Ugly sweaters

Now how many holiday parties do I have to wear this to?

Now how many holiday parties do I have to wear this to?

I have been invited to an overwhelming number of holiday (read: Christmas) parties this year. As a non-Christian, I don’t normally pay much attention to Christmas, beyond enjoying the opportunity to have some time off work and see my family and loved ones.

But, after all these years abroad, now that I have experienced the full lead-up to Christmas – and “lead-up” is the right word, because it seems the “season” starts right after Halloween, gains momentum after Thanksgiving, and reaches a full frantic frenzy by early to mid-December – well, now I’ve realized that it’s impossible not to pay much attention to Christmas.

Unless you want to risk social ostracism by opting out of the multiple, back-to-back, often conflicting holiday party invitations. Taken individually, you want to attend them, but taken as a whole CONSTANT-CHRISTMAS-PARTY-MARATHON-MASS – I was literally invited to ten holiday parties in ten days – you just want to crawl into your bed and hibernate until January.

Well one of the holiday party traditions which I discovered this year is the so-called “ugly sweater party.” A friend of mine hosted one, and my office also hosted an ugly sweater contest. (Sadly, due to my insane work schedule of late, I ended up participating in neither, despite having ordered a sufficiently ugly sweater from eBay for $0.99.)

Apparently this is a thing that you wear horrendously ugly sweaters with a Christmas or winter-style design in a tongue-in-cheek fashion (evidently it’s also a trend in the UK, if the “Christmas jumper” entry of Wikipedia is to be believed, although I must have missed it when I was living there).

I’d never heard of this before, but now I know it’s cool / camp / hipster / [insert other appropriate word]. To the point that it even has dedicated websites, such as www.buttuglysweaters.com. Yup, Christmas parties are some serious stuff.

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