Holiday sweaters are like the fruitcake of fashion; no one enjoys them, yet they tragically are apart of the season’s tradition. There’s always the tacky, the over-embellished, the eye sores, and of course the itchy and irritating; however, they’ll always hold a special place in everyone’s hearts. Sure, the polyester could catch on fire and burn up instantaneously  and you may have to sport it all afternoon to appease your not-so-fashionable aunt, yet sometimes there’s the nostalgia of a good ol’ holiday sweater that will always put you in the mood.

Specimen A: Green, furry knit sweater with sequin and beaded keyhole detailing complete with a mock neck and linebacker-sized shoulder pads – While it doesn’t scream “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” from the rooftops, it does evoke some scary yuletide cheer. Is there a designer somewhere just plotting what awful combinations to add and laughing maniacally?  And if you’re wondering, yes, this sweater has won many Christmastime competitions.  I dare you to try to take the cake!

Specimen B: Turtleneck with wintery motifs and Merry Christmas prints layered with a Southern style holiday sweater vest complete with trains, dancing stick figures, and running coyotes – The turtleneck and sweater vest combo packs a one-two punch straight to the holiday feasting gut.  Color-blocking blues with a theme one could only possibly think of while on peyote, this is a sure fire hit for the Holiday office theme party.

Specimen C: Heavy knit sweater with reindeer emblazoned across the chest with white dots – The sweater you pull out each year that you can get away with for the occasion as its festive, fun, and fitting.  I couldn’t help but to pair it with a giant hair topping bow that makes me feel as pretty as a present.

Specimen D: Candy canes, ornaments, mistletoe, snowflakes, bows, tinsel, AND puffy paint? WHAT? – The childhood Christmas sweaters that you remember all too well as they’re the ones your mother put you in for family portraits or the ones you begrudgingly wore while ripping open gifts.  Holiday overkill all in one pretty little sweater.

In the process of this assignment, I developed an allergic reaction and rash from these awesome aforementioned sweaters, but I couldn’t tell you how much fun I had doing this cheesy photo shoot.  Grinning from ear to ear, singing Christmas tunes while vogueing in some awful itchy fashions made me feel like Santa’s little helper.  So while you may have them hidden away all year long, brush off the dust, sport them with pride, and nab that Tacky Holiday Sweater prize that will have you laughing all the way home.

If you want to be festive without being a fashion flop, try these picks:

1. Cutesy – For a more adult and less bedazzled version of the tacky holiday sweater, yet still a bit kooky.

Coooperative Russian Dolls Sweater ($49)
Time To Gather Sweater ($148)
PJ by Peter Jensen Polar Bear Jacquard ($88)

2. Classic – Stick with the reds and chic styles, while still remaining in the spirit.

Madewell Striped Cabin Crew Neck Sweater ($68)
MICHAEL Michael Kors Sequin Sweater ($99.50)
By Malene Birger Phenica wool-blend bow sweater ($195)

3. Printed – Unique and a tad unconventional, these are a new take on the tacky holiday sweater.

Alice by Temperley Falcon intarsia roll-neck sweater ($325)
Dolce Vita Ryan Cardigan ($185)

Happy Holidays!