The Ugly Side of Christmas

Ho, Ho, Ho, there’s really nothing better
Than a beautiful girl in an ugly Christmas sweater
Ho, Ho, Ho, and now I can’t forget her
That beautiful girl in an ugly Christmas sweater – Garth Brooks and John Michael Martin

Singer Andy Williams and his brothers proudly wear their Christmas sweaters. Admittedly, this was back in the 1960s.

Singer Andy Williams and his brothers proudly wear their Christmas sweaters back circa 1960.

For as long as I can recall – at least in my adult life — beginning on Thanksgiving Day and going on through Christmas Day, I have worn a Christmas sweater. There was a time when I owned so many Christmas sweaters that I could just about wear a different sweater to work every day during that period of time.

As you can imagine, in order to own that many sweaters, they can’t all be tastefully designed. In fact, you might be in the rather large camp that believes there is no such thing as a tasteful Christmas sweater. For much of my adult life, that didn’t matter, because the fact of the matter is that the gaudier they were, the more I liked them. I accented them with holiday-themed turtlenecks, Christmas socks, and Christmas earrings. It became, well, my thing. People would come to my office to see what sweater I was wearing that day. My sweaters ranged from fairly dressy all the way down to sweatshirts (those I saved for the weekends).

A lot of my Christmas sweaters disintegrated with age and had to be tossed away. The bells no longer tinkled when I walked and the Santa lost the cotton ball on the tip of his hat. After I retired, I will admit that I gave away some of the more garish styles to Goodwill, where I’m certain they were purchased and worn as jokes. After all, NOBODY would be seen seriously wearing such attire.

Still, in the boxes that I store under the bed in our guest room live a fair number of Christmas sweaters, and a relatively embarrassing number of them would be considered within most social strata to be eligible for Goodwill.

All of this is background for a story I have to tell you. Late morning on Sunday, my cell phone rang. I was alerted that it was a call from Addie. When I answered, she greeted me unnecessarily with, “Hi Nana. It’s Addie. I have a favor to ask you.”


She went on to tell me that later that evening, her youth group at her church was having their annual Christmas party, and the theme was – wait for it – UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATERS. There was, in fact, a contest for the ugliest sweater.

“Nana, do you have any sweaters that my friends and I could use for our party?” she asked me.

Oh. Do I ever.

You see, I’m not sensitive to the fact that my Christmas sweaters are ugly. I know now – have always known, in fact, that they are garish.

So a bit later, our doorbell rang, and there were Addie and some of her friends to take a gander at my sweater collection.

“Oh my,” they said in unity, and with great awe and, well, joy as they gazed at my sweater collection. So many from which to choose!

Perhaps unnecessarily, I will tell you that the sweaters worn by Addie, Alastair, and their friends were a hit at the Wellshire Presbyterian Youth Group’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. In fact, one of the sweaters won the grand prize for the ugliest Christmas sweater, earning its wearer a $20 gift card and the pride of wearing the ugliest sweater……

Left to right -- Spencer, wearing the prize-winning sweater; Alastair Luci, Addie, and Mettie. Apparently, when it comes to Ugly Sweater Contests, all sweaters are gender-neutral.

Left to right — Spencer, wearing the prize-winning sweater; Alastair, Luci, Addie, and Mettie (who, by the way, is wearing someone else’s sweater; happily, I must not be the only one in possession of such items). Apparently, when it comes to Ugly Sweater Contests, all sweaters are gender-neutral.

I’m happy for him (though frankly, I think the sweater Addie wore should have taken the prize), and delighted that the kids had such a nice time. But now I need my sweaters back so that I can wear them once again!

8 thoughts on “The Ugly Side of Christmas

  1. Awesome story! See…this is why you never should throw anything away…you never know!!!
    I recently purchased a “Christmas” bracelet with small holiday colored bells on it. I tested it out…I though the sound was reasonable without being annoying. I wore it to church on Sunday. We have worship at the beginning of service and many on the songs this week needed to be clapped to. My son and daughter in law kept looking over at me and smiling. Finally, my DIL leaned in and with a giggle said “you are jingling!”. I just smiled and kept on clapping. Tis the season!

  2. I took 2nd place in the Ugliest Christmas Sweater contest at work last year and was quite insulted. It’s a good thing the voting is secret. 😡
    The good news is Kelly bought a Mrs. Claus dress to wear this year so she is a shoe in.

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