Ugly Sweaters —Go Big or Go Home!

Last week was full of all kinds of craziness…So when this week started I was really looking for some relief and I didn’t have to look far to find it.

Monday evening, we were planning to attend a Pastor’s Christmas party.  We go every year and it’s actually very fun to see our friends and just relax.  This year, the hosts added a small contest to the evening ~  An Ugly Sweater contest.  My friend, Amanda, was all prepared and outfitted….outfitted by her friend, who had also attended one of these parties and spent way too much on a thrift-store ugly purchase – $3.00!  But I was lacking anything truly ugly in my closet.  (I try and make it habit not to keep ugly things hanging there.)

Since Dave and I were out and about, we stopped at Salvation Army for a peek-see.  Surely I would be able to find something ugly and cheap there.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love thrift stores and a good bargain.  I have found a good many things there especially for growing teens who fit into clothes for maybe a month before they are onto the next size.

We perused the aisles of clothes looking for something hideous and ugly.  We thought about trying to coordinate but a lady ended up buying the skin-colored sweater Dave had picked out.

Another lady, one aisle over, heard our dilemma and shared her own Ugly Sweater story with me.

I was in a thrift-store last week looking for an ugly sweater.  After hunting through, I found the winner.  While waiting in line, an acquaintance walked in with that same sweater on!  She thought I was admiring hers.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was going to an ugly sweater party.  I went out to my car and about wet my pants as I was texting my sister to tell her what happened!

Who knew that ugly sweaters could bond complete strangers with a sharing of TMI.  My new friend joined me in my search.  Yet, one thought kept creeping into my brain.  “What if I pick something I think is ugly…attend the party…and find someone else with that same sweater on and they’re not participating in the contest!”   With that thought dominating I decided to Go Big or Go Home!!!” 

I found one ugly sweater vest and was heading to the dressing room when I passed the pants! 


I could have sworn Marsha Brady wore these on one of the many episodes of the Brady Bunch.  But they were brand-new and the label “Gap” was sewn into the waistband.  I grabbed them up before another eager customer could steal them out of my hands.   Giggles started to rise up through the throat as I went in search of Dave.  I found him back by the shoes and that’s when the platform black patent-leather boots screamed at me from the top shelf!  This was getting too fun!


With my boots on, I dominated the upper stratosphere.  There was definitely fresher and cleaner air up here in my new height domain.  Other customers stared in a cross between disdain and awe as I headed to the dressing room.  Dave was going to wander around but as hysterical laughing came from the dressing room, he made his way toward the front door.  I caught him trying to hide between the aisles.

With tears streaming down my face I asked, “Could you hear me?”

He began to answer in the affirmative when my eyes were drawn to the item oddly placed near the household accessories.  It hung alone and desolate…calling out to be owned and chosen!  “Dave, go grab that sweater!  It’s perfect!”  The hunt was on and this outfit was comin’ together!

All assembled, this was now going to be one fun night!

outfit #1

The thing you have to remember about Pastors and their wives….They are almost always nice!  We try not to offend or say unkind things to others about their clothing or attire.  So when I walked into the party…now towering over my husband in the height department.  Some just did not know what to think!

This is when you find out who reads the fine print in those email invites.  The fine-print outlining the details for the Ugly Sweater Contest!

I looked around the room and most were not decked out in ugly sweaters.  In fact, black was the favored color of the evening along with some red sparkly sweaters and festive scarves.

Luckily, my close friends and family were there to support me…through laughter… as I walked into the party of seriousness.

I did get a few strange looks and half-smiled greetings.  I could tell some just weren’t sure what to say and others weren’t sure if I was serious or not!

It wasn’t until later in the evening…the time of the contest… that the realization donned on all the guests that this outfit was in jest!  I won the contest out of sheer sympathy. It wasn’t because the sweater was particularly ugly…it was from The Gap as well…which should tell ya something, people…but it was the whole presentation!

So my word of advice for this whole festive season!

Let’s not take ourselves too seriously! And when heading out to those Ugly Sweater parties… read the fine print and then…  Go Big or Go Home!


For the record:  I told Sam:  “I think this last pic is a little over the top.”  and she said, “Mom, you said…”Go big or go home.”  So it is what it is.

Join the conversation:  How are your Christmas parties going?  Any ugly sweaters?

8 thoughts on “Ugly Sweaters —Go Big or Go Home!

  1. Just had an ugly sweater contest at our church christmas party. My thoughts were the same. I shopped at Goodwill and I thought what if this belonged to someone there and it just didn’t fit or something; or what if somebody bought this for someone else. Yikes, it was fun though. Didn’t win, not nearly ugly enough.


    • Yes, you totally get it! I walked into the party and some were wearing Christmas sweaters I wouldn’t wear but I didn’t want to say anything because I wasn’t sure if they were participating in the game. I’m glad I didn’t say anything because it turned out they weren’t playing! Eek! It would have been one of those “Open mouth, insert foot” moments! :). It was fun to see people’s reactions.

      One friend said to me, “I saw you from across the room but didn’t recognize you. All I saw were the stripes horizontal with stripes vertical and thought, ‘Oh, wow!”—she was glad it was a joke! 🙂


  2. Wow… I just have to say wow. Worst ugly sweater I’ve seen was a young man (who really could have shed a few pounds, somehow managing to fit himself into an ugly sweater that would have been tight on an eight year old girl. He got it mostly on. It didn’t quite cover all of his belly.


    • Thanks! Sorry it took me so long to reply….the fine print was referring more to the others who came to the party with some crazy holiday sweaters but they weren’t participating in the contest. So you couldn’t joke with them because they didn’t think their sweater was ugly. It was a bit awkward….but fun! 🙂


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