Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fear and Loathing of Christmas Sweaters

We are now deep into the Christmas season. The signs are everywhere. On December 1st we received our first tin of traditional Christmas popcorn from a client – the same client who delivers unto us the first hint of the holidays every year (Thanks Mr. Turner!). On the 2nd we received a tin of mixed chocolate and sugar and salty snacks from a print vendor. I guess I don’t need to worry about carrying breakfast in for a while. Of course, at Hobby Lobby the signs were there in metallic tinsel in time for the Fourth of July, when the employees were setting the Christmas garland displays in the aisle not far from the red, white and blue picnic plates and clearance garden ornaments. They should just accept what they are, change their signs to "The Southern Imitation of New England's Christmas Tree Shoppes" and be done with it.

By Halloween, every other retailer under the sun was busting out the Christmas crap right next to the vampire costumes. Nothing like bum-rushing the season. Let's get some icicle lights to go with the Trick-or-Treat candy, shall we?

And now that the Thanksgiving feast is but a memory preserved in 10,000 digital photos of family and friends around the table about to collapse under the weight of all the food, and the pilgrim and turkey sweaters are (thankfully) retired for a year, it's officially time to pull out the (tacky) festive (hideous) Christmas motif sweaters!

They are everywhere. It's like a science fiction fashion nightmare. "They came from nowhere … soon they were everywhere … of Biblical proportions … it was the annual plague of the Christmas sweaters…"

And don't forget the socks. And the earrings.

I think there is some wardrobe manual somewhere that declares that all teachers and women over the age of thirty-five must own at least one, and usually a full month’s worth, of Christmas sweaters. I come from a family of early adopters – my sister jumped on the Christmas sweater craze around age twenty. Poor thing. I love her, but she always was fashion-challenged. My conservative, nothing cut lower than a turtleneck mom, well, I can't remember a time she didn't have one or a dozen of the versions with pom poms or tassels swinging from her chest like a burlesque dancer. My sister-in-law has a full collection of the offending oversized, misshapen holiday sweaters that she has worn with leggings every year since the first time leggings were in style. (And in a freak accident of accelerated fashion cycles, she will actually be in style with the leggings thing this year! If only she would swap the nasty sneakers for some stylish boots…)

I refuse to go there. If my options were wearing a Christmas sweater or going naked and freezing at Christmas dinner, I'd choose freezing. Or skipping dinner altogether. There are very few things I take a hard stand on. This is one of them. It might actually be the only one.

I swear (and I beg) if you ever, ever, see me in a Christmas appliqué sweater adorned with ornaments and/or Scottie dogs in berets and/or Christmas trees and/or little jingly bells, please, please just shoot me on sight. This also applies to its cousin, the oversized sweatshirt adorned with puffy glitter paint. Because I think we all know that I will already have gone completely insane at that point. Such horrors are not part of my fashion repertoire. Red velvet, fitted, cropped jacket with red satin belt? Yes. Sweater loaded with pom poms and jingle bells? Not on your life. Print this blog and carry it in your wallet. You can hand it to the policemen on the scene as you are trying to explain my demise on the lawn.

I'm not against Christmas decorations. I'm fully in favor of decorating the house. I have the (fake and reusable) pine garland with pine cones and lights I can't plug in because there is no outside outlet at my vintage house (which totally blows because I could sure use the additional lighting out there). I have enough tree ornaments to decorate an entire forest. I love Christmas trees. I love lights. I am just not going to decorate myself in one of those awful sweaters. And you can't make me.

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