Nothing says ho-ho-ho like a garish Christmas sweater. And nothing puts the happy in holidays like a party full of guests looking ridiculous in them. Get all your friends in the holiday spirit by inviting them to show off their own ugly sweaters at your Ugly Sweater Christmas party. Guests will love dressing up in their best worst getups and admiring other choice ensembles. And it’s an easy theme that will make your holiday party stand out (way out) in a sea of seasonal soirees. Here, get our tips on attire, decor, refreshments, activities, and invitations.
Ugly sweaters, of course! Go to the thrift store, raid your parents’ attic, or try online auction sites for the ugliest holiday sweaters you can find. If you can dig up a vintage holiday model from the 1980s (the golden age of ugly Christmas sweaters) featuring candy canes, elves, wreaths, or other seasonal motifs, so much the better. Short on time? There are actually websites devoted to selling just these sweaters — search for “ugly Christmas sweaters” and enjoy the embarrassment of new ugly riches. Or go DIY with an old sweater of your own: Add glitter fabric pen details, sew on jingle bells, safety-pin on garland and/or plastic ornaments, or just add ribbon and a giant bow in the front using double-sided tape to turn yourself into a oversize present.
While you’re at the thrift store, in the attic, or surfing an auction site, stock up on additional cheap ugly sweaters for decoration. Hang them from a clothesline like a big ugly pennant banner, use them as chair back covers, or use duct tape to tape the backs of a few sweaters together and use them as a table runner. Additional decor should be just as tacky. Think flashing multicolored lights, ugly stockings, plastic poinsettias. Cover doors with tacky gift wrap or an image of Santa reading his list on a bathroom break. And if you have any old, embarrassing holiday family photos (bonus points if you’re wearing ugly sweaters!), blow them up poster size and display them.
Eats and Refreshments
The center of your ugly sweater party food table? An ugly sweater cake! Just decorate any rectangular cake like an ugly sweater. You can also get sweater cookie cutters for ugly sweater sugar cookies or decorate gingerbread men with tiny ugly sweaters of their own. For the rest of the food, forget gourmet — go retro and fun. Try red and green Jell-O shots, pigs in a blanket formed in the shape of a wreath, bacon-wrapped tater tots, Christmas tree-shaped pizzas, fruitcake, and/or a cheeseball decorated like an ornament with red pepper and parsley. To drink, offer an assortment of green and red sodas, grasshoppers, and Shirley Temples spiked with vodka.
An ugly sweater fashion parade is a must. For the best show, let everyone know on the invitation that there will be prizes. A few possible categories: most festive, most original, just plain ugliest, and best couple (feel free to pick out the two guests whose sweaters match the best, even if they don’t know each other). You can also let guests compete in ugly Christmas carol karaoke: Play karaoke versions of carols from a music streaming site and let your guests do their best worst Bing Crosby impressions. Finally, create a photo backdrop from a large piece of cardboard painted with a tacky Christmas scene so guests can capture the ugliness on their camera phones or make an easy DIY streamer backdrop. You may even want to provide a few fun props, such as mistletoe, an elf headband, and a cowboy Santa hat.
Start inviting your guests by clicking on one of the invitations below or check out more ugly sweater Evite invitations from our gallery!
Want more reasons to gather together for the holidays? Check out our 31 Days of Party interactive calendar for occasion ideas.