Surviving the Christmas sweater syndrome

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Surviving the Christmas sweater syndrome
Posted Dec. 8, 2006
Kelly Rivas
If this sweater were under the Christmas tree for Toya Johnson-Moore, she would say “Thanks” then wrap it up and give it to someone else. Johnson-Moore is a sophomore studying criminology at the University of La Verne. Ugly Christmas sweaters are not on the top of any college student’s wish list. “What am I supposed to do with this?” Johnson-Moore said.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, when every store window is doused with plastic snowflakes and red velvet Santa Clauses and, once again, those crazy Christmas fanatics are on the prowl, sporting their three-dimensional Christmas sweaters in celebration of their die-hard Christmas spirit.

This is a time of celebration and a time to give thanks, but it can also be seen as a time of bad clothing indulgences.

When people flock together with cheer to sing carols and to also show off a plethora of holiday spirit laced with snowmen and gingerbread plastic pins clinging to their wardrobe.

There are many ways to show an appreciation for the holiday season, and it doesn’t always have to be through red and green inspired sweaters and multi-layered pins.

“Some people wear those little light pins – that’s not cool,” said Nery Magana, a junior computer science major. “Lights are supposed to go on a Christmas tree.”

Everyone enjoys celebrating the holidays, but maybe it’s grandma’s spiked eggnog or that intoxicating gingerbread, but something gets under our skin during the holidays and it seeps through our pores displaying itself in the form of crazy holiday sweaters and Santa Claus hats.

The holidays seem to be an excuse to go hog wild for bad fashion.

Mistletoe kisses and cheesy cards can be expected, but why does there seem to be a need for over the top threads?

There is a way to avoid this and to show a full-bellied appreciation for the holiday season, and still be able to frame pictures without having to write long explanations for why we just happened to be wearing that green sweater with the horribly large snowman protruding from its very fluffy surface.

Do not worry.

Have no fear.

This year, with a little resistance and a lot of charisma, Christmas apparel choices will take a turn for the better, and here are a few tips to closet those holiday jitters for a while.

The first rule for making this a photogenic Christmas season is through the “keep it simple” mantra.

“You can wear your basic colors to symbolize that you like Christmas, but don’t take it to the extreme,” said Tiffany Stanford, a freshman psychology major.

Don’t display that outrageous love of the season through a larger-than-life pin or necklace.

People will get the picture from a much smaller amount of information.

For example, taking a beautiful Christmas ribbon and tying it into your hair could be one example of displaying a fully developed love for St. Nick.

Another simple wardrobe addition that could give the impression of holiday cheer would be wearing a simple outfit of all black or all white and then proudly displaying a shine of Christmas sparkle through the color of a mesmerizing pair of red or green shoes or a red or green scarf.

This will show how seriously you wish for the holiday season to never end, but at the same time it will not give the impression of fanaticism.

The second rule is to find a way to show grandma that, although you really appreciate her yearly gift of a fluffy Santa sweater, you would really prefer not to wear it for the family portrait or, actually, at all.

This will involve a lot of skillful maneuvering, but if done properly, can have a lasting affect on your wardrobe.

 In order to do this, you must find a viable reason why that Christmas sweater just doesn’t cut it – in terms of holiday cheer.

So explain how, even though you just love to receive these exocentric holiday sweaters that she has perhaps spent countless hours knitting for your pleasure, they somehow are competing with your natural holiday spirit and you would like to have free range in expressing your love for Christmas without competing with an overly dramatic holiday sweater.

“I work in an arts and crafts store and I always see the old ladies come in with the sweaters, and honestly, I think they have too much time on their hands,” said Yasmin Cardona, a sophomore psychology major.

Finally, the third rule for a proper holiday season, void of embarrassing holiday apparel forced on you by a third and very influential party, is by taking all those Christmas baubles and pins and displaying them in your house or on the tree, and not on your body.

Even though mom has graciously mailed you a beautiful new “Tis the Season” pin, it’s OK to just use it as a tree decoration and not a wardrobe accessory.

The trick is to show verve of holiday spirit without getting drunk off accessories.

“Ornaments belong on the Christmas tree and not on your outfit,” Stanford said.

Take this holiday season seriously and take off one or two of those pins that mom sent you, pack away the new art-project-of-a-sweater that grandma knitted and just tie a simple ribbon in your hair or wear one small pin to show your joy.

Christmas should be a time for inner joy, but sometimes we become so consumed by this happiness that we pour it all over the place, and that’s when photographs of ourselves can’t be framed and our outfits begin to compete with our fabulous personalities.

This year, let’s move away from decorating ourselves up like ornaments and stick to decorating our trees.

If nothing else, we could save some time from putting on all these baubles and spend more time shopping for more Santa sweaters to give to other people.

Katherine Hillier can be reached at

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