The “Ugly” Christmas Sweater

Think outrageous, eye-popping, and about a piece of apparel that attracted onlookers far and wide!  Just imagine layers of knitting pieced together, with fabrics featuring reindeer, Santa Clauses, elves, presents, and an alighted tree. Meticulously placed sequins and ribbons, poofy balls of cotton, and buttons.  The outcome was a masterpiece of craftsmanship.  In one of the most eclectic decades, the 1980s, the Christmas sweater made its first appearance in the world of fashion!

A Memory of the Past

If you were fortunate to have a talented seamstress in your family, most likely, a grandma or grand aunt, then, you were a recipient of a homemade, holiday-themed garment.  Whether you felt like Ralphie in The Christmas Story, standing in the full rabbit costume awaiting permission to return to everyday clothing, or Harry Potter, humbled and deeply appreciative, the sweater represented a time of warmth, compliments, and conversation!  Somehow, grandmas and grand aunts were able to connect symbols of the Christmas season with a child’s favorite dinosaur or superhero.


Long before the days of Pinterest boards, DIY enthusiasts created designs, spending hours together piecing whole Christmas scenes of Santa streaking across the sky.  Moms and daughters worked to create fanciful pictures with paint, using a glue gun to apply sequins, or sewing on ribbons.

Don’t think the holiday spirit included just humans.  Dog enthusiasts and some festive horse owners made crafty, one-of-a-kind sweaters to keep their animals warm!

The Perfect Quote

Huntresses for the ideal garment traveled far and wide to visit boutiques and retail stores.  A fan of Star Wars, Looney Toons, or Guns N’ Roses discovered a sweater to suit his or her every style and passion!  Men and women, boys and girls, felt empowered to promote a reaction, encourage a conversation, or amuse others.  “I never thought I would buy a fad, especially something called the ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater,’ but I just love it,” writes Jan Paulson.  It features gremlins singing Christmas carols.   Strangers give me the thumbs up, while others stop to ask where I bought it.  I’ve met a lot of people and inspired others to find one that speaks to them!”

On-Camera Appearances

Nostalgia arrives every holiday season when families and couples come together to watch their favorite movies and programs.  Throughout the decades, from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989, The Santa Clause, 1994, and The Grinch that Stole Christmas, 2000, it’s hard to dismiss the Christmas sweater.  Even Mr. Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001, donned a reindeer jumper with confidence!  Start taking notice!   The ugly Christmas sweater has yet to lose its popularity.

Celebrate in Sweater Style

Secretly, you may have a drawer full of Christmas sweaters, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and leggings!  According to one online company, the “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” have considerably changed from the retro reindeer.  Shoppers eager to find something truly unique can purchase “flappy” sweaters, which allow the wearer to force moveable parts, such as ears and tails, to move.  The 3-D sweater features stuffed animal heads and tails of a moose, T-Rex, shark, or unicorn protruding from the front and back.

A Day for Sweaters

Make a plan to get the family or friends together on Sunday, December 20th, to celebrate “National Ugly Sweater Day”! You have plenty of time to find the ultimate eye-catching apparel. Go vintage, add flair, or get weird.  Enjoy the moment of festivity and celebration, not with an ugly example of wool and fabrics!  Your sweater will be the essence of boldness and fashion!  Happy Hunting!





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