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Tips on finding the perfect ugly holiday sweater

Let's do things a little differently today. Let's tell you how to look ugly.

This is imperative information if you plan to attend the Ugly Sweater Party on Friday at Jackson's Bistro. Not only does the event benefit the Children's Home, it's a chance to show off just how hideously spirited you can be. Plus, it will give you a chance to give your gut-sucking club wear a breather and be comfortable.

The party includes a contest with big prizes for the ugliest sweater, judged in part by yours truly. So I thought I'd give tbt* readers a little edge and tell you exactly what I'm looking for. Don't think you can get away with a few tasteful glitter snowflakes dusting your shoulders. We want your holiday sweater to burn our corneas, to invade our dreamscape in the dark of night, to make us cry icicles.

Study hard, children, and you just may win the biggest Christmas gift of all. Mom will be so proud.

Think 3D

Anything that physically juts away from the fabric of your sweater is an instant point booster. Puff balls are good. So are bows. Squiggly eyeballs on Santa? Yes, please. Pine cones are so scratchy they might earn your date a trip to the hospital. But they also might earn you ugly sweater glory.

Get baggy

Let's be honest. You know the club will be full of girls trying to sexy up their ugly sweaters. I envision lots of child-sized sweaters and skin-tight Mrs. Claus lingerie. That might get you a free Grey Goose martini from a creeper, but it won't score you ugly sweater points. The frumpier, the better.

Lights and sound

True sweater aficionados will take things to a new level of sensory assault. Consider a string of blinking Christmas lights (see also the 3D category — DOUBLE points!). How about a strobe belly snow globe? Or make your sweater play holiday music by shoving an iPod into lands unknown.

Creepy takes all

You know how certain Christmas decorations are supposed to be cute, but unintentionally haunt you to your core? My mom once had a Santa wreath that I swore was possessed by Satan. Look for reindeers with beady eyes, elves that look like Benjamin Button and snowmen with a taste for revenge.

Be authentic

The best (by which we mean "fugliest") holiday sweaters were once worn without a trace of irony. Check thrift stores for atrocious gems from the 1980s. Or maybe it's time to pay a visit to your Great Aunt Ethel. Tell her you need to borrow an outfit for the club. She'll be tickled.

The Ugly Sweater Party

The party runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Jackson's Bistro, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd. $5 to $10 donations are appreciated. Call (813) 265-1234.

Tips on finding the perfect ugly holiday sweater 12/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010 11:54am]

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