Christmas sweaters have been around since the early 19th century. Mocking them, however, has only recently begun to ascend to the mainstream. Some say it began with the influence of TV—visions of Bill Cosby draped in wooly garb and Chevy Chase doing his best to retain his sanity in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, wearing a beautifully hideous fuzz-cloth.
It’s become a ubiquitous holiday tradition to rock the ugly sweater at house parties and quiet eggnog gatherings. While laughs abound, others feel a strange warm and fuzzy feeling as memories of home and corny parents come to mind. Yes, the ugly sweater's popularity won’t likely fade soon. So let’s review some of the best.
Via Kohl’s – It’s Our Time Polar Bear Ugly Christmas Sweater - $27.99
It’s not entirely ridiculous, but still pretty ugly. White polka dots are generally considered grotesque, but the cute polar bear gives it some legitimacy. It’s not nearly terrible enough to deserve an A, so we’ll give it a strong B. You can get this for 20 percent off at Kohls with code FFDEC20.
Via Walmart – Seasonal Woman’s Plus-Size Sweater Vest - $17.97
What makes it an ugly Christmas sweater is the fact that someone might actually wear this with seriousness. Again, there are polka dots and snowflakes—a common staple of the ugly sweater. You can get this at Walmart.
Via Urban Outfitters – Character Hero Cat Sweater - $59
The problem with this sweater is that it tries to be ugly. It’s great for the hipster crowd, but those genuinely trying to make people feel nauseous should go another route. I could see this being worn at a dingy antiestablishment coffee shop, but not a suburban ugly sweater party.
Via Urban Outfitters – O’Hanlon Mills Shawl Cardigan - $79.00
Also hipster. This sweater would be great for trying to gentrify a neighborhood, but not for wearing at an ugly sweater party. It’s genuinely cool, and that’s the problem. Look at those elks ironically scattered on the front. Then look at those cool buttons and shawl collar. Definitely hipster. Urban Outfitters has some great Christmas sweaters, but I wouldn’t consider them ugly—they’re too pre-thought-out and tediously designed, which as we all know is the hipster I-didn’t-spend-any-time-on-this-outfit-nor-did-I-spend-any-time-tilting-my-fedora-a-perfect-39-degrees mindset.
Via Target – Men’s Sweatervest Christmas Fleece - $17.99
Now we’re getting somewhere. Note the maroon color. It’s ostensibly a cardigan, but when you look real hard you’ll see it’s just a sweatshirt. Buy two of these at Target and get free shipping.
Via Kmart – Holiday Editions Women’s Christmas Sweater Vest - $13.99
My grandmother would’ve worn this in 1980, which makes it great. It’s got the whole works—snowflakes, penguins, and it’s a vest. Wearing a vest at an ugly sweater party is for veterans only, and, it’s budget-friendly at $13.99.
eBay – Horrible Ugly Christmas Sweater - $39
Indeed horrible. eBay is perfect for people looking for ugly sweaters because people hand-make them—people, not designers. Yes, that’s gold tinsel trim and little sparkling ornaments. A true masterpiece. It also has lights, which is a must-have for people serious about the ugly sweater contest. That color combination is just… just… hurts to look at. That’s why it gets an A!
eBay – Ugly Christmas Sweater Vest Holiday Wreaths - $14.95
It’s glorious. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. There’s snowflakes, wreaths, beige buttons, and it’s a vest! It’s everything an ugly sweater should be. I’m guessing someone on eBay inherited a great aunt’s wardrobe and is now selling it off. If you have plans to attend an ugly sweater party this year, I highly recommend something like this.
If you're gearing up for an ugly Christmas sweater party, use these ugly Christmas sweater ideas to your advantage and separate from the crowd.