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9 best ugly Christmas sweaters for the holidays - and some really cute ones, too

Holiday shopping is my day job and I think these are the best ugly Christmas sweaters to shop now

best ugly christmas sweaters for the holidays
Karen Silas
Karen SilasSenior Lifestyle Editor
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If you’re anything like me, you’ve been crooning along to "All I Want for Christmas" and joyously popping open the drawers of your advent calendar. But if you’re not fully prepared for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on December 15, I’m using my shopping expertise to help.

Whether you want to go OTT at the office with a 3D knit, rock a pop culture pullover, or get hashtag festive with a super cute Instagram-ready look, we've got you covered.

I’ve scoured all the online stores for the best ugly (and not-so-ugly) Christmas sweaters of 2023, with cool cardigans and naughty-but-nice knits that I love and think you will too. 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year so I’ve been able to find some pretty wonderful looks, from the cute to the hilarious, at Amazon, Macy’s, Walmart and and even holiday sweater specialists like Tipsy Elves or UglyChristmasSweater.com.

I managed to find a great ugly Christmas sweater for every taste and style.

How I chose the best Ugly Christmas Sweaters

  • Popularity: I researched what HELLO! Readers have shopped in the past, and also investigated the bestselling looks at various retailers.
  • Ugliness: The main point of an Ugly Christmas sweater (sorry, not sorry). But I'm looking for 'so-ugly-it's-cute', so you'll be able to rock your holiday sweater anywhere from work to school or to a holiday party. That said, I know that kitsch isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so I’ve included some stylishly cute ones, too. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which is which!
  • Smile factor: Ugly Christmas Sweaters are made for people who are the opposite of a holiday Scrooge, so if it’s going to make people smile, it earned a spot on my list. 
  • Verified reviews: While you may not be looking for a designer-level ugly holiday sweater, I think it should be a good quality piece that looks nice and is as durable as possible. While I haven't been able to personally try on or wear every piece on my list, I examined reviews and ratings from verified shoppers to evaluate whether the look meets my personal standards, and if I would buy it myself.

Shop the best ugly Christmas sweaters for the holidays

  1. 1/9

    33 Degrees Women's Naughty List Graphic Sweater

    target ugly christmas sweater

    My pick at Target

    Editor's note

    If you aren't the type for a gaudy or OTT holiday sweater, this pretty pink Target look would look so cute with jeans for an everyday holiday outfit.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-3X
    • Fabric: 100% Acrylic

    A crew neck holiday pullover with sequined detail - just enough sparkle to be able to dress this sweater up or down for the office, school or going out.

  2. 2/9

    U LOOK UGLY TODAY Unisex Ugly Christmas Hoodie

    amazon ugly christmas sweater hoodies

    My pick from Amazon

    Editor's note

    I honestly LOL-ed when I first saw these looks - and the name of the Amazon store is just perfect, too. Plus you can redeem a voucher when you add to basket for an additional 15% off.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-XXL
    • Fabric: 100% Acrylic


    Available in 13 different designs, the U Look Ugly Today knit hoodies range in themes from reindeer to elves and Christmas trees, helping you bring the holiday season to life.

  3. 3/9

    Old Navy Fair Isle Cardigan

    old navy ugly christmas sweater

    My pick at Old Navy

    Editor's note

    This cute cardigan fulfils the Ugly Christmas sweater requirement a little more discreetly. It's a great choice if you want to look festive in a more subtle way.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-3X
    • Fabric: Polyester 52%, recycled polyester 30%, nylon 18%

    A cozy crew neck Fair Isle print sweater with five-button front and long raglan sleeves. 

    Priced at $26.59 with the promo code: HURRY.

  4. 4/9

    Karen Scott Women's Holiday Sweater, Created for Macy's

     macys ugly christmas sweater.

    My pick at Macy's

    Editor’s note

    Macy’s should definitely be on your list for fun holiday sweaters - this time of year there’s usually a big discount.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-XXL
    • Fabric: 100% acrylic with sequin graphics


    This Karen Scott holiday sweater is exclusive to Macy’s, and features sequin-embellished gingerbread men with a 3D pom hat.

