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National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day Ideas

Wondering when National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is this year?

Well, it is celebrated on the third Friday of December each year.

So, for 2023 National Ugly Sweater Day is December 15, 2023.

I’ve updated this article to include options for those looking for plus size Christmas clothing, including ugly Christmas or holiday sweaters.

I’m thankful that some stores are finally being size inclusive.

national ugly chirstmas sweater day ideas

This blog post on National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day ideas is all about where you can go for a National Ugly Christmas Sweater.

I’ve included brick-and-mortar stores as well as online places.

Where to buy an ugly sweater

Are you wondering where you can go to buy something for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day? Well, you’ve got a few options.

First, you can check out thrift stores. For example, the Goodwill stores near me always have ugly Christmas sweater displays out in December.

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Second, you can look in national retailers like Target. Every year I see ugly Christmas sweaters at Target–and honestly, they’re kind of cute.

And finally, you can shop online with Amazon and Etsy, among other online retailers.

Also, Amazon has a Tipsy Elves shop devoted entirely to ugly Christmas sweaters.

Thrift stores and National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on ugly sweater parties said that most Goodwill stores and Salvation Army locations plan in advance for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Just like people turn to thrift stores for cheap Halloween costumes, many are heading to thrift stores to find ugly sweaters at the holidays.

If you decide to go the thrift store route, look for special displays in store. As I mentioned above, my local Goodwill locations always have an ugly holiday sweaters display at the front of the store.

Finally, if you decide to dress your dog or cat in an ugly sweater for your holiday card, here are some tips for taking great pictures of your pets. 

National retailers selling ugly Christmas sweaters

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day has become such a phenomenon that many national retailers offer their own version of ugly Christmas and Hanukkah sweaters. We’re talking about well-known retailers where you might shop for other things as well.

Target and National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

One such retailer that’s jumped on the National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is Target.

Don’t forget to shop during Target Deal Days this year.

I love Target Drive Up. It’s one of the ways I’ve been getting my groceries this year. And it’s how we did our Black Friday shopping this year. (Yeah, new Smart TV!)

You can use Target Drive Up or buy online, pickup in store to get your ugly Christmas sweaters, or anything else on your Target list.

Here is my article on stores that let you buy online and drive up or pick up in store.

If you’re looking for dressy plus size Christmas outfits, check out what Target has to offer.

Walmart and National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

While perusing the Walmart website, I saw plenty of ugly Christmas sweaters and sweatshirts. I also saw ugly Hanukkah sweaters. And I saw some sweaters and sweatshirts that I thought were actually pretty adorable.

I’ve gathered my favorites below. Also, Walmart is another national retailer offering you the option to buy online but then pick up in store. I love this convenience!

Other ideas for shopping for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

If you just haven’t had any luck finding the perfect ugly Christmas or Chanukah sweater in the stores, here are a few more ideas to consider.

Borrow one from a sartorial-challenged relative

I’m sure we all have at least one sartorial-challenged relative (likely of the older generation). You know, the ones who revel in wearing holiday-themed sweaters and sweatshirts at a certain time of the year. Use them as a resource.

When my high school aged daughters were in a pinch for an ugly sweater holiday party, they usually asked their grandmother or great aunt if they could borrow one of their Christmas sweaters. Of course, they told a white lie and said they were attending a Christmas sweater party.

It was wise of them to leave the ugly part out and not mention that they needed it for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or for a ugly sweater holiday party.

national ugly christmas sweater day

Buy one on clearance at after-Christmas sales

Let’s be honest: come December 26th, everything Christmas is going to be marked down in the stores and online. That would be a great time to shop for next year’s ugly holiday sweater for National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

Here are ugly Christmas sweaters for dogs.

How to wear an ugly Christmas sweater

If you’re wondering how to wear an ugly Christmas sweater, you can go completely over the top or you can keep it simple. What do I mean by over the top?

Well, in addition to wearing your ugly Christmas (or Chanukah) sweater, you can put on a Santa hat, pull on red leggings and throw some elf shoes on your feet. That would totally be over the top.

As far as keeping it simple, you can let your ugly sweater be the star of the show. So that means wearing neutral or dark colored pants with the sweater and minimizing your accessories.

national ugly christmas sweater day

What about ugly Hanukkah sweaters

Of course, there are plenty of ugly Hanukkah sweaters these days. Why should the ugly Christmas sweaters have all the fun?

There are so many ways to make or to get an ugly Hanukkah sweater. I’ve seen DIY ugly Hanukkah sweater kits on Amazon.com.

These kits are basically Chanukah-themed patches and pins that you stick on any sweater and, voila, ugly Hanukkah sweater. You don’t have to sew or iron on these patches, which makes it a great last minute option for your ugly sweater party.

Etsy and Amazon both sell a ton of ugly Hanukkah sweaters. They are actually funny ugly Hanukkah sweaters in many instances.

In 2023, Chanukah starts a week before Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Therefore, your opportunity to wear an ugly Hanukkah sweater will have to happen after this Jewish holiday celebration is over.

