28 November 2012

history of an ugly vest. (by jon)

some people have asked about jon's vest from a few weeks ago.  because when you see it, there's obviously a story that needs to be told.  since i'm not an expert on it, i asked jon to write a little something about it.  enjoy!

Once upon a time I was on the institute student council. We had a great group of kids and we had a lot of fun. One of our get-togethers was a Christmas party with an ugly sweater contest. I had never been in such a contest, but I was determined to win.

I did not have an ugly sweater at the time, and upon my perusal of the local thrift stores, I found that there were none that were quite “champion material.” So I resolved to craft my own. I bought a red felt vest and began my design. I bought tinsel, small ornaments, and candy canes. And lights.

After a brief foray into electrical engineering, cutting and splicing, and finding that standard Christmas light strings have much too high a resistance for standard AA batteries, I purchased a string of LED battery powered lights. I fixed them to the insides of the vest and poked them through. I hand sewed the tinsel to the base of the vest, around the sleeves, and around the neck. I sewed the ornaments in groups of three to the front and made slits for the candy canes to fit into. It took considerably longer than I expected, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And I had embarked on a path of nearly equal importance and monumentality.

At long last it was ready.

I donned my awesome vest and went off to my very first ugly sweater party.

Competition was stiff, and the judges ruled my vest to be “too awesome” to be considered ugly. Honest to goodness truth! So the ugly sweater prize did not come to me at my first competition. But I knew we were destined to make history, my vest and I!

A short time later our ward had its Christmas party and there was to be an ugly sweater competition. Once again I retrieved my Christmas vest from my closet and set off for glory. It is interesting the reaction I get when I walk into a room wearing it. I like to walk in without the lights on, and then when everyone is looking, suddenly turn the lights on, and TWINKLE! Everyone is mesmerized.

I won that competition. And a $25 gift card! So I about broke even!

Now I may have taken some poetic license in telling my Christmas vest story. The truth is, every time I wear it, I am slightly embarrassed. I do not particularly enjoy being the center of attention. But hey, if you do, I have just the thing for you this Christmas season!

Most recently I wore it to an institute party where we had another competition in which I won this beauty.

It is now a permanent fixture on it and I have decided to pin whatever I win in the future to my vest.

Kristin likes to call it “Snazzily horrific.” Others have asked “Did Christmas throw up on your sweater?” and this has been one of my favorite descriptions of it. It also grows uglier by the year as open candy canes are corroded in places and others have broken off in pieces…

We have thought about additions to the vest. Maybe little speakers that play Christmas music….?!? What would you like to see on the most snazzily-horrific vest you could imagine??

Who knows what the future holds for this Christmas atrocity and me. Whatever it is though, it’s going to be awesome.
and there you have it!  the legend of the ugly vest will continue!

something that i want to add... one of the best things is seeing/hearing the reactions of people when they see jon's vest.  it usually sounds something like, what the awesome? and oh my gosh! and there is no contest!  all of course, in loud, exclamatory decibels.

and what do the reactions look like?  sometimes they look like this:

thanks jon, for sharing the glorious tale of your vest!


  1. LOVE it!!! Maybe Jon can do some creative writing on the side! Well done!! I won't share my thoughts on the vest/sweater, although its creation is ingenious and its creator is... well, Kristin can fill in the rest.