Brent approached us with a story about an interesting hobby he has… He heads up a group of “ugly Christmas sweater” aficionados who love to sport the ugliest Christmas sweaters around, and runs the National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day website. Together, they’ve established and promote the celebration of Ugly Christmas Sweater Day each year, with increasingly displeasing attire.
We dug a little deeper to get a feel for his thoughts on the meaning of Christmas, the origins of bad Christmas clothing, and some personal favorites.
Q: Describe the ugliest Christmas sweater you’ve ever seen…
Some people may refer to the ugly Christmas sweaters they’ve ever seen as repulsive or unbearable, but here at National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day we think of things a little bit differently. The ugliest Christmas sweater I’ve ever seen, I’ll never forget – it was a beautiful sight. I wouldn’t consider it a full sweater though, more of a cardigan, draped on the shoulders of an oversized man who probably should have been walking his cat. This vest had sequins glistening in the light, even on a dark and rainy day. The sequins covering his vest were shaped in the face of a Santa Claus down his back. The image was hard to make out though, as many of the sequins had fallen off after excessive, repetitive use for this poor sweater. The red had faded to a musky orange and the greens were more reminiscent of puke than Evergreen trees. This was the day I realized I had found my passion – ugly sweaters.
Q: Are all Christmas Sweaters ugly? Is there such a thing as a ‘nice’ Christmas sweater?
There are absolutely ‘nice’ Christmas sweaters and not all have to be ugly. Think of ugly Christmas sweaters as retro, faded, and possibly covered in dust from the attic. Tons of retail companies and designers have been joining the trend and making really nice sweaters, ones you would wear when meeting your significant other’s parents at a Christmas Eve dinner. We love all types of Christmas sweaters here at National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, but most of all we love the ugly ones.
Q: Where do you think our fascination with ugly Christmas sweaters – and ugly Christmas clothing in general – come from?
For us, the obsession with ugly Christmas sweaters comes from wanting to incite Christmas cheer. We hope to bring out the best in people by having them put on the worst. The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people; we seem to always get caught up in the presents and the materialistic side of this holiday. I think ugly Christmas sweaters are just a way to say ‘have fun’ – it’s a way to enjoy the holidays again for us.
Q: Where can people buy ugly Christmas sweaters and accessories to complete their outfits?
One of the best places to buy ugly Christmas sweaters and Christmas accessories are local thrift stores – Salvation Army or Goodwill are always great options. There’s so many hidden gems at these stores I try to make a trip a few times a month during the holiday season. You can also buy ugly Christmas sweaters and other festive gear online. There are tons of great vendors, like Tipsy Elves, who make novelty sweaters that crack us up.
Q: How can people get involved in Ugly Christmas Sweater Day – are there events and groups who organize get-togethers?
There are tons of ways to get involved in National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. This year, we’ve partnered with Save the Children in their ‘Make the World Better with a Sweater’ campaign. You can wear a sweater and encourage others to go online and donate as well. Lots of our participants have ugly Christmas sweater parties or make their own DIY ugly Christmas sweaters. Check Meetup or your local area for bars that are throwing ugly Christmas sweater parties and find a way to have some fun on December 12th.
Thanks, Brent – we’ll be on the lookout for some particularly ‘nice’ ugly sweaters in charity shops over the festive period, and hoping to bring some holiday fun for everybody who wears, sees or laughs at us!