I hate to say it, but the thrift stores are running out of great tacky sweaters. My local Goodwill set up a round-tree display devoted to the garish abominations on Black Friday, and the holiday favorites flew out the door within hours. There were a few left over of course, but nothing to write home about. As I skimmed through the racks holding out hope a classic might have been overlooked, I began to think I could make my own.
Start with a Tacky Sweater
There were a few solid colors available, so I chose a good-condition, over-sized, red knit as the base. I wanted something thick enough to look bulky, and hold the ‘art,’ but not so cumbersome I’d be sweating bullets in the middle of cocktail hour. I also wanted a large enough neck so it would droop festively, as well as facilitate my taking it off when I reached my limit of overheating.
Selecting Holiday Bling
Next, I perused the crafts and seasonal aisles, looking for glitter and glam to affix to the sweater. I passed on pre-knit patches, of which there were several, and settled on some felt cutouts from Rankin and Bass’ Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. A few minutes later, I discovered a small string of battery-power LED Christmas lights, and a short roll of evergreen colored felt. I was set for my own tacky creative expression, and headed home with my treasures.
Holiday Party Plans
My wife’s company Christmas party was a week away, appropriately themed for tacky holiday sweaters. A few days before, my wife had discovered a green, heavy wool monstrosity at the church thrift shop, liberally adorned with plastic terrier appliques and Santa hats, garish neon sequins, and purple, puffy glue in cursive reading Have a Yappy Yule. It was adorably hideous. At the company party there would be doors prizes – one for best store bought sweater, and one for best homemade. We agreed hers would be in the running for the purchased category, and I now felt my planned project would garner top honors.
Tacky Sweater Construction
After watching me pull out the fabric glue and scissors from the craft cupboard, my wife calmly informed me I was to hand the job over to her. “You want it to look nauseating, right?” I nodded, and relegated myself to the kitchen to bake cookies and whip up a little eggnog while she sat at the dining room table to lay out the pattern. The felt characters were placed around a green-felt Christmas tree as ornaments, with Rudolph as the center of attention where a star would normally go. She wove the string of lights through a small separation in the wool to conceal the battery, and ended with a red bulb nestled behind Rudolph’s nose. Then, everything was affixed with the fabric glue. I have to admit that she had done a much better job than I could have hoped to do.
The party is only days away, and if I win for tackiest holiday sweater, I plan on sharing my prize with her. After all, it’s only fair, right?
Happy holidays from my family to yours, and best wished for a bright New Year!