Don’t know what to get your difficult-to-buy-for loved ones this Christmas season? Why not a gift that will help elevate their social status within the Pine Tree State?

Every culture down through the ages has had status symbols. Everything from tanned skin to powdery white skin, a fat belly to a Twiggy-thin waist, a castle on the hill, a new fur coat, a butler or fancy new Mercedes have all served as indicators of wealth and status.

Maine is no different. While not all wealthy Mainers overtly display their social status, there are indicators of splashy spending in an effort to gain social status if you know where to look.

Here are 10 Maine-specific status symbols that, if purchased, will propel your Christmas list into the upper echelons of Maine’s social hierarchy.

• Anything from L.L. Bean. If your shirt or bag or pants is from L.L. Bean, you’ve got it made. Of course, taking it up a notch with Bean Boots or a Baxter State Parka down jacket will score you bonus status points.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

Speaking of Leon Leonwood, don’t forget that showy L.L. Bean canvas-covered snow sledding tube when you’re headed to posh Fort Williams to go sledding. Ditch the cheap, plastic disc and spend some serious cash (according to my latest Bean catalog) on the fancy snow tube.
• Two Adirondack chairs for the front yard. Ever notice how Maine McMansion homeowners angle two Adirondack chairs for passing motorists to see? That’s a sign of status seeking, because you never actually see anyone sitting in them.
• How about some granite this holiday season? Granite cobblestone walkways and driveways or granite mailbox posts and lampposts are the ultimate sign of needless spending. Why have a measly, old wooden post when you can burn a quick $1,000 on a mailbox prop that will last until the next Ice Age, or until the snow plow hits it?
• A new Suburu. Wealthy Mainers learned long ago not to show off their wealth by buying fancy automobiles. Instead, they buy Suburus. Yeah, they’re good in snow, but because Maine’s wealthy buy them, lower social ranks want them, too.
• Lobster license plates. They cost more, like all good social status indicators do, but your status as a legit Mainer will be written all over your bumper for the whole world to see.
• A yard full of toys perched on separate trailers. If you have a boat, an ATV, a snowmobile and a camper sitting in your yard waiting to be hitched up to your heavy-duty pickup truck, you’ve attained peak Mainer social status.
• A gas-powered ice auger. Regular hand crank ones make you look like a novice hardwater fisherman. You need the gas-powered one to have true ice fishing cred.
• A 48-inch-wide snowblower with canopy and tank-like tracks, not wheels. A regular, old push shovel just won’t do if you want to attain true Mainer status after each snowstorm.
• And you’re not a true upper echelon Mainer until you become a member somewhere. All top-tiered Mainers need a country club membership, ski membership and yacht club membership.

Once you attain all of these items necessary for elite social status, you’ll have to move away because real Mainers can’t afford any of this stuff. (Well, some may afford one or two items, but not all.)

And if you are somehow able – and, more importantly, have the desire – to purchase these items, consider yourself a Mainer-wannabe because real Mainers care not for social status.

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