Ugly Christmas Sweater Synchronicity

Cidu Bill on Dec 22nd 2012

It’s kind of tough to find real synchronicity in Christmas comics — but since I’d never seen Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties referenced in a comic before, and then saw two in one day…



And I’m not entirely grasping the second one: ugly Christmas-related characters sweating? Though Frosty (?) isn’t particularly ugly, is he? I mean for an anthropomorphized snowman.

And I’m wondering… how common are Ugly Sweater Parties anyway in the real world?

Filed in Bill Bickel, Brevity, CIDU, Christmas, Guy & Rodd & Dan, Hilary B. Price, Rhymes With Orange, comic strips, comics, humor, synchronicity | 33 responses so far

33 Responses to “Ugly Christmas Sweater Synchronicity”

  1. Elyrest Dec 22nd 2012 at 12:41 pm 1

    I’m pretty sure that’s not Frosty - the facial hair looks a lot like Burl Ives so he’s Sam the Snowman. These are all characters from Rankin- Bass though. I recognize them all from having seen the Christmas specials so many times. I know that one’s the Burgermeister and another’s the Heat Miser. And you’re right, they are ugly characters sweating. Why the Abominable from Rudolph wasn’t used I don’t know - he was ugly. I’ve never been to an Ugly Sweater Party, although I have worn a number of them over the years.

  2. Narmitaj Dec 22nd 2012 at 01:04 pm 2

    The trouble with The Visit one is that the guy looks like he already has an ugly something (sweatshirt), whereas the Auntie seems likely to be wearing some sort of cardigan (ie buttoned down the front, and plain - so dull not ugly). It would have been better drawn with him in a collared shirt, no?

  3. VCR Dec 22nd 2012 at 01:17 pm 3

    The snowman is the narrator in the ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’ special.

  4. Kevin A. Dec 22nd 2012 at 02:01 pm 4

    They’re Sam the Snowman (I watched Rudolph… this week), Heat Miser and his brother, Cold Miser, and Burgermeister Meisterburger.

  5. John Small Berries Dec 22nd 2012 at 02:10 pm 5

    Yes, you grasped the second one. It is attempting a play on words, by resolving the inherent ambiguity of the word “sweater” as “a person who sweats” rather than “a warm knitted garment”.

  6. amo Dec 22nd 2012 at 02:13 pm 6

    There are way too many Ugly Christmas sweater parties. Or rather too many existing parties that decided to add the ugly Christmas sweater element. I finally broke down and got an ugly Christmas sweater t-shirt (like this one ) so that I would appear to participate instead of my usual grinchy attitude to the whole thing.

  7. Inkwell Dec 22nd 2012 at 02:47 pm 7

    That last one confused me, at first. I didn’t get “ugly people sweating” at first because Sam isn’t all that ugly. Geez, even Yukon Cornelius would work better. He’s not “ugly” ugly like the other three, but he’d be pretty ugly drawn fat, sweaty and shirtless like them.

  8. Morris Keesan Dec 22nd 2012 at 02:52 pm 8

    I got the “sweating person = sweater” one after looking at it for a couple of seconds, when I saw it a few days ago, but I’m not sure I understand the first one, since neither one of them appears to be wearing an ugly sweater. Is it that he’s visiting Aunt Sadie in order to borrow an ugly sweater from her? Does he expect her sweater to fit him??

  9. Elyrest Dec 22nd 2012 at 03:40 pm 9

    Morris Keesan - This comic would’ve worked so much better if the aunt was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, but, yes, the nephew has come to borrow one of his aunt’s sweaters. In younger days he most likely saw her wear them on every holiday.

  10. Morris Keesan Dec 22nd 2012 at 04:06 pm 10

    Every holiday? Or just on Christmas? Wearing ugly sweaters on Independence Day, for example, seems unlikely.

  11. James Pollock Dec 22nd 2012 at 04:13 pm 11

    “Wearing ugly sweaters on Independence Day, for example, seems unlikely.”

