Family, Uncategorized

How to Pick the Perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater in 5 Steps

Pick the Perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater

This post all started when I looked for a guide for “How to Pick the Perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater” to post to my Ugly Christmas Sweater party event page on facebook.  I didn’t think that would be so hard to find.   Even the hits I found, were really just lists of WHERE to look for the sweater, not anything to help with determining if the sweater was appropriately ugly or not.

You would think such a guide would already exist for this… I mean, Ugly Christmas Sweater parties are now so popular you can’t find an ugly Christmas sweater at goodwill in SUMMER! (Now I am going to have to do a follow-up guide on where to find the perfect ugly Christmas sweater…)  There are some truly ugly gems out there, and then there are a lot of “safe” “ugly” Christmas sweaters that aren’t even ugly at all.  I don’t understand why they are even on the ugly rack- they should just be in the regular clothing racks.  But, then again, ugliness is a matter of personal opinion, I suppose.

Finally, at page 7 of the search results I gave up and decided that this content clearly didn’t exist in the proper format that I wanted so I would create it.  So, here is your step-by-step guide to selecting your Ugly Christmas Sweater this year (or any year):

1- Consider your Personality  

This is important, if your sweater is TOO counter to your personality, then it may not have the impact you think.  Do you have an inappropriate sense of humor?  Play it up.  Are you a big kid at heart? Go for the dinosaurs (or something else equally childlike).  Are you more of a cut and dried traditionalist?  Get a traditionally ugly sweater.  Are you known for your craftiness?  Make your own.

Now, you may be thinking: “But, I am traditional so I would find an inappropriate humor sweater very ugly.”  True, you would, but part of the fun in an ugly Christmas sweater party is the photos.  You, in that ugly sweater, is going to live on someone’s phone, or the internet for all eternity.   If you are a very traditional person, do you really want a picture of you in a sweater with a Santa boner hanging around?  And yes, such sweaters do exist.  Additionally, if that isn’t your normal sense of humor, then your friends will know.  You will know.  You may feel REALLY uncomfortable.  And the key to amazing Ugly Christmas Sweater photos is letting the faces and happiness of the people show through, so pick something in tune with your personality.   As an example, I love Cats, Pizza, and am a big Kid at heart.   So, when looking, I went for cat sweaters, Pizza, and sweaters that screamed I am a child with no taste.  😉

2- Look at lots of pictures of sweaters 

This can give you a good idea of what a traditionally ugly sweater is, and also give you some ideas for what you, personally find “ugly” and what you instinctively gravitate toward in the ugly department.  On page 5 of my search, a cool article from the Smithsonian Magazine came up.  (You have to click through an ad to access it.)  I found Etsy to be a good source for determining my own personal ugly (because they had handmade and vintage options… also warning, there is some nipple covered boobage ideas in that link), and my husband found Amazon to be a good source.  eBay can also be a great resource (hint: choose the “buy it now” option in the search filters if you aren’t the auction type), or any upcycle/ second-hand clothing apps, like Mercari.

3- Listen to the words you use when you look at the sweater

You want words like this to be in your reaction when you see a sweater in order for it to qualify:

  • Garrish
  • Hideous
  • Horrible
  • “Something Else”
  • Horrendous
  • Awful
  • Terrible
  • Gaudy
  • Tacky
  • Dreadful
  • Appalling

You get the picture.  Basically, if you look at it, pull back and make a face like this:

That's Ugly!.png

It’s a contender!

Laughing is also good.  Especially if you are a jokester.

4-Choose appropriate accessories

I know, it’s an ugly Christmas SWEATER party, but you can take ugly to a new level with the right accessories.  We are talking those Christmas light necklaces, chimney earrings, and reindeer antler headbands.  The stranger the better.  Hideous fuzzy Christmas socks? Check.   Strangely patterned Christmas Fedora hat? Yes, Please.  Tying bows on your shoes?  By all means.  Women in particular- consider leggings or Christmas patterned knit skirts.  The point being look like Christmas threw up on you.  Especially, if you are someone who tends to be a little over the top anyway.

5-Consider any prizes/ awards

A good ugly sweater party will entice guests to participate by having awards.  A small group might just have a typical “ugliest” award, but a larger group may have multiple categories.  You will want to consider this when looking at your ugly sweater options.  According to, these are some award suggestions that parties may have:

  • All-Around UGLY Sweater
  • Most Original
  • Best Couple Combo
  • Most Likely to get Arrested if Seen in Public
  • Most Festive
  • Biggest Loser
  • Funniest
  • Most Likely to go Viral on Social Media

I submit that there should be awards for appropriately tacky decades, like the Most 80s Sweater, best Theme look (IE All Christmas trees)… Really it’s all about what the host/ hostess has set up.  If you are competitive, you might take this into consideration when attending a party.

Bonus Tip

Have you ever noticed that you see pictures of Ugly Sweater parties, and somehow the people still look attractive?!  What is up with that anyway?!  They put on the most horrendous (we suppose anyway) garment that they could find, and they still look good??  Well, it comes down to picking the perfect sweater, and then OWNING it.  And a glorious smile, of course.  All flaws, including poor fashion, can be fixed with a smile and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party pictures are proof.  So, use the tips above to find YOUR perfectly UGLY sweater, then OWN it like you have never owned anything else in your life, and I promise, you will look smashing and have made amazing memories that you and your friends will be reliving and enjoying for years to come.

Happy Sweater Hunting!


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