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Christmas Sweaters: Light Up Your Holidays

Updated on November 8, 2011
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Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

No, that's not a typo. I do not mean do-it-yourself decorating. I mean decorating your body, your person, your entire festive self head to mistletoe in holiday gear. Specifically, the phenomenom of Christmas sweaters and vests, and why otherwise sensibly attired people bedeck themselves in clothing that screams, "Look at me, look at me, I'm a living Christmas tree!"

Come on baby, light my vest!
Come on baby, light my vest!
Nothing says old-fashioned Christmas quite like flamingos
Nothing says old-fashioned Christmas quite like flamingos

All is Shiny and Bright

You've seen the people I'm talking about. Heck, you may even be one of them. During the month of December they (or you) literally wear their (or your) holiday spirit on their (or your) sleeve by sporting holiday themed clothing -- in public, no less. Really gaudy, cutesy and/or glittery holiday-themed clothing. Embroidered sweaters. Knitted vests. Red, green, silver and gold; reindeer and Santas, candy canes and snowflakes; colors and patterns that shout, "I have holiday spirit ... but I have no taste!!"

Men are not immune to the lure of the Chrismas sweater
Men are not immune to the lure of the Chrismas sweater
Tie or vest. Not both, please!
Tie or vest. Not both, please!
I have a lot of friends who are Elfish -- not that there's anything wrong with that!!
I have a lot of friends who are Elfish -- not that there's anything wrong with that!!

A little glitter goes a long way

There's no way to make this sound anything but elitist, so I'll just put it out there and take my lumps of coal.

Why is it that the people who favor Christmas sweaters are inevitably ones who should not be calling extra attention to their bodies? Or maybe that's the whole point. If you've already got a shape like a figgy pudding, perhaps you believe that covering it with a size 2x red sweater takes the focus off the lumps and bumps and puts it on the baubles and appliques. I dunno, maybe it works.

When you subsume yourself into such a strong fashion statement, you attract attention. Like Christmas decorations that complement your home's architecture, you want people to look at you and say, "That looks really cool," not, "That looks like Clark Griswold's house. Turn it off before it blows a circuit."

Dressed for the Holidays

Lest you confuse me with that old Bah Humbug guy from the Dickens story, I want to be clear. I love Christmas. I enjoy decorating my house and putting a big tree in the living room. I go to see the Nutcracker every year and get a huge kick out of seeing all the little girls in their velvet and tafetta dresses. In other words, I'm all for decorating. I'm all for dressing festively.

But I am not a huge fan of wildly patterened theme clothing. Whatever vague interest I might once have felt has definitely been squelched by Stacey and Clinton of the show "What Not to Wear. " Unlike them, I fall short of deriding people with embroidered pineapples or martini glasses on their pants. However, I have come to agree there are subtler and quite lovely ways to attire oneself for the season.

For example, a nice tie, pin or pair of earrings is ample to give the impression of Christmas. Add a red or green scarf and you've made your point without losing your individuality. Let others follow mindlessly like sheep (or maybe more like reindeer) in their over-the-top, festooned knitwear. You'll make much more of a statement if you keep it simple and elegant.

And whatever you do, if you absolutely must choose the sweater, do not accessorize too. Pick one:. The 12-days-of-Christmas embroidered sweater or the Santa's sleigh pin or the snowflake light-up earrings.

On their way to a crafts fair, no doubt
On their way to a crafts fair, no doubt


Apparently I am far from alone in my thinking on this. Sure enough, my research encountered several websites devoted exclusively to "Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties." There appears to be a growing underground of Americans -- across the country -- who gather during the Christmas season to mock the Christmas Sweater tradition. Some of UCS parties are even fundraisers for charitable causes!

Something tells me the revelers hosting or attending these parties would never be caught in public dressed that way. They see the Christmas sweater trend as kitcsch, not "kute."

Do you want to destroy my Christmas sweater?

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