Tis the Season – Hands On

Christmas Time Creation of: The "Ugly Sweater"

Cost -$ varies

As the holiday season approaches, I thought I'd write about one of my favorite winter dates. As is usually the case, it also makes for a great family activity.

Every year starting December 1st my calendar becomes packed parties and other festive events. And always the same question - What will we wear? The "ugly Christmas sweater" fad caught my attention several years ago, and I thought about buying one for my husband and me to dress up for the family parties and use throughout the month. However, I was disappointed to find out they are NOT cheap! Being a little too practical in nature, I couldn't bring myself to spend a minimum of $50 on sweaters that would live in a box for 11 months of the year. The result - a DIY date night to make the perfect ugly Christmas sweaters and save money at the same time.

The key to keeping this date night economical is all about where you get your supplies.


The first year we made sweaters my husband's got ruined. Our son threw up chocolate milk all over it at the restaurant where we were celebrating with extended family. He couldn't, very well, keep wearing it, but he also didn't want to spend the evening in the restaurant bathroom trying to scrub it out and then wonder what to do with a soaking wet sweater all the way home. Since his sweater only cost $4 that year, he tossed it in the trash can of the men's bathroom and eliminated the stress altogether.


Here's a list of items to get you started

  • A sweater for each of you - This could be an old sweater you are ready to re-purpose, or something brand new. However, my favorite solution is a quick trip to my local thrift/second-hand store. I've been lucky to find sweaters for $2-$3 each with the high being around $5. Craft stores will often have inexpensive blank sweatshirts that can also work if the other options come up short.
  • Decorations- Once again you may have some leftover ribbons, bells, or bangles just hanging out with your Christmas decorations at home that you can rummage through. If not, I recommend your local dollar store. Pick whatever you like to dress it up. Here are a couple of my favorite items:
    1. Flannel Christmas stockings are easy to cut up and use in a variety of ways. They often have pictures on them too that I love to cut out and use to give it the perfect touch.
    2. Pom poms. These are easy to buy in bulk and they make great ornaments, lights, or trim or the edges.
    3. Ribbons can be used to make bows, trim edges, or even weave in and out of your fabric if the sweater has a loose-knit.
  • Something to attach your décor with - A needle and some thread is an obvious choice but what if you are NOT a seamstress? That's not a problem. My husband can't sew either which is why he has become a master at the hot glue gun for his holiday sweater creations. I was skeptical about how well they would last, but I have been pleasantly surprised, and they have made it through remarkably well. If you go that route I suggest you press the glue deep into the fabric weave and hand-wash if any of your trimmings is raised and doesn't lay flush with the fabric. If something does come loose it's a super easy fix to just glue it back on.
Optional Twist:

For a fun variation try attaching everything with Velcro you sew on. This allows you to change up the same sweater with a new look as often as you like.