There's a new holiday tradition sweeping the nation that is obnoxious and nostalgic all in one: Ugly Christmas Sweater parties.
We all remember the hideous articles of clothing that are making their comeback now.
The only difference between now and then was the sweater was worn sincerely; people really liked these things!
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN/Sun-Gazette
Erin Karpich, left, and Julie Reppert announce the winners of the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest at a Relay For Life fundraiser held at the Cell Block Nov. 30. Below are the contest winners of best santa, best ensemble, most outrageous (two-way tie) and ultimate ugly.
Ugly Sweater parties are believed to have begun in Canada around 2001, but the increasing popularity of these themed parties has been rising in just the last two years.
Thrift stores start getting hit around the beginning of November for ugly sweaters, making it difficult to find one by December.
There are even websites that specialize in ugly sweaters, including www.rustyzipper.com, where you can find just about ANY type of Christmas sweater you could possibly want.
With categories like tie dye, "color changing sweaters" and light-up accessories, this is the be-all-to-end-all in the land of ugly Christmas sweaters.
But if your budget does not allow for $100 sweaters, there are a couple different options.
One, you can scour thrift stores.
Make sure you leave ample time to look at each and every sweater. You might want to start early on this one.
The best gems are hidden, just waiting for you to pick it up. And when you're done, keep it for next year, or you could do a sweater exchange with other people. Two, you can MAKE one.
Tinsel, bells and iron-on transfers are plentiful during the holiday season, so take a plain sweater from any craft store and go to town. You're sure to be the only one with that sweater, one of a kind!
Three, raid your grandma's, mother's, aunt's, uncle's, dad's or grandpa's closet.
Here you might find something you only thought existed in old photographs of your relatives with yellow tinted glasses and big hair.
A lot of sweater parties incorporate Christmas-themed music, drinks and games. There might be karaoke contests, Christmas music and Christmas-themed beverages. Many bars are having sweater parties and it's been a huge trend for colleges, with fraternities and sororities getting in on the fun.
Locally, an ugly sweater fundraising party was held Nov. 30 at the Cell Block to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Williamsport.
Julie Reppert, of the Cancer Crushing Pants team, was one of the event organizers. She said that when team member Amanda Alexander came up with the idea of an "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Fundraiser," the team began a venue search.
After all was said and done, Reppert said the event raised more than $650 for the American Cancer Society, and that her team and the Cell Block hope to make it an annual event.
Reppert said that Cell Block General Manager Josh Mont supplied the team with ugly sweater beer bottle koozies and T-shirts to give away as prizes.
When it comes to attending your ugly holiday sweater party this season, just remember a couple of rules: There is nothing too ugly, there is nothing too gaudy and the brighter, the better.