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How to win all the ugly Christmas sweater contests this holiday season

 Photos by Tina Wallace

While the prospect of receiving and having to wear an ugly Christmas sweater knit by your well-intentioned granny used to illicit groans, these sweaters are now staples in the wardrobes of many university students. To ensure you don’t fall into the harrowing social trap of commiting a fashion faux-pas at your next holiday party, the Fulcrum presents the 2013 Ugly Christmas Sweater Guide.

Step 1: The Hunt

There are several ways of attaining the perfect Christmas sweater. You can a) Go digging through your attic in hopes that the mothballs kept the sweater safe, b) attempt to iron on a giant Santa emblem to the front of your old hand-me-down sweater, or c) go thrifting.Arts_Freestore2_TinaWallaceWEB

While thrift stores like Value Village, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army are large-scale shops with hundreds of items available, you shouldn’t neglect smaller thrift shops like St. Vincent de Paul along Wellington Street or the University of Ottawa’s very own Free Store on King Edward Avenue, wherein there’s a possibility of finding true treasures in Christmas fashion.

Nevertheless, all thrift stores this time of the year are brimming with Christmas sweaters. They have dozens to choose from, and it’s expected that you don’t only pick up one—get into the holiday spirit and pick up one for your best friend or pet, too.

Step 2: Selection

The sweater you pick can make or break you, as it could secure your status as the Christmas champion at the next party. While there are electric, LED lit sweaters donned by extremely commited ugly-sweater connoiseurs, your sweater can be as tacky or Disney-like as you want it to be.

You could get a sweater with your favourite iconic Christmas character on it even if the character is dangerously obscure, it’ll be a great icebreaker at the party. Or, if you like your emphasis on patterns and textures, make sure your sweater is decked out front-to-back with zigzags, snowmen, candy canes, and snowflakes randomly littering the two-dimensional, bedazzled wool. A good rule is the cheesier the better.

You’ll get a gold star if you can find a sweater that references a cult-classic Christmas movie—you gain the approval of hipsters everywhere.

Arts_FreeStore1_TinaWallaceWEBStep 3: Rockin’ it!

Live in that sweater as if it’s the only piece of clothing you own. Don’t just limit its use to weekend holiday parties. This sweater you have invested hours of time finding and fixing up is a part of your identity now. Nobody on campus will see you wearing it at home on Christmas day, so you need to wear it every day through exams. It is your proud responsibility to show everyone what to wear instead of those standard exam sweats, and who knows, the light-up Rudolph on your front may just give you the luck you need for a shining A+.



  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper