I don’t take personal offense to being called an “ugly” Christmas sweater. Really — I don’t. I’ve watched enough of Oprah’s Master Classes to be comfortable with myself. I understand that our quirks are what make us beautiful, unique snowflakes, even if those snowflakes are doilies that have been stapled to your grandpa’s old sweater from Sears. There are other grievances that I’d prefer to address rather than trying to rebrand at this point, like the notion that I’m incurably itchy. What’s up with that? In a world where there are watches that remind us to get up and move our legs, there must also be an undergarment that you can adhere to your body to protect it from my slightly abrasive fibers, much as I shield you from hazardous holiday party elements such as hail, sleet and eggnog-scented projectile vomit.
However, strengthening the association between me and a word that’s synonymous with lacking an alibi does a disservice to the people that wear me — in addition to harming my sartorial reputation as festive outerwear. You know me now as the blank canvas for overtly ironic holiday cheer that puts leftover scraps of craft material to use and presents an opportunity for pumpkin patch engagement photo couples to reinforce their eternal commitment to each other in yet another seasonal way.
Amid the noise of such holiday ephemera, which sounds a lot like Mariah Carey’s high-G5 note in “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” you may have forgotten that I likely began as a humble knitting request that someone’s grandma accepted at the bottom of her third hot toddy. Labeling me “ugly” and funneling me into the mainstream has turned me into a meme, a trinket from December’s advent calendar of consumerism like view-obstructing antler car ornaments, elf lingerie and reckless electric bills from Christmas light fights eventually paid off by people who wear me, once they roll up their sleeves.
How do we save us, the ugly sweaters, from becoming the Ken Bone of Christmas and preserve the holiday warmth that we set out to bring? We support the good-doers who still use me as a common thread for their benevolence in helping children who need resources to grow up strong and those who are in need of a winter coat to survive the colder months. Knowing that I’m a worthy vessel for 2 Chainz’s philanthropy gives me purpose and lights me up like the Fourth of July.
Finally, please stop poking string lights where they don’t belong. I can do ugly all by myself, thanks.
Photo via iStock.