I got calls. And emails.
"Man, you take things so seriously."
"My Mom loves her ugly sweater! Are you criticizing my Mom?"
"I'm sending you five ugly sweaters right now, I'll wrap your car in them. You can pay the postage when they arrive."
As you can see, that last essay didn't go over really well. The aforementioned are almost exact quotes. I took out the swear words. In all of them.
Apparently, Ugly Christmas Sweaters is a way bigger thing than I had measured. To illustrate the point, a friend of mine from Denver called me, ostensibly to see how I was doing, then slid right into the Ugly Christmas Sweater thing.
"Hey, I got your last essay. Just to let you know, I do this Ugly sweater thing with my family. We have about thirty people get together and every single one of them, including the babies, are wearing an Ugly Christmas Sweater. We had a tie last year between my aunt who put my Uncle's face on her shirt-he's not very attractive AND was wearing a red nose and a Santa hat-and my sister that had St. Patrick's Day Sweater with a leprechaun on it. She drew a white beard on a leprechaun, made his shillelagh into a candy cane with red magic marker, and said, "Top of the Christmas To You." How she didn't win I don't know."
OK, that last one is pretty hilarious.
I've heard that this is a tradition that keeps the family gatherings light. I had not considered the impact that these sweaters have on Christmas, and I apologize for underestimating the value that it has.
People get together for a variety of reasons. Christmas isn't fun for everybody. And when you're invited to go somewhere, it can be uncomfortable, even a little forced. Considering how the sweater thing offers lightness, humor, and a little fun to a holiday, I now see the reasons why folks put on these sweaters, hoping that they ease the atmosphere.
So find them. Wear them. Enjoy the one day that you can get away with on holiday a year. If it brings people together, I will endorse the friendship and collegiality every time.
Laughing together on Christmas is a good thing, no matter how ugly your sweater is. Wear them with good cheer! Enjoy your Ugly Christmas Sweaters! Ho, Ho, Ho!