A Gentleman’s Guide to Ugly Christmas Sweaters

There was a time when folks wore Christmas sweaters in earnest.

Bright, tacky, over-the-top Christmas sweaters represented the unpretentious, unapologetic cheer and excess of the holiday season. As a child, you might have snickered when your parents donned those lousy sweaters. As it turns out, time has yet again vindicated your parents’ fashion choices and has brought back the ugly Christmas sweater with tons of nostalgia.

Hanukkah sweater

In recent years, mass hipsteria and the rise of irony have helped bring ugly Christmas sweaters to glorious new heights. Ugly-sweater-themed parties are popping up all over the place and we’re here to make sure you’re not left in the snow when everyone else has their sweater game on lock.

A “good” ugly Christmas sweater is one someone might find unacceptably hideous or even mildly atrocious. You know, like those movies that are so darn bad that they’re undoubtedly entertaining. If you can make a fellow holiday party-goer exclaim, “What the hell?!” you’ve found the right sweater. If you can find or make a Christmas sweater that lights up, all the better.

Whether you’re into festive details like Santa and snowmen, or want to sport your favorite team in holiday fashion, there are countless ways to go about finding the perfect, but most importantly, ugly Christmas sweater.

Make Your Own Sweater

Ideally, your ugly sweater should be unique. Ask family members if they have an old Christmas sweater, or better yet, knit yourself a new one. If for some absurd reason you don’t know how to knit, a plain sweater, a glue gun, and some safety pins can go a long way by letting you add on your own festive patches. Slap on a few snowflakes and a Harambe Santa patch and you have yourself a uniquely godawful sweater. The other men at your holiday party will snap their candy canes out of jealousy when they realize your sweater is on fleek.

Buy a Sweater

jesus birthday sweater

If you don’t have the time, skill, or will to make your own Christmas sweater, you can always buy one. Thrift stores are a gold mine of ugly Christmas sweaters, but you’ll need to think ahead as most of the great ones are gone by the time the Holidays arrive. You’re probably best off finding sweaters at online retailers such as Ugly Christmas Sweater, Tipsy Elves, or Amazon just to make sure you have enough tackiness to sort through.

carlton sweaterFinding the Right Material

Even if you find an extraordinary Christmas sweater, you should be mindful of the material and weight. Between the hot fire, hot toddies, and hot bodies, holiday parties tend to heat up quickly and you don’t want to be that guy sweating like Santa in a thick wool sweater. Do yourself a favor and find something lighter, like a light wool fabric or cotton.

Wearing Your Christmas Sweater

The key to letting your sweater shine is to draw as little attention to it as possible. You have to let your Christmas sweater speak for itself. Walk into your work holiday party like you’re wearing a tuxedo at a five-star restaurant, with all seriousness proportional to the ridiculousness. Only then will fellow partygoers truly appreciate your hideous sweater.

There you have it. With a little luck, you could impress your friends, family members, or coworkers with a truly awful Christmas sweater. Though your sweater will go into hibernation on December 26th, you can bring it out next year and continue your new tradition — a tradition born not of sentimentality and goodwill, but of irony and cynicism. So, which one of these gems on Amazon are your favorite?

Article originally published November 21, 2016. Updated November 21, 2016 by Chase McPeak.