15 Ugly Christmas sweater party ideas

What’s not to love about a Christmas party the encourages you to come cozy, get toasty, and celebrate the season in a very low-key (and potentially lowbrow) way? Nothing, if you ask around the Paperless Post office. With varying levels of debauchery, an ugly sweater party is fair game for your team’s holiday happy hour, Christmas Eve with the family, or an all-night house party. Ahead, we’ll dive into our best ugly Christmas sweater party ideas, including the newest invitations, tried-and-true decorations, the down-low on DIY ugly sweaters, and the best holiday party games.


Ugly Christmas sweater party invites 

Set the tone for your party with the perfect invitation; our ugly sweater party invitations are a favorite year after year. We have a range of styles—from sweet to very saucy. Let guests know if ugly sweaters are required (they are) with the invitation and if there will be a contest, as a little spirited competition can give people a nudge to buy or DIY their ugly sweater. The wording of your invitation will let guests know what kind of party to expect. For example, phrases like “It’s going to get ugly,” “Who is the ugliest of them all?” or “‘Holiday sweater get together” are great.

With our classic card invitations, you can invite a co-host, set maximum capacity in advance, and reply to individual guests at any time.  Our holiday Flyers are modern templates you can customize in seconds by adjusting the colors and style or adding text effects, GIFs, or a photo. They’re free to send via SMS, WhatsApp, your email, or send through Paperless Post. And your first 50 emails are free. Both invitations allow you to track RSVPs and follow up with guests.

ugly Christmas sweater invitations from Paperless Post

Patchwork Party invitation by Paperless Post, Sweater Party Animals invitation by Hello!Lucky, It’s Gonna Get Ugly invitation by Paperless Post

Ugly sweater Christmas party invite Ugly sweater party invite available at Paperless Post Flyer 

The good, the bad, and the ugly: creative ideas for ugly Christmas sweater parties

If you’re looking for a theme to lean into beyond ugly sweaters, we suggest going full-on ‘70s basement. Think embarrassing family holiday photos and Elton John on the playlist. Pass around disposable cameras or an Instax and take group photos next to the fireplace (or the crackling logs station on Netflix). Or go in a Danish direction with a hygge vibe complete with tea lights, smorrebrod, ginger cookies, and plenty of aquavit. For more on this theme, and a few more party themes from abroad read up here.



Ugliest Sweater Wins: game ideas

Drinking games are a no-brainer, but make them Christmas. We love Christmas karaoke, Christmas carol Pictionary, or even charades. However, if games aren’t your speed, have your favorite terrible Christmas movie on in the background and drink every time they say Christmas. Keep your retro vibe going with films like Die Hard, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, or Bad Santa. And it’s not an ugly Christmas sweater party without an ugly Christmas sweater contest. Have a few categories on the ballot and let guests place their votes in corresponding bowls. After that, hand out cheesy trophies to the winners for a grand finale. On our ballot:

Most Original Sweater

Best Couple 

Most Likely to Get Arrested

Tackiest Sweater


It’s going to get ugly: Christmas party food 

Now isn’t the time to break out the fine china. Instead, create a menu that gives you an excuse to indulge in classic Christmas party food that feels dated but delicious. Order fried chicken or pick up a honey-glazed ham for heartier fare. Or go with retro apps like shrimp cocktail, Swedish meatballs, Jello mold shots, pretzels in a bucket, or a cheeseball in the shape of a Christmas tree. Making cocktails for a crew? Mix a large batch of eggnog or rum punch and then serve in the biggest bowl you have. 


DIY ugly Christmas sweaters

There is no shortage of ugly sweaters out there. We found everything from sports teams to southwestern vibes, pizza cats, naughty gingerbread men, and a lot of NSFW Santas. But the absolute ugliest sweaters are DIY. Hit up your closet or a thrift store to start with a mildly ugly sweater, then break out the glue gun and add ornaments, led light strands, tinsel garland, bows, gemstones, or an oversized Christmas stocking that conveniently holds a bottle of wine. Finally, finish your look by accessorizing with more tinsel hoop earrings or a pair of Christmas ornament earrings.


It’s always the right night for a holiday party—browse our invitations to get started. For more holiday party ideas, head right this way



Hero image features Red-Nose Knitter by Paperless Post