Our hangovers from Halloween have barely faded and we are already being inundated with Christmas ads, sales, promotions, and products. (Can it at least wait until after Remembrance Day? Have we no respect? I digress.)
But today while scrolling social media I saw a bunch of ads right after another for a troubling and wasteful trend that has gained momentum in the last few years that really bugs me: Ugly Christmas Sweaters.
I should rephrase: new Ugly Christmas Sweaters.
I’m not talking about the sweater your Mom or Gramma has had in her closet since 1986 that she wears every year to make pie on Christmas Eve. That sweater is fine – chances are it was made with the best of intentions by a member of your actual family. (In fact there are some people scouring thrift stores and making good money capitalizing on this fun fad in a relatively harmless way. Not all, but some.)
I’m talking about going to Target or Wal-Mart or Forever 21 and buying a cheap, fad-driven garment that was made overseas likely without regard to the people who actually provided the very cheap labour.
I’m talking about getting an invite to an Ugly Sweater Party and not going to find a funky old one at a local thrift store, but rather, throwing $49 into the pockets of a huge conglomerate to increase the demand for cheaply made, fad-driven, intentionally crappy clothing.
The worst part for me is that once this fad falls off (which it will), there will be a huge pile of synthetic garbage to throw away into a landfill once it leaves your closet. At some point your sweater will snag or start to fall apart (because it is cheap and crappy) or – gasp! – the hilarious graphic of Santa peeing Merry Christmas into the snow won’t be funny anymore.
Christmas is always a time for getting together with friends and family to celebrate the season. It’s also a time for massive, unnecessary spending. This year, instead of contributing to a shitty trend, be cognizant of where your money is going and what kind of demand you are creating. Try looking on etsy for handmade versions (and check to see that it’s handmade, don’t be fooled by the etsy logo) or find good quality sweaters that you’ll actually want to keep, like Dale Of Norway, or Woolrich.
This year, focus your money in responsible ways; if you still want that fun sweater, go out and find one at a thrift store or ask your Gramma for one of hers (she has one). Or, better yet, go and make one yourself – then you’ll see exactly how much work goes into making clothes and maybe you’ll think twice before adding that stripper elf sweater to your shopping cart.