If you can’t wear the Ugly Hanukkah sweater, what about matching family holiday PJs? Yes, you can find some for Chanukah, too.

Finally, enjoy these cool Hanukkah present ideas for pet lovers.


  1. Great tips! I love thrift shopping too! I don’t know if you like to read other thrifty blogs but I have one called Thrift and Shout! I feature amazing fashion and home decor that I find for next to nothing! I love to inspire others and encourage them to try thrifting. Keep up the good work!

  2. Great Post! I have a similar list on my site. Here are a couple other tips.

    Prices tend to go up in the winter for cold weather clothing and other related items. Sometimes thrift stores will stockpile winter goods during the year (if they have the space) and put it all out in the fall or when the weather starts to get cold. You will notice that most thrift stores change with the seasons having Christmas stuff in December etc.

    New (used) items to thrift stores generally arrive daily and are priced throughout the day in the back room and then finally brought out into the store (where we can hopefully find something great). In my experience the bulk of the newly arrived thrift store items are put out in the morning as this is usually the slowest time for thrift stores and their employees, with the afternoons being busier for staff members (helping customers, cashiering, etc.).

    Another thing to look for at thrift stores are the discount days and discount colored tags. Most thrift stores have certain days that offer some percentage off all or selected items. Most thrift stores also have senior, military, and even student discounts. Many thrift stores also have certain colored tags that are discounted daily, these discounts are usually posted around the store on signs or even announced over the PA system in the store.

  3. It’s a balance. For years I didn’t shop at thrift stores because I knew other people had a greater need than I did for those inexpensive things. As my income now goes down, I do, but I try to keep in mind that the Goodwill type thrift stores are in it to help others. I don’t need 10% more off if it helps them help others. So I go in and if there’s something specific I need that perhaps has been there a while (example – I got an embroidery hoop for 50 cents the other day) that doesn’t put me in competition for other people who have a need, then I do take advantage of that. And on top of that – I compare the price i would have paid (say, $1.50) to the price I paid (50 cents) and put the difference ($1) into a “savings” fund. I’m also a big fan of the 29 gifts approach of giving something (not necessarily something financial) EVERY day – surprising what positive things come back your way, some of them very amazing (think free lodging in Hawaii and job offers).

  4. If you buy something that just doesn’t work out, you can always donate back to Goodwill or other charity thrift stores and claim the tax benefits.

  5. Hello. How about online thrift stores? I blog about them all the time. You can find anything from rare paintings to designer duds. I love to thrift shop and am living a year with only thrifted finds. This includes online thrift, etsy, ebay, consignment stores and regular thrift stores. I love it and may never return to retail prices again.

  6. Great blog and great advice. We’re all in this together nowadays and it’s no longer uncool to shop at thrift stores. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I know this is an older post, but I just stumbled across your blog today and I wanted to mention, I found my wedding dress at Goodwill for only $20 it has some ‘stains’ on the bottom if it and I decided if they wouldnt come out I would just have the dress trimmed instead, I took it to the Laundry mat, turned it inside out and washed it on delicate, and I had a dress that would have retailed me over $1000! It was fantastic!

  8. Leah — just checking back and saw your question after my comment — the consignment shop that I go to is the traditional model — I get paid after they sell the clothes. I usually wait until I have a significant enough balance before I “cash out.” Last time, I got over $50. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Leah –

    I think the difference is that at consignment shops, you don’t get any money unless/until your item sells. When my aunt remodeled her home, she sold her furniture through a consignment shop. She split the profit 50/50 with the shop when it sold.

  10. I shop Goodwill for my son’s pants for yet another reason. He has very poor fine motor skills, and handling the zipper and button on a pair of jeans can be too difficult for him. He has only just mastered the skill in the last year (he’s 17), and I buy his jeans at Goodwill so that the button is worn in and easy to use.

  11. Good question about consignment shops. I sort of lump them together with thrift stores and perhaps I shouldn’t. I know that there are two kinds of consignments shops. There are those like Plato’s Closet, that pay cash on the spot for your clothes, and then they resell your garments at their leisure. And then there are consignment shops that follow a more traditional route of only paying you once they’ve sold the clothes you’ve consigned to them. Which of these two kinds do you frequent?

  12. I have been meaning to check out the Unique Thrift Store in Wheaton, MD for a while. On Mondays they have 25% off. I’ll make it there, soon!

    In the meantime, your post made me think about consignment shops — have you written about this yet? I have consigned TONS of my kids clothes and toys. I imagine that for some things I could have gotten more on ebay, but you can’t beat the convenience. I use the money I get from consigning as “fun money” for my hobbies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I stop in at my town’s thrift store just to see what they have (they also have lovely window displays, so I can check things out on my morning dog walk). If you’re looking for something specific, especially in a small store, ask. The women who work there know everything they have, and where it might be.

    Also, be careful of your demeanor and words because a lot of people shop at thrift stores because they don’t have any other choice. Thrift store shopping can be fun, but it’s serious business for some people. My high school drama club shopped thrift stores for costumes, and we got this speech every time.

    Speaking of high school, a friend found a brand new tuxedo at a thrift store. He had it altered and still wears it.

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