At first, when I was young, I would see him head off to work wearing the vest. When I was older, and working at Mitchell's, I'd see him arrive at work wearing with the same vest. It was a tradition of his. It's certainly not a particularly spectacular vest, but it was something I looked forward to. One of those signs that Christmas really had arrived.
I called him today to ask him about that vest. He told me that he and his brother (my uncle Jack) both got the vests the same year - about 45 years ago - from a sales rep that they bought Christmas stockings from. The vest is made of the same material that the traditional red Christmas stockings are made out of. He remembers the company's name as 'Renock Corp.' They loved their sales rep, and bought lots and lots of stockings and ornaments from them. Sadly, Jack's vest wore out quickly. My father's suffered a tear one year, to be repaired by an employee. If you shopped on Christmas Eve at Mitchell's anytime over the past 45 years, you probably saw my dad sporting his vest.
UPDATE - My brother Tom found the picture at the top of the page. It was one that my sister Kris had e-mailed him years ago. The pic shows not only my dad sporting his vest, but my brother Tom and me also wearing red vests. I think my mom made those, as I remembered them after I saw the pic. Yes, that's me in the back, next to my dad and Kris. My other sister, Wendy and Tom are in the front.
The pic at the bottom of the page is from Christmas Eve this year. Notice how the vest has 'shrunk.'