Has your Christmas sweater become a part of your Christmas tradition? Does wearing it bring back memories of your great-aunt Edna or your third grade social studies teacher? Some of you may really not understand why anyone would call your sweater gaudy. To you, it’s bright, festive and shows you’re in the spirit. Some of you may only wear it as you head to your childhood home. To you, it’s comforting but you really don’t want to be caught dead in it. Some of you may just be catching on to the gaudy sweater craze. To you, it’s a trendy, fashion statement. Which came first, the sweater or the gaudy? The sweater has existed in the U.S. since the late 19th century, hideous holiday versions only began to sprout up in the last several decades. What makes a Christmas sweater gaudy? Telltale signs are liberal use of red and green, comically large depictions of snowmen, reindeer, and Christmas trees, and any sort of pom-pom, felt applique, lights, glitter, etc. Originally Christmas sweaters were designed with the intention of being attractive. Now Christmas sweaters are designed with the intention of being gaudy. I guess we can only presume that it’s our ever-changing sense of fashion that makes us deem once-considered pretty sweaters as gaudy. According to Time Magazine there has been a revival among young people throwing Christmas sweater parties? What better way to celebrate the holiday than to throw on an obnoxious sweater and have a laugh? Maybe this year the family gathering will have guests young and old sporting the gaudy Christmas sweater. As a matter of fact, if you stop and think about it your gaudy Christmas sweater and rarely seen relatives have a lot in common. You cherish and love them both. Maybe once a year is enough for both. And, for sure you tuck it away in a special place until next year because you never want to lose all that is near and dear to you.