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Ugly Sweater Ideas For Work

Last update: 2024-05-22

Ugly sweater parties have become a beloved holiday tradition in many offices. They provide a fun and festive way for coworkers to get into the holiday spirit. Coming up with creative ugly sweater ideas for your office party can take a bit of thought. The key is finding sweaters that walk the line between appropriate for work and hilariously ugly. With some planning, you can create memorable ugly sweater looks that will be the talk of the office.

Funny Phrases and Sayings

  • "Let It Snow" sweater with pictures of snowmen and snowflakes
  • "I'm Not Cheesy, I'm Gouda" sweater with cheese wedge graphic
  • "All I Want For Christmas is Wine" sweater with wine glasses and bottle graphics
  • "Dear Santa, I Can Explain" naughty themed sweater
  • "It's Lit" Christmas tree sweater with sparkly ornaments and lights
  • "Feliz Navidad" sweater with Mexican-inspired Christmas graphics
    Millennial Christmas party

Funny phrases and sayings are an easy way to create ugly Christmas sweaters that are work-appropriate. Look for sweaters with cheeky phrases that play off classic Christmas songs, cheese puns, and Santa-themed humor. Avoid overtly sexy or inappropriate phrases and focus on sweaters that will get some chuckles without crossing the line.

Festive Animals and Characters

  • Sweater with sharks in Santa hats
  • Grumpy cat dressed as Santa Claus
  • Unicorns and narwhals in Christmas outfits
  • Dog in reindeer antlers with red nose
  • Penguin playing Christmas tunes sweater
  • Sloth dressed as an elf on a sweater
    Holiday dancing

Cute, festive animals and characters make for winning ugly Christmas sweater options for work parties. Look for sweaters featuring familiar animals like dogs, cats, sharks, sloths dressed up in Santa suits, elf garb, and other Christmas finery. Adorably ugly characters like Grumpy Cat decked out for Christmas also work well. Aim for fun rather than sexy when selecting your festive creature sweater.

Tacky Christmas Motifs

  • Christmas lights sweater that actually lights up
  • Sweater covered in pom poms, tinsel, and bows
  • Fair Isle pattern sweater with clashing, neon colors
  • Sweater decorated with puffy paint snowflakes
  • Oversized felt Christmas tree attached to a sweater
  • Sweater with 3D wooden or plastic Christmas decorations
    Image of crazy couple making selfie sticking out tongue winking v-sign wearing funny ugly decorations jumpers isolated red background

Go full tacky with a Christmas motif sweater decked out in clashing colors, textures, and appliques. Look for premade sweaters covered in pom poms, tinsel, bows, and other gaudy embellishments. Or get crafty and create your own tacky masterpiece with puffy paint, felt, garland, Christmas tree ornaments glued on, or light-up decorations. Just avoid anything too messy, sharp, or heavy that could hinder mobility.

Fun Pattern Sweaters

  • Ugly argyle Christmas sweater
  • Sweater with a snowflake or reindeer repeating pattern
  • A Fair Isle knit pattern like Rudolph or Santa
  • Sweater decorated with hipster-style ugly Christmas cats
  • Vintage 80s style Christmas sweater with busy graphic prints
  • An ugly Christmas sweater vest layered over a dress shirt
    Terrible Christmas sweater isolated on white

Play around with fun, ugly Christmas patterns like argyle, Fair Isle, and Nordic prints. Look for sweaters with repeating motifs like snowflakes, reindeer, or Santa. Or choose a vintage 80s style busy, graphic Christmas print. You can also layer a patterned vest or cardigan over a dress shirt or blouse. This creates an ugly sweater look in a classier way fit for the office.

Creative DIY Sweater Ideas

  • Sweater decorated with pom pom garland or tinsel
  • Felt Christmas shapes like trees or stockings attached to sweater
  • Add jingle bells, plush reindeer antlers, and other 3D elements
  • Glue on plastic miniature Christmas decorations and ornaments
  • Use puffy paint to create snowflakes, snowmen, reindeer
  • Sew on colorful felt letters to spell out funny Christmas phrases
    Terrible Christmas sweater isolated on white

Get creative with DIY crafts to transform a basic sweater into an ugly Christmas marvel. Attach pom poms, tinsel, felt shapes, bells, and plush elements using glue or hand-stitching them on. Use puffy paint to embellish your sweater with whimsical designs. Or use a hot glue gun to attach mini plastic Christmas ornaments and decorations. Add jingle bells, light-up elements, or anything else you can dream up to make it delightfully ugly.

Office-Themed Ideas

  • Sweater decorated with office supplies - paperclips, sticky notes, etc.
  • "Worst Boss Ever" slogan with images of Scrooge
  • "Employee of the Month" sweater with stock images of office workers
  • Company logo alongside tacky Christmas graphics
  • Accountant-themed sweater with calculators and numbers
  • "IT Department's Favorite Holiday" sweater referencing technology
    Ugly sweater day at work

Incorporate office-specific touches into your sweater with supplies related to your job or profession. For example, decorate with paperclips, keyboards, calculators, or coffee mugs if you work in an office. Get creative with images of Scrooge for managers or tacky stock photos of office life. You can also try using your company logo ironically alongside cheesy Christmas clipart. Office-themed ideas are fun while keeping it professional.


What elements make a sweater ugly and Christmas-y enough for an office party?

Some key elements that make a sweater delightfully ugly and Christmas-inspired include fair isle prints in clashing colors, pom poms/tinsel/sequins, puffy paint designs, silly holiday-themed graphics, 3D decorations like bows/felt shapes glued on, and funny or punny Christmas phrases.

How can I make a sweater ugly enough without crossing the line for a professional workplace?

Keep it fun and playful, not sexy. Avoid overtly sexy suggestions, profanity, or anything too messy or uncomfortable to wear all day. Choose phrases that are cheeky but not offensive. Favor cute, kitschy motifs over anything too edgy for the office.

What are good options for creating an ugly sweater look if you don't own one?

You can layer a Christmas-patterned button-up under a blazer or sweater. Add a Fair Isle patterned vest or cardigan over your work clothing. Attach pins, patches or iron-on designs to your clothes to get the ugly sweater look. Or get crafty making something out of felt, garland, puffy paint, ribbons, etc.

Can managers set rules around appropriate attire for the party?

Yes, managers can provide basic guidance on attire to help set expectations. They may ask employees to avoid offensive or inappropriate slogans, revealing clothing, etc. Consider your office dress code as you plan ugly sweaters to keep it fun but professional.

How can I include my company brand in my ugly sweater design?

Ironically pair your office or company logo with tacky Christmas graphics. Create sweaters based on your job like an accountant with calculators and numbers. Use your brand's colors and incorporate office supplies, equipment, or your profession's common symbols.


Creating fun and festive ugly Christmas sweaters for the office holiday party does require some forethought. The key is aiming for sweaters that provide laughs without crossing professional boundaries. Go for smiles rather than shock value with sweaters focused on funny phrases, cute characters, tacky motifs, and creative DIY embellishments. Whip up sweaters based on your job or company for customized ugly sweater fun. With the right approach, ugly sweaters can liven up your office party and create memorable holiday bonding for years to come.

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