Julie Aluotto of Sharonville, Ohio, says her kids like wearing pajamas that match their cousins’. The two families, who live in different cities, took their outfits to a water park and ran around in them all weekend.
“We were our own little tribe,” says the mom of three. “ They were loving all that attention.”
Indeed, matching jammies are a bit of a “thing” at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, says Jason Arthur, the regional director of aquatics. Families wear them to meals and events throughout the holiday season, he says.
“We’re starting to see it grow more and more each year,” he says. “We have one large family that comes back each year. They get a lot of comments about their matching pajamas from the other families. Some even want to take pictures with them.”
Matching clothing is a way for families to strengthen their bonds and announce their connectedness, says Dimitris Xygalatas, an anthropology professor who studies rituals at the University of Connecticut. As families become more far-flung, dressing alike at the holidays may be a way to make the annual gatherings more fun and more over-the-top, he says.
“If your family only gets together once or twice a year, it needs to be significant — have more pageantry,” he said. “You need something that says this is a very special occasion. In a way, we’re compensating with a larger quantity of celebration for a lack of frequency.”
Making Hanukkah memorable was Eva Sarachan’s goal when she ordered matching sweaters for her family last year. Sarachen, who lives in Rochester, New York, and her fiancé were meeting her sister, who lives in New York City, at her parents’ house in Troy, New York.
She designed her own “ugly” sweater similar to the Christmas versions commonly found at stores in December and had it printed at customizedgirl.com. Her family loved the shirts emblazoned with dreidels, menorahs, and kittens, she says.
“I thought it would be a cute idea — a nice tradition to start with my family,” Sarachan says. “We all live far apart, and I wanted to make the holidays extra-special.”