Ugly Christmas Sweaters for 2017
Christmas 2017 is near, and that means that it's now the season for Christmas trees, bright decorations, family get-togethers, and the not to be forgotten ugly Christmas sweaters. If you were to go back in time to twenty years ago, ugly Christmas sweaters would be nothing more than how you refer to the sweaters your aunts and uncles showed up in on Christmas day. Since the first Ugly Christmas Sweater parties in the early 2000s, however, the ugly sweaters trend has become a yearly tradition that's becoming more and more popular each year.
While the ugly Christmas sweater trend probably started off as a joke, it's now considered one of the Holiday season's most fun traditions as it allows people to let loose, and have some fun in the spirit of the season. In fact, this trend has become so popular that now there's even a National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day (the third Friday of December). Do you have your ugly Christmas sweater ready for Friday, December 17, 2017?
Have the holidays let you down? Do you feel like the magic and mystique of Christmas has faded with maturity and age? Well fear not my fine friends. National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is here to save you. National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is a day of light hearted fun and a day to be yourself and not that buttoned up corporate version of yourself you have grown to despise. Most importantly, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is a day to make the holidays fun...the way they were intended to be! So this National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, leave the school uniform at home, keep the preppy office blouse in your closet, and whatever you do, don't even think about taking your suit to work. All you need to wear is your ugly Christmas sweater because this is your day, this is our day, this is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.
An ugly Christmas sweater is any sweater with a Christmas theme that is considered in bad taste, tacky, or gaudy. So what makes for a sweater ugly? Well, the general consensus is that the more embellishments, more tinsel, and more Christmas themed decorations -- the uglier the sweater.
It's hard to say who invented the first ugly Christmas sweater. As a matter of fact, we can presume that ugly sweaters were designed with the original intention of being fashionable.
It's only because of our ever-changing sense of fashion that sweaters once deemed acceptable are now considered ugly.
Over the last couple of decades, our culture has refined its sense of irony and has formed an obsession with nostalgia. These two themes, in combination, have paved the way for the resurgence of the ugly Christmas sweater. In today’s world, it’s quite possible that you and your grandfather have an overlapping taste in outerwear. But how did it become acceptable to raid your grandfather’s closet and rock his bulky, oversized Christmas sweaters?
Pinpointing the rise of the Ugly Christmas Sweater is no easy task. However two icons (or enablers?) stand out We have Bill Cosby (as Cliff Huxtable in The Cosbies) and Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) who made it fashionable to wear these hideously appealing sweaters. This trend would fade in the 90’s, but would resurface once again around 2001. This trend has steadily moved upward and as of 2010, ugly Christmas sweaters are once again highly fashionable. Even Jimmy Fallon has chimed in.
It just wouldn’t be the holiday season without a good ‘ol fashioned ugly sweater party. Whether you’re rocking a sweater that’s been sitting in the back of your Grandma’s closet for 50 years or a sweet new pattern that feature your fave pop-culture reference in ugly sweaterized form, the ugly sweater has surpassed ugly to become cute, and there are a million ways to rock one (even as a t-shirt for extra irony.)
But as giddy as we are that “the ugly Christmas sweater” is a thing, how did this newly classic trend even start?
What really launched the trend into being is something straight out of a movie. Because, supposedly, it all began with one party. In the early 2000s, a couple of Canadian dudes thought it’d be fun to throw a bash where everyone had to wear ugly Christmas sweaters. What started as a small gathering for them and their friends has since grown into a huge tradition where hundreds of people gather in Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom for the annual Ugly Sweater Party (Parade). From there, it’s spread to the U.S and U.K, as contagiously as holiday cheer. And now, here we are! There’s even an ugly sweater day: December 18th.
The actual mass-market ugly sweater reached its peak popularity sometime in the 1980s, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s when people wore the sweaters in earnest, supposedly.
The sarcasm may be thanks to a 2001 party trend from Vancouver, Canada. At least, that’s according to the three men who wrote “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On.” Authors Brian Miller, Adam Paulson and Kevin Wool hedge that claim, saying the world will never be sure who held the first ugly sweater party. They also manage to squeeze out 152 pages of advice on throwing a party with instructions that can be summed up in one sentence: “Tell your guests to wear ugly holiday sweaters.”
Since that time, ugly sweater parties have earned a much-desired place on the list of Stuff White People Like in 2008, where author Christian Lander wrote that one of the greatest difficulties of preparing for an ugly sweater party is finding an appropriately tacky sweater: “If you find yourself invited to one of these parties, you must begin your preparations immediately. Craftier white people have been searching used clothing stores since last Christmas, and so you should not expect to find anything of significant ironic value.”
While there have always been ugly Christmas sweaters, it’s only recently that ugly Christmas sweaters have become trendy. I knew they had become Snapchat-worthy when my teenage daughters willingly asked to borrow Christmas sweaters from their grandmother so they could wear them on ugly Christmas sweater day in high school. (We spared my mother-in-law the real reason behind their interest.)
These days ugly Christmas sweaters have their own holiday—December 18 is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.
And plenty of people have parties where they encourage people to wear their most awfully festive sweaters.
According to the founders of Tipsy Elves, the Shark Tank phenomenon that makes its money selling tacky sweaters, it was one such party at the turn of the millennium that started this trend.
Some of the biggest beneficiaries of this ugly sweater trend are thrift, secondhand and resale stores.
“Tacky holiday sweaters have been a staple of our holiday selection at Savers for as long as grandmothers have knit them,” says Sara Gaugl, director of communications for Savers, a nationwide secondhand store chain, “but they shifted get more info from being tacky to trendy in the last decade.”
In fact, at this time of the year, they’re big sellers. Savers says that, to date, they’ve sold through nearly 85 percent of their tacky Christmas sweaters. And they are sure to sell out by Christmas since their sweaters are all marked at budget-friendly prices.