It’s Christmas time. Time for couples to put on those matching pajamas.

Chanel Sowell, an administrative support specialist at a university in Raleigh, NC, spends a few days each week working part-time shifts at an Old Navy store. And it’s during this wintry season, when customers are flocking in to shop for the latest matching vacation pajama sets, that she’s reminded that she’s not in a relationship.

“Every time it’s over, I’m always like, ‘Okay, I think I’m going to put that back on,'” Frau said. Sowell, 40, who first noticed the trend for couples to wear matching pajamas a few years ago. She has been single for four and a half years since her previous relationship of almost six years ended.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cute or whatever.’ But then I was like, ‘Oh god, I want a boo,'” she added during a phone interview.

The tradition of matching pajama sets has been a staple of the family holiday season for decades. In recent years, however, it’s emerged as another status symbol of cuffing season — a way to kickstart a new relationship on Instagram or just show the crowd your love.

For those cruising through the season alone, matching pajama sets has become another benchmark to aim for when dating in the digital age. For the past few seasons, couples and new families have proudly shared photos of themselves in matching pajamas online, sparking a sense of desire from those surviving the holidays alone.

Woman. Sowell said when she was in a relationship, she mostly saw ugly Christmas sweater trends. Now it’s all about cute sleepwear.

“When I got single, everyone was wearing these matching pajamas,” she said.

Stores like Target, Old Navy and Amazon are among the top spots for matching vacation pajamas. A Target spokesman said in an email that the company’s matching family pajamas “have grown in popularity over the past few years,” at least since 2019, with the red buffalo check flannel print being the most popular. And according to Old Navy, sales of matching pajamas accounted for nearly half of total PJ sales for the year in the last two months of 2021, and from 2017 to date, sleepwear sales have nearly tripled.

Aalyranna Swing had planned to wear her first pair of pajamas with her boyfriend while vacationing in New York in 2021. But as fate would have it, they split just months before Christmas last year.

“I came up with everything and everything: I wanted to do the Grinch pajamas, which were the color green,” Ms. Swing, 20, said. “I just had everything planned out. And it just didn’t work.”

The couple dated for about a year before long-distance problems became too much to ignore, Ms. said. Swing, who is a student at Louisiana State University. She explained that matching Christmas pajama photos are a way for couples to show their friends and family that they mean business.

“This generation has an attitude that once you’re posted on social media, it’s official,” she added. “That’s the goal, it’s called ‘pop out’, to show others that you’re a couple. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I made it, I’m finally in a relationship’.”

Broadcasting one’s relationship online can involve a level of scrutiny that many would like to avoid, especially when it’s still in the early stages. This heightened sense of pressure has led people to show some reluctance — or even take off gently, which is one way to tease a new partner online — until a certain relationship milestone is reached, such as getting married. B. a date for at least a year or even an engagement.

At this point, you might feel more comfortable sharing photos from a summer party or during a birthday party, or of you and your partner wearing pajamas covered in images of Santas, Dreidels, or snowflakes.

For Aleena Khusro, a 26-year-old brand and marketer living in London, what started as a harmless social media trend now has a purpose: to show that “I have a partner for Christmas.”

“Like, ‘Look at me, I’m so in love,'” she said. “It’s just an icon that came out of this whole culture that we have on social media now.”

Woman. Khusro said her parents would often buy matching Christmas pajamas for her and her brother every year as she grew up, since she was about 7 years old.

“And now on Instagram and TikTok, it’s a huge thing,” she said.

Woman. Khusro, who is currently single, joined the trend with her then-boyfriend last Christmas wearing matching Harry Potter pajamas.

“For me, it was one of those things that I wouldn’t even post online,” she said, “but it was a pretty sweet thing because it’s like you’re wearing matching pajamas and it’s cozy and healthy and it is.” simply a connecting experience.”

It’s common for people to complain online about being single during the holiday season. It’s also common for people to share their excitement about having a partner to do things with. Despite common assumptions of the worst intentions, some couples participating in this trend claim that it is not their intention to show off or encourage any fantasy of what it means to be in a relationship. Instead, it’s just a way for them to create their own traditions.

Marcus Houston and Ayahna Aragon have been together since 2019 and now live together in Hyattsville, Maryland. Every year they share the same pair of matching Christmas pajamas, which they bought last minute at Target after Mr. Houston talked his girlfriend into joining the trend with him.

“We went into the store and couldn’t find anything, all we could find was something like an extra large women’s set,” said Mr. Houston, 28, explaining that the size allowed them to fit both. (Mrs. Aragon is petite, about 4ft 11, while Mr. Houston is over 6ft tall and weighs about 200 pounds.)

“So she wears the shirt, I wear the pants, and it just became a Christmas tradition from there,” he added.

Mister. Houston and Ms. Aragon both say there are fewer photos from their childhood than they would like, so Ms. Aragon, 25, said wearing matching pajamas and taking pictures is her way of creating memories that she future generations can show. Contrasting with the trend on social media, where it’s “very much about curating an image.”

“Everybody’s trying to be their pairing goal,” Ms. Aragon said, “so I think that probably makes a lot of people think that’s the ‘it’ you need to do to confirm that your.” relationship is worth envying.”

“We just want one memory because there are so many loving moments that we both remember from childhood that essentially there is no proof and we just rely on our own storytellingShe added.

Alex Ochoa, a full-time content creator and owner of fashion brand Shine by Nature, first got involved in the trend after a shoe brand contacted her in October to promote a product collaboration opportunity. They required her and her husband to wear matching holiday pajamas to the post office, prompting them to buy some from Pottery Barn.

“I just feel like a lot of this trend is performative and it’s just a cute thing to photograph with,” Ms. Ochoa, 24, said in a phone interview. “I feel like a lot of the popular content creator families kind of pioneered this obsession with having the whole family wear matching Christmas pajamas.”

However, now that they have them, she has been wearing it to film additional content for her personal page. “If I wasn’t a content creator I wouldn’t really feel the need to get matching pajamas, but I have to say they’re pretty cute,” she said.

Of course, the right pajamas are not only reserved for romantic couples. Many people still do it with their friends, families, and even their pets. Woman. Swing and Mrs. Khusro said they plan to wear platonic matching pajamas for Christmas instead.

“I’ll just do it with my boyfriend, we need more pictures together,” Ms. Said Swing said. “Let’s just do a Christmas shoot together.”

Woman. Khusro has eight of her friends gathered around her: “We haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet, but we’re going to get all the matching pajamas and watch Christmas movies this year.”

Ass for Mrs. Sowell, the college administration worker in North Carolina, said she will continue her tradition of wearing Christmas shirts to work, decorating the office with festive decor and painting her nails red to get in the mood .

“Just doing what makes me feel good without having a husband,” she said. “Whenever God sends him, I’ll be prepared and hopefully he’s prepared for that my gimmicks.”

Will the gimmicks include matching pajama sets? “Yes. Matching pajama sets every year. Be ready.”

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