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Cheap Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Updated on October 22, 2014

Cheap and Ugly? They Usually Go Together

Remember those awful sweaters from the 80s? Itchy. Hot. Ugly. Who knew that they would one day turn out to be pure gold? The ugly Christmas sweater party has been around since the 90s, and ever since people have been in search of the perfect tacky sweater to impress their friends, neighbors and coworkers. In fact, today there's a whole cottage industry around making such sweaters - and many of the elaborate ones with string lights and other bells and whistles (literally bells and whistles in some cases) cost more than clothing you would actually want to wear.

Who wants to pay a bunch of money for a hideous sweater that your'e only going to wear once a year? I'll tell you who - that guy who takes the ugly sweater party way too seriously. Don't be that guy. Instead, take your pick of the cheap ugly Christmas sweaters that are hard on the eyes without being hard on the bank account.

Defining "Cheap"

How Much Should You Pay For a Bad Sweater?

Ugly sweaters are surprisingly expensive. For example, the new sweater pictured here costs around $60 at (click the image to see the product page). That's not an unusually high price, either. In fact, it's pretty close to the norm.

With that in mind, let's define "cheap" as $25 or less. You won't find a lot of new sweaters for that much, but with a little creativity and/or some shrewd shopping, you can make it happen. Here are a few tips:

1. Buy used. Duh, right? To find a sweater that's the right combination of ugly and cheap, eBay is often the place to go.

2. Do it yourself. Already have a sweater you never wear (possibly because it's already kind of ugly)? Try hot gluing ribbons, ornaments and other decorations on it to really uglify it.

3. Get an ugly sweater shirt. This might not work for a contest where you must wear a sweater. However, if it's really just the ugly sweater concept you're looking for, you can find t-shirts and sweatshirts with the same sorts of funny/tacky designs. These tend to be much cheaper.

Hideous Christmas Sweaters for Under $25 - Vintage, New, and Used Sweaters That Will Make You Want to Hurl

If you need to find an ugly-as-all-get-out sweater but don't want to shell out a lot of money, eBay is most likely your best bet. A lot of these sweaters are authentically ugly, as they're actually from the 80s rather than being designed as novelty items.

How to Uglify an Old Sweater

5 Things You Can Add to Make it a Glorious Eyesore

Maybe you're not the do-it-yourself type, but if ever there were a time when you might want to give it a shot - this is it. This is the time when the project doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, the more sloppy and tacky your sweater looks, the better. The only thing you need is an out-of-date sweater, a box of expendable Christmas ornaments, and your imagination. Here are five things that could prove useful in making your sweater into a true monstrosity.

1. Tinsel. There's nothing cheaper or more associated with Christmas.

2. Baffling Artwork. A lot of people who make ugly sweaters like to incorporate weird and cheesy pictures of cute animals, zombies, Abe Lincoln - whatever is likely to make people go "wut?" You can frame the pictures with tinsel to make them blend better.

3. A Wreath. I'm not talking about a picture of a wreath. I'm talking an actual wreath. Just make sure it's comfortable enough to wear.

4. Old Ornaments. What better way to adorn a tacky old sweater than with some tacky old ornaments? You probably have a few that you wish would disappear. Now you can put them to good use.

5. Lights. Adding some classic string lights is a tried-and-true way to increase the kitsch factor of any Christmas sweater.

How to Make Your Own Ugly Sweater

Buying an Ugly Sweater New

It Doesn't Have to be Old to be Ugly

New sweaters can be pricey, but there are some obvious advantages to buying one. For one thing, you can count on getting it in good shape on time for the big party. For another, many of these Christmas sweaters are designed to be tacky, over-the-top, or just plain funny.

Not all new sweaters are pricey, either. For example, a new sweater can often be had for less than $30.

Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

A Hilariously Inspirational Book

Finding the perfect bad sweater design sometimes requires a little digging. Sure, you can do it the amateur way and just look at pictures on the internet. Or you could follow the path of the professional ugly sweater competitor and do some research. If you're ready to get serious, you might want to check out this hilarious book showcasing some of the best (worst) ideas.

This book features 200 pictures of people wearing abominable sweaters. Some are intentionally bad, while others are merely the product of a tackier time. In either case, you'll get a kick out of looking at the photos and reading the humorous captions. Not only can it inspire you in your quest for the perfect sweater, but could also serve as cool white elephant gift.

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    • profile image

      Jason Sositko 

      8 years ago

      Great Idea, tacky is always IN.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ugly is the new cute when it comes to Christmas/holiday shirts. They don't get too ugly! Youâve really created a unique lens. Itâs very different and such a great idea for a lens! *Blessed*

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ha Ha these Cheap Ugly Christmas Sweaters are funny

    • profile image

      tfsherman lm 

      8 years ago

      Love your wacky stuff! We did this last year for my sister's ugly sweater party -- everything but the lights. She went in with a Goodwill sweater we sewed ornaments and a giant moose to. And she won!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      8 years ago

      This lens is hilarious! Blessed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      cool. getting ready for the season =) nice lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      At The Ugly Sweater Shop, we have an entire section devoted to sweaters under $20 including Christmas sweaters!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      8 years ago from Concord VA

      I love ugly Christmas sweaters!


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