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Can You Wear Ugly Sweaters After Christmas?

Last update: 2024-05-10

The holiday season has come and gone, and you may be wondering what to do with that kitschy ugly Christmas sweater you wore to the office party or family gathering. While ugly sweaters are definitely associated with the Christmas season, you can absolutely continue wearing them after the holidays are over if you style them properly. Here's a complete guide on how and when to wear ugly Christmas sweaters after the 25th.

Why Do People Wear Ugly Christmas Sweaters?

Before discussing when it's appropriate to wear an ugly Christmas sweater post-holiday season, it's helpful to understand why they became popular in the first place. Ugly Christmas sweaters first emerged as a kitschy trend in the 1980s and have exploded in popularity over the last decade.

There are a few reasons why ugly sweaters are a hallmark of the Christmas season:

Photo of crazy lady and guy directing fingers empty space on x-mas sale wear funky ugly ornament pullovers isolated red color background
  • They add a touch of festive fun to holiday parties and events. The over-the-top designs and colors make them an easy conversation starter.
  • Ugly sweaters are a prime opportunity to show off your silly side. The uglier, the better!
  • Wearing matching ugly sweaters is a fun way to bond with family or friends. The tackiness brings people together.
  • Ugly sweaters have become a way for companies and organizations to show their festive sides at holiday events. Even the stuffiest corporations have ugly sweater parties.

So in summary, ugly Christmas sweaters are worn during the holidays to show festive spirit, give people a chance to be silly, and bring some extra fun to holiday gatherings.

Guidelines for Wearing Ugly Sweaters After Christmas

Okay, so now that we understand why ugly Christmas sweaters are so popular during the holidays, let's discuss how you can wear them after Christmas is over. Here are some tips:

Stick to Sweaters With More Subtle Designs

Some ugly Christmas sweaters feature Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, or other obvious holiday imagery. These should definitely be retired until next November. However, there are plenty of ugly sweaters with patterns and colors that could pass as winter-themed rather than specifically Christmas. Look for sweaters with:

Red Christmas sweater and letter board with words Christmas jumper day.
  • Fair isle or Nordic knit patterns
  • Snowflakes or generic winter icons
  • Plaid or argyle designs
  • Solid colors like red, green, white, or blue

These types of subtle ugly sweaters can be integrated into outfits after the 25th.

Style With Everyday Pieces

When styling an ugly Christmas sweater for a post-holiday look, balance it out with basic pieces like jeans, trousers, a button-down, or a neutral sweater. Don't wear two kitschy items at the same time. The Christmas sweater should be the focal point.

Save For Casual Settings

Ugly Christmas sweaters are inherently casual. While it's fine to wear them out shopping, to brunch, or running errands after the holidays, reserve your regular winter sweaters for the office or formal occasions.

Layer Under Coats

Pair your subtle ugly sweater with a stylish winter coat when wearing it out in chillier temperatures. This keeps the kitschy sweater as more of a hidden statement piece rather than the main event.

Get Creative With Accessories

Accessorize post-holiday ugly sweaters with beanies, infinity scarves, or even a strand of simple holiday lights! Get creative with unexpected touches.

Full body fun happy young couple friends two man woman 20s in sweater hat hold fir-tree garland isolated on plain red background studio

By following these tips, you can absolutely extend the life of your favorite Christmas sweaters beyond just the holiday season.

When Can You Still Wear Holiday Ugly Sweaters?

Wondering when exactly it's still acceptable to sport those Santa sweaters and candy cane cardigans? Here are some occasions when post-Christmas ugly Christmas sweaters are still appropriate:

  • New Year's Eve parties - Ugly sweaters are a fun nod to the holidays for NYE celebrations.
  • Ugly sweater parties throughout winter - Bars, concert venues, and organizations often host ugly sweater parties in Jan. or Feb. Break yours back out!
  • While traveling over winter vacations - Wear your ugly sweater on the plane or in your ski lodge.
  • Watching holiday movies year-round - Cozy up with cocoa and put on a kitschy sweater, even in July!
  • Ironically in summer - Wear over tanks at BBQs or pool parties for laughs.
  • For holiday card photos - Rep your favorite sweater in next year's Christmas card pic!
  • While decorating for the holidays - Channel inspiration for next season's decor.

So feel free to find clever ways to get wear out of those over-the-top sweaters all year long.


While ugly Christmas sweaters are definitely fair game to wear throughout the holiday season, you can absolutely repurpose your collections in creative ways after Christmas too. Stick to sweaters with more subtle prints, balance with basic pieces, save for casual settings, and layer under cozy coats. With the right styling, you can break out your Santa suit or elf ensemble all winter long. Don't retire those kitschy sweaters just yet - find clever ways to give them new life!

Funny Christmas sweaters on table


Can you wear an ugly Christmas sweater in January?

Yes, you can still wear ugly Christmas sweaters in January! Stick to ones with more subtle prints like snowflakes or plaid rather than obvious Santa or reindeer designs. Balance the sweater with basic winter pieces and accessories. Save for more casual occasions.

When is it no longer acceptable to wear an ugly Christmas sweater?

It's best to retire the really over-the-top Christmas sweaters by early February or once you're a couple months out from the holiday season. However, ugly sweaters with simpler winter or holiday themes can be work year-round.

What's the best way to style an ugly Christmas sweater after the holidays?

Style ugly Christmas sweaters after the holidays by pairing them with basic pieces like trousers, dark jeans, button-downs, or neutral sweaters. Layer under stylish winter coats and add beanies, scarves, or other creative winter touches.

Can you wear an ugly holiday sweater to an office party in January?

It's best to avoid ugly holiday sweaters at formal office events in January. The over-the-top Christmas themes are better suited for casual settings post-holidays. Stick to traditional sweaters or holiday colors for a January office party.

What kind of occasion is best for wearing an ugly sweater after Christmas?

Casual occasions like weekend brunches, running errands, ski trips, or low-key parties are perfect for rocking your favorite ugly Christmas sweater after the holidays. Avoid formal office settings or important events.


Don't pack away those ugly Christmas sweaters after the holidays are over! With a little creativity and careful styling, you can repurpose them for winter wear. Stick to more subtle prints, balance with basic pieces, save for casual settings, and layer under cozy coats. And if you're unsure about when or where to wear them, just remember that casual occasions like weekend brunches or ski trips are perfect for these kitschy pieces. So don't be afraid to give your ugly Christmas sweater collection new life all year round!

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