Monday, December 5, 2011

{Ugly Christmas Sweater Party} Ideas

Our 2012 Party has been blogged... the post has TONS of decoration ideas.
Keep scrolling down for our 2011 Party Recap + tips on hosting a party.

Ugly Sweater Wood Blocks
DIY Hot Glue Snowflake Garland + Mantle

How to Build a Photo Booth 
DIY Pom Pom Tree Decoration

2011 Party:
We held our first Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Shindig, and let me tell ya, there was lots of ugly-sweater-ness going on. 

Since we're planning to make this a tradition at our house, I thought it would be convenient to write down all the ideas that I had so I can refer to this post next year! haha. Hopefully this will inspire some ideas for anyone out there who is planning an ugly sweater shindig of your own! And yes, instead of the word "party," shindig just seemed so much more fitting for the occasion!

Let's start with
A Few Weeks Before...
(I usually ask myself these 6 questions when planning an event).

1. WHO: Coming up with a guest list of "who" to invite is hands-down the most stressful part (for me)! You don't want to leave anyone out. But you don't want to invite too many to fit into your living room. What about mixing groups of friends? What about kids? Are you going to ask everyone to find a babysitter? We ended up inviting people that we attend church with. We invited all the "young couples/significant others/singles." I told people to spread the word- and truly hope no one felt left out!
2. WHAT: Decide what you'll be doing at the party, then give your guests the information asap, so they have ample time to find a white elephant gift and an ugly sweater. Also, plan out your menu. Make sure you have enough time to shop and prep. And if people ask what they can bring- if you're prepared- you'll know exactly what would be helpful, without breaking the bank for anyone. Last, plan out your decorations and supplies so you can shop and prep on time.
3. WHERE: Consider your space and decide if it's ample enough for the number of people you have invited. Do you need to rent a venue or is your own living room/kitchen big enough? Other details- do you need to borrow folding chairs? What can you do to make sure your guests have a place to park?
4. WHEN: Keep in mind your own upcoming weekend commitments with work/school/church/community. Then keep in mind other events that you might have in common with those you are inviting, and avoid that date. Pick a date, and start advertising early, like right after Thanksgiving. We had our party on December 3, and even though it was early in the month, it was a fun way to ring in the holiday festivities.
5. WHY: Well, that's a silly question. Because we wanted an excuse to have a party! Also it was fun to get to know people better.
6. HOW: Now you have to figure out how to invite them all! Mail invitations? Word of mouth? Facebook Event? Email? Pass out fliers? Evite? (here's a cute ugly sweater one). 
Did you see the invites that my friend Jamie from The Letter 4 made for my little shindig? Find them here!

A Few Hours Before...
A few random thoughts and tips:
1. Turn your heater down or off. There will be lots of people wearing bulky sweaters, you don't want them to get too hot!
2. Turn on your candles, scentsy, etc.
3. Have a specified place for shoes, coats, purses, etc right when your guests walk in. If left on the couches where your guest are sitting, this can get really clutter-y and crazy! And if there's now outside, wet and muddy!
4. If you want to send food home, have some containers on hand that you don't need to have returned. I found myself shoveling pumpkin dip into dixie cups, and started to feel a little silly, even for an ugly sweater party!
5. Charge your camera batteries.
6. Make sure your guests have a place to park, and a place to sit!
7. Hopefully your trash isn't too full- you'll probably have a lot!

At the Party:
Our night went like this: kiss underneath the mistletoe upon entering. Eat. Decorate an ugly sweater cookie. Socialize. Pictures of each couple. White elephant gift exchange (the best part). Ugliest/Awesomest Sweater Contest. (More ideas: play fun group games, watch a Christmas movie, set up a photo booth).

Food Ideas:
First, I have to thank everyone who brought food. It was such a blessing to have people offer to bring something. It's important to know when to delegate and when no to. I welcomed the offers, mainly because I didn't think I had the time or space to make everything myself. Plus, I find that around the holidays, people have special things they love to make and share. There were about 5 recipes that my friends brought that I need now! Our menu consisted of:
Apple Cider
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Veggie Tray
Queso Dip and chips
Buffalo Chicken dip and chips
Cheese Balls and crackers
Jello Ring
Pumpkin Dip and Gingersnaps
Chocolate cookies
Ugly Sweater Sugar cookies
***I bought 2 sweater cookie cutters here, for $7!!***

Decoration Ideas:
I had so much fun brainstorming ideas. I didn't have time for most of them, but there's always next year! The things I did were:
Ugly Sweater framed picture

Ideas I ran out of time for:
Leg Lamp
Sweater Christmas trees
Sweater Ornaments

Ok, that about wraps up my ideas for this year. I already can't wait for next year's party! Here's a few pictures!


me + T. sheesh, we look tired!

our friend Ryan grew a mustache just for the party. how awesome is that!?

(don't worry- I made my helpers wash their hands after every "taste of dough," really)!

pumpkin cream cheese dip. (recipe on my sister's cooking blog here).
jello mold.... i couldn't help it, i thought it sounded so "ugly sweater worthy." it actually tasted really good! (recipe here).
bacon wrapped water chestnuts. (recipe coming)!

I found this cute card on Etsy from JulieAnn Art.

The highlight of the party was.... a TARANTULA from the White Elephant Gift Exchange!
And guess who got stuck with it? Me! My daughters stole it from our friends, Mike and Angela. I couldn't believe they wanted it!!! It's not the spider that bothers me, its the crickets! Eeeeew!

