Often overlooked among holiday stressors are Christmas sweaters, i.e., the ones with 3-D reindeer, metallic snowflakes, and the partridge-as-shoulder-pads.
Here's the dilemma: How do you know whether your neighbor is wearing hers ironically -- or sincerely? And how do you make sure people know that you're wearing yours ironically?
Throwing a Yule log on the fire is a website, Ugly ChristmasSweater Party.com. UCSP sells a variety of (used) sweaters and vests that channel a particularly festive Liberace, a jolly Dolly Parton, or a subdued Lady Gaga. This Christmas, they've provided some of their best worst sweaters to soldiers in Afghanistan, which can't hurt the cause.
Their selection is OK, but frankly, here in Minnesota, we've seen uglier sweaters making their way down any all-you-can-eat restaurant buffet line or among the crowd at "A Prairie Home Companion." The garb begs comment, which leads to the predicament of conveying the right tone. "Niiiice sweater ... " and "Nice sweater!" are not, of course, the same. There's always the tried-and-true, "That's different."
Actually, the wearers face no less a quandary, for they in turn must divine whether you are being ironic or sincere with your compliment.
It's all very stressful. Where's the fudge?
As a sardonic Santa might say, "Heh-heh-heh."