Fleece Navidad: A History of Ugly Sweaters

Brooke Benne, Reporter/Anchor

Once winter and the holiday season roll around, the bulky garments known as ugly sweaters are not far behind. People may blame ugly sweaters on the outdated taste of grandma’s, but there is a lot more to unpack.

“Ugly sweaters became a trend when people were recycling clothes, and they went back and saw the ‘beautiful’ things from the 70’s, 80’s, maybe 90’s,” fashion teacher Teresa Durbala said.

Ugly sweaters date back to the 1950’s, where actors wore overly festive sweaters as a marketing tool for the Christmas season, according to CNN. They did not become truly become mainstream, however, until the 1980’s, when they were called “jingle bell sweaters.” 

“People my age would have worn them and thought it was cool, but then they weren’t. People kind of make fun of that era, and it’s also just a fun thing and includes people,” Durbala said. 

Sweaters with more obnoxious patterns and designs became a staple for costumes in comedy Christmas films, and they became popular white elephant gifts as well. 

“I think that they are popular during the Christmas season, because that is when all the families come together and grandmas like to force their grandchildren to do stupid things,” junior Marley Meyers said. 

Family comedy films such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” often showcase ugly sweaters.

“[Ugly sweaters] are good to show off everyone’s quirkiness and artistic side, especially when you make them,” junior Abby Jarman said. 

National Ugly Sweater Day is December 17 if anyone wishes to partake in the trend.