Ugly, or What?

I’ve been retired now for nearly15 years. Fifteen very good years. When I still worked hard for my money, I loved the Christmas season. The Monday after Thanksgiving was the first day of my Christmas sweater-wearing season.

I had collected Christmas sweaters over the years, and I had a whole lot of sweaters. I had enough sweaters, in fact, that I could make it all the way to Christmas without repeating a sweater. Every year I would buy a new sweater, thinking that I would discard one of my older sweaters. That, of course, never happened.

I had pretty sweaters. I had tacky sweaters. I had sweater vests. I had sweaters with Santa, and sweaters with snowmen, and sweaters with Rudolph (with a red bon-bon for the nose). I wore them all proudly. I even had dressy sweaters that I would wear to meetings in which I needed to be a bit more professional.

I wasn’t until I retired that I realized how many sweaters I had. And it wasn’t until my grandkids started coming over around mid-December to borrow sweaters for their church group’s ugly Christmas sweater contests that I realized that my sweaters weren’t all that lovely. The fact that they won many of the contests confirmed this very fact.

Though I stopped wearing those sweaters years ago, my grandkids continued to show up every year to borrow them for their youth group contests. I put my foot down, however, when we moved in September. I wasn’t about to hold on to 20 or so sweaters that I now admit were worthy of winning ugly Christmas sweater contests. I haven’t heard a word about the need for one of my sweaters yet. Perhaps they have all gotten old enough that they no longer want to participate. Or maybe they just figure they have won so many contests that they need to let someone else’s grandmother’s sweaters be ugly contest winners.

Now I don’t have a Christmas sweater to my name. I have a couple of holiday t-shirts, but I rarely pull them out of the closet. But at Mass on Saturday afternoon, there was a woman wearing a Christmas vest that was every bit as tacky as the ones I had worn, and I thought it was adorable.

Maybe I need to buy some more Christmas sweaters. Or maybe I am just getting old.