Ah, the Ugly Christmas Sweater. A Christmas tradition that started, like many things that now hold the word “ugly” in their name, in the ‘80s. Initially hand-knitted outfits by grandmas everywhere, they were honestly offered as gifts and begrudgingly worn for exactly as long as it was really necessary, not one day more. Their winter theme and contrasting colours were a staple of the festive holiday season, often worn by TV anchors as an invitation to make the Christmas seem cosier and ever more homey. After falling out of favour for almost two decades, the ‘10s are seeing a resurgence of the Christmas jumper, whether ironic or honest, with even high-street and designer brands getting in on the fun and profit. With the holiday season approaching, here are 10 ugly Christmas sweaters to add a dash of camp to your winter parties under the tree lights.
1. Star Wars
The depiction of Luke Skywalker dangling from the ceiling in the Wampa cave, from The Empire Strikes Back, is one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise and now it can rest on your chest. Homemade and posted online on Pinterest, this jumper has now spawned countless remakes at the DIY hands of fans.
2. Hulk Hogan’s Muscle Christmas
The yellow Hulk Hogan handlebar moustache, the trademark gold cross, as well a few sets of weights would have been enough to drive the point home, but the Happy Holidays message being written in the famous Hulkmania font makes this the kind of party sweater that you would not call ugly to its face.
3. Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal
As Christmas-related pop culture references go, this one makes the cross-over to the early 90s, towards the initial decline of the ugly Christmas sweater, but it doesn’t get much Christmas-y than that. The quote from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a classic and deserves to be on more clothes and in any size, for kids, men and women to own.
Legendary thrash metal band Slayer’s best decade was arguably the 1980s, so a Slayer Christmas sweater makes total sense. Want to show your metal affinities this Christmas, but also worry that you might be a bit chilly and there’s no moshpit in sight, a place where to throw yourself to keep you warm? Change your usual Reign in Blood T-shirt with this marvellous Christmas sweater, bound to keep your torso as warm and light as the very bowels of Hell.
Or maybe what you miss most about the 80s is not the loud music, but the devilishly difficult Japanese side-scrolling gun-and-run video games. Of course that’s not too specific; just feast your eyes on this Contra sweater, where the knitting patter of the sleeves and the cheap pixel art pattern of the torso blend seamlessly and is sure to bring the Christmas spirit even in the year 2633.
6. Vintage Cat
How could an Internet list be without at least one cat in it? Before the knitted ugly Christmas sweater even became a thing, adorably tacky greeting cards were all the rage, usually depicting cats or dogs, and now you can wear them!
Hey, remember what else was big if you were a kid in the 80s? That’s right, dinosaurs! The triceratops and the funny sauropod seem at home among other, more traditional cute Christmas motifs in store on etsy and other stores.
8. For Her
While most Christmas jumper are gender neutral, models that are more suited for the female shape also exist, with a longer torso being able to turn it into an impromptu dress of sorts, so keep this idea in mind when you start knitting on those sexy vests. Bonus points if you’ve got matching ones, for couples (and your dog).
9. Reggie Watts’ Black Santa
At the forefront of the ugly Christmas sweater revival one can find comedian, musician, improvisation master and sweater aficionado Reggie Watts. He wears many sweaters, but he doesn’t even buy most of them. Wardrobe people from all the video or photo appearances he makes just seem to bring new and new ones to him, which must be nice.
10.The Whole Family
Look, the title didn’t promise anything about being practical. Going for this sweater means making a commitment and maybe you’re just not family-man enough. On the plus side, if this were a contest, you’d all be winners.