Laugh Away Holiday Drama on National Ugly Sweater Day

Ugly Christmas Sweater image

Image Copyright Yulia Malinovskaya /

When I was in Kona, Hawaii attending the American College of Healthcare Science’s Aromatherapy Boot Camp in November, I noticed something that seemed very unusual in the local retail stores.  There were racks of sweaters on display.  Not only do sweaters in a hot climate seem out of place but they were also racks of super ugly sweaters.  I had to laugh that Hawaiian families were preparing to celebrate the Christmas holiday tradition wearing an ugly sweater in 80 degree weather.  

With a little research I learned that no matter where we live that by having a great laugh at an ugly holiday sweater, we can improve our health. We really can laugh our way to health and well-being. According to an article in Chalk Board Magazine, laughter has been shown to improve sleep, and people who get adequate sleep experience lower stress, improved memory and focus, and decreased effects of heart-damaging insomnia.

Where I live in the Northwest, sweaters keep us cozy warm when the weather turns cool and they are a welcome addition to our wardrobes. I have to say that this year National Ugly Sweater Day is giving me a heart healthy double chuckle when I think about anyone brave enough to wear one in a tropical climate. So, I had to take a little time to check out National Ugly Sweater Day to learn how it all began.

I learned that it started as a joke in 1980 when the “ugly sweater” was introduced as the jingle-bell sweater and TV dads appeared wearing them. They hit peak popularity when the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation family appeared in ugly sweaters in 1989.  Surprisingly. or maybe not so much. it turns out that between 2012 and 2015 ugly sweater sales increased by 200 percent.

Ugly Christmas Sweater on St Bernard

St. Bernard Kaimana shows off an ugly Christmas Sweater. Photo courtesy of Erin Hallford

On the third Friday of December, people from across the world, even in tropical climates, will show up for work and parties wearing the most outrageous sweaters they can find. You can find ugly sweaters at local thrift stores or make your own by purchase a basic plain sweater adding extravagant decorations, tinsel, lights and the use of a hot glue gun to help you create the prize winning ugliest sweater in your place of work this year. If you’re not especially creative or can’t find the time, check out your local retailers.  They are joining the fun by making their own version of the ugly sweater.

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