Christmas Sweaters

It's not just the halls that get decked this time of year. Have you noticed the explosion of holiday sweaters? And they're not just for little old ladies any more. Check out these Christmas sweater party videos on Hellish Holidays.

There's something about novelty clothes that just feels wrong to me. Reindeer, giant snowflakes, Mr. and/or Mrs. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, stockings (with or without a fireplace), nutcrackers, candy canes, mistletoe, nativity scenes, wreaths, adorable puppies and kittens with big red bows around their necks--all perfectly appropriate on cards and wrapping paper. All absolutely hellish on sweaters.

The ladies (and others) who wear these sweaters have made a conscious decision to face the world in a conversation piece. They have chosen to make a statement: "I love Christmas! Please love me. If you can't love me, at least talk to me. Here's a topic we can discuss: Christmas. Seriously, if you can look at this sweater and walk away without mentioning how cute the puppy is, well, you're just a Grinch and I hope you don't get what you want under the tree."

OK, maybe I'm imagining that they all just want to be noticed. What they're probably really saying is: "Thank God this still fits after all these years." Because you just know the same sweaters are trotted out year after year, party after party, Christmas Eve after Christmas Eve. After all, they're expensive. And one truly is enough.

Of course, with irony running rampant in our society, we are now seeing people in Christmas sweaters who aren't being sincere about their statement. They're saying something different with their sweaters. Maybe: "I like to think of Christmas as an extension of Halloween, and this is my costume. Boo!" Or: "I had to wear a tacky Christmas sweater to get into my friend's party. I'm not really feeling it. Although you have to admit, the puppy is pretty cute."

Does anyone know how the Christmas sweater trend started? I have a feeling the first one was something hand-knitted by a grandmother in Middle America. She got requests from friends, then branched out into one of those home businesses you're always hearing about. From there it snowballed into the dire situation we have today. Christmas sweaters for dogs. Hanukkah sweaters. Easter sweaters. Valentine's Day sweaters. Any holiday with a logo (e.g., a shamrock) is now a sweater day. Or, in the case of Christmas, it's a sweater month, because the first sightings happen just after Thanksgiving.

The worst offenders feature sequins, lights (for example, a light-up Rudolph nose) and three-dimensional decorations, such as miniature Christmas ornaments or the bow around that poor puppy's neck. But really, they're all pretty awful. A company called Susan Bristol Inc. even had to recall a line of Christmas sweaters with marabou feather trim: it was dangerously flammable.

There's an important lesson here: If you want to be festive, show some cleavage.

Originally posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2006

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