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Christmas is our team’s absolute favourite holiday; there’s a magical feeling in the air, seeing the smiling faces of our loved ones, and this is the time that everyone breaks out their ugly Christmas sweaters. Which brings us to our team’s theme for this year; How to Have an Ugly Sweater Christmas! When our team thinks about ugly sweaters, things that come to mind are; thrifting, grandma’s knitting, and upcycling – the beauty of ugly sweaters is that there is no right or wrong, the “uglier” the better. In this blog we will cover everything you need to have an Ugly Sweater Christmas, but first a bit of backstory of why ugly sweaters have become so mainstream.

Ugly sweaters have been around for a long time, we’re assuming that these hideous sweaters were probably created on accident. Though we look to the eighties where sweaters began to be designed to be hideous on purpose; great examples that made the sweaters mainstream are Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show & Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Fast forward to the early 21st Century, there was a resurgence from Canada – Vancouver to be specific. Jordan Birch & Chris Boyd came up with the idea to celebrate the season with the very first tacky sweater party, after laughing uncontrollably when trying them on in a store. Which this was a such a hit and the trend spread like wildfire. Ugly sweater parties now range from small gatherings to massive events, and the sweaters themselves are made more outrageous every year!

So how can you have an ugly sweater Christmas? Great question! Of course, start with the sweater, but you can incorporate ugly sweaters in other ways too, such as, decorations, activities, gift wrapping, and some good old-fashioned competition. Now, let’s get ugly!

The Sweater

Again, there is no right or wrong when it comes to ugly sweaters, but we definitely suggest letting loose for the holidays and making it as funky as possible. It is not uncommon to walk into any retail store that sells clothing and find an ugly sweater these days, there is also plenty from online retailers as well. Check out these 20 Best Ugly Sweaters That’ll Be a Hit. Or if you have an old sweater laying around and some spare crafting supplies, you can DIY your own one-of-a-kind ugly sweater – check out these 17 DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas. You can even combine storebought with your DIY if you’re feeling adventurous.


Now we know that you already have your collection of holiday decorations, and you may not want to keep up the Ugly Sweater theme for multiple years. So, let’s save your bank account and DIY some decorations – plus this can be a great activity to do with the kids! If you are looking for something that doesn’t scream ugly, you can cut basic tree shapes out of cardboard, cut old knit sweaters to fit over the carboard & hot glue the fabric down. Another option is making ugly sweaters out of construction paper/felt and creating ornaments or garland out of them – watch how one of our Co-Op students demonstrating how to make them.


We know that at some point you will be having people over or heading to someone’s house to celebrate the holidays, why not bring some fun along with your ugly sweater? If there will be a photobooth you can make funny quote cards to include in the props bin. Some ideas to get you started:

  • “Joy to the Wool”
  • “All I want for Christmas… well, it wasn’t this sweater”
  • “These sweaters look better when we where them together”
  • “Up to snow good again”
  • “Really sleighing in this sweater”

Do you have kids coming to your party? You can make a craft area to keep them busy, much like creating their own decorations we had earlier or pick up a few gingerbread house kits for them to make their own ugly sweater houses. Another fun idea is to make a large ugly sweater to put on the wall and play Pin the Reindeer on the Sweater.

Gift Wrapping

Whether you are wrapping gifts or party favours, we can also make them fit our Ugly Sweater Christmas theme! Have wine bottles you wish to give your guests? Pick up some felt/fabric mini sweaters and decorate them to your liking. Do you have knit sweaters you don’t wear anymore or gifting a knit sweater with something else? Use the sweater as your wrapping paper by placing over a box and folding together. Maybe you just want to add some flare to plain wrapping paper? Wrap your presents, then accessorize with Ugly Sweater patterns with construction paper and markers.

Friendly Competition

If you are hosting your own ugly sweater party, let’s make things interesting with a bit of friendly competition. Make your own “People’s Choice Awards” for your guests to participate in voting for the winners in categories of your choosing. Create super fun ballot boxes with a sweater, mark them for each category, and have everyone go nuts. Some ideas for categories:

  • Ugliest Ugly Sweater
  • Most Original Ugly Sweater
  • Funniest Ugly Sweater
  • Most Festive Ugly Sweater
  • Best Couple Combo
  • Most Likely to Get Arrested if Seen in Public

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can customize store bought trophies to make it a real awards ceremony. It makes the competition go stronger if you throw a similar party the following year too!

Ugly Sweater Christmas celebrations have been a continuously growing trend for many years, and we love to see all the creations that have been made as they continue to get crazier every year. But regardless of this being a trend, we love that it gives people an opportunity to let loose and have the maximum amount of fun! We hope you’ll join us in making the holiday season a hilarious one we can look back on for the years to come!