National Ugly Sweater Day

Young woman wearing an outrageously colorful, knitted sweater, surrounded by laughing friends, festive holiday decorations in the background..
National ugly sweater day illustration

Ah, the glorious day of hideous sweaters! Probably the only day where your grandma's hand-knitted gift is not just appreciated but becomes the topic of conversations. Welcome to our deep-dive into the joyously tacky world of National Ugly Sweater Day!

When is Ugly Sweater Day?

It's national ugly sweater day on the 18th December.

How Tacky Turned Trendy

The event also commonly known as Ugly Christmas Jumper Day has started making its rounds on the internet in 2011, but truly gained momentum in 2015. On 18th December of that year, there were a whopping 4943 mentions of National Ugly Sweater Day. This sudden surge of interest was primarily propelled by social media platforms, festive-themed parties, and merry participants eager to show off their most bedazzlingly terrible winter wear.

Granny's Gift

The tradition of the ugly holiday sweater has been around for decades, often associated with thrifty grandmas and holiday-themed gifts that sat in the back of the closet untouched till the next holiday season. However, this day turns our fear of awkwardness into a fun and inclusive celebration, where the uglier the sweater, the better!

That's Not All!

But of course, this day isn’t merely a celebration of questionable taste. It's about making memories, showing unity, and making merry, while spilling hot chocolate across our bedazzled, tinsel-covered chest and probably having the best time while doing so.

Tis’ the Season To Unleash Ugliness

So next year instead of fretting over pulling out that jingling jumper or the one covered with Rudolph’s face all over, remember, the internet is all agog to join you in that celebration. Because if you can’t beat ‘em in the race of ugly, you join ‘em!

History behind the term 'Ugly Sweater'


Emergence of Ugly Sweaters

During the 1950s, the popularity of Christmas-themed sweaters started to rise. These sweaters were often adorned with festive patterns and motifs, becoming a staple of holiday fashion. While they were not initially referred to as 'ugly,' their bold and sometimes garish designs laid the foundation for what would later become known as 'ugly sweaters.'


Rise of Ugly Sweater Parties

In the 1980s, the concept of 'ugly sweater parties' first emerged. These parties became a popular way to celebrate the holiday season, with guests competing to wear the most outlandishly patterned or obnoxious sweaters they could find. It was during this time that the term 'ugly sweater' began to be associated with the deliberate choice of wearing over-the-top and eye-catching sweaters for the purpose of humor and festive spirit.


Debut of 'Ugly Sweater' Phrase in Pop Culture

The phrase 'ugly sweater' officially entered pop culture in 2001 when Colin Firth's character, Mark Darcy, wore a hilariously hideous reindeer-patterned sweater in the movie 'Bridget Jones's Diary.' This iconic moment popularized the term 'ugly sweater' and propelled its usage even further into mainstream vocabulary.


Ugly Sweaters Go Mainstream

By 2012, 'ugly sweater' had become a bona fide fashion trend. Designers and retailers started cashing in on the craze, producing intentionally tacky and festive sweaters in mass quantities. These sweaters were no longer seen as just a humorous accessory for themed parties but had become a symbol of holiday cheer and playful self-expression.

Present Day

Ugly Sweater as a Cultural Phenomenon

Today, 'ugly sweaters' continue to be an integral part of holiday traditions and celebrations. They have become a charming and endearing symbol of nostalgia, humor, and collective festive spirit. Ugly sweater contests, charity events, and themed parties dedicated to showcasing these delightfully hideous garments are held worldwide each year, further cementing the cultural impact and enduring popularity of ugly sweaters.

Did you know?

Did you know: The term 'ugly sweater' was trademarked by the NFL in 2014 after they recognized immense popularity and potential in the game-day attire market.


awareness fun loved ones celebration

First identified

25th November 2015

Most mentioned on

18th December 2015

Total mentions


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