A Michigan Company Is Pushing Ugly Holiday Sweaters To New Heights

The Hajjar brothers have created an online empire of over-the-top holiday sweaters that are sure to cause double takes at your next ­(small and socially distant) holiday party
ugly holiday sweater
Naughty or nice? It’s your choice with these ugly holiday sweaters. // Photo-illustration by Allison Kahler; photographs of sweaters courtesy of UglyChrismasSweater.com

These aren’t those gaudy old sweaters Grandma pulls out of the mothballs every Christmas. Fred and Mark Hajjar, co-founders of the online shop UglyChristmasSweater.com, make that quite clear.

Instead, a scan through their website reveals an edgier take on the “ugly holiday sweater,” with pullovers bearing quotes and characters from the classic Home Alone movies, Elf, The Office, and Rick and Morty; sweaters with risqué designs and double entendres; and a collection of 3D sweaters with stuffed reindeer, sharks, or unicorns protruding from the front and back. “We make those attention-grabbing sweaters; [that] is what we try to do,” Mark says. “And so, it’s not really like the ‘old grandma sweaters’ of the past. It’s turned into almost like a Halloween [costume], where you’re trying to impress someone with the craziest thing that you can.”

The Hajjar brothers launched their business in 2012 after a run of Christmas sweaters they put on eBay went for as much as $500. Since then, UglyChristmasSweater.com has generated millions in revenue and expanded to customizable sweaters, pajamas, plush toys, and lawn decorations. And to stay safe while keeping it festive, shoppers can now buy equally over-the-top masks to go with their sweaters.

The Hajjars’ designs — dreamed up at their Walled Lake warehouse — have earned licensing deals with Disney, Netflix, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. and have been worn by the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, and YouTuber and pro gamer Ninja.

Visit uglychristmassweater.com for more information.