical last week. We definitely missed you.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
( A heart for every day we've been gone)

In the midst of this season of stressful travel, overstuffed schedules, understuffed bank accounts, trying relations, and cloying commercials, we wanted to take today to provide you with some fool-proof culture recommendations designed to take you from this:

To this:
(Please forgive the Christmas-centric nature of these gifs. We intend them as tributes not to Christ [although we hear he's cool!], but to the Churches of Jim Henson and Michael Caine, to which all thinking, feeling humans belong.) 

In service of this goal, allow us to present....The Two Bossy Dames's Guide to Surviving the Season of the Spirit

What to watch, eat, read, or listen to.......While You’re Trimming The Tree You need three things: quality tunes, a hot drink, and some tasty nibbles. We’ve recommended some hyggeligicious foodstuffs previously - enjoy some of those or follow your own holiday bliss! As for music, Sophie realizes her favorite holiday albums are largely chestnuts many of you will know well already, but can you ever go wrong with a stone classic? We think not. Do you have an all-time favorite not listed below? Hit us up on e-mail or Twitter!
 Ella Wishes You A Swingin’ Christmas, by Ella Fitzgerald (Spotify) -- the way she sings “I’m just crazy ‘bout hor-SES!” at the end of “Jingle Bells” is a day-maker.A Charlie Brown Christmas, by The Vince Guaraldi Trio (Spotify) -- I mean. Obviously.Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family, by Nick Lowe (Spotify) -- when Mr. Lowe played “I Was Born In Bethlehem” for his Quality Holiday Revue’s encore recently, you’d better believe the entire audience was SILENT with delighted awe.Soul Christmas, by Various Artists of Atlantic Records (Spotify) -- including the definitive versions of “White Christmas” (Otis Redding) and “This Christmas” (Donny Hathaway).
Nat King Cole’s Christmas Album (Spotify) -- has there ever been a voice with better, smoother tone? ​And for good measure, some Songza playlists: Purple Snowflakes, Santa's Got Style: Hip Christmas Hits, and Christmas Brass and Bells...While You’re Resentfully Setting The TableTo deepen your resentment into a full-on Two Minute Hate (with added belly laughs): Drew Magary's annual Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog To soften your resentment and center yourself: This reminder to take a breath and truly care for yourself & your loved ones this season, from Magda Pescenye at Ask Moxie. ...While You're Recovering From A Food Coma and/or HangoverHangover threat level SEVERE: A Winged Victory for the Sullen (Spotify)Hangover threat level HIGH: Julianna Barwick's "Nepenthe" (Spotify)Hangover threat level ELEVATED: The Danish String Quartet's "Wood Works" (Spotify)Hangover threat level GUARDED: Jon Hopkins and King Creosote's "Diamond Mine" (Spotify)Hangover threat level LOW: Laura Mvula with the Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios (Spotify) (Margaret's been listening to this one pretty much non-stop all week. In preparation.)...While You're Hiding From Your Auntie MurielThis thoughtful piece from Glynnis MacNicol on how not having or wanting kids is actually totally ok!Reassurance that the kids (teen girls, especially) are alright...While You're Nursing Thoughts of VengeanceGail Carriger’s 12 GIFs of Finishing School Gifts for Enemies!This story of a deeply inept husband's attempt to get his wife murdered, as a reminder that more logistics won't REALLY improve your life right now.And, if you partner is the type who buys their spouse a trash compactor for Christmas, feel free to print these vintage ads out and then cut them to shreds, while cackling.​...While You’re Snuggling On The Couch With People You LoveThe Holiday! (In case you want to know why we cry aloud "ELI WALLACH FOREVER!!")The Shop Around the Corner! (In case you've ever wondered where Nora got the killer set up for You've Got Mail.)The Family Stone (In case you want to know what Margaret watches and weeps over while wrapping her Christmas gifts every year.) Twee As HellCharcuterie for your Christmas Tree! (More like char-CUTE-erie, amiright?) There's something so Tale of Two Bad Mice about these little prosciutto & baguette ornaments.2014: The Year We Realized Large-Scale Gingerbread Architecture Is A Thing! Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's Western PA masterpiece, rendered in gingerbread, complete with authentically sagging poured concrete cantilevered balcony! Then there's the Guggenheim, the Louvre, the Tate Modern and many other international museums, in sumptuous black-and-white (gingerbread). No list would be complete without #GingerbreadAbbey and Gingerbread Landmarks of Boston! Then there’s the borderline-gross deliciousness of these foodscapes.​These gnome-themed shoes might be too twee, even for us.Y’all know we love the Danish concept of hygge. Imagine our happiness when the talented and generous Kady sent us, out of the blue, these hand-embroidered hoops! AND IMAGINE our even more incandescent happiness when we learned that she was selling prints of said embroidery at her Society6 shop, as things like THROW PILLOWS and TOTE BAGS! TOTES! For our goats! Our ability to can is nil.Unrelated But Of Keen Interest Old Hollywood in lush, full-color Kodachrome. GREGORY PECK, Y'ALL. Pairs nicely with the utter perfection of Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn on the set of How To Steal A Million in 1966. What's leaving Netflix on January 1 (note to self: make time to queue up You've Got Mail and Roman Holiday before New Year's Eve). For those who share Sophie and Margaret's  love for Justified (or more precisely, for the unconsummated love affair between Raylan Givens & Boyd Crowder, rawrrrrr forever) you will be keen to seek out these excellent-looking documentaries about Appalachia. Aminatou Sow (one half of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend) gave a great, moving interview to Gentlewoman Magazine. This heartbreakingly sweet story by Sadie Stein of a fractured romance temporarily healed by a lifetime of free donutsAND WITH THAT, we're out!
Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyful Solstice, a Somber Festivus, or whatever mix of the above you find most personally fulfilling. We'll see you next week!