The air's a little more crisp, the mood a little more merry, the trees are up and the lights have been hung. Christmas is finally upon us.
But while Christmas is a time of visual wonder, when the lights sparkle, the ornaments gleam and the streets turn crimson with the sight of Santa hats and red jackets, the holiday's also the time when the ugly comes out.
We're not talking about the creepy Elf on the Shelf whose eyes follow you around the room no matter where you sit (could you please put that one away, mom?), but the sweaters.
Oh yeah. We're talking about the visually appalling, the repugnant: the ugly sweaters that adorn your torso but that you wear proudly this time of year because darn it, it's Christmas.
This is when you reach into the dark depths of the back of your closet, past the scarf that Dave gave you before you broke up with him because who the heck doesn't believe in Santa Claus? You eschew those well-pressed dress shirts and silky blouses because waiting at the other end of your grasp is perfection by way of non-perfection.
Dust it off. Throw it in the wash if you have to. That ugly sweater has your name written all over it. You wear that baby and you wear it proudly.
Who cares what anyone else thinks?
Oh, your buddy Steve thinks he's too cool to rock the ugly? You know what we call guys like Steve? That's right: squares.
Steve can keep his turtleneck and peacoat because you've got what really matters: Santa Claus ho ho ho-ing on your belly, Rudolph coming 'round the corner with his bright red nose flashing right below your shoulder and a litany of snowflakes brightening up your chest.
Steve can keep his frou-frou sensibilities as he sips champagne and nibbles on caviar; the rest of us will be by the fireplace downing our eggnog and scarfing down our gingerbread cookies because we've got what matters more than money: we've got the Christmas spirit, baby.
If you're feeling the Christmas spirit like we are, and you, too, are down with the ugly, show us just how ugly it gets. Send your ugly Christmas sweater pictures to email@example.com or click here.