Tell me about your ugly holiday sweater.

Once upon a time ugly holiday sweaters were true to their origins -- plucked from the racks of thrift stores, freshly donated from some poor sucker's closet (probably a teacher, mom or grandpa). Some were sweaters, some were quilted vests, some were decked with classic puffy paint...but all were pre-loved (or pre-tolerated) and sprung from the well of re-use via a healthy dose of mocking. Nowadays, you can't throw a candy cane in a retail store during the holiday season without seeing a cheap acrylic sweater posing as an "ugly sweater." (Though most of those are cute sweaters or funny sweaters or whatevs. Because god forbid anyone wear something real ugly.) How did we go from skimming the cast-offs of a cultural theme to generating brand new and kind of off-topic versions at that?

Obviously this new development is not great for the earth. Not that the holidays are but if we're thinking about conscious gift guides, let's also think about conscious ugly sweaters, too. 

This Treehugger article includes a survey as to how many people bought new, the intent of not wanting to be seen in the same sweater and whether they planned to throw away their current sweaters to get new ones because they're so cheap. There's a new #GiveAKnit hashtag to promote DIY, swaps and buying used.

Here are a few iterations of what I've done in the past. Sometimes I just bow out but I enjoy corny stuff and I actually like participating in dorky junk like this sometimes. I will never get the crown of Greenest Bitch on Earth. *sigh*

Example 1: The ugly holiday t-shirt. The year this happened, it was wicked warm for December. I didn't want to wear a sweatshirt or a sweater indoors. It was like 60 degrees! So I though I'd DIY a t-shirt version. And then I realized that I had a cat Santa hat and scarf from when I was in denial a few years ago and thought I could get at least one of my cats in it and get a holiday card out of it. (Didn't happen, though we have photos of Cleo running down the hallway with the hat dragging on the floor behind her. Worth it.) So I safety-pinned the Santa hat and scarf onto a t-shirt where I already had a face. 

Example 2: The Real Deal. I went to a real thrift store and got a real handmade ugly holiday sweater. Is that fabric paint from the little tubes that you buy at Michael's craft store on those birds? YES. And those socks were brand new but from Unique Thrift.

This year I was caught unprepared for an ugly sweater party so I splashed out on a light-up Xmas tree headband, which I will wear again and again, even past the point where it lights up.

Now, tell me about your ugly holiday sweaters?


  1. I got nothin', but I still enjoyed reading about your Ugly Christmas Sweater experiences.

  2. I have an awesome vest (that my friend found for me at a Goodwill) covered in cats wearing Christmas bows. Totally gonna wear it for my last day of class (I'm a teacher) tomorrow.


Post a Comment

Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment. Please don't apologize for writing a lot - I like long thoughtful comments so bring on the "wall o' text" if you wish and have no shame.

Short comments are, of course, also always welcome.