Monday, November 16, 2009

O Come, All Ye Hideous: The Ugly Christmas Sweater, Part I

So this is hardly going to be a definitive history of the Ugly Christmas Sweater--I'll leave that to some enterprising gift-book author--but as far as I can tell, this form of knitwear first captured the public's imagination on a mass scale when Colin Firth submitted his dignity to this winsome Rudolph jumper, in Bridget Jones' Diary.

And ever since then, it's been snowballing. The Ugly Xmas Sweater has emerged from the traditional seasonal embarrassment worn by your dad as he manned the ladle at the neighborhood eggnog extravaganza, to bursting proudly out of the closet as the entire excuse for having a gathering, complete with chesty swaggering about, trash talk about the competition's jingle bells, and prizes for the Ugliest Sweater of All.

So here, without further ado, are what I consider surefire contenders at any UCS gathering you may be bold enough to enter. All are available on eBay. Brace yourselves. You have been warned.

I thought we'd start with this one because it puts paid to the notion that a sweater cannot be a work of art. A very very bad work of art, but still. The detail in this thing is amazing--the skating pond, the kids sledding out of the country store, the snowy mountain out yonder. If Thomas Kinkade could knit, this would be the result. So why, I ask, with all the nutty detail, couldn't they get the number of reindeer right?

Anyway, if minimalist is more your thing, then this beauty may beckon. Argyle, meet Holly. Nope, I just don't think they're going to hit it off. This pattern, I bet, starts moving if you stare at it long enough. And is it me, or do those sprigs on the bottom really look like bats? Time to move on to . . .

Ah yes, in the search for the truly yak-worthy in personal wear, you can never go wrong with kittens. Unless you're a cat-loving, very-hard-of-seeing grandma, in which case this would be perfectly fine.

And finally, this one. Which may not be as strictly offensive in specific ways as those that came before, but in terms of sheer aesthetic non-value, it's a champ. My favorite touch is the dimensional factor added by the little blue and yellow polka dot bows. As if the sweater itself were not enough.

Anyway, that's it for today. If I can convince enough sellers to send through images of garments of equal demerit, I'll be posting again on the subject later this week.

And if you're interested, bid early and bid often! The holidays will be upon us before you know it.


  1. Love the reindeer one, or is that a moose? Unusual Christmas presents are definitely a matter of personal taste!

  2. Colin Firth still looks sexy. Those are some pretty horrible sweaters though.

  3. Bridget Jones Diary seemed to set off this trend and it's definitely the in thing now.

  4. Ugly Christmas sweaters are so humorous!

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