Whether they make you feel like a kid again, or make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit, ugly Christmas sweaters are the best way to show your holiday cheer.
But be warned, hosting a soiree dedicated to both holiday and hideous is no small undertaking.
If you want your friends to bring the ugly, you’re going to have to start the trend, and hand-made invites are the way to go for that effect. Break out your pre-K finger-painting ability, or your for better or worse inherited knack for scrapbooking – whichever is uglier! If you consider yourself an artist, first of all never tell anyone that, secondly ignore it for the invite-construction process. You might include a picture of you in your own fabulously ugly sweater (which you’d better have ready) in order to set the tone.
Inevitably, someone will try to bypass the laws of ugly and show up sleek and chic to stand out. Make it clear that this will not be tolerated. Perhaps state an ugly dress code required for entry on your invite. Redefine fashion and for one night, make ugly the thing to be!
Your decorations should be as tacky and ugly as you want your guests’ sweaters to be. Don’t be afraid to disgrace your front lawn – it’s dead right now anyways! Litter it with any plastic figurines you can acquire. But the ridiculousness shouldn’t stop at the door. Inside, string up any mismatching lights you come by and all your hand-made ornaments from grade school. If you’re in a DIY mood, revisit those popsicle stick and clothespin crafting skills to create anything holiday related. Goodwill and thrift stores are often jackpots for hideous holiday décor. This presents an opportunity to perform crude alterations on your unseasonal decorations. Dress up a scarecrow in Santa garb, or replace wise men with Easter bunnies and lawn flamingos at your nativity.
Mistletoe is required, perhaps even multiples. What’s a good party without a gossip-starting smooch or two?
If you feel like venturing away from your keg and spiked eggnog, with a little extra effort you can treat your friends to some delicious holiday-themed beverages.
Party Punch: Cranberry Christmas Punch
Combine 2 cups vodka, 4 cups cranberry juice, 1½ cups lime juice, 2 cups water, and 3 tbsp sugar in a large punch bowl over ice.
Warming Drink: Pomegranate Mulled Wine
Combine 2 cups pomegranate juice, 1 cup brandy, 1 bottle red wine, 1 orange (sliced into rounds and studded with cloves), 3 cinnamon sticks, and ¼ cup sugar (to taste) in a large stovetop pot. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Serve when heated.
Holiday Cocktail: The Grinch
Pour 2 oz Midori, ½ oz lemon juice, and 1 tsp simple syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into glass. Add maraschino cherry for extra flavor and festivity.
Christmas Shooter: Santa’s Shot
Layer ½ oz. Grenadine, ½ oz. Green Crème de Menthe, and ½ oz. Peppermint Schnapps in shot glass.
Even a small -and of course ugly- holiday backdrop in the corner can add a fun touch. Do your worst with tinsel and an ugly Christmas blanket tacked on the wall. Have people snap pictures there throughout the night. If you’re digitally gifted, make a quick slide show presentation or Facebook album for an awkward holiday photo contest later. If not, try to unearth your family’s old Polaroid for instant immortalization of these ugly moments.
Bad/ugly holiday gift swap: Take your worst gift from last year and recycle, or wrap up something silly.
Ugly Christmas sweater fashion show, followed by votes for various categories. The perfect grand prize? One ugly looking fruitcake.