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Nowadays we are  bombarded by messages from various media outlets telling us what to wear, what to  eat, what to  buy,  and what to watch.  A memo to the trendsetters, influencers,  and 40-something magazine writers:  Stop it already! I am old enough to know and do what I want. 

Designer Carolina Herrera, who is well over 40,  claimed that  wearing jeans beyond the age of 30 and maintaining  long hair beyond the age of 40 is considered classless. Really?  Suggesting that woman of a certain age are  not attractive or acceptable with their choices is a tad presumptuous.

Consider skincare. I used to be a sucker for every anti-aging product on the market.  These products promised to prevent 11’s (lines) from forming on my forehead and  marionette lines on either side of my mouth.  Not wanting to look like a puppet,  I bought into the hype and spent more money than I should have.   

 There are literally thousands of tutorials instructing  women of a certain age on how to apply makeup. The influencers show a photo of a woman who looks perfect – to make the point, they have a green check-mark on the photo.  If the look is wrong, there is a big red check mark over the photo.  Truthfully, I could not tell the difference between the two photos.  

These do’s and don’ts are designed to make women feel insecure and dissatisfied with themselves. These articles may use the fear of aging to persuade us to buy something that is not necessary and most times not effective. 

Surfing  the Internet for window  treatments, I came across numerous articles on the do’s and don’ts of home furnishings.  What started out as curiosity turned into dismay. The décor they were presenting was out of my reach financially—and to boot—there was a not-too-veiled suggestion that my lovely home was woefully dated.  

With Christmas around the corner, the trendsetters, writers,  and influencers are having a field day. In short, these  folks are trying to enlighten us on  how to “do” Christmas—yup the influencer said “do Christmas. “

Have you seen those  commercials that equate love with the monetary value of a gift? Spouses are sitting around a cozy fire in a room that is exquisitely and expensively decorated.  (The copywriter could be the one who insulted my home décor, but I digress.) 

The husband says to his perfectly coiffed wife ”There  is one more gift for you.” The husband, in his cashmere sweater, gives his smiling wife a box with a red bow. Surprise! Surprise! Inside the box are keys.  He guides her outside. Before them is a shiny $100,000 car. “Merry Christmas, honey!“  The adoring wife hugs her husband with incomparable joy. 

The same scenario is played out with expensive jewelry. “If you love her, give her a gift she will never forget!“  What? This is as unrealistic as a line from Love Story that avows: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

There is also how-to-set-an-elegant-Christmas-table article that gave me a chuckle.  The article emphasizes that because Christmas or Hanukkah are festive occasions, we may consider adding to our China collection.

The writer states we should consider blue-colored glasses for Hanukkah and sterling silver glasses  trimmed in blue for Christmas.  Necessary are festive sterling napkin rings. The eucalyptus and citrus runner for the table will make the house smell divine.  No doubt it sounds divine, but for some, unrealistic.

My first glance at  Christmas menus looked too complicated to wrap my brain around.  I bypassed them. 

Our  kids and grandkids are subjected to  a myriad of toys, games, and iPad devices. These advertisements are kid magnets. The kids’ Christmas lists grow exponentially as each commercial  showing a shiny thing is etched into their brain.

Maybe this kind of holiday is for you. If so, enjoy.  However, for me and for many  others, holidays are a time to gather with those we love. I will fly across the country to be with my sons, their wives, grandkids and other family members. I  will, as I have done all my life,  attend church—and bonus! My family will attend with me.  

Will the table be perfectly set? Probably not.  However, I’ll bet the aroma of the lasagna baking in the oven, and meatballs and sauce simmering on the stove will outdo the smell of the citrus and eucalyptus table runner.

I will  be charged with moving the elf on the shelf  from place to place.  My delight , as Luca and Nova spot the elf, will be unparalleled. 

I am not impressed by trendsetters and influencers. They often portray a perfect image of how our lives should be.  It is not reflective of the reality and challenges that many folks face. These so-called influencers will have a hard time influencing me. How in the world can  they know everything?  And why in the world do folks follow them? 

To continue to be an authentic person,  in a world where folks are trying to change us,  is  certainly a challenge. After all, we are seasoned and wiser.  Don’t you think we should be the ones who set our own trends and standards and not the other way around? 

Faithful readers, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a  joyous holiday season. 

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.