History of National Ugly Sweater Day
Ugly sweaters have been around for as long as people created a concept of fashion. They weren’t always made purposefully — maybe someone made a mistake in their knitting, or tried a new design that didn’t turn out as cool as they thought it would. However, it wasn’t long before grandmas everywhere were knowingly (maybe while chuckling to themselves) knitting their grandchildren ugly Christmas sweaters complete with baubles and “I love Grandma” lettering. They knew what they were doing. We’re watching you, grandmas.
However, mass market ugly sweaters made their purposeful debut in the 80s. Popular character Bill Huxtable on The Cosby Show constantly made fashionistas gasp when he’d come into scene in a gaudy, ugly, yet slightly endearing sweater that he knew was completely outrageous. In 1989, Chevy Chase added his own twist to the theme as Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.
It seemed the 90s were eager to get rid of the ugly sweater trend, but it reared its “ugly” head back into public eyes in 21st century Canada. Two men from Vancouver came up with the idea to throw the first official tacky holiday sweater party to raise money for their friend’s cancer treatment. The party was a hit, leading the way for similar events to show up all over the northern hemisphere. Ugly sweater parties went from small holiday get togethers to huge events, sometimes in support of charity. Today, ugly sweater parties and competitions are one of the highlights of the season, with everyone trying to one-up each other in searching for the most appalling outerwear they can find. The sweaters have gone from accidentally tacky to purposefully shameless. The only way this celebration can be more extra was if there was a holiday dedicated to it…oh wait! There is!
National Ugly Sweater Day timeline
Gaining popularity from a sitcom, the first “ugly sweater” is made under the name “jingle-bell sweaters.”
Jingle-bell sweaters reached a peak when displayed on the whole family during National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
The first known “ugly-sweater” party is thrown in Vancouver, Canada to raise money for a friend’s cancer treatment.
UglyChristmasSweater.Com is founded adding momentum to the steady rise toward mainstream popularity.
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National Ugly Sweater Day Activities
Find an old ugly sweater and make it new again
Take a cue from the original ugly sweater pioneers and search through your local thrift store for an ugly sweater that is begging for a second chance in the spotlight! From brightly colored sweaters, to ones covered in jingle-bells and more, the opportunities to find a hidden gem are endless.
Make your own ugly sweater
Bring your friends together to make your own ugly sweaters! Pick up a couple of basic sweaters along with some fabric glue, tape, or a hot glue gun. Collect the most extravagant decorations you can find; think tinsel, string lights, or even googly-eyes, and then get to it. Who can make the best (read: ugliest) one?
Give back with an ugly-sweater fundraiser
What better way to celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day than to help others while doing it? Give back to a cause that is important to you by hosting an ugly-sweater bake sale, an ugly-sweater jog, or even just a simple ugly-sweater party.
5 Facts About The Ugly Sweater Industry That Will Blow Your Mind
It started as a joke
A resale retail store noticed an unruly amount of unfortunate sweaters knitted by relatives or ridiculously decorated with festive accoutrements coming in their doors. So, as a joke, they put them up for sale.
Hipsters had something to do with it
Many people relate the rise of the “ugly sweater” to the rise of the hipster; people who are notorious for making trends out of things on the fringe of culture.
Business is booming
From 2012 to 2015, the Ugly Sweater industry grew by 200%.
Everyone wants a piece of the pie
Since the boom, retailers are making their own version of the ugly sweater and resale stores are cashing in on the trend by promoting their finds throughout the holiday season.
You can even shop ugly sweaters with celebrity faces
From Beyonce to Bill Murray, even celebrities are hopping in on this billion dollar industry by creating ugly sweaters with their faces on them!
Why We Love National Ugly Sweater Day
It’s the one day we can wear something ugly and it actually be “cool”
Let’s face it, if you waltz into work on any other day wearing an “ugly sweater”, you would be the laughing stock of the water cooler. Save that ugly sweater for National Ugly Sweater Day and well, you’re the man (or woman) of the hour.
They’re incredibly warm and cozy
Say what you want about ugly sweaters, but the one thing you can’t deny is their incredible warmth and coziness. Wearing one on makes you want to throw on a pair of fuzzy socks and curl up by a fire; hot chocolate included. Best part? This feeling lasts all day!
There’s an ugly sweater for everyone
With the ugly sweater industry booming, there’s no better time to hop on the ugly sweater trend than now. From brand new, to do-it-yourself, to second-hand hidden gems, there’s an ugly sweater for every person and every personality. You just have to find it!
National Ugly Sweater Day dates