A Holiday Tradition: The Ugly Sweater


The ugly Christmas sweater tradition has become a staple holiday tradition, alongside intense cookie decorating, Secret Santas, and competitive Black Friday shopping. The unstylish garment can be recognized by the generous use of red and green material, as well as goofy depictions of reindeer and snowmen, and embellishments of tinsel and fuzziness.

The ugly sweater has existed since the late eighteen hundreds, but has not become popular until the past few decades. The first evidence of this sweater trend came from late twentieth century actors. Bill Cosby is believed to be the first to outfit the ugly sweater on the “Bill Cosby Show.”  The sweaters were first mass-produced in the 80’s. They were manufactured under the name of “jingle bell sweaters.” The tradition took off and engraved itself in the holiday season.

Ugly sweaters are not hard to come by. Most department stores like Nordstroms or Target carry a variety of these extravagantly ugly sweaters. However, depending on your taste in fashion, and how ugly you want the sweater to be you make extend your search. Many vintage stores and thrift shops have original ugly sweaters. Some people also rely on websites specifically designed to sell ugly holiday sweaters.

The sweaters are not limited to just Christmas themes. With the latest rise in the ugly sweater theme more people have advocated for the inclusion of Jewish holidays. Sweaters now can be decorated with dreidels and menorahs with blue and yellow detailing. There is now a growing widespread selection of holiday sweaters to choose from.

The ugly sweater fad is believed to have grown in the past few years and has snowballed (no pun intended) from there.  People young and old are excited about this holiday tradition. They want to top each other with more tinsel, more fluff, one more extravagant than the next. Ugly sweater themed parties are a popular holiday happening amongst many people. Also communities and schools often host ugly sweater competitions, where the person wearing the ugliest sweater wins a prize.

Whether or not you participate in the ugly sweater trend, there is no denying that people are becoming increasingly more excited about the sweaters. The sweaters bring a since of warmness that reminds many of home and childhood holiday times. This fashion statement will most definitely continue to define the holiday seasons to come.