Ah, the ugly Christmas sweater. Along with grandma’s secret eggnog recipe, aunt Myrtle’s stale fruitcake, and the 400 th pop cover of Last Christmas, nothing quite defines the holiday season like a garish, oh-so bold and bright ugly Christmas sweater.
Everyone has one buried deep in the back of their closet that makes its unheralded return to the spotlight every December for an office holiday party, or a family photo shoot, or simply on a dare. The brighter, the more festooned, the better.
Here’s the thing. Back in the 80s, ugly holiday sweaters were just…sweaters. Warm and comfortable and festive sweaters yes, but just sweaters. They were worn earnestly and joyously, setting the tone for the season and adding a touch of holiday cheer to any occasion.
Only in hindsight do we recognize the iconic sweaters of Cliff Huxtable and Clark Griswold as being irredeemably ugly. And yet the fashion still endures (albeit ironically) even as we stand on the brink of 2016. In fact, ugly holiday sweaters are becoming even more coveted as the years pass, with the advent of ugly Christmas sweater parties and contests and feats of one-upmanship.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive or simple timeline of the ugly Christmas sweater. People speculate that the trend dates back to at least the 1950s, when knitting patterns of Christmas trees, snowscapes, and other imagery of the holiday season come into fashion. Sweaters became more bedazzled and glittering as the years passed, but in full earnestness. It was only towards the 2000s that people began to poke fun at the garish fashion choices in celebration/horror of the tackiness - the first ugly Christmas sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, in 2002.
If you’re going to embrace the ugly holiday sweater trend this holiday season, we say commit to it fully! You can’t call it an ugly Christmas sweater unless it has the following characteristics:
From JNCO to you, we wish you and yours a warm and happy holiday season!
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