December 11: “Ugly” Sweaters
Back in the day, when I was recently graduated, newly married, and money was tight, I remember going into the women’s section of the local department store and seeing the array of Christmas sweaters. I loved the festive colors and whimsical decorations. And I knew once I had enough money to purchase a sweater that could only be worn four weeks of the year, I could truly declare myself financially successful.
While I’m not exactly sure I consider myself financially well off, we did eventually make enough money where I could afford to buy a new Christmas sweater every couple of years. Now, I am not a slave to fashion, so I rarely update my wardrobe (truth be told, I still have clothes that pre-date the turn of the century). At one point in time, I probably owned half-a-dozen themed sweaters. When the children were younger, they rather enjoyed these holiday garments; I think it signaled the official arrival of the Christmas season.
When I started teaching, especially elementary grades, the holiday sweaters brought a festive spirit to the classroom. They put a smile on my face, which in turn, helped make the students feel at ease.
But times change. My children are now grown and out of the house, and frequently I receive phone calls at this time of year asking if they can borrow one my precious cardigans – to wear to an Ugly Sweater party! UGLY?! Really?! I suppose I should have known that I was one step behind the fashion trends.
I no longer wear the Santa earrings or the Jingle Bell watch. And the sweaters remain in the back of the closet. I can at least take joy in the colorful scarves, hats and mittens during the winter … but I still hold out hope that perhaps one day my grandchildren won’t mind me wearing this vintage holiday clothing.