The History of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

November 07, 2021

The History of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Move over twinkling trees, boozy eggnog, white elephant, and secret Santa, there’s a new kid on the block — ugly Christmas sweaters. 

Glitzy, flashy, and a whole heap of fun, the wooly pullover has firmly embedded itself in yuletide culture over the years. The ugly sweater has proudly earned its place among holiday essentials like mistletoe and wrapping paper. From festive parties to family photos, there’s something about the ugly knits that never fail to delight holiday revelers of all ages.

Usually, in different shades of red and green, the general consensus is that the more Christmas-inspired embellishments (tinsel, snowmen, reindeer, candy canes, elves, etc.), the uglier the sweater. And the uglier the sweater, the better it is: Extra points if it’s adorned with jingle bells or 3D pom-poms.

The festive monstrosities are tacky, gaudy, and downright ugly, so where in the world did they come from? We’ll tell you.

Read on as we explore the history of ugly Christmas sweaters to uncover the mastermind behind the newest holiday trend that’s sweeping over the nation.  

Flash Back to the Glam ‘80s 

Believe it or not, the hideous holiday sweaters first made their debut back in the ‘80s with the advent (wink) of mass production. Originally dubbed “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” the OGs weren’t actually created to be “ugly.”. In fact, the sweaters were tasteful, and fans of the festive knits wore their oversized digs with pride. 

Unfortunately, these jolly little gems failed to make it big, and the Jingle Bell sweater quickly went out of fashion. But don’t worry: it didn’t take long for the cheery knit to experience a renaissance.  

Fast Forward to the Awesome Eighties 

In the 1980s, the obnoxious and tacky yet kind of wholesome Christmas-themed pullover came back with a vengeance and was worn by every quirky dad character on the big screen.

With the aid of these beloved pop-culture mainstays, the ugly garment had become synonymous with the fashion choice for goofy dads who always do their best to get everyone into the holiday spirit.  

Welcome To the 21st Century

Throughout the 90s, the tacky pullover took a backseat as people began to view them as unstylish and, well… ugly, but it wouldn’t be down for long.

At the start of the 21st century, an ugly sweater renaissance was born in Vancouver, Canada, when two gents had the bright idea to throw the world’s first-ever ugly sweater party as a way to raise money for a sick friend. 

Out of this small spark of ingenuity came the ugly sweater culture we know and love today.  

National Ugly Sweater Day

From the early 2000s, the popularity of the ugly sweater snowballed. In fact, the festive knit is so popular that somewhere along the way, a specific date was designated as National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Yep, you read that right — National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. An official day to rock your ugliest pullover, regardless of circumstances. Wear it to work, school, the gym, your aunt’s wedding, a funeral, on a 5k, or at the park. 

Oh, you’ve got an important work presentation in front of a potential client? Hope they’re into tinsel. Worried your ugly Christmas sweater might turn off your new crush? Oh well. 

Think the boss won’t be pleased with your level of professionalism in a fuzzy frilly festive knit? Sorry, pal — no exceptions. 

Celebrated on the third Friday of December every year, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day honors the tradition of dreadful holiday pullovers and supports sick kiddos around the world. 

Where To Find The Ugliest Christmas Sweaters 

Now that you know all about the infamous ugly sweater, you’re probably wondering where you can find one. Truth be told, with their huge surge in popularity over the years, you can find ugly Christmas sweaters just about anywhere these days.

But if you’re searching for the best of the best (or for the ugliest of ugly), look no further and check out Famous IRL.  

Whether you’re jolly AF, put out for Santa, or a total scrooge, our unique collection of ugly Christmas sweaters simply can’t be beat.

Oh, and the best part? Unlike traditional knits made from icky, itchy fabrics, our premium quality sweatshirts are super soft and unbelievably comfy — what’s not to love?

Ready To Get Your Ugly On? 

The iconic ugly Christmas sweater has come a long way since the 50s. What was once an unstylish festive garment is now a holiday staple that’s loved far and wide. 

This Christmas, strut your stuff in an outrageously funny, borderline offensive holiday sweater that is nothing short of ugly. Not sure where to find such a magnificent piece of clothing? Head on over to Famous IRL, where you’ll find hundreds of unique ugly Christmas sweaters that are sure to turn heads and drop jaws.

Whether you’re on team nice or team naughty  or all about the WAP, you can always count on us to have the ugliest Christmas apparel to help you deck the halls and get lit.  

Check us out today and get your ugly on tomorrow. 



What Is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day? | National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

The History Behind the Ugly Christmas Sweater | History

Why Do We Do Secret Santa? The History Of This Holiday Tradition Explains Why It's So Popular | Bustle

Who Invented the Ugly Christmas Sweater? | ThoughtCo

NATIONAL UGLY SWEATER DAY - December 17, 2021 | National Today

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