The Halloween pumpkins are moldering on the front stoop, and the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been left over for their last meal, ushering in the most angst-iful time of the year:
Ugly Christmas Sweater Season.
While I do loves me some Ugly Christmas Sweaters, I do hates me the potential for offending someone by complimenting them on their Ugly Christmas Sweater – which they do not consider to be an Ugly Christmas Sweater. As the mother of two teens, I am empathetic to having clothes judged so harshly.
For example, when I asked The Little Princess what makes an Ugly Christmas Sweater ugly, she said “Anything that comes from Goodwill and looks like it was made by a Gramma.” When I asked The Little Prince the same question, he hesitated, quickly scanned what I was wearing and shrugged.
His response made me a little teary eyed, because that was the most he talked to me last week. And because I was wearing a normal, ordinary, not ugly, black sweatshirt, proudly emblazoned with “IOWA” in gold lettering.
That's the problem with Ugly Christmas Sweaters – there is no clear-cut description of what constitutes ugliness in a sweater, Christmas or otherwise. This new trend of marketing ugly as ugly has only made the situation worse. Just in case you've been living under a rock (or you shop at much nicer stores than I do) you can now buy Ugly Christmas Sweaters, Sweatshirts, T-shirts, Socks, Hats, Pants, Dresses, Pajamas and Suits. Some of these items try just a little too hard (like the suits), blowing right past Ugly Christmas Attire to Hideous Christmas Attire.
In my humble opinion, the beauty of an ugly sweater comes from the fact that it is not trying to be ugly. Are they tacky? Maybe. Tasteless? Probably. Ugly? Well . . . . It seems to me the ugliest of the Ugly Christmas Sweaters are the Ambiguously Ugly Christmas Sweaters. And this is where I struggle to know what to say, and whether or not to say it.
|Trying too hard.|
Should I say “I like your sweater,” and run the risk of looking like I don't recognize an ugly sweater when I see one? Or should I say “I like your ugly sweater,” and run the risk of offending the wearer, who may or may not think their sweater is ugly?
Which brings me back to my original question: What makes an Ugly Christmas Sweater Ugly?
Is it the embellishments? Does the addition of pom-poms, bells (which should be outlawed), bows, glitter, rhinestones, or puffy paint make the sweater ugly? Or is it the amount of embellishment? Personally I think lights or music (not just bells) should result in disqualification.
Is it the color? There are certain shades of pink and aqua which have taken up a firm residence in Christmas-color-land and which need to be sent back to the 1950s, from whence they escaped. Or is it the combination of colors? Red is OK, red and white are OK, but red, white and green start edging towards ugly.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Season would be much less stressful if you were required to wear a button that proclaimed “Yes, I think this Christmas (fill in the blank) is ugly.”
Preferably a LARGE button, in off-pink and off-aqua, with flashing lights, music, bells and pom-poms.