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Entertaining in the Homeā€¦

Ugly Sweater Party

By Lauren Holstein

Tis' the season to eat, drink, and pull out your ugly sweater. Invite holiday cheer into your home by hosting a classic "Ugly Sweater Party." But wait...what's an “ugly sweater party”? It's a regular holiday party, but instead of dressing up in formal clothing, everyone wears the most obnoxious Christmas, Hanukkah, or winter-themed sweaters they can find (or make). Here are some ideas when hosting this style of party at your home this holiday season.


When sending out your invites, incentivize guests to show up in their ugliest sweaters by offering prizes for the best (aka ugliest) sweater. Winners can be across various categories, including DIY, “throwback” (like the 80s or 2000s), punny slogans, and more. Make sure the prizes are worth the effort. Here are some suggestions: a holiday flask, a fanny pack, gift cards, and the leftovers. Be sure to have spare ugly sweaters by the door just in case someone decides to show up without honoring the dress code. All guests must wear an ugly sweater to get into the party!

The Craze for a Cause

The popularity of the ugly sweater party theme ballooned in the 2000s and has since turned into massive events, often supporting charity causes. (December 21st is even an official national day to wear your ugly sweater loud and proud.) If there is a charity or organization close to your heart, you can use this party as an opportunity to sell tickets, hold a raffle, or pass a hat to collect money for your chosen cause.

Deck the Halls

While encouraging guests to dress tacky, you'll want your home to look tacky too. Whether using homemade decorations, mismatched designs, garland, and more – this is a chance to go bold with a wild and crazy design theme. Over the years, retail brands have also embraced and expanded upon cringeworthy sweater decor. Check out your local Walgreens or Amazon for themed supplies ranging from invites to plates and napkins.

Food to Feast

Food and drinks are the one thing more important than clothing. Depending on your party size and timing, you may either have a formal sit-down meal, serve buffet-style, or just stick to passed apps. Either way, keep the food as funny as what people are wearing. For finger foods, have a cutout of something seasonal, like Santa or a reindeer, glued onto the serving toothpicks. (If there is a guest of honor, you can incorporate a cutout of their face as an alternative.) For drinks, have snowflake-shaped ice to add extra sparkle and a seasonal touch.

Awesome Activities

After everyone is done eating and drinking, it's time to be merry. Commemorate the party forever with some photo booth fun and holiday-themed photo props. Later in the night, pump up the music with karaoke and dancing. Other activity ideas include an ugly gift exchange, gift wrapping race, or having the supplies and space for people to craft more ugly sweaters.

So, are you ready to get ugly? What else would you add to make your holiday party a memorable celebration?