Rhonda Cagle

Deck Your Chest With Boughs of Holly!

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Mock me if you must, but I have a love of Christmas sweaters. Bright, gaudy, blingy, crocheted creations ornamented by a Bedazzler make my heart skip a beat. Yes, I realize they are tacky. Yes, I laugh when I see a woman walking through the store looking as if the Holiday décor section vomited on her chest. And no, sadly, I no longer wear them. But I can dream.

Sometimes I wander through Macy’s, my hands running across sweater after gloriously ostentatious sweater. God forgive me, I cannot help myself. There’s something about a sweater with elves, snowmen, Christmas trees, or snowflakes that makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

As with most illnesses, my love of Christmas sweaters is inherited. My grandmother wears them. My mom wears them. My sister and I both wore them, and I even dressed Megan in them every year until she was old enough to put the keys in the ignition and drive away from the mall with me chasing behind, Christmas sweater in hand.

Over the years, I’ve had some real beauties. I fondly recall my “elegant” black sweater with a green Christmas tree to one side, adorned with jewel-colored baubles, a fuzzy teddy bear sitting at its base. I wore this one when Megan was a baby and I was quite proud of myself for picking a sweater that would hide the baby spit up. I blame that kind of logic on chronic sleep depravation.

My personal favorite is one my sister wore for years. She has threatened to disown me if I ever post a picture so you’ll just have to use your imagination. This white sweater had red trim and a gigantic nutcracker on the left side. Mouth open, he perpetually appeared ready to bite down on her left breast. For years, my sister and I were apparently oblivious to this embarrassing awkwardness as evidenced in photo after photo of family gatherings and outings.

I’ve enjoyed quite a collection of Christmas sweaters. One sweater featured felt Christmas stockings appliquéd all over it, a little bell sewn onto the toe of each one. I sounded like a cat toy with every step. My black Christmas vest had happy felt snowmen rolling down snow-covered hills, their red scarves adorned with little bells. What is it with me and bells?!

Two years ago, I got rid of all my Christmas sweaters. Megan and I were moving and she was helping me pack up my closet. She took advantage of the moment to stage an intervention and confront me about my Christmas sweater collection. She reminded me of TLC’s “What Not To Wear” and the hosts’ adamant admonition that Christmas sweaters should never, under any circumstances, be part of a woman’s holiday attire.

Reluctantly, I said goodbye to my snowmen vest. I held my stocking sweater in one long, lingering farewell before placing it in the Goodwill bag. And I gently caressed the fuzzy wool of the teddy bear, noting how my elegant black sweater had withstood the test of time and baby vomit.

This season, I’m wearing jewel-toned cardigans. And I admit that my red sweater, combined with a white blouse and plaid scarf, looks quite festive. But I still secretly yearn for a Bedazzler-gone-wild knitted confection.  Secretly, in my heart of hearts, I am somehow convinced that the holidays are a little brighter, and my mood a little merrier, with boughs of holly adorning my chest. Macy’s anyone?!


  1. Ha hahahahahahahaha! I love this. We need to throw a Christmas Sweater Party! 🙂
    I usually find something gawdy to wear every year, with the excuse that I do it for my preschoolers, but I secretly enjoy it.

    • Megan’s dorm was actually thinking of holding a “Best Christmas Sweater” party. She was really bummed that we had given all of mine away. Preschoolers are the perfect excuse to continue enjoying your sweaters!

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