Why Every School Needs an Ugly Sweater Day

Why Every School Needs an Ugly Sweater Day

“Ms. P – are you ready for Ugly Sweater Day?”

When my student came up to me after class, this was not the question I expected. It turns out that this school had a long tradition of Ugly Sweater Day. The day before Winter Break, everyone (and I do mean everyone) wore an Ugly Christmas or Holiday sweater to school.

I was new that year and you can’t mess with tradition, right? So, I hit a local thrift shop and bought the grandma-iest (is that a word?) sweater I could find. And I wore it with pride that day.

When I joined a brand new high school, I knew that this needed to become a thing. Our staff morale was . . . low heading into the winter break. We needed something to look forward to and bond us as a staff. Ugly Sweaters it was.

If you’re thinking, “We need something to get us in a holiday spirit!” then Ugly Sweater Day is for you. Read on to get my tips for why and how to start a new tradition in your school!

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Why Every School Needs an Ugly Sweater Day

It’s Fun

Let’s face it – December can be grueling in most schools. There are exams, projects, special events, and everyone just wants school to end. We all need a little cheer and camaraderie. 

In the school where I introduced the day, we paired it with a staff lunch. The ugly sweaters made the lunch more fun and we all looked forward to seeing each other’s sweaters.

It’s Festive, but not Religious

When I taught in public schools, I was crazy careful about the religious aspect of the holidays. I usually nixed Christmas music and movies in my classroom, knowing that I had students that practiced lots of different religions.

But ugly sweaters are hardly religious. Yes, they are often Christmas themed, but only in the broadest sense. A quick Amazon search produced sweaters with cats, dinosaurs, elves, athletic teams, and Star Wars. On just the first page.

How to Set Up an Ugly Sweater Day

Start with the Teachers

If you are a teacher, this is the best place to start. Organize a department or departments to deck the halls with your ugly sweaters. Make it a competition between departments for extra participation!

Time it before the break. In my first school, it was the last day of school before break. In my next school, exams were right before break, so we held it on the last full Friday of classes. Just pick a date when most people will be able to participate.

Talk to the Student Government

Kids would love to get in on this! The student government could spread the word. Have the kids take LOTS of pictures of staff and students in their gear and add them to the school’s social media!

Just a note – you may have to be specific about what is acceptable dress at school. There are some . . . questionable sweaters available on Amazon.

Set up an Ugly Sweater Making Party

Encourage homemade (and less expensive sweaters or t-shirts) with a sweater making party. People can bring their own shirt or sweater and the school, student government, or a club provides some items to deck out those sweaters – ribbon, pompoms, etc.

This should get you started on creating an Ugly Sweater Day tradition at your school! Here’s to ugly sweaters and holiday fun!

What fun holiday traditions does your school have? Let me know in the comments below?


Related Posts: 9 Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Teen, Fun (& Useful) Stocking Stuffers for the Teens in Your Life, How to Study Effectively During the Holidays, How to Cut the Stress This Holiday Season

December in schools can be brutal with exams and stress. Set up a fun inclusive day of ugly sweaters to lighten the mood and celebrate! #uglysweaters #holidayfun


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