The Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenomenon | Bleader

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenomenon

Posted By on 12.14.09 at 01:43 PM

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The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, once just another way to describe family get-togethers around the holidays, is now a concept so popular that workplaces and newspapers hold contests. There's even a Web site devoted to the intricacies of such an event. (Here's a summary: Buy ugly Christmas sweater. Invite others to do the same and then come over for some beer.) And on eBay "ugly Christmas sweater" brings up thousands of hits.

Although the concept does not transfer easily to other specific winter holidays—it's harder to find ugly Hanukkah and Kwanza sweaters, apparently—it can easily be made secular with holiday gear featuring generic snowy scenes.

What makes a Christmas sweater truly ugly? I would argue that Fair Isle sweaters should be excluded; they're actually back in style this year. The committed celebrant goes for something like a holiday scene rendered in bright primary colors or awkwardly placed appliques.

Sweaters with holiday scenes are the seasonal equivalent of the cheap superhero Halloween costumes sold at Walgreens—you know, the ones that show images of Spiderman rather than being a facsimile of his suit. It's unnecessary metadata.

That said, I do think reindeer sweaters are kind of cute. Maybe with leggings and over-the-knee boots?

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