Could someone please let me know if the women who wear holiday sweaters are aware of how silly they look or do they really think that it’s a look to wear out in public? I am aware that teachers are not universally recognized as being fashion trendsetters, but in the past few years of working in a school building I can say that we dress pretty much like anyone else who doesn’t have money to spend on anything that is in a fashion magazine. But now it is positively a horror to walk down the English Department hall.
There seems to be a competition between two teachers as to who has the most holiday sweaters and matching earrings. Why, why would a 60-year old woman want to wear a red Santa sweater? And why would an almost 60-year old woman wear Christmas tree ornament earrings? Yes, I know that Christmas is coming, and yes I know that it is very exciting. I can see them getting all worked up about Jesus’s birthday (just like my student who keeps writing “Jesus Christ December 25” on my students' birthday chalkboard). It is just too horrible to look at them.
Is it childish? Do children get subjected to these deranged sweaters with appliquéd stars? Is it that they really think they are picking up the mood of the room? Do they think that just by standing in the front of the room in a red and silver sweater a whole classroom of students will stop moaning about writing timed essays and will be infused with holiday cheer as they gladly analyze the sayings of some long-dead, long-winded philosopher? Are they suffering from the initial stages of Alzheimer’s and need to be reminded that Christmas is coming? Perhaps these sweaters are actually some kind of visual shopping list. Oh yes, a star, that reminds me to get earrings for my daughter, she likes stars. And the reindeer, that reminds me to get my husband something for his car (maybe a GPS so he and Santa don't get lost). And the snow ball, that reminds me that I need to get more icing (or is it frosting?) for the cookies I will be sending to everyone who annually sends to me a tin of cookies.
We know that it’s certainly not image-enhancing since I am pretty sure that most women over the age of five don’t want to be a walking fashion faux pas.
Do these women buy these sweaters for themselves or are they gifts? I cannot for the life of me imagine going into a store only to find myself contemplating the red sweater with Santa or the red sweater with a gingerbread house. Do you think about how it will look on the “gift” designee or do you just go for the most garish design? I mean what are the thought processes that brings a person to spend money on an annual sweater.
I wonder if there’s a company that offers an annual subscription. “Buy now and get a new Christmas sweater for the next ten years; you’ll have it before December 1st so you’ll have plenty of time to go holiday shopping in your holiday sweater. And if you buy a subscription for a friend, we guarantee that you will not get the same sweater design.”
Seriously, sort of, why is this part of the tradition? Does it mean that we really do look beyond what people look like and look into their hearts instead? Is that it? If you can see past this ugliness you will find my beauty? Is that the true and new holiday message?