ugly-christmas-sweater-logoYou may have recently noticed that a new breed of theme parties has slowly begun to replace the tried-and-true soirees you’ve grown accustomed to. Instead of costume parties on Halloween, your friends are throwing mustache shindigs where everyone has to deck themselves out in furry, fake mustaches from a bygone era (never fear, you can find a wide variety of products online or in novelty stores to help you out). And rather than hosting the standard white elephant party for Christmas, you’ve started to see invites for ugly Christmas sweater parties, whereby guests must show up sporting the ugliest holiday sweater they can find, replete with reindeer appliques featuring yarn pom-poms for noses, just for example. While some people will certainly scratch their heads over the logic and taste involved in such an undertaking, savvy party-goers like yourself will see the potential for fun and shenanigans inherent in this type of social gathering. And if you’re interested in hosting one of your own, here are a few fantastic ideas that will help your ugly Christmas sweater party stand out from the crowd.

First you’ll have to get rid of those pesky inhibitions that tell you a fashion maven like yourself cannot possibly be seen in an ugly holiday sweater that was last considered cool…okay, that has never, ever been considered even remotely stylish. Ever. Not even by your grandma, who will reveal on her deathbed that she actually re-gifted it to you when you were twelve. Should you wear these awful confections of eye-searing, child-scarring wool in your everyday life? For the love of God, no. But when you’re throwing a party and you’re in on the joke, you can make an exception in the spirit of fun and conformity. The only question is, how can you make your ugly Christmas sweater party unique when everyone is doing it?

For one thing, you could set rules to force your guests to get creative. You can set a spending limit of $5 on any one guest’s outfit (or ten dollars for a couple if both can fit into one sweater at the same time). Or you might tell them they have to come with an ugly sweater on, but then make them trade randomly throughout the course of the party. You could even ask them to create their own ugly holiday sweaters, starting with a plain sweatshirt and adding anything from cotton balls and puff paint to macaroni paintings. People could even get really creative with strings of Christmas lights (complete with a battery pack), tufts of tinsel, or even an entire nativity set somehow affixed to their top (or perhaps just a baby Jesus borrowed from the life-size set on mom’s lawn).

Of course, no ugly Christmas sweater party is complete without contests and prizes. Generally speaking, contests might include ugliest sweater, funniest sweater, or most creative concept. To make it a little more interesting, though, you might hold a contest for the best replicas of holiday movie sweaters (‘The Santa Clause’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, ‘Deck the Halls’, and so on). Or you might encourage guests to create sweaters that are the most likely to get them thrown in the clink should they get pulled over on the way home (but still with a holiday theme). Who knows what people will come up with? You might even call for holiday mash-ups like Chrismahannukwanzika sweaters.

You may be somewhat limited by the ugly Christmas sweater theme – it is pretty specific – but you should be able to find ways to get creative and host a one-of-a-kind holiday party that your family and friends won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to encourage attendees to Instagram throughout the festivities. The person who gets the most “likes” by the end of the night for party pics could win a prize!