The uglier, the better - what could be more fun? A local business is creating ugly sweaters for the currently trendy holiday theme parties - items that can't be purchased just anywhere.
Three holiday seasons ago, after Pat and Theresa Lambert, owner's of the Ultimate Thrift Store in Wilmington, were asked for the umpteenth time if they had any ugly sweaters for themed Christmas parties, they decided to get creative.
"We just kind of came up with it. 'We can make ugly sweaters,'" Pat commented.
The sweaters are all original (no two are alike), and prize-winning ugly - but so just right for their intended use that not a single one has come back to them.
Essentially, the sweaters are also earth friendly - they're nearly 100 percent recycled materials - of which there's an abundance to work with at the thrift store. T-shirts become scarves for partially stuffed snowmen and singing puppy dogs, which also come out of the heaps of items people give to the store that fills a need in the community.
Thanks to word of mouth and social media sites, shoppers are becoming aware about the ugly sweater source this year, so the "sweater artistes" are in high gear. Last Friday, there were nearly 40 in stock - but in the time it took for one brief interview with The Free Press Advocate, two customers came in looking for an original ugly sweater to call their own.
"The more ridiculous the better," Theresa commented. "People love them. They come in here and just giggle at them.
"Even the guys giggle. I think it's funny."
This year, the Lamberts have added equally ugly hats to the Christmas couture lineup, for those who don't have it in them to wear the sweaters.
Since the source is a thrift shop, the sweaters that may only be worn once are significantly less expensive, and much more ugly, than holiday sweaters sound at a department store - and no traveling is involved.
"We're not in it to make much money, just to make people happy," Pat explained.
Ultimate Thrift Store works with the Kuzma Care Cottage, and permits the food pantry clients to shop for free, and accepts donations during regular business hours.
The store, at 682 W. Baltimore St., in the Berkot's Super Foods shopping center, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.