From striped sets to reindeer-printed onesies, festive sleepwear is the star of many a Christmas celebration (and card).

By Marisa Spyker
December 04, 2019
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Dennis Hallinan/ Fototrove / Getty Images Plus

It isn’t difficult to understand the allure of donning sleepwear around the holidays. Warm and cozy, pajamas are just about the perfect complement to evenings snuggled up by the fireplace with your favorite Christmas movies streaming in the background.

But, once regarded as strictly loungewear, Christmas jammies have gone the way of the ugly sweater: Cute, kitschy, and too good to not show off to your entire social media following.

That goes, especially, for matching family PJs, the donning of which has become mainstream everywhere from department store catalogues to Christmas cards. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to get through a holiday season without stumbling upon a display of festive footies, sized 3-6 months to Men’s XXL. In the age of social media, “fam jams” have become so popular that many families have adopted them as a beloved holiday tradition.

But where did such a strange tradition—one in which grown men willingly suit up in festive onesies in the name of twinning with their 2-year-old—even start? According to fashion historian Debbie Sessions, the holiday uniform first gained traction well before the dawn of social media. As early as the ‘50s, holiday department store catalogues would advertise festive getups adorned with stripes, checks, and other holiday motifs for the whole family. The trend inevitably took off, sticking around steadily through the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

Social media revived it in a big way. In 2013, a family from North Carolina released a music video parody on YouTube titled “Christmas Jammies,” in which they hilariously recap their year while sporting red-and-green sleepwear. The video went instantly viral—today, it has more than 17 million views—and made #ChristmasJammies a wildly popular Instagram hashtag.

The revival also boosted sales on holiday sleepwear for retailers like Target, who now offer dozens of festive printed and patterned PJs for the whole family (including the pup). Which means, if you haven’t already snagged your crew a festive ensemble, there are more than enough options to choose from.

So, whether you opt to ‘Gram your #ChristmasJammies or not, the tradition seems like one worth adopting, if not solely for the permission to spend all day in your pajamas (for a purpose). Agreed?

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