    Well, not if you were say, stationed in an Antarctic research base. Or, for that matter, happened to be anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere, where July 4th is midwinter. Or if you are a resident of a nation that has an Independence Day in the winter. Or you lived on a mountaintop so there’s snow year-round.
    (Man, that’s a lot of work to debunk a debunking.)

  12. Mary in Ohio Dec 22nd 2012 at 04:46 pm 12

    Or maybe Auntie has received ugly sweaters as gifts from the nieces and nephews and he figures she has kept them because she really WAS thrilled with them.

    It could work with an Uncle,too, but only if he was wearing his “Duke Haband” shirt buttoned to the chin. (Trust me, this last is a geezer reference, and if you don’t get it, thank your lucky stars, as well as your older relatives!)

  13. Elyrest Dec 22nd 2012 at 04:48 pm 13

    I have seen lots of ugly T-shirts, but I’m pretty sure the ugly sweater is limited to Christmas even though I did see a doozy of a turkey sweater at Thanksgiving one year.

  14. Danny Boy (London Derriere) Dec 23rd 2012 at 12:46 am 14

    “My buddies got together and gave me a sweater for Christmas. Truth is, I was hoping for a screamer.”

  15. Brian Dec 23rd 2012 at 02:20 pm 15

    I still haven’t heard anyone explain what an “Ugly Sweater Party” is. I understand the “ugly persons sweating” 2nd meaning of the bottom comic, but what is the first meeting? Do people get together around Christmas in order to wear ugly sweaters together? That seems unlikely…

  16. Elyrest Dec 23rd 2012 at 03:25 pm 16

    Brian - You may be over-thinking this. An “Ugly Sweater Party” is just a Christmas party in which everyone wears ugly Christmas themed sweaters. The party is going to happen anyway so somebody decides that there should be a dress code - ugly sweaters.

  17. Ted in Fort Lauderdale Dec 23rd 2012 at 05:45 pm 17

    Morris & James @ 10 & 11 - or to take the reverse side, wearing sweaters (ugly or otherwise) at Christmas is unlikely in many places - not just the Southern Hemisphere, but where I am, sweater wearing isn’t that common. For example, this Christmas, the forecast is for a high of 81° and a low of 70° - few people (other than my wife) will be wearing a sweater. (We did get one cold evening - Friday night it dropped into the high 40s - but since I don’t actually own a sweater, I made do with a hoodie…)

  18. Elyrest Dec 23rd 2012 at 06:04 pm 18

    Ted in Fort Lauderdale - Not to get picky, but of course I am, hoodies/sweatshirts/sweaters are really just variations on a theme. They’ve got long sleeves to cover you up and keep you a little warmer. I’ve got sweaters that are much lighter than any hoodie I’ve seen. Ugly sweaters don’t have to be big and bulky although they often are.

  19. Cidu Bill Dec 23rd 2012 at 08:23 pm 19

    I was always under the impression that ugly Christmas sweater parties were a post-Christmas thing where people wore ugly sweaters they’d been given as gifts; but really, what do I know from such things?

  20. Ted in Fort Lauderdale Dec 24th 2012 at 11:56 am 20

    Elyrest - I bow to your better understanding of these things (even wearing a hoodie is a rarity for me). I had assumed that a sweater was both more nicely made and more accepted sartorially than a hoodie - even an ugly sweater can be worn most places safely, while in some settings wearing a hoodie can apparently get you killed. So where is the line between a (light) jacket and a sweater? FWIW, to the extent I ever thought about it (which is probably not at all), I guess I had considered a hoodie as a light jacket.

  21. Elyrest Dec 24th 2012 at 01:43 pm 21

    Ted in Fort Lauderdale - You are most generous, especially with my nitpicking. The only thing that makes a sweater a sweater is that it is a knit. That knit can be made of many different materials - wool, cotton, polyester etc. Sweatshirts are commonly made of either cotton or a cotton blend, but are not knitted. I’ve had sweaters that were made just like hoodies, we called them hooded sweatshirts, and wore them mainly outside. I think the only difference between a sweater and jacket is design and intent. A sweater can be made just like a jacket and worn as such, but a jacket is most likely not worn as an sweater. Confused? Don’t be - just have a Merry Christmas and hope no one ever gives you an ugly sweater.

