By Lisa A. Flam / The Associated Press
Cynthia Greenwood’s three girls always get new sleepwear at Christmas, the only gift they are allowed to open on Christmas Eve. The sisters waste no time getting comfy before the family sits down to a holiday dinner, then relaxes by the fire.
“They come right in from church, they look under the tree and there’s the box of PJs, and they run back to their room and put them on and we start the festivities,” says Greenwood, of Arlington Heights, Ill. “It’s just a really nice night. It’s special.”
The tradition has been going strong for about two and a half decades in the Greenwood home: The sisters, now 31, 28 and 23, have seen their gifts evolve from one-piece footed numbers to matching ruffled nightgowns to two-piece pajama sets.
New pajamas are a holiday custom in many families and a perennially popular gift.
“Getting sleepwear is very nostalgic,” says Jennifer Wilson, associate corporate merchant for L.L. Bean. “You’re giving the gift of warmth and comfort. It’s cozy but it’s practical at the same time.”
Pajamas also make a great gift because many people neglect to buy them for themselves, says Stacey Buonanno, director of product development for online retailer PajamaGram.
For parents, there may be nothing cuter (or more relief-inducing) after a long day of holiday celebrations than seeing the kids all washed up for bed and in new PJs.
Matching family sets — the same print for men, women, children and pets — are a hit at PajamaGram, with orders quadrupling over the last few years, Buonanno says. The company’s most popular family looks are the red Stewart Plaid Pajamas and the Holiday Stripe Pajamas (both $26–$50 at pajamagram.com), which have red, green and white striped pants with coordinating red and green tops.
If matchy-matchy isn’t your thing, there are countless choices for kids to show off their individuality. Kohl’s has sleepwear featuring sports teams, cartoon characters and cool prints such as camouflage. Old Navy offers Pop-Culture PJ Sets for boys ($25), featuring superheros and video-game characters, and Hello Kitty PJ Sets for girls ($25).
Separates are more popular than nightgowns for women, retailers say, but there are many holiday options in both styles.
At L.L. Bean, the ankle-length Tartan Flannel Nightgown ($59–$64) and Pajama Set ($59–$64) come in a traditional red Royal Stewart and in new colors for this year: a light blue and a black-watch plaid that includes a shot of bright pink.
For a less “high holiday” look, Wilson suggests L.L. Bean’s Pima Cotton Flannel PJ Set ($60) in a cornflower blue with white dots.
PajamaGram’s bestseller is the Hoodie-Footie ($80), a grown-up version of the infant sleeper. The one-piece fleece has a hood, zip-off feet and pockets.
“Men love to buy them for their wives and girlfriends,” Buonanno says. “It keeps her warm from head to toe, plus she looks really cute in it.”
For men, the classic button-front and pullover style tops are equally popular at PajamaGram. At L.L. Bean, Wilson likes the Fleece Pants ($40–$50), the monochromatic Waffle Pajamas ($59–$64) and the Scotch Plaid Flannel Pajamas ($50–$55), which come in several color combinations.