  5. 5/9

    H&M Printed Holiday Sweatshirt

    H&M ugly christmas sweater

    My pick at H&M

    Editor's note

    My pick for teens or for more casual occasions, this H&M holiday sweatshirt is too cute - the cuddly koala even has 3D faux fur for a cozy touch.

    Details

    • Sizes: XXS-XXL
    • Fabric: Cotton 60%, Polyester 40%

    A relaxed fit long sleeved sweatshirt featuring a ‘Seasonally Stuffed’ koala snacking on holiday treats from the Divided line at H&M.

  6. 6/9

    Women's Celebrate Together Long Sleeve Christmas Sweater

     best ugly christmas sweaters at kohl's

    My pick at Kohl's

    Editor's note

    Editor’s note: These sweaters are guaranteed to bring joy to anyone you come across. The elf is hilarious and the doggie look is especially fun - I couldn’t wait to show it to the ultimate pug mom, my fellow HELLO! shopping editor Katherine Robinson.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-XXL
    • Fabric: 100% acrylic, machine washable

    Available in an elf theme or emblazoned with a festive pug, these Kohl’s looks feature long sleeves, a crew neck and classic fit.

  7. 7/9

    Tipsy Elves Cute Ugly Christmas Sweater

    tipsy elves green garland cardigan

    My pick from Tipsy Elves

    Editor's note

    Tipsy Elves really goes above and beyond with it's ugly Christmas sweater designs - and the brand even makes over-the-top holiday suits, dresses and jumpsuits, too.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS - 4X
    • Fabric: 100% acrylic

    This 3D Christmas sweater design, bedecked with garlands and baubles, is one of many holiday cardigans to choose from, shoppable on Amazon and Tipsy Elves.

  8. 8/9

    Women's I Love Xmas Light Up (LED) Christmas Tree sweater

    walmart ugly christmas sweater

    My pick at Walmart

    Editor's note

    This gets my vote for the most *extra* Ugly Christmas Sweater - LED lights, stripes, AND bells on the sleeves? Yes, please!

    Details

    • Sizes: XS to 5XL
    • Fabric: 85% Acrylic / 15% Wool

    According to the brand, the main selling point of this pullover is that it “looks like it was designed by a drunk dog.” If that's the vibe you're going for, this look comes in inclusive sizing, XS to 5XL, and is also available in a men’s version.

  9. 9/9

    CHINTI & PARKER Wool-cashmere fa la la christmas sweater

    chinti and parker luxury ugly christmas sweater

    Contemporary holiday sweater - my pick

    Editor's note

    More chic than showy, this Chinti & Parker wool-cashmere blend is a holiday sweater to keep wearing for many Christmases to come.

    Details

    • Sizes: XS-XXL
    • Fabric: 90% Wool / 10% Cashmere

    An ode to holiday carols, this long-sleeved, crew neck wool & cashmere pullover features an embroidered ‘Fa La La’ pattern.

What day should you wear an ugly Christmas sweater?

I'm of the opinion (and I don't think it's an unpopular one!) that you can start wearing your holiday sweater as soon as Thanksgiving is over. And by "over", I mean the minute you finish your meal. There is nothing better than jumping into the holiday spirit with a fun look, whether it's an LED light-up sweater or a more subtle festive knit. 

Of course, the official day to wear your holiday sweater to work, school or just out and about, is Ugly Christmas Sweater day, on the third Friday of December, which in 2023 falls on December 15 and is also a day focusing on charity and giving.

Christmas sweaters first became a fashion trend in the 1950s, and by the 1980s, movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation were spoofing the look as uncool, a tradition which continued with Bridget Jones’s Diary, where Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth, famously wore a reindeer emblazoned look. 

But in the 2000s, the sweaters found new life with Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, which is not just for having fun with fashion at school or work, but also a chance for many to organize charity fundraisers around the event.

The first themed Ugly Christmas Sweater Day took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2002, as a charity fundraiser - and since then, wearing your most festive holiday sweater on that day has become a fun yearly tradition.

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