It's the time of year, again, for over-the-top yard decorations, exhorbitant spending, and ugly sweater parties. The holiday season can be chaotic. Traveling, crowded stores, and bad weather can cause us to lose sight of the reasons for the season, so, there is a balancing act. The season is also filled with reminders to relax, have fun, and enjoy lots of laughs. Many of our favorite Holiday movies are set to make us laugh; Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation, to name a few. We also have our favorite holiday cocktails to relax; Eggnog, Coquito, Holiday Punch, Spiked Hot Coca, Irish Coffee, or even a classic Hot Toddy are great ways for adults to unwind. We can’t forget the best Holiday theme party to help enjoy the season, though, the ugly sweater party.
If you're looking for solid gift ideas for the more comically-inclined, an ugly christmas sweater is a great christmas gift idea, as well. Especially, if you know an ugly christmas sweater party is on the horizon.
The ugly sweater party isn't strictly relegated to the holiday season, though. Ugly sweaters can be part of a fun theme party like a lumberjack party or even the popular pandemic invention, Christmas In July.
According to the fine folks in Canada, the ugly sweater party phenomenon was started in 2002 in British Columbia. The story goes that two students held the first house party for 30 guests after an incident involving matching penguin sweaters. That group then went on to host parties upwards of 1200 guests at a Vancouver ballroom several years later and the phenomenon continued to spread across the world from there.
Of course, attributing the ugly sweater party to two lads, alone, comes with a fair bit of fine print. After all, ugly sweaters have been worn by the majority of holiday party guests for decades, probably back to the 1960's. I, for one, can't think of a single family photo going back at least to the early 1980's where kids weren't forced to wear some Crosby-like matching sweater. The operative word here is "ugly" and it's fair to say folks didn't think they were ugly originally. It's quite likely that it wasn't until the late 1990's or early 2000's that people started wearing these ironically.
Here in the states the ugly sweater party is a staple of every family and friend holiday get together and office holiday party. Larger format parties like those ones hosted in Vancouver also occur city-to-city in other formats like the annual Turkey Trot 5k fun-runs and Santa-con pub crawls. Ugly-format holiday festivities have also morphed from other festive traditions like how the secret santa gift exchange sprouted derivatives like the white elephant gift exchange.
Let's get into the types of ugly sweater parties you can host, a list of the party musts for ugly sweater party hosts, and where to buy ugly sweaters this season.
Any Ugly Sweater - Here we have no rules or themes and the party could be anytime of year. Wear the oldest, oddest, most fitting ugly sweater for your personality. Good Will is great for finding these. Turtlenecks and corduroy vests are usually a solid way to bump it up a notch.
Christmas Ugly Sweater - This is a holiday themed sweater party where the guests are expected to wear ugly Christmas sweaters but have no real boundaries. Reindeer, Jesus, Snowman, Elves, or Santa Clause, in some unique distorted imagery will be expected. Nowadays you can even find battery operated light-up or animated sweaters, especially during the holiday season. If you're hosting the party in a warm environment consider also hosting a Santa Hawaiian shirt party.
Specific Theme - An unusual color, holiday character (ie. Elf or Santa) or even an animal (Yes, "cat sweaters only" is a thing), could be the theme. This makes it a bit harder to find in your closet or local thrift shop and pretty much ensures you’re ordering it online. Fortunately, most online marketplaces have an entire category or tag dedicated to finding attire for this very occasion. My personal favorite is the sweater with your own face on it.
Prizes - There has to be a winner! People spent time, energy, and money so crowning the Ugly Sweater Party Champion is expected. You can also make categories and have multiple prizes & winners.
Group Photos - How many times have you left a party or event thinking, “UGH, we forgot to get pictures”. This whole party should be centered around great photo shoots. Find the best friends or the best sweaters and snap away. Did it even happen if it doesn’t make the gram?
Invitations - Imagine showing up to the party without the appropriate attire? Well, word of mouth is a great way to ensure that does happen. Sending out invites that specifically lay out the ugly sweater party expectation is the right thing to do.
TackyUglySweaters - Etsy: Shop The TACKY Christmas Shop by TackyUglySweaters. It has rave reviews! Average review rating is 4.8.
Tipsy Elves: Rest assured your ugly sweater is of the highest quality coming from Tipsy Elves. Easy care material to keep you warm and happy all season long. Here's to the holiday cheer!
Ugly Christmas Sweater: Be the hit of your upcoming friends and family gathering or after hours work party when you show up, dressed to impress Christmas-style. Find fun sweaters like the insane Santa Claus 3D Chimney Climbing.
The Ugly Sweater Store: They sell vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters for your next sweater party. You can find Ugly Christmas Sweaters, Tacky Christmas sweaters, Holiday Party Sweaters, and so much more.
Skipwish has created an Ugly Sweater Party list with those above and more options. Click on any below to view and purchase. Think about sharing the list with a friend who may be looking as well. Skipwish has great Christmas Gift Ideas for those looking to bring something unique to the ugly sweater party!
Send in your Ugly Sweater Party Photos to email@example.com and we will post them on our Instagram and tag you!