Sweater Odd-iquette

Driving in town today, I noticed a sign for a local boutique that advertised “Christmas Sweater Sale 80% Off.” The image that immediately came to mind was of something hideous, a combination of green and red and white (and maybe blue) with cartoonish figures and gaudy objects protruding from the weave. You know what I’m talking about … you’ve seen them too.

SweaterThis sweater at left is a silly one, but it’s not crude. (There are plenty that are.) For many years, I’ve wondered what the thought process is when a person decides to wear one of these. My sense is such sweaters often come as gifts … causing the recipient to feel compelled to wear it (at least once).

Green happens to be my favorite color and I actually love the green of this sweater, but that ridiculous figure ruins the whole thing. Place one small wrapped gift on it and I’d be okay. Anything more than that and it’s too much. I can understand why stores advertise these at 80% off. Even at that bargain level, I’m shocked to know someone pays money for them.

I had a sweatshirt once with a picture of a Christmas tree and gifts on the front. It was about as crazy as I could allow myself, but I recall the first time I wore it, I was terribly self-conscious. After several launderings, the colors got more muted and that was fine with me.

Ugly-SweaterHere’s another sweater at right. The red is a beautiful shade, bright without being brutal on the eyes … but all that other stuff (much of it worked in various vibrant pieces of felt) is wasted on me. Whoever crafted this piece worked hard to fit the pieces together and create pleasing contrasts. It also looks as though there are lights scattered around. (I’m not sure, but I suspect it was meant to be illuminated, don’t you?)

If you’re someone who enjoys wearing and showing off a favorite sweater at Christmas, I hope you’re not insulted by my attitude towards these fashion statements. In truth, I admire you for being bold! But I’d have a hard time following suit.

I understand there are social gatherings for Ugly Christmas Sweater parties. The purpose of these parties, I suppose, is actually to show up wearing your most hideous (ugly) sweater, and to share with your friends the pleasure of gawking at each other in said garments.

Years ago, I remember a party my Beloved and I attended. We were told to dress in 1960s hippie-era costumes. (There was a time when we had our share of 1960s garb, but most of it had gone to the thrift store by that time.) We managed to assemble credible costumes, including my ripping apart a granny-square afghan to reshape into a vest. I thought we’d nailed the costumes exactly. However, when we arrived at the party, everyone else was wearing ordinary street clothes and our attire was way out of place. The joke, it seemed, was on us; no one else had been game enough to come in costume.

cake_fruitcakeThere are other oddities associated with the Christmas holidays. Fruitcakes are one example. From my very earliest Christmas celebrations, I recall my daddy brought home several round tins containing fruitcake. One for Grandma, one for Aunt C., another for the pastor, and one to enjoy at home. (There may have been several more for all I know.)

I suppose Dad purchased them at his work and I think I may have tasted fruitcake once … but that was more than enough! Just the cake’s appearance was never appealing to me! What, pray tell, is the point of all that fruit and nuts? My preference would be to have a little more cake and a lot less fruit and nuts. I was always relieved when he gave most of them away!

What I always found amazing about fruitcake is its shelf-life. Here’s an item that might easily last until the next Christmas. But watch out! Don’t drop it on your foot. From what I remember, a fruitcake’s density makes it heavy as a boulder.

ribbon_candy_07Another thing my daddy often brought home at Christmas was an assorted stash of candy. (This was unusual since we were not permitted to have very much candy growing up, but that policy became less stringent during the Christmas holidays.) Again, these candies were enclosed in a round tin, aptly decorated with Christmas images. I never cared for those pieces with the starred middles but I loved the ribbon candies.

There’s one odd thing:  I don’t recall having any chocolate candies. Unlike today, there were no chocolate kisses or holiday M & Ms, not even an occasional Reese’s peanut butter cup! Where would we be without these yummy treats today?!

But here’s a thought. Combine the Christmas sweater idea with the ribbon candy. You’d come up with a Christmas sweater guaranteed to be horrendously gaudy. Enjoying the candies would be an extra bonus. Would such sweaters sell? Who knows, but retailers couldn’t do much worse than what they’re already doing … 80% off.

Renée