We Should Have Ugly Sweaters for Other Holidays

Ex. 1: Classic Ugly Sweater

Wikimedia Commons

Ex. 1: Classic Ugly Sweater

Jack Ohly

It’s late December and you step into the foyer of your friend’s house. She has grossly over-decorated. Gingerbread men jump-scare you from around a corner. The twinkling lights are so blinding you forget that it’s dark out. Even her ornaments have ornaments. At this volume, the holiday music sounds more like James Hetfield than Michel Buble. Her dog has the holiday spirit too, with an all too small cable-knit sweater suffocating his midsection. Sorry Fido, but you’ll have to lay off the eggnog this year. As you greet each one of your friends, you notice each of their very different, but equally obnoxious, ugly holiday sweaters. Some have lights. Some have tinsel. One is just a yellow t-shirt. He must’ve missed the memo.

Fast forward six months to July. The fourth, to be exact. You’re in the same situation as in December, except now the temperature is over the acceptable amount for snow. You step into your friend’s house to find the same scenario. Everything is grossly over-decorated (she has a problem). You can’t turn a corner without being socked by some good old American red, white, and blue. Bruce Springsteen is singing through the speakers in a raspy voice, still blown out from December. Fido’s sweater has been switched out for a pair of suave sunglasses (he clearly ignored his New Year’s resolution). But one key thing is different: there are no ugly sweaters. Sure, there’s tons of Fourth of July merchandise—look no further than your friend—but none of it comes close to the comically ugly and cultish nature of an ugly sweater.  

Unfortunately, this is not just the case for the Fourth of July. Every holiday: Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and even the under-appreciated Labor Day, lacks the comedic apparel equivalent of an ugly sweater. This is a travesty. Not just for us consumers, but for the greedy companies who could make another quick buck off us too. Ugly sweaters elevate the holiday season to another level and should be adapted to other holidays, and here are five reasons why.


They are a form of self-expression

Look down at your outfit right now. Perhaps you’re wearing a Justin Beiber t-shirt. Or maybe a Cincinnati Bengals Jersey. Perhaps nothing. Regardless of what it is, your clothes express who you are in a way that nothing else can. They are a non-verbal insight into your personality and character, and the first thing a person sees when they meet you. Ugly Sweaters are a more vibrant way of expressing your identity than plain old t-shirts. After all, who wouldn’t want the words “FESTIVE AF” to be plastered across your chest, and the first thing seen by a stranger meeting you.


They are a unique alternative form of merchandise

Instead of buying a Whataburger t-shirt, why not buy an amazing Whataburger ugly sweater! (NOTE: Whataburger is not a sponsor of The Cardinal Chronicle.) Ugly Sweaters diversify the merchandise output: everything from meme to math culture. This gives consumers a greater choice in design and style to express their specific tastes in a more unique fashion than traditional merchandise. 


They have a cult following.

Ugly sweaters fit into that odd group of pop culture phenomena that includes the TV sitcom Friends and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They are inexplicably—and irrevocably—loved. Regardless of their quality or amount of nutmeg, these phenomena have vivacious fan groups that are all-in. Sure, some of the hype is because of their seasonal nature, and the McRib business model definitely leads to some of their success. But with a variety of holidays and infinite combinations, sweater fatigue is hardly a worry. 


They’re fun!

’Nuff said.


They build communities

Two ugly sweater wearers meeting is the equivalent of meeting someone who has the same music taste as you or a car of the same brand. You don’t know how or why, but you feel an immediate connection with that person that goes beyond regular formalities. These connections can form everything from lifelong friendships to an Ugly Sweater Sweater Club. But one thing is for sure: ugly sweaters will make your life more interesting. And that’s half the battle, right?