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Get into the spirit of Christmas with a perfectly ugly sweater — or make your own!

Get into the spirit of Christmas with a perfectly ugly sweater — or make your own!

Behold the ugly Christmas sweater, a holiday tradition that has nothing to do with Jack Frost nipping at your nose. It’s all about shockingly questionable color and style.

These comically gauche sweaters have now become a ubiquitous feature of the season, on par with sipping eggnog and leaving Santa a plate of half-eaten cookies.

The original version of these sweaters were never intended to be “ugly” — but that was due to some strange fashion trends of the 1950s as the U.S. embarked on a mass commercialization of Christmas. They were first known as “Jingle Bell Sweaters,” and featured discrete Christmas themed decorations.

In the 1980s we began shamelessly raiding our grandfathers’ closets for these old throwbacks, and they caused quite a stir.

A noticeable uptick in ugly sweater parties began around 2001, and the tradition snowballed from there. Now the tops are bigger than ever, but in a very hipstery, oh-so-ironic way.

Do Goodwill Central Coast stores have ugly sweater sections? You bet we do. We offer a huge variety of sweaters, both new and gently used, to help you properly celebrate this heartwarming and funny tradition.

Whether or not it constitutes a fashion faux pas, the ugly Christmas sweater conjures up undeniably warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s also quite cozy and practical in chillier winter weather.

While the holidays are often fraught with anxiety about the financial drain of gift-giving and the copious amounts of family interaction, what better way to de-stress than to throw on an obnoxious sweater and have a laugh?

If you can’t find that perfect ugly sweater at Goodwill, shop for easy crafts to DIY your own! You’d be surprised what you can create with a glue gun, some felt, fuzzy tassels and glitter. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • With a few small ornaments and a lot of tinsel, you can turn any plain sweater into a perfect ugly sweater. Take an older cardigan and cover it in tinsel and other festive yet gaudy décor.
  • Hot glue some tinsel, ornaments, and a star on a sweater and you’ll spend your party time impressing your friends with your tree posing skills.
  • Turn yourself into a Christmas snow globe with a white long-sleeved shirt, plastic wrap, fake snow, and a Christmas toy or ornaments.
  • Just tape or glue mini candy canes to a sweater for a festive look. A bonus? If you get a little hungry at the party, just snack off your sweater.
  • With some felt, a glue gun and a little creativity, you can display gingerbread men and women on your ugly sweater.
  • Attach a mirror to your shirt and top it off with a Santa hat and beard. As you mingle during the party, everyone will love getting their chance to play Santa on your shirt.
  • Want to make a reindeer for your sweater? All you need is a sock, felt and a little hot glue.