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Monday, December 24, 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer One Ugly Sweater At A Time

"The Couple That Goes Ugly Together..." (Anne Marie Blackman/ Brian Clark Howard in the 3D reindeer sweater made by his co-author Anne Marie Blackman. (Gloria Dawson)Author Brian Clark Howard with his mother and grandmother a few years back.Christmas sweaters abound in this vintage family photo (author Brian Clark Howard is standing on the right).A vintage photo of author Brian Clark Howard (left) in a Christmas sweater as a child.A holiday photo of author Brian Clark Howard (on right) and siblings in festive outfits as children.A photo of the author's mother and the bronze bull is featured in "Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater.""Cover guy" (Jason Yormark/Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater)Ugly sweater enthusiasts at WBUR Boston pose for a photo (winter scene courtesy of Photoshop). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)WBUR's Kassandra Sundt. (Here & Now)From left, WBUR's Pauline Sulprizio, Jon Peck, Candy Booras. (Here & Now)"Festive DJs" (Anne Marie Blackman/

Hipsters find them ironic. Children love their bold colors and loud designs. Others just enjoy spreading holiday cheer.

But Brian Clark Howard, co-author of “Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater” with Anne Marie Blackman, says one thing’s for sure: “You can never have a bad day in an ugly Christmas sweater!”

Author Brian Howard in the 3D reindeer sweater made by his co-author Anne Marie Blackman. (Gloria Dawson)

Author Brian Clark Howard in the 3D reindeer sweater made by his co-author Anne Marie Blackman. (Gloria Dawson)

Ugly Christmas sweaters have exploded in popularity in the past decade, with countless parties popping up across the world.

Howard tracks the rise in popularity to a 2001 party in Vancouver. Two friends hosted an ugly sweater party, took some photos that went viral online and a craze was born. Now there are ugly sweater concerts, pub crawls, even charity runs.

And the sweaters get kitschier and kitschier. Howard’s favorite is one that his co-author, Blackman, made for him. It features three-dimensional reindeers jutting off his chest. They even sing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Howard has been a fan of ugly sweaters since he was a kid (if you don’t believe us, just check out the slideshow above). And while he seems to fall into the ironic camp, his mom and grandmother are more earnest.

Howard says when he showed his mom a copy of “Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater,” she agreed that many were ridiculously hideous.

“But she said, ‘My snowman sweaters are pretty!'” Howard exclaimed!


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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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