Family holiday photos tend to be wonderful, in that they create lasting memories of small children wearing cable knits, and terrible in that it's exhausting to get small children to sit patiently in cable knits without them getting sweaty and furious. To ease the pain, I've rounded up ten festive sweaters for kids that will work for any holiday photo shoot, no matter the decor or locale. In a snowy wood? These will dazzle. In a Chick-fil-A? OK, weird, but these will still look fab. No matter where you are, and even if your child is red-faced and screaming, these sweaters are so cute people will still look at the pic and say, "Awwwww..."
When I was little, my mom used to dress my siblings and I in matching plaid sweaters she'd knit herself. It was all very Sound of Music — if the Von Trapp children had done more rolling on the ground playing Wrestlemania, and less harmonious singing. But my mother instilled in me that the holidays mean a holiday sweater. Of course now, with the whole "ugly sweater" explosion, there are dozens of variations upon the holiday sweater, and a little something for everyone. Darth Vader Santa crewnecks, Batman snowflake pullovers, sweaters where Santa calls out for his Hos...
While these novelty sweaters can be jolly, and merry, etc., they might not be my first choice for a holiday photo shoot. So, yeah, I went a little old school. Below are some more traditional, timeless choices with nary a superhero or sexist St. Nick in sight.
1. The Classic Crewneck
You can't go wrong with this handsome Fair Isle number for big boys. It runs from a size 2 to 16, and manages to be festive without being garish. The best part? The neutral tones mean your kid can totally stay warm in this baby all winter long, well beyond the holidays.
2. Lil' Red Robin
Every now and then I see items of little girl clothing that make my uterus sit straight up in her chair and daydream about having a baby girl... this is one of those items. I think this little red robin design is absolutely adorable, and like the previous sweater, this totally can be worn outside of the holidays. It runs from infant sizes all the way up to 6 years.
3. Festive In Florals
A warm-looking sweater with a delicate little design, this cardigan from Gap is pure sweetness. It runs from 0 to 24 months, and is destined to become one of those sweaters that you put on your kid so much you develop a huge sentimental attachment to it and then later, when you are trying to organize the closet, you will get all teary and be physically unable to donate it to the Goodwill. (Or am I the only one with this problem?)
4. T-Rex Tidings
If you perhaps have a little boy who immediately tries to sprint from the room when you start toward him with a sweater, this might be a good way to trick him into it. This fun pullover from J. Crew features a fearsome dino in a cheery holiday red.
5. Christmassy In Crimson
This cable-knit poncho from Macy's is a gorgeous shade of crimson, and will make any holiday photo pop with color. Plus, depending on your little one's age (it runs from size 5 to 8), she can totally pretend she's little Red Riding Hood, then make the dog chase her around the kitchen table.
6. Santa's Little Helper
This cozy little number from Boden kills me with its cuteness and makes me wish I could squeeze my 7-year-old into it. Alas, it only runs to size 4. I love the details on this, from the shoulder buttons to the little puffballs on the Santa hats.
7. Ruffly & Sweet
If you want to splurge, this fancy cardigan from J. Crew is a totally charming stunner. Made of extra soft cashmere, the ruffles are lined with metallic trim. If white makes you nervous and you're worried about someone slopping hot cocoa down the front, it also comes in navy. It runs from 2 to 16, so even older girls can dazzle in this delicate beauty.
8. Choo Choo Chic
Stylish, cheerful, and and totally cute, this may be the sweater I purchase for my own kiddo. Sizes range from 3 months to 8 years, which means that if you have more than one little boy, you could totally dress them alike, and then force them to sit together in some old timey Radio Flyer wagon. (There's also a one-piece version for babies!)
9. Unicorn Elegance
File this one under ridiculous/ridiculously adorable. This dainty cardigan from J. Crew turns your toddler into a little holiday unicorn — complete with teeny ears and a sparkly knitted horn. It's made from that really soft garter-style knit, which I personally find so sweet on little ones. Magical!
10. Pure Penguin Cuteness
Again, why do I not possess a wool stretching machine so that I can somehow get this over my son's head? This is another one from Boden, featuring a couple of precious penguins in scarves and hats standing in a little puff-ball snowfall. The light blue shade offers a break from all of the standard reds and greens, and like the other Boden sweater, it has those sweet little shoulder buttons! Show me a child in this sweater and I will give them all the presents. All of them!