Ann Cannon: The Little Christmas Sweater that Couldn't

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

See that sweater there?

My husband gave it to me (non-ironically) in the 1980s when we were young and struggling, and even though it was an expensive sweater, he didn't care. He sold his only watch (the one that belonged to his father and his grandfather) and I cut off all my hair just so we could afford it.

Oh wait. Wrong Christmas story.

Still, it was a sacrifice for my husband to buy it, and we both thought it was the most beautiful Christmas sweater we had ever seen. Seriously, the life-sized reindeer on the front of the sweater is a work of art with metallic gold and silver threads and appliqu├ęd stars and encrusted jewels and rings on its fingers and bells on its toes and dude will have music wherever it goes.

Also, the sweater has shoulder pads. Bonus! Whenever I wore it, I looked like Alexis Carrington on Dynasty — or at least what Alexis Carrington would have looked like with a life-sized reindeer hitching a ride on her chest.

Anyway. For a few years whenever I put that sweater on, I was the belle of the Christmas ball. And also with those shoulder pads I had several offers to play defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers. Double bonus!

Ah. Those were the salad days.

And then one day the memo went out that said Christmas sweaters were no longer cool. In fact, they were deeply uncool — an indication of a person's bad taste. And so all those sweaters (including my own) went the way of Mormon plastic grapes a generation earlier. Disparaged and mocked. Packed away. Forgotten.

Until one day ANOTHER memo went out that said Christmas sweaters were suddenly cool again — the uglier the better! And so all across this great land of ours, Americans started having Ugly Sweater Contests for their holiday office parties, including Salt Lake's very own King's English bookstore where I have worked off and on for years.

OK. Every single year I wear my reindeer sweater to our holiday party.

And every single year my reindeer sweater and I lose to someone else. Paula. Nathan. Dawn. Sally. Same thing happened again this past week.

Finally one of my co-workers (either Connie or Jan) said, "Ann, your Christmas sweater is the Susan Lucci of Christmas sweaters."

Remember Susan Lucci? The soap-opera star who was nominated 19 times for an Emmy before finally winning? Talk about painful. You'd see Susan Lucci sitting there in the audience at the awards show with her big soap-opera-star earrings and her hopeful smile, and you'd have to look away from the TV screen because you knew how it was all going to turn out again. NO EMMY FOR YOU, SUSAN LUCCI!

Apparently it's the same for my sweater. The only thing that would be more fatal for my poor sweater is if Susan Lucci herself wore it to The King's English holiday party instead of me. Which is why I will make sure she is never, ever, ever invited. NO OFFICE PARTY FOR YOU, SUSAN LUCCI!

Anyway. Here's my point (and yes — I do have a point). I am going to be wearing that sweater all month. In fact, that sweater and I will be working it. So if you see us around town (I'm the one with the life-sized reindeer on my chest), please please please stop us and hand my poor sweater an Emmy. Because it deserves one.

Thank you.

And have an awesome holiday.