What you need to know
- Microsoft has unveiled the 2023 edition of its annual Windows Ugly Sweater
- This years’ design is based on the classic Windows XP “Bliss” wallpaper
- The sweater is available in limited quantities for $75 starting now, with proceeds going to The Nature Conservancy.
It’s become an annual tradition, with Microsoft shipping a new and highly sought after Windows themed ugly sweater every holiday season. Last year, we had Clippy. The year before, we had Paint. This year, we have arguably the most iconic Windows “thing,” the Windows XP default wallpaper, also known as “Bliss.”
For those who need a refresher, the Bliss wallpaper is considered by many to be the most viewed photograph in the world. It features a green hill under a cloudy blue sky, and was the default wallpaper on millions of Windows machines between 2001 and 2008.
It was shot by photographer Charles O’Rear in 1996, before Microsoft bought the rights to it in 2000 for what is rumored to have been a “low six figure” sum. Unbelievably, O’Rear claims the photo has not been digitally altered. The hill exists alongside a busy highway in Sonoma, California, though these days it’s the location of a vineyard and doesn’t much resemble the iconic photo anymore.
Microsoft says it’s supporting The Nature Conservancy with this year’s ugly sweater, with all proceeds going to the organization which is dedicated to “conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.”
As always, this year’s ugly sweater is available in limited quantities directly on the Xbox Gear Shop. The company is also hosting a livestreamed event at 9am PT, where it will reveal more about the design of the sweater, along with entertainment in the form of Windows trivia, a “trip down memory lane” and more.
Microsoft is also releasing ugly sweater themed wallpapers that are inspired by this year’s Bliss wallpaper, so if you’re unable to buy one you can at the very least kit out your desktop with one of Microsoft’s wallpapers. You can grab them on the Windows Ugly Sweater website.