Ugly Christmas sweaters are a yuletide staple. Once thought of as a cringe-worthy outfit worn or gifted by unfashionable older relatives, ugly sweaters have recently transformed into a cozy Christmas requirement worn by all. They have become a holiday tradition for this generation! These quirky woolen pullovers can feature any Christmas-inspired motif and therefore appeal to a very large audience. From Baby Yoda to caroling sharks to reindeer with glowing noses, ugly sweaters are for all ages and interests. These obnoxious and tacky, yet fuzzy and festive garments keep your eyes busy with their designs chock-full of Christmas cheer.
Not only are ugly Christmas sweaters a talking point of the holiday season at Christmas parties and gatherings, but they are also an excellent source of inspiration for students’ writing as they elicit no shortage of material for descriptions and opinions. Because of this, students at SIS Ingolstadt in Ms. Thomas’s third grade class kicked off the Christmas season last year with an ugly sweater competition!
Students started off by learning about the history of ugly Christmas sweaters. They read about the beginning of the Christmas sweater fad in the 1950s with “jingle bell sweaters” and about how ugly Christmas sweaters went from fashionable in the 1980s to a funny holiday party theme in the early 2000s. After obtaining sufficient background knowledge on the subject, students looked at many different photos of ugly Christmas sweaters featuring various themes and motifs to inspire their own designs, then spent the rest of Art class executing their idea.
After students finished drawing and designing their ugly Christmas sweaters, it was time to analyze and describe their design. In English Writing class, students brainstormed then wrote descriptive paragraphs about the many characteristics of their sweaters, including the colors, patterns, designs, special features, and how they imagine the sweaters would feel.
The following week, it was time for the competition to begin! Students wrote persuasive paragraphs to convince their classmates to vote for their ugly Christmas sweater. In their paragraphs, students listed three reasons why their sweater is the best then provided examples to support their claims. After everyone shared their paragraphs aloud, students voted for their favorite sweater and provided three reasons for their choice on their ballots. The winners were declared, and the ugly Christmas sweater season came to an end in third grade!
Third grade had a wonderful time designing and writing about their ugly Christmas sweaters. These tacky, wonderful, “ugly” and festive designs inspired holiday cheer as well as their writing. They were engaged and especially committed to their writing when they used their ugly sweaters as inspiration. We had a lot of fun participating in this marvelous cross-curricular holiday project!