It's the holiday season, folks. The merry bells are ringing, the chestnuts are roasting, and snow is still a magical experience instead of the miserable, freezing one it will soon become. If you're a firm believer in the importance of the time-honored tradition of tacky holiday garb, I have news for you: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is right around the corner. Celebrated annually on the the third Friday in December, the unofficial "holiday" takes place on Dec. 15 this year, which is merely days away. So if you haven't yet found the chance to go through the back of your closet and dust off the reindeer-emblazoned, pompom-encrusted '80s monstrosity passed down from your mother, now is the time. But once you have your bit of holiday cheer in hand, how are you supposed to actually celebrate Ugly Christmas Sweater Day? The holiday's website makes it clear that wearing your knitwear with pride is the first step.
"Leave the school uniform at home, keep the preppy office blouse in your closet, and whatever you do, don't even think about taking your suit to work. All you need to wear is your ugly Christmas sweater because this is your day, this is our day, this is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day."
After that, things are pretty much up in the air. You can go about your day like normal, satisfied in your tacky coziness, or you can get into the holiday spirit with parties, cookie bake-offs, and even designing your own sweater for next year. If you need a place to start, here are some ways to celebrate Ugly Christmas Sweater Day in (un)style.
1. Acquire A Christmas Sweater
You've probably figured this out already, but you can't celebrate Ugly Christmas Sweater Day without a sweater. The holiday's website has a list of preferred vendors, or you can head to a thrift shop nearby. You'll find something appropriately hideous in no time.
2. Make Your Own
Better yet, if you're the crafty type, why not make a sweater to your personal specifications? They're easy enough to DIY. Just grab some seasonal decorations and an old sweater, and go to town. As always, you can find plenty of tutorials online.
3. Host An Office Contest
Bring some holiday cheer to your place of work by organizing an office-wide ugly Christmas sweater contest. Since it was your idea, you can be in charge of decorating the ugly sweater ballot box.
4. Organize An Ugly Bake-Off
Are your baking exploits delicious yet unsightly? There's no better time to enjoy them than Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, when adorable ugliness is celebrated. Round up your friends to bake and decorate holiday treats. If your Santa cupcake looks a little lopsided or your Rudolph turned out misshapen, who cares? The messiest baked good wins.
5. Donate Sweaters
Don't forget that not everyone has the luxury of wearing an ugly sweater ironically. Find the time to donate old knitwear to a local shelter or nonprofit.
6. Check Out Promotions
It may be an unofficial holiday, but several companies are offering promotions on Dec. 15. Alaska Airlines, for example, is allowing passengers with sufficiently hideous sweaters to board early, and Chipotle is giving out free queso to anyone who wears their "cheesiest" sweater on Dec. 12.
7. Take Some Selfies
If an ugly sweater pic never makes it to Instagram, did you really wear it? To make sure everyone properly appreciates your efforts, immortalize your #UglySweater on the Internet.
8. Find An Ugly Sweater Run
Ugly sweater runs, where race participants wear the ugliest knitwear they can find, are increasingly popular. Do some Googling and see if you can take part in one this weekend.
9. Throw A Party
Finally, there's no better way to celebrate a holiday than by putting together a fabulous party. Round up those cookies you baked earlier, put some wassail (or better yet, mulled wine) on the stove, and draw up plans for a costume contest. Whoever has the ugliest holiday sweater wins a fake Santa beard to be worn all night and, more importantly, bragging rights until next year.