Fun National Ugly Sweater Day DIY Ideas that are sustainable too

Let’s have some fun with National Ugly Sweater Day and some fabulous eco friendly DIY Ideas!

What is Ugly Sweater Day?

Ugly Sweater Day has taken a little time to evolve! At first people wore Christmas Jumpers, because, ahem, they actually liked them… but it soon become a bit of a fun and maybe a little ironic item of clothing to wear around Christmas time. Something to help you embrace your inner Elf and have some fun during the holiday season. It has since grown in popularity and every year people the world over spend a significant amount on a festive jumper.

Now.. we are ALL for a bit of fun in our house – and we adore a Christmas Jumper or Ugly Jumper like the next person (the inner Elf is strong)… however, we are also a little worried about impacts of cheap fast fashion on the environment – both in terms of the production processes, shipping impact, as well as the final result – landfill problems…. so. Ugly Sweater Day, really is NOT great for the environment at all.

However, I don’t want to be the boring Christmas Elf.. so this article is all about having FUN this National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, but in a more sustainable fashion!

First up. When is Ugly Sweater Day?

Ugly Sweater Day is held on the 3rd Friday of December. In 2021 this falls on Friday the 17th December!

How can I participate in the National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day?

Soooo here is a dilemma for you… how can you participate in National Ugly Sweater Day, without actually purchasing an ugly sweater? You may be low on cash this Christmas and want to save a few pennies. Or maybe you have 5 ugly sweaters already and really don’t want to add another one? Or maybe, you feel bad about the environmental impact of yet another ugly sweater, that being honest, you will only wear once?

So how can you participate in the National Ugly Sweater Day, with minimal impact to the environment? Here are some GRETA ideas!

Upcycle a plain sweater

There are LOTS of quick and easy ways and then lots of more complicates and quirky ways you can decorate an ordinary sweater into an UGLY Christmas Sweater.. I think this super quirky Christmas Tree Sweater on YouTube is hilarious! However, you can keep it simple – like we did for my son’s school jumper one year – and we were able to reuse the top for other events too as we pinned and taped our features to the jumper. ZERO WASTE! It was really easy and it involved him in making it. The teacher’s loved it.

Just remember – when making your own jumper, USE WHAT YOU HAVE, don’t go and buy a brand new jumper to decorate, as that takes away the reason of making your own. You CAN go and get a thrift store jumper to decorate.. but keep the environment in mind as much as you can!

Country Living has many more great ideas for you to browse!

Have a Christmas Sweater swap or second hand sale

host a christmas jumper sale

There are more Christmas jumpers lurking in your community than you realise. Ask your neighbours and friends if they fancy a Christmas Sweater swap – in fact – you could host a swap party on Christmas Sweater day itself! For our community we host a School Fundraiser – collecting and selling second hand Christmas Sweaters in November. A great way to freshen up your wardrobe for the festive season, reduce landfill waste AND raise some money for school or a local charity.

If you plan to host a sale – I recommend collecting sweaters ALL YEAR round and storing them. As people tend to have clear outs throughout the year. Read all about how to host a Christmas Jumper Sale!

Check out the thrift stores and charity shops

Ok, so you are still spending money if you go and shop in the thrift stores – but believe me, you will get a MUCH better bargain and your impact on the environment will be ZERO! Plus you will help raise much needed funds for the thrift store charities.

But I REALLY want to buy a new Christmas Jumper

Ok.. so you REALLY want to buy a new Christmas Jumper? And the above solutions don’t do it for you? That is fine.. you are allowed to buy stuff. Ha. But if you do buy new Ugly Sweater this year – consider this:

  • Is it a design I can wear on a normal day (ie NOT just Christmas Jumper Day, but through out December, even January)
  • How was the jumper made (ie is it a decent quality, does it come from a factory with low working conditions and bad for the environment? Hint: if it is super cheap, it is likely that someone wasn’t paid very much to produce it)

Make Ugly Sweater Greeting Cards

ugly sweater cards
Simply Bessy has a lovely example!

You can always embrace the ugly sweater day with some quirky crafting! We love a making all sorts of Christmas Cards and an Ugly Sweater Card is the perfect addition.

  • Simply make yourself a simple Ugly Sweater Template.
  • Cut out it out
  • Then have some doodle fun with colourful pens

Note: only use eco friendly glitter and avoid synthetic pom poms. You can create super fun cards that are still biodegradable and fun!

Make Ugly Sweater Ornaments

Making Mine has some felt Ugly Sweater Ornaments

There are lots of ways you can make some Ugly Jumper Ornaments – for example:

  • Making Mine has some super cute FELT Ugly Sweater Ornaments – these are all glued, but you can of course sew too!
  • You can Knit or Crochet an Ugly Sweater (these mini Christmas Jumper patterns are free)
  • You can make Salt Dough Ugly Sweaters – we haven’t had a go at these yet… but check out our Salt Dough Recipe section here. You could either paint your finished Salt Dough Sweaters, use posca pens or keep it “natural” and add elements such as cloves to decorate.

Baking some Ugly Sweater Cookies

Flex those baking skills and make yourself some Ugly Sweater Cookies! These are made by Taste of Home and don’t they look amazing? Making a set of these certainly is very creative. You could easily package these up as Ugly Sweater Party favours or make a batch to sell at a charity fund raiser! Beautiful.

I hope you feel inspired to have a super fun National Ugly Sweater Day this December! But in a some what more eco friendly manner! Enjoy!

More Sustainable Christmas DIY ideas for you here:

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