As a Jew, Christmas sweaters have long intrigued me. After all, it can't just be holiday cheer and love for Jesus that inspires grown women to wear sweaters emblazoned with sequins, the occasional jingle bell, and a tableau of knit animals acting out the Nativity, right? So it was with particular interest that I read New York Times' no-holds-barred examination on the issue today. "Styles" writer Eric Wilson had a heart-to-heart with Coldwater Creek SVP of Product Development Kathy McConnell, who believes โ€” truly, madly and deeply โ€” that Christmas sweaters warm the heart.

I truly believe that when you walk into a store and see a holiday sweater on display, it should make you smile. We always think of [our customer] while we come up with concepts. We always want to give her some snow-inspired themes. We always do well with a cat, but we never want to repeat too much or too often. One year, we may have a snowflake, or one year a wintry tree.

I am absolutely positive that this is the process Miuccia Prada goes through each season too!

Wilson also learned the following from McConnell:

Cats, as a rule, do well as a subject of holiday sweaters, especially when playing with a ball of string. Cats are nondenominational. Most people, with the exception of dog people, think cats are cute....Then there are birds. Birds, as a category, are evergreen, perhaps because they are inherently more varied as a species. This year's birds are chickadees, which are cheerful and sociable birds, and also small, so more of them can fit onto a sweater. (""It's an almost American kind of bird," Ms. McConnell said.)...Holly wreaths are over. Mistletoe is so last year. Most of the sweaters at Coldwater Creek do not speak to a specific holiday, like Christmas, but are more generically seasonal. This way, the designs are more inclusive of different faiths


Oh, honey. Bedazzle that fucking sweater with a blinged out Virgin Mary if you feel like it โ€” it's a goddamn Christmas sweater after all. Have you ever heard anyone talk about how much they love whipping their non-denominational winter season sweaters out of the cedar-lined storage closet? Yeah, that's what I thought. And take it from a Jew: My people might be neurotic, but after thousands of years of persecution, the last thing we would ever do is wear a sweater showing snowmen decorating a Christmas cheer, with a fire roaring besides them. Put those snowmen in some concentration camps and then let's see if they still are all about the sartorial celebration of holiday cheer. You can keep your Christmas sweaters; we've been through enough.

Behind That Merry Sweater: Some Holly, Jolly R&D [NY Times]