Various corners of the internet have informed me that the original “ugly” Christmas sweaters were jingle bell sweaters that became popular in the 1950s, which then saw a resurgence in multiple forms in the ’80s. For the first part of this millennium, ironic nostalgia for the hideous things was the subject of jokes and theme parties galore. Now, in a sign that perhaps irony is truly dead, we find ourselves lately facing the matching family holiday sweater as a new tradition. It’s one I would like to propose that you ignore.
OK, maybe don’t ignore it entirely, but let’s modify it a bit for better use, shall we? Hear me out. While buying a hideous sweater with some kind of Christmas pun can make for a pretty funny photo or a talking point at a holiday party (remember those?), it’s terrible for the environment to buy something you only plan to wear once. If you’re buying something like that for each of your family members (particularly children who will have outgrown them by next year), it’s basically like you hate clean rivers, fresh air, and fair labor standards.
If environmental cost doesn’t move you, perhaps just regular cost should. Buying sweaters for the whole family adds up, even when you buy the cheap ones. Why would you spend that cash on items that will lie unused for the rest of the year?
But hold up. What if this tradition is something you’re really looking forward to, considering all the other fun things about the holidays that the pandemic has snatched away from us?
I have a solution! Replace your “ugly” or holiday-specific sweater idea with something just a little more practical: sweaters you will actually want to wear in public for the rest of the season. They can be every bit as festive, but just a little less specific. With this concept, you can even stretch what we mean by “matching” and instead choose colors, complementary patterns, or themes. Hell, you can even just come up with an idea that uses what’s already in your closet, if you want to be really green and budget friendly.
To this end, we have searched through stores that sell clothing for both children and adults to find matching sweaters for the whole family. There is something here for every family taste. We found cozy fair isle knits, classic track suit jackets, sporty hoodies, and even a DIY project, if that’s where your quarantine holiday spirit is taking you this year.
While we love following holiday traditions, it seems like this is a good year for making newer, smarter ones too.
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Here are some great alternatives to matching ugly sweaters for your family.