  22. Morris Keesan Dec 24th 2012 at 02:02 pm 22

    “A sweater can be made just like a jacket and worn as such, but a jacket is most likely not worn as an sweater.”
    But the garment that I wear frequently over a shirt inside my house, or under a jacket or shell as an secondary warmth layer, is something marketed as a fleece jacket, but functionally, I use it exactly as I would a sweater. But I don’t think that any of my jackets are knitted, and mostly they’re more constructed, with linings, pockets, etc.

    “Sweatshirts are commonly made of either cotton or a cotton blend, but are not knitted.”
    Examining a couple of sweatshirts, they sure look like they’re knitted, but it’s a jersey knit, which is very much finer and closer than the looser knits of most sweaters. For me, the main distinguishing features of sweatshirts are this finer knit and a fleece lining. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a sweater with a lining — I can always see the back of the knit, when looking at the inside of the sweater.

  23. Morris Keesan Dec 24th 2012 at 03:13 pm 23

    Ugly Christmas sweater parties - in which attendees compete to wear the vilest seasonal pullover - are thought to have first been held by students in Vancouver around the turn of the millennium.

    From a recent BBC article on “The rise of ironic Christmas jumpers”, at .

    They mention an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” online store, and there’s even company making ugly Chanukah sweaters “because Jews get cold, too.”

  24. Elyrest Dec 24th 2012 at 03:31 pm 24

    Morris Keesan - Oh good - someone just as picky as me. I used qualifiers, but I knew someone would question the use of the word “knit” - I wasn’t sure what other word to use. Other materials may use a knit/weave, but they aren’t usually called knitted the way a sweater is. I also have sweaters that are lined so you can’t see the back of the knit. I have used what some would call jackets indoors, but would never call them sweaters. This is the longest discussion I have ever had about sweaters.

    Ugly Chanukah sweaters? Why not, everybody should have a chance for a good laugh.

  25. Morris Keesan Dec 24th 2012 at 03:36 pm 25

    Oh good - someone just as picky as me

    Would you call that “knit-picky”?

  26. Elyrest Dec 24th 2012 at 04:17 pm 26

    “Would you call that “knit-picky”?”

    Wonderful! In this instance, most definitely.

  27. Lola Dec 24th 2012 at 06:37 pm 27

    MK #23 - interesting that they call them jumpers. That’s something totally different here in the states. Cultures are SOOOOOOO confusing.

  28. Morris Keesan Dec 24th 2012 at 06:45 pm 28

    The UK and the US — two nations divided by a single language.

  29. Elyrest Dec 24th 2012 at 08:22 pm 29

    I read quite a bit of Agatha Christie in my teens and I was confused by the term jumper. I couldn’t figure out why, or how, these women kept getting dressed in these odd outfits all the time. The first time a man put one on I just shook my head at those Brits. This was long before there was an easy way to look things up.

  30. Rainey Dec 24th 2012 at 08:34 pm 30

    Good thing it’s a sweater party instead of a windbreaker party.

  31. Morris Keesan Dec 24th 2012 at 08:48 pm 31

    “… and I was confused by the term jumper.”

    which is one reason why the US publisher of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone felt that it was necessary to publish an edition that was translated from English.

  32. Elyrest Dec 24th 2012 at 09:12 pm 32

    Morris Keesan - I loved the differences though, even if it took me a while to catch on. The U.K. seemed to be a mysterious place with odd little villages, interesting accents, and words that meant something completely different than I expected. I also loved “The Avengers” with Emma Peel and John Steed. I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter Books, but if I do I would look for the British editions.

  33. Meryl A Dec 26th 2012 at 02:41 am 33

    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. We go to Colonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination every December and there are ladies who wear their Christmas sweaters every year - whether it is 20 degrees (F) or 80. Also a family that wear Mickey mouse ears with santa hats, they really stand out in the colonial atmosphere.

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