Ugly sweaters have been a reason to party ever since the seventh Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenell, outfitted his troops in state-of-the-art knitwear prior to a somewhat pivotal battle against Russian forces in the Crimean War. Lord Cardigan’s troops defeated the Russian forces with an unforeseeable, last-minute ambush (a strategy that would later help coin the terms “fashionably late” and “dressed to kill”). In a fashionably monumental celebration, Lord Cardigan and his sweater-laden troops hosted a post-battle after party — an event that prominent historians now regard as the first ugly sweater party in the history of the world.

Fast forward a couple centuries, and you are here — digging through your local Goodwill, or perhaps your second or third thrift store of the day (for the more resilient thrifters), in search of proper garb for that ugly sweater party you drunkenly invited everyone to on Facebook three weeks ago. You may be thinking, “Why do I log on to facebook drunk and invite people over to my house to party in hideous apparel.” The answer is simple. Ridiculously-themed parties f***ing rule.

True Florida natives know that any occasion whatsoever is a fair excuse to party. Hurricane? Party. Power went out? Party. Neighbor’s dog ran away? Search party (usually ends with dog being found and celebratory drinks). The point is, partying to pay homage to horribly designed sweaters is incredibly normal. In fact, if you’re not hosting or attending at least one ugly sweater party per year, I would go as far as to suggest that you are an unhappy person.

In an effort to help correct unhappiness and keep the spirit of Lord Cardigan alive, I’ve put together a painfully obvious guide to throwing an ugly sweater party. Please keep in mind that there are absolutely no real rules for this type of thing besides not being allowed to wear a very nice sweater to the party.

  • Decide you are going to have an ugly sweater party. For some people, this is an internal decision that gets okayed immediately and moves straight into the invitation phase. For others, this might require consulting your friends and roommates to see whether they think it is a viable weekend option.
  • Invite people that are into this type of partying. This part can be done by Facebook event, group message, individual texts or word of mouth. For maximum effectiveness, I would suggest doing all of the above and including a graphic or banner with info that strongly overplays the seriousness of the party (BYOS, BYOB, etc.).
  • Acquire an ugly sweater to your liking. This requires nothing more than a quick trip to the thrift store. For some of the more #blessed partiers, you may have access to your mom or dad’s vintage collection. Take advantage of that if possible. It’s unbelievable how many cool points get rewarded on an annual basis to second and third generation sweaters. Alternatively, you can find several online, featuring the latest in pop trends (Hotline Bling sweater anyone?).
  • Have the party. The final stage is by far the easiest. Just be at your house, or wherever you are hosting the party at, at the time you said the party would start. Ugly sweatered-attendees will just walk in and get straight to it. If you’re working with a post-college budget, have some gourmet food catered. At the time of writing this, I’m in the mood for Italian. So maybe some meatballs or a nice lasagna, but this is completely up to you. A solid keg of good local beer will also be a crowd-pleaser.