National Ugly Sweater Day – December 20, 2020

Sun Dec 20

What is National Ugly Sweater Day?

Every third Friday of December (December 20), people all over the nation trade their casual garments for something more festive for National Ugly Sweater Day. Whether you find a hidden gem to wear, or you make your own, one things for sure — this holiday will certainly have you laughing all day long!
 

National Ugly Sweater Day History

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

2013
From Outdated to Mainstream

UglyChristmasSweater.Com is founded adding momentum to the steady rise toward mainstream popularity. Soon other competitors followed, making ugly sweaters easily accessible and once again mass-produced to brighten the season.

2002
Reinventing the Ugly Sweater

The first known “ugly-sweater” party is thrown in Vancouver, Canada to raise money for a friend’s cancer treatment. In the years that followed, this party became an annual shindig raising thousands of dollars for The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada and inspiring similar celebrations around the world.

1989
Popularity Peaks

Jingle-bell sweaters reached a peak when displayed on the whole family during National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Soon after, it seemed ugly sweaters were a thing of the past.

1980
The First Ugly Sweater is Made

The first “ugly sweater” is made under the name “jingle-bell sweaters.” These sweaters are made wildly popular on a family sitcom where the patriarch of the family wears vivid, outlandish versions each episode.

National Ugly Sweater Day Statistics

23% of people will buy an ugly sweater
It’s bound to happen! Whether it’s for a house party, an office event, or for family photos, 23% of people don’t doubt that they’ll be joining the ugly sweater brigade some time in the future. The joy that comes with purposefully wearing an ugly sweater (without your fashion senses coming into question) is pure and unbeatable. 
 
9% of people have celebrated
Haven’t been to an ugly sweater party yet? Don’t worry, you’ll get there eventually. In fact, 9% of people have reported that they will be going to their first ever ugly sweater party this year. Don’t know anyone throwing a party? Why not host your own and invite other friends that haven’t been to one before? Ten ugly sweaters are better than none!
 
Uglychristmassweaters.com made $5 million
This company knows their ugly sweaters. In only three years, their profit has skyrocketed into being a multimillion dollar company. So you can bet they know their stuff. This company allows you to customize your own ugly sweater, buy one in their stock, and even has sweaters created by popular influencers. Some of their sweaters are so ugly that they’re 3D! Many retailers have seen a good amount of profit coming in during the holiday season specifically from their stock of ugly sweaters, which goes to show just how seriously people take their decorative holiday-wear.

National Ugly Sweater Day FAQs

What day is National Ugly Sweater Day?

National Ugly Sweater Day is celebrated on the third Friday of December. This year it lands on December 20. 

When did ugly Christmas sweater day start?

The first “official” ugly sweater day was in 2002 in Vancouver, Canada. The hosts threw the party to raise money for their friend’s cancer treatment.

What does ugly sweater mean? 

Ugly sweater means, well, a sweater that is ugly! And Christmas sweaters are notorious for winning in the ugly category. Decked out with lights, pictures of Santa, and maybe a few awful puns, National Ugly Sweater Day is (obviously) the main event of the holiday season! 

National Ugly Sweater Day Activities

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Business is booming

    From 2012 to 2015, the Ugly Sweater industry grew by 200%.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.

#NationalUglySweaterDay #UglySweaterDay #UglySweater #ChristmasSweater #HolidaySweater