How to Ease-Stress in an Ugly Sweater


I don’t know about you, but when the holidays roll around, I can feel my muscles start to tense up. While I may be able to socialize with larger groups of people, my introverted nature starts to reach for the curtains and seeks to “cocoon” as soon as possible. The “being on” all the time is exhausting. By the end of just a few days, I feel physically and emotionally drained. In fact, bed and some Stranger Things is sounding like heaven right about now. It is a love/hate relationship: I love the people, stories, and laughter, but when you live far away, and you fly in- it is so hectic, it feels like you have entered into the eye of a tornado.

Before you know it…politics, religion, drama….politics, come up-and tension starts to rise, and we are all wishing-hoping for that activity that will allow us to laugh and be silly again.

This year- I anticipated this spiral, and was ready! I prepped my fambam for the ultimate Holiday de-stresser, it’s not rocket science or new, BUT it does work.


How to Ease-Stress in an Ugly Sweater:

  1. Alert your group of the plan!

    Send out a quick text or e-mail there will be an “ugly sweater picture” or “ugly sweater present exchange”

  2. What happens if people in the group oppose?

    Sometimes you have to ease your group into the plan.

    “We should do an ugly sweater family picture! Ugliest sweater gets _______ for a prize”  (i.e. picking the game, movie, outing, dessert, not doing Christmas Dinner dishes, etc)

    My grinched out Sears sweater.

    Next you start photo-bombing your group with google images of ugly sweaters.

    Finally, send them pictures of you shopping for your sweater- it’s gonna happen!
    Typically, people get excited about things if one person in their group is really excited about it.

  3. Where to get these sweaters?

    Some people go to stores like Tipsyelves, Kohls, JCPenny, etc to buy them. I find that thrift stores have super tacky finds, and hilarious results. You might uncover a sweater that is almost right, and then add something to it (like a bunch of red and green pom-poms) and it becomes instant perfection.


  4. What Happens if someone in our group comes in a “cute sweater”? 

    If someone in your group chooses not to participate, that is fine. It is not up to you to make them participate- the whole point is to release stress with this activity. So, cute sweater? No big deal.

    Now, what I would do is bring back up items, (i.e. a scarf, a hat, a sweater, a felt Santa or tree to pin on, etc) and offer one of those items to Mr. Cute Sweater and see if he is willing to Uglyfy his look. If not, no sweat. You can always add something tacky on when you edit the picture with the “stickers” tab. They have tons of fun Christmas options.

  5. Should I set up rules?

    The only rules I set up are “bring an ugly sweater, the uglier the better.” It’s more fun with less structure, but that is up to you.

  6. Do I need a nice camera?

    You can take a picture on your phone if you want! Just make sure you get a picture with everyone 🙂 So figure out your timer beforehand.

  7. Why do this ugly sweater thing?

    The point is to have fun with your group (whether that is family, friends, etc.) You want to make it as joyful, funny, and fun as possible! But it is also a chance to make some memories. You can keep these pictures, look back, laugh, and remember those moments you were all together being silly together in 2016, 17, and beyond.

In Summary:

  • Give your family sufficient time to buy/find a sweater
  • Get creative with the sweaters
  • Do not stress if someone does not wish to participate initially
  • Come with back-up pieces (hat, scarf, extra sweater, something to pin on)
  • Do not worry about your camera quality, it is about the laughs

So what should you take away from this ugly sweater post? Time with each other is so important and to be cherished. The older I get, the more I crave those precious moments together. The laughter and joy-filled ones are the moments I yearn for the most. Therefore, I challenge you to try an ugly sweater Christmas, and see what happens for your group!

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss

Posted by

Him and Her. Life and Narrative. Married, partnered, friends. Simple and sweet. The ups and downs together. Be kind, be caring, be loving. A theatre artist and a military officer. Living in Lexington Kentucky, often long distance. We explore, we write, we share. We love to travel, eat, listen to music, try new things, be present each day, and live a minimal lifestyle.

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