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Celebrating the Magic of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Posted: 12/03/2012 5:05 pm

When I first told my mother I was co-writing a funny photo book on ugly Christmas sweaters (Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater, $12.95, Running Press), she was mildly offended.

Each holiday season, my mom proudly puts on bright red Christmas sweaters. She started doing that when she was a public school teacher, and the trend has continued into her retirement.

But when I showed my mom a copy of Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater last week, she laughed and said, "Ok, some of these sweaters really are ugly. They're so loud. My snowman sweaters are pretty."

The Magic of the Holidays

Perhaps the best thing about producing a book on ugly Christmas sweaters is that my co-author (Anne Marie Blackman of MyUglyChristmasSweater.com) and I get to share funny holiday photos, and thus memories, not just with our families, but with people from all over the world.

We recently posted photos on our website from a family in Australia, who celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving by donning ugly Christmas sweaters in October (one of their group originally hailed from Canada). That just goes to show how truly international the phenomenon of ugly Christmas sweaters has become.

After a friend of mine saw my book, he wrote me, "My uncle Ron has been doing that for years...he would show up every year wearing some crazy gaudy sweater that screamed Christmas spirit...sometimes with blinking lights built in and a portable battery pack in his pocket...haha."

Another thing that's great about ugly holiday sweaters is that they aren't just for those who celebrate Christmas. My co-author makes amazing Hanukkah sweaters, Kwanzaa sweaters, even Festivus sweaters, so no one has to be left out. Others rock ugly sweaters for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and beyond.

Transgenerational Ugly

It seems that ugly and holiday cheer are universal qualities, because ugly Christmas sweaters are loved by people from all walks of life, defying age, language, and gender barriers.

Ugly Christmas sweater-themed parties are exploding in popularity, hosted by friends, families, church groups, companies, and charitable organizations. There are now ugly sweater runs, concerts, pub crawls, booze cruises, even a murder mystery event.

We've seen ugly Christmas sweater cozies for drinks, ugly sweater greeting cards, and lots of ugly sweater pet costumes.

Ugly Christmas sweaters are bright, bold, and colorful. Donning one is like wearing a giant smile. It is a visual celebration of the magic of the holiday season and connects us with the (good) ghosts of Christmas past, perhaps reminding us of a time when things seemed simpler.

Some people like to dig out Grandma's old sweaters from storage, while others scour the Internet for classic vintage designs, some of which now fetch $200. Others like to rock easy, breezy ugly sweater-themed t-shirts, vests, even dresses.

For those like my friend's uncle Ron who want to go all out, it's not hard to attach some blinking lights, singing, dancing stuffed animals, or other holiday trim.

Perhaps what we love best about ugly Christmas sweaters is that there are so many different ways to enjoy them. If hipsters want to rock them "ironically," that's great. If friends and family enjoy getting together in them, that's wonderful.

My mom can also continue to celebrate the spirit of the season in her pretty snowman sweaters, and there's nothing wrong with that.

See some of the ugliest Christmas sweaters featured in the book:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Enjoying the sun

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Cover couple

    Zacfisherphoto.com / Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • Down with Santa

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Ugly Sweater Tourists

    Jim Smith/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • The Couple That Goes Ugly Together...

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • True Love

    Anne Marie Blackman /www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Ugly in the Office

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Cover guy

    Jason Yormark / Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • From Christmas to Hanukkah and Beyond

    Anne Marie Blackman /www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Fun With Hook Rugs

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Sweet Sweater Dresses

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • From Christmas to Kwanzaa

    Anne Marie Blackman /www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Happy Hanukkah

    Brian Clark Howard/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • From Tree Skirt to Candy Canes

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Lighten-up Holiday Chores

    Anne Marie Blackman/My Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc.

  • Two Thumbs Up for Ugly

    Anne Marie Blackman/My Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc.

  • From Sweaters to Dresses

    Anne Marie Blackman/Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • Two men with reindeer

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Upside down

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Out on the Town

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Ugly Christmas Jackets

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Manly Ugly

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Bow Bros

    Anne Marie Blackman /www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Puppy Love

    January Meyer/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Ugly Game Time

    Anne Marie Blackman /www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Four on the View

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Twin Santas

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Brian Clark Howard

    Gloria Dawson

  • Human Tree

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Rotary trio

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Joy

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Lucky elf

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Festive djs

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Candycane family

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Snowmobile

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Snowangel

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Shorts

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Rastaman

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Nordic

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Santa masks

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Lady waving

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Lady staring

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Hairdresser

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Couple at bar

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Child bow

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Beach

    Brian Clark Howard/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Balls

    Brian Clark Howard/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Santa sweater girls with dog

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Three rotary guys

    Anne Marie Blackman/www.RockYourUglyChristmasSweater.com

  • Cover cat

    Alli Valentine / Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • Anne Marie Blackman

    Garren Poirier/Anne Marie Blackman

 

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