Holidays

Alaska Airlines promo gives early boarding for wearing an ugly holiday sweater

FILE - Megahn Hollenbeck and Melinda Rodger both of Blaine wore holiday sweaters to History Flirt: 90’s Holidays at the Minnesota History Center.
FILE - Megahn Hollenbeck and Melinda Rodger both of Blaine wore holiday sweaters to History Flirt: 90’s Holidays at the Minnesota History Center. TNS

The core traditions surrounding December holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah have become so ingrained in society that they often need no explaining. Some date back hundreds of years.

This decade, a new one seems to have popped up, or at least exploded in popularity: the ugly holiday sweater.

Celebrated the third Friday of every December and recognized with its own aptly named website, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day falls on Dec. 15 this year.

And, as expensive as air travel can be this time of year, Alaska Airlines will offer a perk that day to lighten the mood. Show up in an ugly holiday sweater, and you’ll get to board early, according to a news release by the company, which covers Alaska, Virgin America and Horizon Air flights across 115 cities.

Grinches be warned, that’s not the only feature of the promotion; employees will wear ugly sweaters that day as well, and “festive holiday-themed boarding music will play all month long to help get guests into the holiday spirit,” the news release says.

Alaska Airlines isn’t the only big company encouraging ugly apparel. On Tuesday, Chipotle will offer free queso on items for customers wearing their “cheesiest sweater.” It doesn’t fall on the official holiday, and there’s no hard definition of “cheesy,” nor “ugly,” but oh well.

Two different online calendars for national days of celebration note that Ugly Sweater Day does indeed fall on Dec. 15 this year, and both claim that official observance dates back to 2011. While ugly sweaters have definitely been around much longer than this decade, their resurgence in popularity, from social media posts to parties, is hard not to notice.

“It started out as a kind of countercultural thing ... Ugly sweaters became a fun and ironic way to break the ice. It’s like Halloween,” Chisa Iwuagwu, owner of Burbank-based Shop Ugly Sweaters, told The Bee last year.

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