It is all rather unfortunate.

But this is the time of the year when we shed our fashion inhabitations and boldly wear our holiday gaudiest.

We embarrass the fashion sensibilities of our elders and don our ugly Christmas sweaters.

And judging from the entries in our quest to find the worst of the worst, we are pushing the boundaries of tinsel and trim.

Ugly sweater fashionistas from near and far sent in pictures of otherwise fine sweaters covered in what resembles glued leftovers found on the floor of Walmart on Christmas Eve after the last frantic shopper has dashed off into the night.

Many of these sweaters are so bright they might even give Rudolph a run for his money in lighting the way for ol’ Santa on a foggy night.

In one photo, Courtney and Dan White strike the perfect Christmas card pose.

It would be picture perfect if you overlook Dan’s sweater, covered in cat silhouettes with a giant snarling feline looking not too pleased to be wearing a Santa cap.

Salvation Army advisory board chairwoman Susan Poe Flowers and Marian Calvin, director of development for the charity, showed off their Red Kettle-themed ugly sweaters in another photo.

Deby Kelley of Munhall, Pa., shared a photo of her sweater that resembles a hand-crocheted blanket project gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The sweaters worn by the Marallo family from Copley Township appear to have even shocked dear ol’ St. Nick.

From mom Sarah’s kitten sweater to Sylvie’s llama-themed one to Vincent’s Santa riding a giant dinosaur to dad Tim’s Star Wars-themed apparel, Santa is left gap-mouthed in surprise (or disgust) in their family photo.

A fair number of the entries came from city of Akron workers. It seems Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan either loves ugly sweaters or has a closet full of wool fashion mistakes that he is itching for an excuse to wear. He launched a contest last year challenging workers to wear their ugliest sweaters to work.

Some of the contestants were ringers.

Rebecca “Becky” Rudibaugh, of Doylestown, submitted a photo of her in an over-the-top sweater clutching her very own “major prize” for “wearing a very ugly sweater” to a party.

And her award-winning smile and, um, interesting sweater were enough to warm the hearts of even the grinchiest in our newsroom who picked her the best of the worst sweaters to win a modest prize basket that includes two movie tickets.

“I got the distinction [at the party] of having the ‘Ugliest Sweater,’?” she said. “We had a lot of fun and laughs.”

And to paraphrase Linus, that’s what Christmas is all about.

Craig Webb can be reached at or 330-996-3547.