Ugly Christmas sweaters: the history behind this holiday hilarity

Of all the seasonal attire during the holidays, few have gained such notoriety as “ugly sweaters.” These fuzzy, fleecy fashions are often decorated with clashing, crazy colors and wild, wacky winter designs. While it might seem quite weird in theory, the popularity has skyrocketed, as many find them nostalgic and fun. How did such an off the wall idea become a Christmas craze?


Christmas sweaters in general have been around since the 1950s. The first variations were called “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” and, unlike today’s trend, they were less outrageous and even less popular, even though some celebrities, including Andy Williams, wore them on television. However, in the 1980s, these jolly jumpers saw a surge in popularity thanks to iconic pieces of pop culture such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and other comedies.Though popular for a while, the trend died out in the 1990s and stayed low for a while. This did not mean, however, that they didn’t get featured during this time. Often worn by comic relief characters in movies such as “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” the only times sweaters like this were acknowledged were usually to make fun of them.


Years later, in 2002, a charity event in Vancouver known as the Ugly Christmas Sweater party brought back the craze. This event truly coined the name we all know of these eccentric ensembles by today, the party is still hosted annually. Throughout the early 2000s, numerous celebrities, most notably fashion icon Stella McCartney and her polar bear patterns, have produced their own lines of sweaters for the holidays. By 2010, mass productions of sweaters began, and ever since, buying them has never been easier. With countless possibilities of patterns, colors and styles, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!


Though movies and music spread plenty of cheer, fun and festive fashion provide their own holiday happiness in this time of the year. Items like these garish garments for everyone make this giving season even more fun. Wearing a cherished and lovable sweater can make the most wonderful time of the year even better.