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Ugly sweaters: precious “vest”-iges of past Christmases

It’s the holidays once more, and this means that a brave few wintertime Don Cherrys will dig deep into their attics to find their fuzziest and ugliest inheritances: their dads’ old Christmas sweaters. This time-honoured tradition has roots in the sartorial stylings of of the now-infamous Bill Cosby, and even Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But the real roots of these furry, gaudy faux pas go back to the most familiar place for most, the original hipsters: your parents.

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By Mitch Huttema (The Cascade) – Email

Mitch ugly sweater

It’s the holidays once more, and this means that a brave few wintertime Don Cherrys will dig deep into their attics to find their fuzziest and ugliest inheritances: their dads’ old Christmas sweaters. This time-honoured tradition has roots in the sartorial stylings of of the now-infamous Bill Cosby, and even Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But the real roots of these furry, gaudy faux pas go back to the most familiar place for most, the original hipsters: your parents.

Every year during this season there’s an array of holiday sweaters found floating around, featuring everything from brightly coloured reindeer collages to cuddly Christmas kittens. Many of these garments can be picked up at thrift stores or the closets of relatives, but as of late they seem to be appearing in Walmarts across the land.

Much like the novelty tees of our teen days, which were picked up from Walmart plastered with witty lines or lame jokes, these sweaters are the cheap knock-off of the real thing. Walmart holds true the adage, “See a need, fill a need with the cheapest possible and most profitable option.”

There has been an upward trend in pop-culturally pertinent holiday garb. You can find Drake telling you he “knows when those sleigh bells ring, it can only mean one thing” and Vader wishing you a “Merry Sithmas,” not to forget Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, and every other franchise on the planet that’s getting in on the most profitable season of the year.

While this might seem like a public service announcement for an exciting time to be alive, think twice before you buy. That costly, culturally relevant cardigan may not be the best choice for the long run, and may just make it exceptionally clear that you are a sucker for clever marketing. The jokes may be jolly, the quips may be crafty, and it might be the best thing ever to make clear your love for Star Wars and Santa, but the sweater will last you a season and then never again. Don’t be that guy (any dad over 40) wearing the equivalent of a “Hawaii Trip 2008” shirt 10 years too late — it’s just not your look.

If you really want to look like a dad, then go right to the source. Jack his most outdated and originally patterned pullover and claim it for your own. Be the prodigal son of the season and get your inheritance early. Keep the seasonal sweatshirt trend intact and attached to the memories that they a made from. Wear proudly the sweater that your pops donned on the third, fourth, and fifth of your Christmases and recall those early mornings breaking open the boxes, sharing dinner with loved ones and passing out on the couch after too much egg nog. Walmart and every other business might do their best to replicate those treasured turtlenecks, but they can never weave into the fabric the precious portents of past that make a holiday sweater what it is.

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