Christmas sweaters have a strange effect on people. They treasure them like any other sentimental object and parade them around when given the opportunity, sometimes completely oblivious to the ridiculousness. As I was talking about the Christmas Sweaters last year at the Center for Hearing and Speech, the director mentioned her “Favorite Christmas Sweater.” Every year she too extreme delight in trucking it out of the closet, throwing on some green leggings and prancing around the Christmas party like a giddy elf. She kindly offered to loan me the sweater to photograph it which I of course accepted. When she told her family about this arrangement, their response was something along the lines of “just give him the sweater, that thing is as ugly as…” well you get the point. As she put it on one last time she let out a good bit of laughter at how ridiculous the sweater actually is and then with great happiness handed it over to me, the new member well cared for family. That sweater ended up being the best of them all, featured on Christmas day. You can see it here. Thank you, Rene, for the sweater and the memory.

If Rene’s sweater, highly prized, the best sweater I’ve seen, a personal favorite that she’s held onto all these years, I started wondering who else might have something in their closet whose story deserves to be told. And with that I would like to invite you to send me your Christmas sweaters. I will memorialize the sweaters with a picture and tell the story of your sweater. If you live in Houston, I’ll even come and pick up the sweater from you. If you don’t live in Houston, you can email me at (mwettergreen blip gmail blop com) or you can just mail it to the following address and I’ll pay the shipping:

Matthew Wettergreen
4820 Caroline
Houston TX, 77004

My friend Areej tells me that she’s sending a Christmas Sweater with South African Santa on it, all the way from Pretoria, near Johannesburg. With that as a kick-off there’s no telling what we’ll find.

Today’s Gem, Christmas Sweater #02:

This sweater confuses me. I considered not including it at all because it looks, well, fashionable. As in, not outdated or obnoxious. It’s actually something I would wear out or to a non-Christmas sweater party. To test the fashionable hypothesis, I wore this sweater to the Culture Map opening tonight and no one gave it a second look. Kudos to me for blending in with normal humans, even with this ridiculous mustache (don’t forget to visit Mustaches for Kids and donate to support mustaches and Workshop Houston).

As I said, this sweater is mind boggling as an entry to the Christmas Sweater project. It’s missing all the red flags of a normal bad Christmas sweater: flashy ornaments, shiny items, poorly chosen patterns. Instead what you see is a tan cardigan with a pleasing mix of alpine-sweater-like patterns matched modestly with Christmas imagery. The imagery itself is also rather subdued, a reindeer, holly sprig, snowflake, simple Christmas tree, fleece mitten.

Also confusing to me is why a veteran psych-rocker would want to spend five years filming a space alien film in his backyard, using found objects for props and his comedian friends for actors. The movie I’m referencing is of course The Flaming Lips’ Christmas on Mars. The story unfolds as colonized (but now stranded) Mars is set to celebrate their first Christmas. Enjoy this puzzling film paired with an equally questionable Christmas sweater.

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