24 Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas to Try This Holiday Season (Including Some DIYs, If You’re Feeling Crafty)

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You’re almost all set for the holidays. You’ve made a dent in that gift list and checked it twice, your stockings are hung (by the chimney, with care, of course) and you’re blasting Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" on repeat. Now, all you need is the true icon of the season: the ugly holiday sweater.

These light-up knitspun-covered pullovers and tinsel-strewn cardigans have become a December tradition we look forward to almost as much as the Starbucks holiday cup reveal or binge-watching Elf over and over again as we eat gingerbread by the handful. Here, 27 ugly Christmas sweater ideas—from the good and the bad to the truly hideous, including some to DIY—to help spread the holiday cheer.

18 Ugly Christmas Sweaters to Buy

Best Overall

1. Tipsy Elves Wrapping Paper Sweater

Tipsy Elves

This 100 percent acrylic number will be durable enough to wear for several Christmases (as long as you hand wash it, that is). Be sure to fill out the gift tag on this festive knit with a clever combination like “To: E. Scrooge, From: J. Frost.” (P.S.: According to reviews, this style runs a little large, so take that into account when ordering.)

Size range: XS to 5XL

Best Plus-Size Ugly Christmas Sweater

2. Threadbare Gherkin Sweater


Good tidings we bring, to you and your gherkin…er, we mean kin. Be sure to forward this one, which has a ribbed neckline, to your BFF who is fully obsessed with pickles. It comes in larger sizes for a better fit, too.

Size range: 14 to 22

Most Festive

3. H&M Jacquard Knit Sweater


This super soft, crewneck knit is festive and cheery and lays right on the border between being over-the-top and simply kitschy.

Size range: XS to XXL

Best Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress

4. Brave Soul Christmas Elf Sweater Dress

Brave Soul

Embrace your inner Elf on the Shelf in this cute knit dress with a red hood that can be pulled up to protect your ears from Jack Frost’s bite and a lightweight feel.

Most Adorable

5. Karen Scott Holiday Sweater

Karen Scott

You’ll be singing fa la la llama all night long with this cheery trio. But there are also six other festive designs to choose from, should you want something in red, green or white. Macy's suggests sizing down for the perfect fit.

Size range: XS to XXS

Most Over-the-Top

6. Tipsy Elves Tinsel Cardigan

Tipsy Elves

What do you get when you combine argyle, tinsel and dangling ornaments? A must-have sweater that’s delightfully over-the-top, in all the best ways. It's also a nice weight, so you'll actually stay warm at your holiday party. A note on sizing: Reviewers suggest going up a size to make it more comfortable to layer tops underneath.

Size range: XS to 4XL

Most Unique

7. Sovoyontee Santa Claus Sweater


The party-goers were nestled all snug in their ‘fits, while visions of squirrels danced on their knits. This 3D-embroidered sweater runs a bit big, so those between sizes may want to opt for the smaller, but otherwise, it will help you stand out from the Santa- and Elf-covered pack. Buyers say it's also super warm.

Size range: S to XL

Most Retro

8. ASOS Santa Paws Sweatshirt

ASOS Design

This vintage-inspired sweatshirt is incredibly sweet and reportedly comfy to boot. You can throw it right in the machine with your jeans, and, hey, it might even inspire next year’s Christmas card pic with Fido!

Size range: 0 to 14

Most High-Tech

9. Ugly Christmas Sweaters I Love Xmas Sweater

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Not only is this sweater full of good cheer, it lights up thanks to a hidden battery-powered cord running along the inside of the knit. Even better? The batteries are included.

Size range: S to 4XL

Best Knit Christmas Sweater

10. Woman Within Ugly Christmas Sweater

Woman Within

There are 14 adorable wintery animal designs of this mid-weight knit to choose from, but we’re partial to this cozy kitty sporting a festive knit all her own. It's made of a nice, strong acrylic and has a rolled finish at the neck and hemline.

