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!