These days, ugly Christmas sweaters are a hallmark of the season. You’re just as likely to be invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party as you are to be offered a cup of eggnog. We’re not quite sure why this trend has flourished so much in the past few years, but we do know that when a fad goes mainstream, the original message of the movement is often lost. These days, a lot of people try to pass off sweaters as ugly that are actually only mildly unappealing. So we’ve gone on a hunt for ugly Christmas sweaters that are worthy of the name: appalling colour clashes, grotesque knits, and loathsome vests. These are no coyly cute jumpers. No, the people in these photos truly know the meaning of “ugly,” and for that, we salute them.
Most ugly Christmas sweaters are worn ironically. That is, for laughs. However, if your ugly sweater is just a joke, or — worse yet — a secretly attractive sweater with just a few silly designs, then you’ve failed to meet the fundamental requirements of ugly sweaterdom. The most basic principle of the season is: a successful ugly sweater doesn’t know it’s ugly. And this bright-red monstrosity is utterly earnest. It wants to bring the best of a Christmas tree to your shirtfront, and to warm your neck while it’s at it. This sweater doesn’t know how terribly ugly it is. And strangely, that makes it kind of beautiful.
A lot of elements go into making this sweater a winner: its mishmash of colours and patterns, its misshapen collar, its strange texture. Yes, this is a sweater worthy of the title of “ugly.” While this gentleman’s defiant mullet seems to point an ironic hipster stance, his blank gaze indicates that he is staring into an abyss of truth—that no jokey haircut can counteract the earnest ugliness of his holiday garment.
This pair of Christmas cardigans is simultaneously ugly and adorable. This couple has dragged (kicking and screaming) a little bit of Valentine’s Day into the Christmas sweater game, and the result is touching and bizarre and cute and hideous and wonderful.
Joy can never be ugly...or can it? (Yes, yes it can.)
Now here’s an ugly-sweater-wearer who knows how to go above and beyond. We’re not sure who made this, or why, but their mind must truly be a dark and terrifying place. This is the creepiest Santa we’ve ever seen, and the fact that he’s pinned like a frog awaiting dissection to the front of a sweater is an inspired move. Welcome to your Christmas nightmare.
The problem with many Christmas sweaters is their adherence to a rigid colour scheme. It’s red and green everywhere you go. This inspired grandma is breaking all the rules with her Pepto Bismol–pink reindeer jumper. Its sickly rose colour is the perfect antidote to the typical cheerful holiday colour scheme.
She came in on a wrecking ball and totally destroyed this sweater. We're not sure what the connection is between Miley and the holiday season, but hey, why not? In the words of Cyrus herself, "It’s our party we can do what we want." And that goes double for Christmas parties.
Here's another achingly sincere sweater that was clearly meant for an unfortunate child somewhere (but happily ended up on an ironic millenial instead). That collar! Those puffed sleeves! The beautiful mashup of Christmas imagery! This is the ugly sweater of our dreams, and we hope it's passed down from generation to generation for years to come.