As we sweep our Halloween decorations to the curb, the smell of Christmas starts to permeate the air. Of course, it just doesn't feel like it's really coming up on the festive season until Microsoft releases its annual ugly sweater. This years efforts in over-priced nerdy knitwear features everyone's favourite digital office companion, Clippy, and it's definitely got a vibe to it.
Where last year's Microsoft Windows sweater was dedicated to Minesweeper, with a Christmas tree shaped gameboard complete with bombs and emoji Santa hat, this time we ring in the holidays with everyone's favourite, word processing software. Our main man Clippy, the mascot many of us remember from our earlier days using programs like Microsoft Word, is proudly front and centre, standing on a stack of paper.
My fingers are crumbling away to dust as I say this, but some folks may be too young to be familiar with Clippy and his ilk. They were an animated companion that could float over the top of your document, offering help and generally getting in the way. They came in different skins, like animals and what not but the default was good old Clippy, a paperclip with deep, soulful eyes.
As a kid I'd mostly just click on them for the animations, but they'd pop up tips in a speech bubble from time to time. You could also click on them to get options. I think most adults generally turned them off due to being a huge distracting cartoon that sat over the top of their work, interrupting them from time to time. What a concept.
In the terms of this sweater, Clippy has a message for you, just like he did in the good old days. A familiar speech bubble with "Happy Holidays!" cements call back, and the only option being a very unexcited seeming "Ok" is just even better. This paired with the fairly bland colour scheme and a theme that overall reminds us of work makes this a winner of an ugly sweater at almost every level. Though still not as good as some of these gamer sweaters.
Sadly as per usual the Microsoft sweater is devilishly expensive for what it is, and is already selling out fast. At time of writing the only options left are the 2XL and 3XL sizes, and shipping to countries outside of the United States can really add to the cost.
For now I'll just remember that the holiday spirit is inside of me all along, rather than on the outside in sweater form. I will try to keep the spirit of Clippy alive in my own way this holiday season, and reply to any offerings of "Happy Holidays!" or the likes with a firm "Ok".