This story originally ran in December 2018.
Pop quiz: Why are women putting Christmas wreaths on their nipples, dressing them up with antlers as reindeer, and or otherwise slathering red, silver, green and gold glitter on their sweater meat (and butts) to resemble Christmas pudding or Christmas something?
- To get into the holiday spirit?
- A campaign by makeup and novelty companies to make a holiday buck?
- A way to commodify every facet of our lives down to the body part to participate in the capitalistic sexualized economy we all now inhabit?
- A reflection of their economic disempowerment, which dictates that the greater the inequality in any society, the more sexy selfies a woman will take?
- All of the above?
If you chose anything but all of the above, you haven’t put your egg noggin’ to good use this year, because sexy Christmas boobs and butts are all of the above. It is both something and nothing, hilarious and alarming, simultaneously totally fine and crushingly bleak. Welcome to America (and sometimes the U.K.)!
What in the Holy Christmas Trinity’s Name Is Going On?
In 2017, BuzzFeed rounded up a slew of Christmas tatas that showcased reindeer:
And Christmas gift bows:
Why Is This Happening Now?
It’s been happening, booby. The trend technically started around 2013, when U.K. entrepreneur Your Sassy Grandma (Tyler Sheri Wiseman), needed a better idea than simply selling ugly sweaters, which she was having trouble keeping in stock. After seeing a lone image of a reindeer boob online somewhere, but realizing no one was actually selling the ugly sweaters with a boob hole or the pasties to create the reindeer, she created the Sexy Ugly Sweater with a breast hole (not a plastic boob!!). She makes the ugly sweater herself with a cutout and pasty set to create the boob’s identity. It retails for $60. The Snowman version, with carrots for pasties, goes for $90.
Her creation is basically an upgraded titty twist on the Ugly Sweater Party, but with the spirit of, as one writer called it, “going full tits-out for the boys.”
To be fair, there are “classier” versions of the “Titmas” sweater — if you’re holding a wine glass and the boob is covered in an earth tone:
But It’s More Than Just Ugly Sweaters With a Boob Hole!
Yes, of course it is. It’s a movement. It’s a dream. It’s a riddle.
It picked up speed over the last few years, alongside social media’s incessant need for fresh visual blood. And this year, other Christmas boob enthusiasts and capitalistic thinkers have expanded on the niche industry.
U.K. company Go Get Glitter, who advertises glitter as not just a way to completely replace clothing over your entire body, but also a way of life, instructs its customers and fans on how to glitter up every body part for any season. This year, they introduced Christmas pudding boobs:
In the U.S., these would be “Christmas Fruitcake Boobs,” which just doesn’t have the same jiggle.
And the bauble bum:
You Could Do This for Any Holiday, Right?
Surely you’ve heard of Cocktober. Leaving no holiday opportunity unturned, Go Get Glitter also introduced pumpkin boobs for Halloween, which also look like poorly conceived basketballs:
And a pumpkin butt, naturally:
And whatever you would call this:
But It’s Not Just Glitter Either, Is It?
Ho ho no! Pasty makers Boohoo have introduced a set of nipple wreath pasties for a suspiciously low $5.20 with two bells in the center per pasty so no one will lose track of your precise location at any moment.
Of course, some women would die freezing in the cold before they’d be caught out wearing some nipple wreaths. For them, there are also snowflake nipple covers, gingerbread-men nipple covers and Santa-hat nipple covers.
Can Men Do This Stuff?
Men, not to be left out, can certainly Christmas up their person as well with the Christmas boob look:
There’s also the the Merry Beardmas look:
But as is evident, it’s more funny and festive than overtly sexual. You don’t get too NSFW until you slide into a reindeer penis G-string ($8.99!):
But It’s Not Really Sexual, Just Funny?
And private. Men have never quite experienced the pressure to go full dicks-out for the girls, have they?
But to be clear, this festive exposure isn’t always sexual for women. There are a number of makeup tutorials for women to get in on some nonsexual Christmas-face enthusiasm, which can be sort of interesting:
And also, like, goblin-forest creepy:
But Why? Why Do They Do It?
Women have long been the more ornamental gender. And if you like Christmas, and you like your boobs or your butt, you’re the perfect candidate for Christmas boobs or butts. It straddles the twin tenets of breast presentation in our culture by being both wholesome and sexy at the same time, like a naughty Santa’s-helper costume. Or a banana.
While the breast hasn’t always been sexualized in culture, breast adornment isn’t exclusive to the Instagram era, either. Ancient Egyptian women painted their nipples gold and accented the veins in their breasts in blue. Historically, sex workers, strippers and show girls were said to paint their nipples with lipstick to make them rosier — I remember reading a passage from an Anaïs Nin diary entry about the practice with prostitutes in 1930s Paris. Further back, women in 1600s England and France were said to keep pots of carnelian nipple makeup on their dressing tables. In art, the nipple/breast exposure rises and falls with the era’s attitudes toward female sexuality and its purpose, from fertility to class to titillation. (Two breasts exposed in a painting would’ve once signaled you were a prostitute. Just one? A lady of the court.)
Nowadays, women paint on their breasts; they paint with their breasts. Toplessness remains a taboo, in spite of #FreeTheNipple and the increasingly relaxed attitudes we’ve all adopted toward general sexuality and horniness. And Christmas boobs are all over the place.
What’s more, we all (but women in particular) are participating in a sexualized economy, and the less economic power women have, the more pressure they may feel to sex it up publicly for every possible occasion, and they often do so at great reward.
Taken together then, one exposed breast also covered up with a red-nosed reindeer posted on social media seems to be an accurate evolution of all the anxieties of the past rolled into one perfect modern boob moment: It’s festive. It’s funny. It’s sexy. It’s demure. And it’s out there for everyone to see, lest anyone think you weren’t fully participating in the (sexual) season (marketplace).
And while it seems a bit absurd, if you’re going to go full tits out for the boys during the colder months, it’s also arguably pragmatic. The movement to free the nipple obviously never considered what the nipple might’ve felt like once it was outside shivering.