Ugly Christmas Sweaters: The Ultimate Guide

Bridget Reed
Mon Apr 11, 2022

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: The Ultimate Guide

Over the years, ugly sweater parties and competitions have grown in popularity — and it’s not hard to see why. They’re a trendy, festive, and creative way to celebrate the holiday season, and there are many options for DIY-ing and decorating your own ugly sweater for the next holiday sweater party.

Here at PixieLane, we’ll help you find the best ugly Christmas sweaters and really make them your own. Whether you love candy canes, tinsel, or snowflakes, there’s a sweater to fit your style. We also carry the perfect, high-quality holiday outfits and matching Christmas pajamas for family parties, photoshoots, and more.

‘Tis the season for the ugliest sweaters…

What Is an Ugly Christmas Sweater?

An ugly sweater is any type of festive holiday wear that goes above and beyond. It’s typically rooted in Christmas popular history, featuring iconic characters like Frosty the Snowman, Santa, or his reindeer pulling a sleigh.

Ugly Christmas sweaters are defined by their gaudy decorations, tacky colors, and even interactive capabilities. Some ugly sweaters have ornaments, Christmas lights that really work, and jingle bells that get into the spirit of the season.

The Origins of this Festive Trend

While the ugly sweater is a relatively modern idea, the influence has been around for a long time. Classic Christmas sweaters first became popular in the 1950s and 1960s and featured iconic holiday figures and motifs. The styles were quite elegant and became a staple of holiday wear that would last through the years.

With the evolution of popular culture, the classic sweater came to feature clashing patterns, bright colors, and eventually figures and designs, introducing the tacky Christmas sweater we know and love.

Television and movie characters wore ugly sweaters to showcase their personality and push the plot, and Christmas sweaters were revived in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way.

Ready for A Christmas Story?

Everything changed in the early 2000s, however, thanks to Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch. In Vancouver, Canada, Boyd and Birch hosted the first Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. It was a big success. They went on to host more parties, often for charity, and the idea of the ugly sweater for work, school, and social celebrations really caught on.

Today, ugly sweaters can be found in most major stores as well as thrift shops during the merry time of year. They even get their own day. December 21st is officially ugly sweater day.

Does It Have To Be Ugly?

While the sweaters are referred to as “ugly,” it’s more appropriate to call them tacky or goofy. The materials that are used to make ugly sweaters are common in Christmas decorations, like tinsel and baubles. The colors are usually holiday-appropriate, and pushing the envelope is done for the sake of fun and celebration.

If you’re planning on making an ugly sweater of your own, consider taking your favorite things about the holiday and putting them on a sweater. The question is, just how big will you build?

What Should Be On Your Ugly Christmas Sweater?

Ugly sweaters are often associated with Christmas and the holidays of the season. That means you have lots of fun and creative options to pick from when it comes to decorating your ugly sweater.

These are just a few of our Xmas favorites:

Silly Holiday Catchphrases

Be creative! With all the Christmas songs and stories available, you can craft a really fun and silly holiday catchphrase that’s never been seen before. Make puns on holiday sayings or song lyrics, or even tie in something to popular culture and events for the best funny Christmas sweaters.

It’s important to remember when creating funny holiday catchphrases where you will be wearing your ugly sweater. Different quotes and sayings may be appropriate for a holiday party with friends that might not fit for family or parties at the office, so always consider the event first.

Quotes From Your Favorite Christmas Movies

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the classics. Quotes from iconic holiday movies, including Home Alone, White Christmas, and The Grinch, are common on ugly sweaters. And, of course, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation takes the cake for ugly sweater Christmas quotes that are sure to get a laugh.

Snowmen, Reindeer, Santa, and Other Iconic Holiday Motifs

Christmas offers up lots of recognizable images and characters. Of course, Santa Claus and his reindeer are some of the most popular, but you’ll make a splash at your next ugly sweater party with characters like tipsy elves, the Grinch, and delicious gingerbread men. It’s a chance to show off your favorite stories of the season.

What Should You Wear With an Ugly Christmas Sweater?

Once you have the perfect ugly sweater for the next work or family get-together, you need to create an outfit. You can either make the rest of the outfit match the sweater or go for a more subdued look on the bottom so that the statement piece speaks for itself.

Create your final look by pairing some of these comfy and warm pieces together.

Sweatpants, Joggers, or Leggings

Sweatpants, joggers, and leggings are perfect for the chilly weather — and for matching with your sweater! To start, they’ll keep you warm, which is especially important around the winter holidays. Plus, they pair perfectly with the ugly Christmas sweatshirt like a pullover crewneck or even an ugly Christmas hoodie.

They’re also available in a wide range of bold and neutral colors. You’ll be able to find shades that match your sweater or ones that balance out the silliness for a comprehensive and comfortable final look.

A Warm, Comfy Hat

Another good way to keep warm is with a winter hat. For some ugly sweaters, this can be the icing on the top of the cake. Use your hat as the star on top of your sweater Christmas tree, or add on antlers to complete the reindeer look.

If you’re more worried about keeping warm, you have lots of fun and cozy hat options to pick from. Try out the colors you love and the styles that protect your ears from the cold. Don’t forget to pick a pom pom!

Big Wool Socks and Boots

A classic winter look is the wool sock and boot combination, and it’s not hard to see why. Wool socks are wonderful for keeping your toes warm, and they look cute peeking out of the top of your favorite winter boots. Consider matching the shoes and socks to the ugly sweater to create a final holiday party look that just can’t be beat.

Merry Christmas!

Ugly sweaters are a festive and really unique way to flex your creativity this holiday season. You can design or find ugly sweaters with all of your favorite Christmas characters, quotes, and songs, or you can take it a step further with tinsel and jingle bells. There’s no wrong way to create a stand-out ugly sweater that the whole office is sure to find hilarious.

PixieLane has you covered. We love everything about the holidays, from family photoshoots to cute stocking stuffers and gift guides.

That’s why we carry a wide collection of cozy winter clothes to match your favorite Christmas cardigan. Try out leggings, joggers, and sweatpants, and don’t forget your warm and cozy hat. You can top off the perfect look with wool socks and a pair of good winter boots.

Find everything you’re looking for this winter and a whole lot more here at PixieLane. Begin creating the perfect ugly sweater and keep it in your heart all year long.


A cozy history of the ugly Christmas sweater | CNN Style

CinemaSins Takes Us Behind the Scenes With 19 Little-Known White Christmas Facts | Parade

Ugly Christmas Sweaters: A Storied (And Surprisingly Canadian) History | HuffPost

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