Seriously, You’re Wearing a Santa Sweater

Seriously, if you want to be taken seriously, re-consider wearing the Santa sweater.

In my new job, I find I am a little bit off the downtown beaten path. Oh, it’s an upscale, busy spot, alright, and the reputation is sterling. But, people tend to dress a bit more casually here in the almost-but-not-quite suburbs than they do in the most downtown part of downtown.

December in the hip inner city: Santa tie sightings, the occasional Santa hat, light-up necklaces (rare but seen now and then).

December just over the city line: Incredibly intricate, massively detailed Santa sweaters, worn as if they are called out as “very appropriate” in the business-casual dress code of the employee handbook.

Honestly, they are horrible. Not the sentiment of loving Christmas. Not the notion of showing you celebrate the season. No, they actually look horrible–on everyone. EVERYONE.

These are not tailored sweaters crafted according to the latest fashion trends. These are the exact same ill-fitting sweaters that our mothers and aunts have worn for six generations. And for decade upon decade, these sweaters have hit at the wrong part of the hip so as to make even the skinniest among us look ridiculously broad. They are always too big in the shoulders, and shapeless everywhere else except at the hip, which they positively cling to.

The thing is, six generations ago, these holiday horrors were lovingly knitted by someone we knew. We HAD to wear them–but only just once, on Christmas Eve, or maybe twice, if we were seeing the knitter again on Christmas Day.

These sweaters of yesteryear were not worn to the office. They were not worn at all–anywhere–except in the privacy of our own or our immediate family’s homes, on the aforementioned days above.

Today? I am here to tell you, in some parts of my city–the one I now work in–they wear ’em like a uniform.

“I would like to make a reservation for my board for next Wednesday afternoon. It’s our annual holiday luncheon. I’m the chair, so it’s up to me to pick the spot, and your restaurant is perfect!”

Seriously, a Board luncheon? You’re the Chair? Huh? I can’t get past the little 3-D green packages wrapped in red ribbons dangling from Santa’s sleigh across your left shoulder. What day was that again?

“I’d like to speak to a manager, please. Our lunch took far too long today.”

Seriously, your lunch took too long? We’re all sorry for that. But, please, madam, it’s so hard not to smile at Santa’s rhinestone eyes and the furry snowballs and the multiple other holiday images that are vying for attention across your chest and midsection.

“Can you walk me around the restaurant and show me every table option I have for an important dinner for eight people. We’re entertaining clients from out of town.”

Please tell me–actually, please promise me–that you will not wear the singing Santa and dancing reindeer sweater you are now blinding me with to the client dinner. No, I know you won’t. You only wore it today because…because it is Wednesday. Because your other sweaters are in the dry cleaner. Because, um, because you couldn’t help yourself. But not for the important dinner with clients, right? Your would NEVER wear it then, right? Am I right???

I am not so sure.

Hey, I am all about individual style and going with it. I am even all about the Santa sweaters.

But grant me a moment when I have to clamp a firm bite down on my lower lip in order to have a “serious” conversation with you when you where this outerwear aberration, okay?

(Hee Hee!)

I mean, certainly, let’s take a walk and pick a table for those very important clients.






14 responses to “Seriously, You’re Wearing a Santa Sweater”

  1. Yvonne Avatar

    good lord…I just had a flashback of my aunties and mother using “the bedazzler” to bedazzle more beads and charmery all over their Santa gear and hearing them say, “How cute. This would look great on you mija!” Excuse me, while I go hop in my handbasket to hell…great piece that you wrote!!

  2. m Avatar

    I know of a young child who was denied entry into a posh (and academically rigorous) school because her super-dooper enthusiastic mom wore giant pumpkin earrings and a giant orange pumpkin sweater during the parent interview portion of the application process. That woman could be seen from Mars.

    I’ll bet she wears Santa sweaters too.

    Entertaining post!

  3. Julie Avatar

    I have ONE of those ridiculous things. I love red sweaters, but I look terrible in scarlet. Not only is it a color I’d never wear, it’s a shape I’d never wear… at least in public. I’ve worn it once on Christmas day… in the morning… without anyone else around. It was a gift, so I didn’t have to lie when I reported in. When the morning phone call came, I could actually say that I was wearing it.

    And then I changed and met my friends for Christmas dinner. (You can do that when family is far, far away.)

  4. Julie Avatar

    Oh, I forgot to mention that the scarlet thing had white candles with glowing yellow flames.


  5. j Avatar

    wierd. Guess I’ve been blessed never having to wear any crazy sweaters. Yeah I had a few I hated but had to wear on occasion, but nothing as rediculous as those. Haha.

  6. seekingfor Avatar

    Thanks for the public service message.

    Great site

  7. LB Avatar

    I’m actually attending a holiday party this weekend where the theme is horrible holiday sweaters. We completely understand the irony of this – I wonder how it is that your patrons could be missing it entirely?!

  8. anne robinson Avatar
    anne robinson

    Well here in the south we wear out Xmas sweaters with pride! I love mine!!!! We knw the rest of the country hates them which just makes us love them more! Long live the south!!!!

  9. jali Avatar

    Good advice. Now all we need to do is to get those sweater wearers to listen…

  10. Tacoma Avatar

    I’m now totally nostalgic for one of those sweaters! My mom & grandma used to always push them on me as a kid and I hated them, but now I’m free not to wear them (and my grandma’s gone) I just think about the good times.
    Of course I wouldn’t be caught dead in one.
    I have standards.

  11. The Super Bongo Avatar

    Welcome to my life in the south!!!! All proper southern ladies have a collection of not just xmas sweaters (purchased at the finest ladies shops for huge sums of money) but also halloween and easter and spring and valentines and shoe-your-horse day sweaters. The CEO of a local company once bragged to me that she has enough halloween and christmas sweaters she can wear a different one every day in the month leading up to the holiday.

    for the record, I own no such atrocities. That’s how they know I’m not from here.

  12. question girl Avatar

    i am a teacher – i actually told my friends to shoot me if i every wore an apliqued sweater of ANY KIND – EVER

  13. Scott Avatar

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been ranting about this topic for years. Even worse, though, are the Valentine’s Day hearts sweaters.

  14. Nana Avatar

    At the Jewish non-profit where I work, someone asked if I thought her beach-y, orange & teal decorated sweater seemed Christmassy. Having spent many years at an Episcopal school, I could assure her that no one would mistake it for a Christmas sweater. I didn’t mention that it was ugly anyway.