The History of Ugly Sweaters
'Twas the night before Christmas when every 80's girl dreamt of opening gifts of jellies, banana clips and charm bracelets. They longed for the new album of Duran Duran or the Psychedelic Furs. To their surprise, Aunt Bertha got them "the most beautiful sweater" for Christmas Day, and they were told to wear it that night when their crush was coming over for dinner. "Like, gag me with a spoon!" Many people speculate where the Ugly Christmas Sweater craze came from. Somewhere, an 80's girl really knows the answer, but let's jump in with what we think and what we know.
Somewhere in the Weirdness
We are aware of weird sweaters in the 80's. After all, the 80's was full of weird things. Hair, clothes, makeup and music was all about being loud and extreme. It was hard to tell men and women apart because it was all about being unisex. Their hair, clothes and makeup was the same. It was about this time that this weirdness mixed with what older people in that decade thought was cute. The result is somewhat similar to the Ugly Christmas Sweater phenomenon we see today. Also, "Jingle Bell Sweaters" became popular in the 80's. This is too much of a coincidence for it to be just a coincidence. It can be expected that at the end of the decade, everyone got rid of these ridiculous sweaters and focused on more appealing apparel, like parachute pants. Wow, those were bad too.
Turn of the Century
Somewhere around the turn of the century, someone somewhere thought it'd be a great idea to don one of these festive novelties. We're going to say that it was Aunt Bertha. Whoever thought of it first, designers were creating their tackiest sweaters, people started selling them on eBay, thrift stores nearly sold out and people made multi-million dollar businesses selling these awful things.
It Was Those Canadians!
Actually, it was only two Canadians: Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch. One of the first Ugly Christmas Sweater parties was in 2002, and it's reported to take place in Vancouver. The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver has an Ugly Sweater Party every year and has done so since 2002. Mr. Boyd and Mr. Birch successfully trademarked the phrases "Ugly Christmas Sweater" and "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party" in Canada. As can be expected, the party centered around people wearing the most ugliest, tackiest and gaudiest sweaters possible. Some people borrowed these sweaters from their moms, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers originally unbeknownst to them all. After all, who wants to be told, "I need to borrow your sweater for an Ugly Sweater Party"?
Youth is Wasted on Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Another theory popped up that it was young people who started wearing these in an effort to make fun of their parents who, apparently, thought these sweaters were fashionable. Maybe they were at some point, and "Fashion is in the sole mind of the trendsetter," says the trendsetter.
A Week Before Christmas
Wherever this crazy fashion trend started, it's now widely celebrated on the 18th of December, so don't dare wear one of these sweaters, say, on the 16th or you'll really be weird. Actually, you can wear them whenever you want because Christmas parties can take place on any day—even in July, apparently.
Nowadays, it's not hard to find these Ugly Christmas Sweaters. They're sold virtually everywhere. Thrift stores still sell them. In fact, they sell 85 percent of all the Christmas sweaters they get, which is a lot. In all seriousness, thrift stores are actually big business. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Major retailers have gotten involved and sell these ugly things too. If it wasn't bad enough, people buy ugly sweaters and seek out ways to make them even uglier. People add tinsel, bowls, glitter and other things to make the sweaters even worse.
The Trend is Spreading
The trend is so popular that people in the UK wear "Christmas Jumpers", which are the same thing as sweaters. Since Christmas in July is so popular in Australia, they probably have their Ugly Sweater parties going on there. Don't worry, July is cold in Australia so they're semi-appropriately dressed for the weather.
Now that Ugly Sweaters are trendy, no one has to hide in horror when seen with one of these on. Ugly Christmas Sweaters have created many memories of fun and laughter, and they remind us of a time that they were not so accepted and how terrified people were to be given these atrocities. However you look at the phenomenon or wonder about where they started, Ugly Sweaters are here to stay. You can thank Aunt Bertha. Wait, she might want royalties. You better not say anything.