Every good party should have a theme, correct? So, for the New Years Eve Party I was thinking, hmmm, how about a Great Gatsby Party? People dressed up to the nines in their roaring twenties attire – an era when the rich were super rich and the poor were super poor…. much like today. But I thought not, I mean Gatsby should be a summer outing with lots of people, which is not compatible with the small soiree that was originally planned.
So, a new idea was needed, and then, suddenly, in a flash of genius, my wife, not me, suggested an ugly Christmas sweater party. It is funny that the ugly Christmas sweater has morphed from the terrible faux pas of fashion to a trendy fashion hit, but with a tongue in cheek attitude, in certain segments in the USA. You remember those horrendous Christmas sweaters, back then, everybody was flooded with homemade holiday sweaters, which were lovingly made by your relatives – your grandmother, aunt, mother, or sister. They were either knitted or crocheted or for the less talented, your dear relative bought a plain white, bright red or pine green sweater and then placed appliques of reindeer, snowmen, or Santa Claus on them. My favorite was a Christmas tree with real bells sewn on them, that jingled as you walked.. That was back when, a time when men were men and women would sew and cook. Today, men are service people and the women have gotten jobs and have their own credit card and have found that it is far easier to swipe a Mastercard than to cook or sew. I don’t mean that there is nobody who stays at home and still cooks and sews like in the 1950s. I have heard that these may actually exist in the rural beltway – I know, because I have seen them on the TV show “Wife Swap”.
So, now that the Grandma-made homemade Christmas sweaters are much more rare to come by, it means one has to go out an obtain one, this translates to shopping. For me, it usually doesn’t take too much persuasion to go shopping, and then when you make it sort of a treasure hunt, then I am there. Now, in finding the perfect ugly Christmas sweater, this takes forethought and planning, you just don’t go here and there nilly willy, and hope to find these hidden gems (well, you could, but only if you have no time limitations). So, by knowing that, traditionally, the worst of all sweaters are homemade, we decided to go to the The Christmas Craft Faire at the San Jose Convention Center, where to qualify to set up a booth, everything had to be handmade. And there were several booths that made Christmas sweaters. Some were truly awful but none so ugly that they had to come home with us.
The next day we went shopping on Cyber Monday. Here is a tip for you shoppers for next year. Cyber Monday is a great time to go shopping because all of the hard-core shoppers are suffering from “Black Weekend Shopping Fatigue” after shopping Black Friday, Black Saturday, and Black Sunday, and if they were extra enthusiastic, they also shopped on Thanksgiving, from now on known as Black Thursday. The Shoppers Fatigue consists of incredibly sore shopping muscles and an overwhelming mind numbness from the over-stimulation of sales, lines of people and 72 hours of non-stop “This Christmas”, “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Santa Baby” type music. So, Cyber Monday is pretty quiet and it is a great time to shop during this hectic time of year.
The first stop (and we hoped the last) was Target – cheap and tacky – maybe the right fit for an ugly Christmas sweater. There were some fine contenders like one that said “Meowy Christmas” – however, this was sold out, and “Happy Elfin Holiday”.
But this Target location had no sweaters for women, but many Christmas T-shirts. The Next stop – WalMart – going for more cheap and more tacky. WalMart had no sweaters but many Christmas T-shirts: one T-shirt had a picture of a Santa Suit on the front which says “Does this shirt make me look fat?” Alas, no luck, on to the mall.
Inside the Oakridge Mall in San Jose, CA, it really didn’t look much like Christmas at all – just regular clothing and merchandise on display. I think, we started our quest for Christmas clothing way too late. It is like shopping for bathing suits, you need to start in March and for Winter coats in August. In fact, some of the Christmas apparel was already on the clearance rack at Macy’s. While at Macy’s, we did find a nice ugly Christmas sweater for my wife with a very lame looking reindeer. As we brought up the sweater to the checkstand, the cashier said that there is a bar that gives away free libations for ugly Christmas sweaters, as she said this she suddenly stopped and looked up, hoping that she was not being insensitive about our special little Christmas purchase. But we let her off the hook and tried to find the name of the bar. She thought it was located in Los Gatos or in San Francisco. There is a Pub Crawl in San Francisco where you wear your ugly Christmas sweaters and go to 12 different pubs. The event is called CrawlSF Holiday Pub Crawl. Some other major cities have these as well.
The search continued for a man’s ugly Christmas sweater. Next on the list was Sears. Now, this seemed to be a match made in heaven. In fact, in the Sears catalog was a great number of perfectly dreadful Christmas sweaters. However, they were not in this store ( I have posted some pictures of the sweaters from the Sears catalog). Next was Kohls. There were no Christmas sweaters, but some Christmas T-shirts, exactly like at WalMart, strike three. So, after all this, I went back to Target and got this so-so sweater. Our final choices are pictured below. Sorry, none of these hideous creations were made in the USA, except at the Craft Faire. The best choices are at Sears, but myuglychristmassweater.com is pretty good as well. Have yourself a very Happy Elfin Holiday and don’t drink too much Egg nog.