And now let's have a giveaway.
The awesome guys at Ugly Christmas Sweater Party are giving one of you a hot-off-the-press autographed book!
(giveaway closed)


  1. Love the idea of an ugly sweater party! I have three young teen daughters that are strangely fascinated by ugly sweaters and would an excuse to wear one! Liked both Julie Ann Art on Facebook. Thanks!☺ Nel

  2. I like both on fb.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. LOVE it...looks like SO much fun!!! The look on your face with the spider is PRICELESS!! You are a braver woman than me!

    Oh, and I loved the sweater cookies too!

  6. I liked both things on facebook !!

  7. I posted on facebook about this giveaway.

  8. I LIKE you on facebook

  9. i like them both on faceebook!!

    looks like such a fun party. I can't believe someone gave away a tarantula - - EWWW!!! haha

  10. I follow your blog

  11. I like you on fb

  12. ha ha! This was such a fun night! Can't wait for next year:)

  13. My friends and I added the Ugly Sweater theme to our annual party this year. Your tips and photos are great, thanks for sharing. I have liked both sites on Facebook and the book would be a great gift for our Greedy Gretchen gift exchange!

  14. I like on FB!

  15. Oops, and I liked julie ann art on FB too!

    I like you on FB!

  16. i liked on facebook and Julie ann art also!
    what a cute giveaway :)
    marche_love [at] hotmail [dot] com

  17. i liked you on facebook as Ami Mull

  18. following your blog via GFC

  19. I can't believe we missed it!! Guess we will just have to wait until next year. I love the pictures. What a great party.

  20. I love this! I loved seeing all those familiar faces- ah man sure made me miss you gals!
    I am constantly amazed at all that you get done--you are incredible!

  21. I love ugly Sweater parties, ours is on Saturday! Liked both!

  22. sorry fogot email,

  23. I absolutely love this idea!I found you at tip junkies link party. This would work perfectly for a group date on my blog. I may have to give it a try!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    -Mackenzie @

  24. Thanks for all the tips! My husband and I are hosting our first Tacky Sweater Party on Saturday and I am so excited! Yours turned out great, love all the sweaters!!


  25. My husband and I had our first Ugly Christmas Sweater Party this past Friday night and it was a BLAST!! So so so fun and so much creativity!!
    It is a super fun theme :-D

    Glad I found your blog - People partying with ugly sweaters are my kind of people (wink).

  26. What a fun idea to kick off the holiday season! It looks like you had a great party.

  27. What a fun idea, and it appears you've thought of everything when it comes to having a party!

  28. Thanks for sharing all of the great tips and pictures! It is too late for us to do a party this year, but I really want to do one like this next year.
    Tell me please, where did you find the sweater cookie cutter? That was a great idea!

  29. I LOVE this idea. You just had so many fun activities.:) I'm pinning, 'cause one day we're going to do this.

  30. this is so stinking fun I'd love you to link this up to my what we wore party over at

  31. Tis the season to rock ugly sweaters! My hubby and I are throwing one for our neighborhood this Saturday and I can't wait!! Great tips!

  32. So glad i found this! We're throwing an ugly sweater party next week and for the life of me I couldn't figure out the food spread. Thank you!

  33. I "liked" Like and Julie Ann Art on Facebook.

  34. Subscribed to your RSS on my Google Reader! :)

  35. Posted a link to your blog post/giveaway on my friend's Facebook page. She's hosting an ugly sweater party next weekend...can't wait!!!

  36. Shared your giveaway on twitter!!!

  37. I "Liked" you on FB too :)

  38. I FB'ed about this giveaway.!/MelodyGould/posts/127391110708479

  39. I "Liked" both on FB. :-)

  40. Hehe! Reminds me of my favorite red reindeer sweater. Ya, I wore it till there were holes in it... Yikes! But it sure was comfy. I love the party idea and pics. Looks like you had a blast. I want to have an "ugly sweater" party. Maybe next year.

  41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  42. berardi01@msn.comMonday, December 12, 2011

    I liked u both on fb!

  43. berardi01@msn.comMonday, December 12, 2011

    I now like u on fb!

  44. aw, what a cute idea!! i liked both of them on fb

    lauren51990 at aol dot com

  45. I liked both Ugly Christmas Sweater Party & Julie Ann Art on FB. roseandlyn (at) gmail (dot) com.

  46. Having my USP tomorrow night! Can't wait!

  47. I like the uglychristmas sweater party on fb.

  48. I like julie on fb.

  49. I follow.

  50. I like you on fb.

  51. I liked both on FB!

    jenfur427 at

  52. tweeted this!!/jenfur427/status/149975316629168129

  53. How about posting more kids clothing ideas? Kid’s are very finicky so sometimes it is hard to choose clothes for them.

  54. How I wish I can have and start a family on my own that can live happy ever after. I guess, that is what every girls dream right?

  55. We celebrated Christmas eve and baby shower party at the same time last year. This is because my wife got pregnant on the month of December.

  56. I always found sweaters tricky to wash but they're fun to wear when you are with the family. Anyways, I love this post!

  57. Amazing..!! The party must have gone well. The pictures are amazing and the 'ugly sweaters' look fab..!! The food served is really mouth watering and the kids actually worked very hard. :)Thanks for sharing the beautiful post and the collection here. :)

  58. Aweseome party list. Great pictures and ideas. Nice job on the sweater cookies too!


  59. Cool designs and party ideas you got here. I love how you've shown your creativity and uniqueness in everything you got here, from the decorations of your home upto the food you're serving.

  60. Great party ideas! I love ugly Christmas sweater parties. Wish they would be year round :)


Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!
♥Rach H