Who Are These [Ugly Christmas Sweater-Buying] People?!
LIKE you, I’m not a joiner.
But even though I have never worn one myself, I guess I once sort of vaguely liked the concept of ugly Christmas sweaters – before it became an actual thing. But once it became a thing, brother, with more and more people throwing Ugly Christmas Sweater parties and more radio stations and bars and the fun-loving gang in the event planning department at Human Resources holding Ugly Christmas Sweater contests, I was over it. Last year I read an article about a seasonal store (in Brooklyn, maybe…?) that sold nothing but second-hand ugly sweaters.
Others picked up on it, presumably got to work scouring thrift stores far and wide, and now we’ve got at least three online retailers selling hideous holiday apparel (based on a cursory “ugly christmas sweater store” Google search):
So I’ll grudgingly concede their savvy business acumen: They saw a potential market and exploited the hell out of it.
However, if I was going to enter such a contest or attend such a party, I’d either raid my grandmother’s closet (in vain, I can assure you – the woman had taste and did not go in for kitsch. Also, she’s long dead.) or pick through the racks of my local Goodwills and Salvation Armys myself. Because, really, what fun is it to simply log onto a website and pick a used sweater from a gallery of hundreds that was specifically snatched up from a secondhand outlet based on its cheesiness – knowing full well you’re just one of countless others (including, perhaps, your very competition in the contest at next week’s Christmas party down at the bingo hall) doing the same thing? Where’s the thrill of the hunt, man? You’re sitting at your desk scrolling through a webpage!
Then, last night, I see Groupon (remember them?) has further homogenized the whole seasonal craze by offering these mass-produced pullovers:
Not sweaters, mind you – but cotton sweatshirts – with the “ugly Christmas” motif printed on the front to resemble a knit design.
“Ideal for holiday parties and ugly-sweater-themed events” reads the Groupon description. But how? They’re not sweaters!
But it gets worse! They also offer these:
Call me a prude, or maybe I’ve just inherited Grandmater’s patrician demeanor, but I don’t think “fugly” on holiday apparel is appropriate. (Or really, anything you wear out in public, unless it’s to one of those fetish events, where you’re intentionally misbehaving, using bad language, wearing inappropriate clothes and wanting to give the person in charge a reason for paddling your bare bottom with a modified Wiffle Ball bat- I mean, after all, why else would you pay $600 in addition to booking a room on the same floor at the Golden Nugget for the weekend? By the way, Susan and Larry – we’ll see you in February! Should be a good turnout this year. Vera says she’s in, too, if her hemorrhoids aren’t acting up too bad.)
You know what’s also not appropriate? Announcing your sweater is ugly on the sweater itself. If you have to tell people your sweater is ugly, what’s the point? Oh, and yes, there’s still the niggling problem that these things aren’t even sweaters in the first place! They’re sweatshirts! Sweat! Shirts!
And just when you thought we’ve reached the nadir of this ugly Christmas (non)-sweater craze, we see that also available are these:
So here we’ve got ugly Christmas sweaters that 1) again, aren’t sweaters but sweatshirts, 2) again, have the knit design printed on, and 3) really, just completely destroy any rapidly waning illusion that maybe from a few feet away, they could possibly be mistaken for sweaters – by having a very obvious screened design printed on top of the fake knit pattern!
You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatshirts? You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal Ugly Christmas Sweater contests. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'”