Size range: M to 6X

Best Funny Ugly Christmas Sweater

11. Threadbare Avocado Christmas Sweater


Another pun-tastic option, this “guacin’ around the Christmas tree” sweater is sure to ring in lots of complements…and maybe cause a few taco cravings, too. It has drop shoulders for a relaxed look and an oversized fit that will be perfect with leggings.

Size range: 2 to 12

Most Chic Ugly Christmas Sweater

12. Cider Christmas Crop Sweater


This chic red-and-green houndstooth dino number, which could easily be mistaken for a much pricier Coach design, can be paired with a high-waist skirt or trousers to give it a posh flair—just don't throw this one into the wash.

Size range: XS to XL

Best Fair Isle Christmas Sweater

13. Boden Reindeer Fair Isle Christmas Sweater


OK, so this one is less ugly and more kitschy, but we love it just the same. (It's also more than half off with coupon code H201.) It's got a more cropped fit that hits around the hip and buyers say its alpaca blend is super soft. Be sure to add another pop of red, be it a swipe of lipstick, collared shirt or statement headband, to match the strings of Rudolph noses.

Size range: XS to XL

Best Features

14. Ugly Christmas Party Store Reindeer Hoodie

Ugly Christmas Party Store

Who needs a beanie when you have a hood adorned with antlers attached to your ugly Christmas sweater? This cotton and acrylic number will have a bit of elasticity to move about in and can be easily cleaned in the event of a Christmas punch spill. There’s even a light-up version for $20 more if you’re willing to splurge.

Size range: S to 4XL

Best Men's Ugly Christmas Sweater

15. ASOS Snowman Christmas Sweater


This fair isle design comes in unisex sizing, and is wonderfully soft to the touch, according to the company. It's got a classic crewneck cut and cute little snowmen adorning its base.

Size range: 2XS to 2XL

Best Turtleneck

16. Pink Queen Ugly Christmas Turtleneck

Pink Queen

This oversized turtleneck is long enough to wear as a tunic or minidress and comes in 14 fun designs, featuring adorable llamas, snowmen and reindeers. Plus, it has pockets to keep your hands toasty warm.

Size range: S to XL

Ugly Christmas sweaters aren’t just for parties and events: They can also be fun for lounging at home. Case in point? This Care Bears-themed sleep sweatshirt with matching ruffled shorts. With drop shoulders and an elastic waist, it will be ultra-cozy, and the nostalgic print will make you feel extra warm and fuzzy inside.

Size range: 0 to 14

Did we already mention how much we love a holiday pun? This knit also comes in unisex sizing, and would look doubly adorable for anyone willing to dress their IRL pup in some antlers and a festive pullover. It's fuzzy, it's fitted and it's festive—the three "Fs" of a good ugly Christmas sweater.

Size range: 2XS to 4XL

6 DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas to Try

For those in the mood for a more involved project, Kelly Mindell of Studio DIY has instructions on how to crochet a string of brightly-colored lights you can affix to any cozy sweater (or one you knit yourself, if you’re feeling really ambitious).

This light-up knit by Sew Anastasia features decorations found at the dollar store and a thrifted sweater. There is some very basic sewing involved, but if you’re not comfortable with a needle and thread you can definitely use hot glue or safety pins instead.

Choose between an interactive snow globe, stockings hanging by a fire or a tinsel-adorned tree with the help of this easy-to-follow video tutorial from What’s Up Moms. All three are wonderfully easy to recreate (and use hot glue in place of any sewing), but the easiest is likely the Stocking Stuffers design, which starts at the 2:09 minute mark.

If you're looking for more of a craft challenge, this island-inspired design by Sam Ushiro is a bit more advanced (those palm trees are actually crocheted on), but you can always glue on some felt shapes if you’re more of a beginner crafter.

This pom-pom-adorned design courtesy of The Craft Patch requires no sewing whatsoever, making it an excellent option for those who want a more low-key project. All you need is felt, scissors, pom-poms, fabric glue and a sweater or top you’re willing to transform into a festive winter wonderland.

Add a little bit of all your holiday favorites—candy canes, ornaments, ribbons, gingerbread cookies—to a red or green sweatshirt with contrasting tinsel trim with the help of this easy DIY from Megan Graney.

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