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Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater
Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

15 Fantastically Ugly Holiday Sweaters

Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater
Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

Who doesn’t love a little ugly sweater action? We sure do—and so does Brian Howard, co-author of the book Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater. Brian invited us to take a look at his private collection of ugly sweater pictures on Flickr and we couldn’t be more excited to share them with you.

1. Stripper Claus

Image by Jessica Gabeler, Killington, VT

The first thing you'll probably notice about this gentleman’s terrible sweater is the lady with 3D breasts—but the more you look, the more you notice how horrible this garment is. From the three awkward and ugly Santas to the woman’s horribly mismatched and disfigured legs, this piece of holiday wear is a truly festive trainwreck.

2. Santa Moose

Image by Gloria Dawson

A Santa Moose handing out mini moose toys all covered in working lights? Yup, this sweater is an ugly Christmas miracle.

3. Good Taste Has Left the Building

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

Just looking at this couple is like a festive assault on the eyes. Together they should win a prize for worst dressed couple—which is a good thing at an ugly sweater party.

4. The Family That Uglies Together

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

This family’s matching ugly sweater photo shoot is pretty entertaining, but what really brings it over the top is the little girl’s teddy bear, which is also in on the bad taste parade.

5. Pick a Holiday, Any Holiday

Image by Jessica Gabeler, Killington, VT

I don’t know what’s tackier in this sweater picture—the Santa beard sweater with the felt paper chain, or the menorah hat covered in Christmas lights. Either way, this man certainly won the trophy in his hand.

6. An Ugly Hanukkah Sweater? Why Not?

Image by Brian Clark Howard

Just because ugly Christmas sweaters are all the rage doesn’t mean those who don’t celebrate the holiday are excluded from the fun. As this man’s ensemble proves, a Hanukkah sweater can be just as ugly as a Christmas one.

7. Old School and New School

Image by Jessica Gabeler, Killington, VT

This picture celebrates the two schools of ugly sweater—the originals, which were created as a means to celebrate Christmas in a festive frock, and modern ones, which were designed with no other intention than to be tacky. While the originals are fun in that they were first worn without any hint of irony, the more modern ones are almost more fun because they really test the limits of how ugly a sweater can be.

8. Make It Your Own

Image by Mindy Parisi, FindingSilverLinings

As this young couple demonstrates, one of the great things about the modern ugly Christmas sweater is that it doesn’t actually have to be designed with a Christmas theme at first. In fact, if you want to win a prize at your next ugly sweater party without spending a fortune finding a classic one on eBay, try grabbing any old sweater and making it into a Christmas tragedy with garland, bows, bells, and trashy Christmas appliqués.

9. Use Your Imagination

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

Have a sweater party to attend and can’t find anything that will work? Well, if you have anything Christmas-y lying around the house and some clothing you don’t care about, you’ve got all you need to make an ugly sweater (or dress). Even a rug and garland can make an ugly Christmas dress in no time.

10. Express Yourself

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

This sweater is such an eyesore that it seems to have sent its wearer into a spiral of depression.

11. Go for a Theme

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

Don’t just be a man in an ugly Christmas tree sweater … be the hideous Christmas tree you always dreamed of being.

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Accessorize

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

Sure, this sweater is ugly, but it’s the matching Christmas tree hat and boa that really sell it.

13. Involve Your Furry Friend

Image by January Meyer

Ordinarily, we tend to frown on those who think of their animals as fashion accessories, but when those animals are so clearly depicted on your ugly sweater, you pretty much have no choice but to drag your pooch around with you all day.

14. Watch Your Back

Image by Anne Marie Blackman

Can’t bear to see yourself wearing such a hideous piece of clothing when you look in the mirror? Then turn your back on the idea … literally. No one said the ugliest part of your sweater has to face forward.

15. Capes Are So Hot This Year

Image by Jessica Gabeler, Killington, VT

Finally, there’s no reason to limit yourself to a sweater when you want to wear terrible holiday duds. In fact, an eccentric tree skirt can actually prove to be even more tasteless and hilarious when worn as a stylish cape.

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Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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architecture
Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Reading Aloud to Your Kids Can Promote Good Behavior and Sharpen Their Attention
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Some benefits of reading aloud to children are easy to see. It allows parents to introduce kids to books that they're not quite ready to read on their own, thus improving their literacy skills. But a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the simple act of reading to your kids can also influence their behavior in surprising ways.

As The New York Times reports, researchers looked at young children from 675 low-income families. Of that group, 225 families were enrolled in a parent-education program called the Video Interaction Project, or VIP, with the remaining families serving as the control.

Participants in VIP visited a pediatric clinic where they were videotaped playing and reading with their children, ranging in age from infants to toddlers, for about five minutes. Following the sessions, videos were played back for parents so they could see how their kids responded to the positive interactions.

They found that 3-year-olds taking part in the study had a much lower chance of being aggressive or hyperactive than children in the control group of the same age. The researchers wondered if these same effects would still be visible after the program ended, so they revisited the children 18 months later when the kids were approaching grade-school age. Sure enough, the study subjects showed fewer behavioral problems and better focus than their peers who didn't receive the same intervention.

Reading to kids isn't just a way to get them excited about books at a young age—it's also a positive form of social interaction, which is crucial at the early stages of social and emotional development. The study authors write, "Such programs [as VIP] can result in clinically important differences on long-term educational outcomes, given the central role of behavior for child learning."

Being read to is something that can benefit all kids, but for low-income parents working long hours and unable to afford childcare, finding the time for it is often a struggle. According to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, only 34 percent of children under 5 in families below the poverty line were read to every day, compared with 60 percent of children from wealthier families. One way to narrow this divide is by teaching new parents about the benefits of reading to their children, possibly when they visit the pediatrician during the crucial first months of their child's life.

[h/t The New York Times]

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