Somewhere in the midst of my crazy yesterday, full of present-making and wrapping and preparations, and my crazy today, when my brother graduated college, we threw an awesome Ugly Sweater Christmas Party for our singles ministry. I’ve made up my mind. This is definitely going to be an annual tradition.
For those of you who haven’t done it yet, it is the perfect time to gather together, look and act like goofballs, take pictures, eat comfort food, exchange gifts, and celebrate Christmas. Here’s how we put together, so you can have some ideas to get started.
Decor: Tacky. Just whatever. I already shared about my inelegant Christmas, so it was pretty much already set up that way. Also, since it’s the last few days before Christmas, I was able to round up some cute tin trays with sweater designs – perfect!
I also set up a homemade photo booth (although it only got a little use). It came out perfect. It was simply a tablecloth, a garland of candy canes, and two bows (that came in a single package) – all from the Dollar Store, costing a grand total of $3.
Dress: We made everyone wear a sweater. Our goal was for everyone to wear an ugly one, and I think most people gave a strong effort to be a little goofy with it. Goodwill was the obvious choice, but since ugly Christmas sweater parties are all the rage, we just went for ugly sweaters, whichever ones you could find or had on-hand. I also added a $1 “Santa hat” headband from JoAnn’s and a flashing Christmas light necklace from the Dollar Store.
Food: One of our girls came up with the genius idea of having chili for the party, which was perfect. A comfort food that you could just toss together? Awesome. You could even make it a chili cook-off, but we just made two types and divided up the other foods to make it easier. We had sodas and beers, and also had one of the girls bring her amazing hot cocoa mix. And then we had chili toppings, cornbread, and desserts. Simple, and it just worked.
Activities: We planned ahead of time to do a Secret Santa, so we had everyone bring their gifts and put them under the tree. After eating, two of the singles handed out the packages, and we watched people open them, with “oohs” and “ahhs” and laughs. Then they guessed their Santa, which was a fun way to do it.You could also do a White Elephant or Yankee Swap or whatever-you-call-it gift exchange – everyone brings a wrapped gift, all items in the middle of the circle, every person gets a number. First person gets to pick a gift and opens it for all to see, second person can take the first gift or open a new one, then everyone following can pick from what’s already been opened or get a new gift.
Then we had an ugly sweater walk-off, which was by far the most fun thing of the night. We blasted “All I Want for Christmas is You” (Mariah, of course), and had everyone strut their stuff. I didn’t know if this crowd would be into it, but they surprised me by really rocking it and having fun. We chose a winner – a guy wearing an amazing sweater vest – and he won an amazingly-tacky reindeer bobble head, which wore its own ugly sweater. The rules were that it had to be brought back next year to be passed onto the next winner.
Finally, we opened up the floor for people to choose – some watched “Elf” while the others snacked and hung out. I had in mind to do some Christmas Minute-to-Win-It games (this link is such a great resource), but I just never got them pulled together. Maybe next year.Here are some more really great ideas I found floating around the internet: