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Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Where Did Ugly Sweater Parties Come From Anyway?

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Have you ever wondered why holiday parties aren’t just about gift exchanges and festive foods? Suddenly, you also have to find an ugly sweater, complete with sequins, lights, or a humorous pun. And the crazier, the better.

It’s difficult to trace the origins of the ugly sweater party tradition. After all, a few decades ago the holiday sweater was something that you would have found in your dad’s or grandmother’s closet, and you wouldn’t have dared wear it in public.

Now it’s a contest and point of pride to see whose sweater is the “ugliest.” 

Here’s a bit of history about ugly sweater parties, as well as some tips for finding one and etiquette for wearing one.

The origin of ugly sweater parties

In the 1950s, holiday sweaters were known as “jingle bell sweaters,” and while they weren’t popular, they were probably considered somewhat stylish (or at least intended to be).

Ugly sweaters appeared in television and movies in the 1980s. You might remember Chevy Chase’s character wearing one in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. This may not have started an ugly sweater party trend, but it did increase the public’s awareness of this holiday novelty.

The first ugly sweater party supposedly happened at a Christmas sweater party in Canada in 2001, and the amusing concept caught on.

In the early 2000s, they appeared in movies and shows such as Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. If you were looking for one to wear in this decade, you probably had to raid a thrift store or your uncle’s closet, but they were definitely growing more popular.

Now, you can find ugly holiday sweaters in almost any store around the Christmas season. With so many options, how do you find the perfect one for an ugly sweater party?

Ideas for ugly holiday sweaters

There are a lot of ugly holiday sweaters available in today’s market. You can even find ugly holiday sweaters for kids, so feel free to get some for the whole family.

Some have funny pop culture references, others have excessive holiday images like snowmen and reindeer, and others stand out because of bells, lights, and pom poms.

The style you choose is ultimately up to you, but you might want to pay a little attention to comfort. Many holiday sweaters are styled with crew necks and heavy, warm fabric. With a little shopping savvy, you can find one that’s “ugly” and comfortable.

Ugly sweater party etiquette

Are you hosting an ugly sweater party? Make sure everyone knows that there’s a “dress code.” If someone shows up in a nice holiday outfit they might feel out of place.

If you get invited to an ugly sweater party, have fun finding the perfect outfit. However, keep in mind that you do need to know your audience. Will your boss be at the party? Children? Your grandmother?

You can find plenty of ugly holiday sweaters that have innuendos or other content that wouldn’t be appropriate around just anyone. Choose your wardrobe accordingly.

Ugly Christmas sweater inspiration

Best of luck with all of your holiday sweater shopping.

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