Unraveling the history of the ugly holiday sweater
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Spending quality time with family, drinking cider by the fire and playing Secret Santa. All of these activities encourage getting into the festive holiday mood. So does taking out your ugly Christmas sweaters. If you're really lucky, you get to show off your tackiest at an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.
In recent years, ugly Christmas sweaters have emerged with newfound public acceptance. They're no longer creations made by craft store-obsessed grandmas and foisted upon family members only to wind up at a thrift store. Instead, they've become a cultural meme. They're filled to the brim with an eggnog-sized cup of irony. Even celebrities such as Matt Damon are in on the action. To capitalize on the sweaters' popularity, a market has sprung up around this wintertime phenomenon. There are books, a 5K race and trophies celebrating the Santa face plastered across your chest.
Because of their increasing popularity, the brashly festooned sweaters are harder to come by, especially in thrift stores. It was once typically easy to purchase the best (I mean, worst) option at thrift stores. And who really wants to buy a full-priced light-up snowman sweater that'll be worn only once a year?
One option is to shop eBay's collection of ugly Christmas sweaters. Beware, you may find yourself bidding on a pre-worn gaudy pullover.
Another option is to make a sweater from scratch. A labor of love, this DIY approach embraces a time when the off-the-rack, last minute tactic wasn't an option.
Men, women and children have been channeling the holiday spirit through sweaters for decades. They are adorned with snowflakes, reindeer and Christmas trees. The garishness reached new heights in the '80s and '90s. But, even back in the '40s and '50s, a touch of graphic flamboyance was essential to a genuine holiday pullover. With vintage holiday sweater-knitting patterns from Etsy, along with an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party invitation on your refrigerator, now is just the right time to pull out your knitting needles and make something wonderfully ugly.
Any holiday sweaters catch your eye this season?