National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Every third Friday of December, people all over the nation trade their casual garments for something more festive for National Ugly Sweater Day. Whether you find a hidden gem to wear, or you make your own, one things for sure — this holiday will certainly have you laughing all day long!


Ugly sweaters have been around for as long as people created a concept of fashion. They weren’t always made purposefully — maybe someone made a mistake in their knitting, or tried a new design that didn’t turn out as cool as they thought it would. However, it wasn’t long before grandmas everywhere were knowingly (maybe while chuckling to themselves) knitting their grandchildren ugly Christmas sweaters complete with baubles and “I love Grandma” lettering. They knew what they were doing. We’re watching you, grandmas.

However, mass market ugly sweaters made their purposeful debut in the 80s. Popular character Bill Huxtable on The Cosby Show constantly made fashionistas gasp when he’d come into scene in a gaudy, ugly, yet slightly endearing sweater that he knew was completely outrageous. In 1989, Chevy Chase added his own twist to the theme as Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.

It seemed the 90s were eager to get rid of the ugly sweater trend, but it reared its “ugly” head back into public eyes in 21st century Canada. Two men from Vancouver came up with the idea to throw the first official tacky holiday sweater party to raise money for their friend’s cancer treatment. The party was a hit, leading the way for similar events to show up all over the northern hemisphere. Ugly sweater parties went from small holiday get togethers to huge events, sometimes in support of charity. Today, ugly sweater parties and competitions are one of the highlights of the season, with everyone trying to one-up each other in searching for the most appalling outerwear they can find. The sweaters have gone from accidentally tacky to purposefully shameless. The only way this celebration can be more extra was if there was a holiday dedicated to it…oh wait! There is!


  1. Find an old ugly sweater and make it new again

    Take a cue from the original ugly sweater pioneers and search through your local thrift store for an ugly sweater that is begging for a second chance in the spotlight! From brightly colored sweaters, to ones covered in jingle-bells and more, the opportunities to find a hidden gem are endless.

  2. Make your own ugly sweater

    Bring your friends together to make your own ugly sweaters! Pick up a couple of basic sweaters along with some fabric glue, tape, or a hot glue gun. Collect the most extravagant decorations you can find; think tinsel, string lights, or even googly-eyes, and then get to it. Who can make the best (read: ugliest) one?

  3. Give back with an ugly-sweater fundraiser

    What better way to celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day than to help others while doing it? Give back to a cause that is important to you by hosting an ugly-sweater bake sale, an ugly-sweater jog, or even just a simple ugly-sweater party.

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