Tacky Christmas Sweaters


As the holiday season approaches, people will begin to bundle up in hats, mittens, socks, and scarves to protect themselves from the chilly weather. A major December trend that is comfortable, practical, and fun is the classic ugly Christmas/holiday sweater. These sweaters are often deemed “tacky” because of adornments such as glitter, pom-poms, reindeers, presents, and Christmas trees. In reality, however, they are a cute and warm way to be festive and get excited about the joy, family, and presents that this season brings. Here are three ways to create your own tacky holiday sweaters at home


1. Christmas Tree Sweater

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What you’ll need:

  • A red sweater

  • Fabric glue

  • Red and green pom-poms

  • Yellow, white, green, blue, and red felt

  • Gold bead string/necklace

  • Scissors

  • Gold ribbon (optional)

  • Small gold/silver bells (optional)


  1. Lay the red sweater flat on the floor.

  2. Arrange the green pom-poms in the formation of a Christmas tree (as shown). Replace some of the green pom-poms with red ones, which will be ornaments. Glue the pom-poms to the sweater using fabric glue.

  3. Glue the gold bead string in a scalloped (upside-down arc) or wiggled pattern across the Christmas tree to add the tinsel.

  4. Cut a star out of the yellow felt with scissors, and glue it to the top of the tree.

  5. Cut small squares out of the different colors of felt with scissors. Cut out and glue crosses and bows to go on top of the squares, thereby creating presents wrapped in ribbon. Glue these under the tree.

  6. Glue more red pom-poms onto the sweater around the tree and on the sleeves if desired.

  7. (optional) Cut evenly spaced holes around the front half of the sweater, about an inch-and-a-half above the bottom. Cut about a three-inch piece of ribbon and pull it through the hole. Loop it through the top of the bell, and tie a knot. Repeat with the remaining holes.


2. Happy “Holla” Days Sweater


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What you need:

  • Any sweater (preferably baggy)

  • Red and green felt

  • A Sharpie

  • Scissors

  • Yellow pipe cleaners or gold chains

  • Hot glue

  • Fabric glue


  1. Lay the sweater flat on the floor.

  2. Using the Sharpie, trace the words “HAPPY” and “DAYS” onto the green or red felt. Cut them out with the scissors.

  3. Use the Sharpie to trace the word “HOLLA” onto the remaining colored felt, then cut it out with scissors.

  4. Lay the word “HAPPY” out toward the top of the sweater. Lay the word “HOLLA” out in the middle of the sweater, underneath “HAPPY.” Lay the word “DAYS” underneath these two. Space out the words and letters as desired.

  5. Using fabric glue, glue the letters onto the sweater.

  6. If using chains, glue them to the shoulders of the sweater with hot glue and at desired lengths. If using yellow pipe cleaners, make rounded rectangle or oval shapes. Attach them by linking the shapes at a 90-degree angle. Continue making the shapes in one or two chains; make them to the desired length(s). Again, glue them to the sweater at the shoulders using hot glue.


3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Sweater

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What you need:

  • A sweater (preferably large and not brown or gold)

  • Brown paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Gold glitter felt or foam sheet

  • Large googly eyeballs

  • Red ribbon or a pre-tied red bow

  • A red pom-pom

  • Scissors

  • Sharpie

  • Fabric glue


  1. Lay the sweater flat on the floor.

  2. Using the Sharpie, trace two hands onto a gold glitter felt or foam sheet. Cut out the hands with scissors. Using fabric glue, glue the hands, which will be the antlers, onto the sweater about three inches apart--either straight up or tilted toward the sleeves.

  3. Paint a clean foot, not including toes, with brown paint using a paintbrush. Before the paint dries, press the foot onto the sweater with the top of the foot overlapping the glitter hands. This will be the reindeer face. Wait until it dries.

  4. Using fabric glue, glue the googly eyes onto the reindeer face in the desired position.

  5. Using fabric glue, glue the red pom-pom onto the bottom of the face to create the nose.

  6. Tie the red ribbon into a bow unless the bow is pre-made. Using fabric glue, glue bow between the antlers or below the nose on the sweater.

- Cecilia Reisner '18 and Caroline Baker '18