The holiday season is well and truly upon us, bringing with it a storm of sweaters — sweaters which bear upon them the most hideous of designs, from the almost sociopathic smile of a crocheted Santa Claus to the dead, red nose of Rudolph, and other miscellaneous mutilated masterpieces in the form of knitwear.
And yet the sweaters are, without a doubt, the style of the season. To be without a tacky, holiday-themed sweater is to be without a soul, or at least to bear within oneself a soul lacking in the joy of a fashionable and stylish winter wonderland. Where would one be without the subtle-yet-strong silliness of a holiday sweater and all its misshapen lumps, like a deflated bouncy castle?
Being able to look like such a disgustingly, decadently, drop-dead gorgeous bunch of tackily arrayed wool is so much fun. To get into the festive spirit, get yourself into a tacky sweater and own it. Project charisma and confidence while wearing what can only be described as the work of a mad granny crossed with a fingerless tailor who’s been forced to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special on repeat over the course of the entire year.
But how tacky is too tacky? Is there perhaps some sort of line in the sand, an extreme tackiness that takes the tradition of tacky too far? Are there limits to tackiness?
Yes, yes there are. A cursory glance at the web will show you horrors beyond imagining. And it’s even worse once you’ve logged out of Facebook. Sweaters that were tacky in the traditional style have since given way to a new breed of ugly; a new style of unstylish has been born, an extremism that pushes the boundaries of tacky-time from tongue-in-cheek into a sledgehammer of blunt, brutal, eye-gougingly offensive.
Instead of good ol’ silly Santas, we are being bombarded by a tidal wave of grotesquely sexualized Santas. No, seriously. This is an actual thing. The expression of individuality has given way to deliberate antagonism. I long for a return to the days of yesteryear, where it was all inane puns and eye-watering silliness instead of this overly desperate attempt at grabbing attention through offence.
Tacky sweaters in the traditional style, through annual donning and disparaging, foster a sense of community, of culture, of kinship. Wearing them is the fastest way to build bridges and construct a shared experience: fond memories and fast friendships formed through the suppression of one’s sense of style, in order to conform to the deliberate anti-conformity of tacky seasonal sweaters.
Let’s take the time to enjoy them, and make sure that the disturbing trend of offensive seasonal sweaters is a blip on the historical record.