Tipples and Tackiness: Decor, Menu and Music for an Ugly Sweater Cocktail Party

Apartment Therapy Perfect Party Ideas Guide

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Remember those horrible holiday sweaters that everyone seemed to wear in the 90's? The ones with the jingling bells, 3D snowmen and light-up buttons? Well apparently (and unbeknownst to me until quite recently), they're now a "thing."

People all over the world now throw holiday parties to which their guests come attired in the ugliest, tackiest, most over-the-top sweaters they can manage to dig up. Throw in some strong cocktails, tasty nibbles and a few prizes for the best (read: worst) sweater, and I can kind of see where they're coming from. Read on for ideas on decor, menu and music for your own tack-tastic ode to the holidays.

The Decor:

The rule of thumb here is the brighter, the better. Think fibre optic Christmas trees, over-the-top decorations, cheesy mugs, and lots of red. Let your inner child run rampant, and you'll soon get the idea.

  1. Disco ball ornament from CB2, $1.95.
  2. Christmas bauble wreath from Habitat, approx. $32.00.
  3. Assorted Christmas stockings from John Lewis, approx. $16.00 - $24.00.
  4. Greet bar glass from Crate & Barrell, $9.95.
  5. Invitation from Yvonne B Designs on Etsy, $10.00.
  6. Pre-lit, 6.5' Douglas Fir tree from Target, $85.80.
  7. Set of 4 Christmas mugs from Amazon, $40.30.
  8. Rens sheepskin rug from IKEA, $29.99.
  9. Christmas village cushion, Marks & Spencer, approx. $72.00.
  10. Orson armchair in red, from Made.com, approx. $560.00
  11. Upcycled woollen pouffe from The Remakerie on Etsy, $99.00.

The Menu:

Don't fret too much about the culinary side of things: people are at this party to have fun, not give marks out of ten for canapé presentation. A signature cocktail, some holiday punch, a few toasted nuts and a couple sweet offerings should be enough to get the party started.

  1. Candy Cane Cocktail from Martha Stewart
  2. The Poinsettia from The Kitchn
  3. Milk Punch from Smitten Kitchen
  4. Hot Apple-Ginger Toddy from The Kitchn
  5. Dulce de Leche Coffee from The Pioneer Woman
  6. Ina Garten's Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts via The Food Network
  7. Quick-time Sausage Cassoulet from Jamie Oliver
  8. Creamed Mushrooms on Chive Toast from Smitten Kitchen
  9. Gordon Ramsay's Mince Pies via Channel 4 Food
  10. Rosemary Pecan Bark from Camille Styles

The Music:

This is not the occasion to break out your favorite esoteric rock, or share that too-cool-for-school indie band you just discovered with all your mates. This is the time for cheesy, old-school holiday music that everyone knows and loves (or at least loves to hate.) Take a little Elton, add some Madonna and (of course) a bit of Mariah, and you've got yourself a party.

  1. Elton John - Step into Christmas
  2. Willie Nelson & Norah Jones - Baby, It's Cold Outside
  3. Elvis - Merry Christmas Baby
  4. Madonna - Santa Baby
  5. Wham - Last Christmas
  6. The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
  7. Destiny's Child - 8 Days of Christmas
  8. Frank Sinatra - White Christmas
  9. Ike and Tina Turner - Merry Christmas Baby
  10. Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You

(Images: As linked above)

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