The History Behind the Ugly Christmas Sweater

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You’ve seen it many winters: millions of funny Christmas sweaters scavenged from grandpa’s closets and worn shamelessly to one of those tacky Christmas parties thrown through the month of December. But have you ever wondered what started this peculiar trend? Even high-fashion retailers have now included their own version of the ugly Christmas sweater. So where did it begin? This is the tale of how it happened:

It All Started in the 50's

Ugly Christmas sweaters made their popular appearance in the 50’s with the mass commercialization of Christmas. They were first known as “Jingle Bell Sweaters”, and featured discrete Christmas themed decorations. The original ugly Christmas sweaters were never intended to be “ugly” they were actually pretty artistic and joyful.

The trend had a modest presence in the media until the 80’s, when it became popular on TV.

80's and 90's: Popularization and Deprecation

The character that popularized weird sweaters with strange patterns was Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show. By the end of the decade, it was common for conductors of Christmas special shows to wear them.

During the nineties, the style winded down, but never died. The turning point was when the character Mark Darcy got shamed in the 2001 film Bridget Jone’s Diary with one of the most out-of-place designs to be seen on screen. Designers were hand-knitting one-of-a-kind sweaters!

After that, ugly jerseys stepped into the XXI century with renewed strength.

2000's: The Party Starts

It was in Vancouver that Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch launched the first Christmas Sweater Party. The idea soon spread all over Canada and the US, and later around the world. The parties turned into massive events, often in support of charity causes.

By 2007 ugly Christmas sweater searches started to soar in Google and the trend slowly trickled its way back into the media.

Celebrities and Haute Couture Find It in 2010's

Early in the decade, various fashion designers released Christmas sweater collections based on the ugly ones. Soon, retail stores picked up on the trend, and nowadays you can buy them brand new instead of scavenging in thrift stores and inherited wardrobes.

Celebrities, TV stars, and even politicians boarded the train and turned it into a common Christmas sight.

Celebrate The National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!

Social media has had a huge impact on this trend of course. Young people started buying vintage knits to see who got the ugliest one. The internet helped boost this fashion until it got global! So now we even have our national Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

That’s right! There is an official national day to wear your ugly sweater. Honor national Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on December 21 by wearing something festive! Time to wear your holiday sweater loud and proud.

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