Ugly Holiday Sweaters


Leah Schacter, Staff Writer

The holiday season is upon us.  Although this season looks different than previous years, we can still celebrate with friends, family, and ugly holiday sweaters.

These sweaters became popular in the 1980s when they frequently appeared on sitcom characters that had no fashion sense.  The clothing type was referred to as jingle bell sweaters at the time.  They soon phased out during the grunge fashion phase of the 90s, when it became uncool to wear these tacky sweaters.  However, grandparents who loved the sweater style frequently gifted them during the holidays.  The clothing made a comeback in the early 2000s.

Now, these sweaters are something silly and lighthearted to encourage holiday spirit, rather than a horrible fashion decision.  The first ugly holiday sweater party was in Vancouver, Canada in 2002.  After this event, the sweater became a much-needed holiday staple.  

“Picking out an ugly Christmas sweater is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. It’s so fun to collect them as there are new designs each year,” said junior Olivia Kerrane. 

There are many holiday sweater designs during this joyous season.  Some Christmas designs include gingerbread cookies and houses, Christmas trees, ornaments, Santa Claus, elves, the Grinch, and reindeer.  A few popular slogans include, “Merry Christmas you filthy animal!”, or, “#elfie.”  Many include references to television shows such as The Office, Bob’s Burgers, and Rick and Morty, too.

“I love how there are so many different variations and designs of the sweaters this upcoming season, especially with the inclusion of the Hanukkah ones,” said junior Nicole Meehan.

  Some Hanukkah sweater designs include menorahs, candles, dreidels, gelt, and even a “Mensch on a Bench.”  A few popular Hanukkah sweater slogans are, “Too lit to quit”, “Challah!”, “Shalom y’all”, “Jewnicorn”, and even “Deck the halls with matzo balls.”  These sweaters are perfect to wear to socially distanced ugly sweater gatherings, lighting the menorah with family, dinners, present exchanges, or even just relaxing around the house to get into the holiday mood.  

“I just purchased a ugly sweater with a menorah on it from Target, and I can’t wait to wear it to my small gift exchange,” said junior Sadie Mandel.

Clothing companies everywhere are selling this holiday staple all throughout December. A few popular places to order from are Amazon, Tipsy Elves, Macy’s, and Ugly Christmas Sweater.  There are also many stores to purchase a vintage or used sweater such as a thrift or vintage shop, or many second hand digital marketplaces like Poshmark, Depop, or for design-lovers, The Real Real and Le Prix. 

  Although the holidays are a little different this year, ugly holiday sweaters will always boost spirits.