Culture Watch: Men Who Wear Kilts

Not too many people would consider wearing kilts a Christmas tradition, but to the McDougal family of Hendersonville, kilts and Christmas just seem to be a natural fit.

The McDougal’s annual Christmas party has evolved into the “Men Who Wear Kilts” party because Todd McDougal wanted to pay homage to his Scottish ancestry by wearing a kilt made of his family’s tartan plaid.

“The McDougal tartan has a lot of red in it, so it fits very well with the colors of the holiday season,” said Renita McDougal. “My husband just began wearing his kilt to the party and people really liked it.”

The McDougal’s annual holiday party draws more than 150 people to their downtown Hendersonville home, and a growing number of men now wear kilts to the party. Renita estimates between seven and 10 of the male party-goers were bold enough to show off their legs and Scottish heritage, last year.

“This year, it’s anybody’s guess how many men will decide to wear a kilt,” said Renita. “With a name like McDougal you know we have a strong Scottish heritage.”

Although neither Renita or Todd are native to Western North Carolina, she says that the area’s rich Scottish highland traditions were the perfect fit for them. “We just fit in so well here that it just felt like home as soon as we moved to Hendersonville 14 years ago,” she said.

Not only is the McDougal’s party a great way for people to show off their Scottish heritage, it’s also a wonderful way to get into the giving spirit of the holiday season. Instead of bringing gifts for the hosts, Renita and Todd instead tell their guests to bring a toy, which they then donate to the Toys for Tots program.

“We usually end up with enough toys to fill up the back of our SUV, and it’s such a great feeling to drop off those toys the day after the party,” Renita said. “That is one holiday tradition that I really do love and look forward to every year.”

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