Thank you to Tostitos! for sponsoring today’s post.
What do you get when you combine sweater weather + the holidays? If you said an ugly sweater party, then bingo! You would be correct!
Believe it or not, it wasn’t until college that I discovered the festive ridiculousness that is the ugly sweater party. What was this fun madness and where had it been all my life?! Never one to turn down a party, or the chance to wear a sweater out (as opposed to getting all fancied up), I was immediately into it. I also loved the DIY factor and, even better, seeing the creative and clever designs and sweater decorations that all my friends had come up with. It always made for a truly fun night and was way more exciting than just sitting around and chatting.
Way back when I graduated college (Puh-lease don’t remind me how tragically long ago that really was!) and went into the real world, I left behind many of my college traditions (for obvious reasons). However, the ugly sweater party is one of the lucky ones that escaped into adulthood with me. That’s right party people! The tradition is alive and well!
This holiday season, I’ve teamed up with Frito-Lay to show you just how I throw an ugly sweater party and how you can throw one, too. FYI, thanks to the whole casual ugly sweater factor, this may be one of the easiest parties to throw! Unlike most parties where things need to be all organized, color-coded and fancy, this type of party is much more relaxed and almost anything holiday-themed goes. I mean, it’s not called ‘ugly’ for no reason. I say embrace that to the max, especially if party décor and parties aren’t normally your thing. Of course, all that aside, we still want our ugly party to not be completely ugly (Gotta be able to ‘gram it!), so keep that in mind with things like quirky sayings on signs, your serving ware or how you set up your table.
For the drinks, I set them up on our bar cart with a chalkboard sign saying “Ugly Sweater Party” and a few glitter tree candles. You could also use the bottom of the cart to keep extra drinks, cups and/or an ice bucket (if you need it for other drinks).
Of course, everyone has to eat, but, since the spotlight is on the sweaters, keep your food simple. I set up a taco bar (you can use another bar cart or a small side table to do this) with everything from taco meat to shredded cheese to olives, corn, Tostitos Scoops! large bag, sautéed seasoned peppers, sliced avocado, Tostitos Salsa, tortilla shells, green chiles and sour cream (most of these items require little more than opening a can or a package, making it super simple). You could also add tomatoes, lettuce, onions and even fruit (like mango or pineapple) to the mix, if you wanted. I used another chalkboard sign and a small cactus (which I added some mini lights and a star topper to) for the tables décor. For dessert, I made a quick chocolate bark by melting 16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips, spreading it out on a parchment lined baking sheet and then topping it with pieces of Lay’s Wavy Potato Chips Dipped in Dark Chocolate (Literally the most insanely delicious thing ever! I could eat a whole bag in one sitting if I’m not careful!) and pieces of pretzel. Then, pop it in the fridge for about an hour, or until hard, break into pieces and, for festive serving, put pieces into metallic cupcake liners then place those on a cake stand. Not only does it look fun, but it’s also an easier way for people to grab the bark.
Moving right along to the star of the show, the ugly sweater station. I usually go to my local craft store and just go to town getting supplies, everything from ribbons to felt to markers to paint to pom-poms to jingle bells to stick-on rhinestones to bows. This year our craft store even had these great holiday foam stickers that made decorating sweaters almost fool-proof. We also thought it would be fun to have some pop culture phrases, so the Mr. came up with things like “Ho Ho Yolo”, “Take an Elfie” (my personal fave) and “Santa on Fleek”. Since I know you’re going to be as obsessed with those phrases as we are, we even made you simple printables…you’re welcome!
As far as the actual sweater assembly, while you can use glue, we’ve also found safety pins to be a great, less-permanent, way to attach items to your sweater (Ya know, just in case anyone wants to wear that sweater at some other point in the year!). As a way to simultaneously decorate without adding to the clutter of the table, we set up an empty photo frame and then used mini clothespins to attach various decorating items to the frame’s wire. Another way to decorate is to wrap other “ugly” sweaters around boxes and display them as “presents”. Last but not least, set up a little voting station (a simple jar, pen and paper slips will do) for everyone to vote for their favorite sweater at the end of the party. Bonus- you could even give out a prize for best sweater, anything from a simple ribbon to add to their sweater or even an 8-pack of Bud Light.
As I mentioned before, this is a relatively fool-proof party to put together. At the end of the day it’s about friends gathering to have fun with one another and celebrate the season. And, ya know, maybe even take an elfie ;)