Every Christmas generates a legion of new seasonal trends that may or may not last beyond the Christmas at hand. For one trend, though, there’s been a longevity that might just become a decades-long Christmas tradition. The ugly Christmas sweater trend began decades ago but it was the Internet that brought widespread attention to it. In actuality, people have been sporting some of those tacky sweaters since as early as the 19th century (see a brief history of the sweater trend here).
They were highly visible in 1980’s movies and television shows, but you’d usually see them sported by older family members. Today it’s not abnormal to see brand new college students proudly sporting one of those sweaters at the very beginning of the Christmas season. Perhaps it’s because the diversity of the sweaters has spread out from the usual Christmas tree, snowman, and Santa trio. Today you can find clever twists on the ugly sweater in every single variety, especially at the beginning of the Christmas season.
These sweaters have been analyzed and studied by publications far and wide, from the Atlantic’s take on their commercialization to Complex’s Complete history of this fashion atrocity. Everyone has a different theory as to why the holidays goes best with the ugly sweater trend but one thing is for certain: It DOES go best with the holidays.
Perhaps it’s the fact that during the holidays, everyone is allowed to be as innocently childish as they want to be, so long as it doesn’t hurt other human beings. We’re less apt to judge a full-grown adult for taking a little bit too much joy in the kids’ new Christmas presents. We allow people to express joy much more loudly and humorously than at any other time of the year. It’s a time of joy, peace, and love, and the sweaters certainly capture this spirit.
They can be colorful, goofy, funny, a bit morbid if they’re connected to a movie or TV show, or anything they desire to be. It’s the holidays and anything goes for some folks. Despite the fact that these sweaters have blessed us with poor fashion sense for decades, they’ve never been quite as celebrated as they are today in the Internet era. Memes have even joined the trend, taking their rightful place on some of the sweaters and making them much more Internet-worthy than other non-Internet topics on the sweaters.
People can even create their own custom sweaters using popular software, or they can go to a store that specializes in these fashion abominations and buy a few of them or a dozen of them for a Christmas party. That’s right. Entire parties spring up around these sweaters, asking people to do their worst and come have a good time in one of these sweaters. The trend continues to have new spins each year and it shows no signs of slowing. As time goes on, there will always be a steady stream of these sweaters around Christmastime, and the world is better off for it.