Over the last couple of decades, our culture has refined its sense of irony and has formed an obsession with nostalgia. These two themes, in combination, have paved the way for the resurgence of the ugly Christmas sweater. In today’s world, it’s quite possible that you and your grandfather have an overlapping taste in outerwear. But how did it become acceptable to raid your grandfather’s closet and rock his bulky, oversized Christmas sweaters?

Fashion is cyclical. Clothing trends have always come, gone, and reappeared over the course of years. But it’s rare for attire to be considered both outmoded and trendy at the same time. The sweaters we now lovingly embrace as “ugly” peaked in earnest popularity in the 1980s. Very few styles can boast the same cross-generational appeal as Christmas sweaters. For every person who ironically loves an ugly sweater, like Kevin Love, there's someone who appreciates it sincerely.

So how did the ugly Christmas sweater renaissance begin?

When it comes to ugly sweaters, the more outdated and garish the better. So celebrate grandma's festive, handmade, one-size-fits-none creation. Throw on your most absurd Christmas pullover, get hot, get itchy, and take a look at the history of the ugly sweater—because no one wants to be that guy wearing a smart J. Crew fit to the ugly Christmas sweater party.