The Best Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas

Tacky sweaters your parents forced you to wear in family photos are probably filling your mind with nothing short of terror. The thought of those brightly colored pom-poms and red-nosed reindeers is enough to make you hide out until New Years. Since then, ugly Christmas sweaters have been transformed into an art form, often celebrated at office holiday parties with a tongue-in-cheek mindset. The best thing is, you don’t need your grandmother’s talent for knitting to make your own. With the right materials, creative thinking and the right amount of time, you can make one that is no doubt the ugliest of the ugly in Christmas sweaters.

How to Make Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweaters

The Christmas Tree Sweater

Ugly Christmas Tree Sweater


This ugly Christmas sweater idea is quite easy and requires no sewing. Everything can be attached using safety pins. Start with a basic green sweater. Use tree garland, the gaudiest you can find and pin it to your sweater, wrapping it around as you would on a Christmas tree. Then pin your pom-poms to the sweater for ornaments. If you are feeling bold, you can even use real ornaments, but make sure not to use anything breakable. Add a few strands of brightly colored beads for sparkle. If your sweater is big enough, you can also consider pinning a mini hula hoop at the hemline as the base. Don’t forget to decorate the arms of your sweater with more gaudy garland and ornaments. For a topper, pin a star to one of the cuffs so when you lift your arm above your head, you will have truly nailed this Christmas tree look.

The Stuffed Animal Sweater

Depending on how you look at it, this ugly Christmas sweater idea might be a bit creepy. If you don’t mind dissecting a stuffed animal, you can make quite a showpiece. A reindeer is the best choice, but a bear would work as well. If you happen to find filling inside, keep it because will add dimension to your sweater. Decide where you want your stuffed animal positioned on your sweater. Position its head and limbs. You have to test out your sewing skills if pinning doesn’t work. Finish by attaching bells at the sleeves and hem. If you are really feeling festive, you can attach a Santa hat on your plushy for extra Christmas spirit. 

Related: How to Stand Out at an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Bring On The Bling Sweater

light up ugly christmas sweater

Oh, those tacky Christmas lights display! You too can recreate such a spectacle with a string of beads, hot glue, a few strings of battery-powered LEDs. Before you get glue happy, it’s best to sketch out the design. Following this, place your beads to make sure you know where everything is going to go. Begin by piping the glue on the outline of one letter or design. Next, set the string of beads onto the glue. Press down, one section at a time. Once this is finished, decide where you want to put the lights. If your sweater is a thick knit, you may be able to actually push the lights through it. If your sweater is a tighter knit, grab your scissors and cut the fabric. Put your lights through the holes and use hot glue to secure them. Wondering what to do with the battery pack? That’s what pockets are for!

Kitschy Sweater

Kitschy Christmas Sweaters


For those with undiscriminating tastes, bedazzle your ugly Christmas sweater with ornaments, baubles, bells and bows. These can be easily attached with glue or sewing. You may even be able to find iron-on Christmas appliques. You can make candy canes using red and white pipe cleaners to complete your masterpiece.

Rudolph Sweater

Ugly Rudolph Christmas Sweater


It’s unheard of for Christmas to come and go without at least tacky Rudolph sighting. Why not make it an ugly Christmas sweater? An oversized, black sweater works great for this project. Red pom-poms combined with two shades of brown felt work best for this super easy sweater. Cut the lighter brown felt in the shape of antlers and glue to the front of your sweater and the darker brown for the body. Use the red pom-poms felt for his nose. Be sure to sprinkle some glitter here and there for effect.

Ugly Christmas sweaters have become a staple in homes and office parties around the globe. While you can find your fair share of ugly Christmas sweaters ready to wear, making your own ugly Christmas sweater ideas is something you will remember for years to come. Whichever you choose, be sure complete your look with a killer smile. You need something to contrast the ugly, right?

Tell us your ugly Christmas sweater ideas in the comment section below!