“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” and inside the Christmas décor and attire is little better! People just love to make Christmas an ugly time of year, don’t they? They can’t resist the twinkle of tacky tinsel, garish tree ornaments and hideous blinking light displays dangling from the roof. When it comes to the festive wardrobe, it’s all ugly Christmas jumpers and unbecoming novelty items. Elf shoe slippers…? With real tinkling bells on the ends? It’s one thing for children, but for grown men? Have people lost their minds?
What I want to know is why this happens. What is the cause of all this seasonal poor taste? It did cross my mind that there could be a sort of hidden appeal to it that I’m just missing. You may know the French term “jolie laide” – it translates literally as pretty-ugly and is used to describe a woman whose face is attractive despite having seemingly unattractive features, or a woman who has an unusual, almost surprising sort of beauty that defies convention. Examples are people like Grace Jones, Barbra Streisand and Tilda Swinton. (A male equivalent, then, could be someone like the Spanish actor Javier Bardem.) So, I wondered… is Christmas jolie laide? Does this notion apply to the peculiar brand of ugliness that we have to face every year? Is it all really rather attractive, in a strangely unattractive way?
After careful consideration, I would say no. There are no saving graces to be found on elf shoe slippers; no subtle charms to the ridiculous paper hats that come in crackers and absolutely no unconventional allure to Christmas jumpers....
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