December hails the arrival of Christmas cheer and plenty of it. Mince pies and mulled wine, decorating evergreen trees in your home and opening advent calendars can all only mean one thing: Christmas Day is speeding ever rapidly towards us. But what else accompanies the tidings of peace on earth and good will to man? In more recent years the Christmas jumper has come to epitomize seasonal spirit. Red-nosed Santas and little elves beam at us from our friends and relatives- even strangers’- chests as they proudly display the newest interpretations of this woolly classic.
Today is Christmas Jumper Day. When did this happen? How can an item of clothing come to dominate its own day in the national calendar? In the past, Christmas jumpers were traditionally worn on Christmas Day or were a homemade, and perhaps sentimental, gift. Today they can be spotted across high streets and on TV from as early as the 1st December. Everyone is simply desperate to own a bright and fluffy, tasteful or loud jumper as we have been convinced that only then will we truly be able to ‘get in the mood’ for festive merriment.
Not only are these themed jumpers now self-consciously a trademark of Christmas but the yearly competition for the most garish and most seasonal garment is fought ferociously. Increasingly extravagant jumpers from Primark this year now come with 3D attachments. Snowmen’s noses are brandished ominously as you (now tentatively) go to hug the wearer. I am bewildered by the different characters adorning these jumpers whose scarves and hats now so conspicuously protrude from my unwavering friends’ bodies. It seems ludicrous.
Everyone is eager to be seen in a Christmas jumper. Recently, Samantha Cameron publically donned a John Lewis Christmas jumper as part of a fundraiser for Save the Children. For this event children were encouraged to decorate their own jumpers for a day. The Christmas jumper here became a means of celebrating Christmas whilst remembering to help and show love for others. So, perhaps if we look past the ostentatious and bold characters; the embroidery and glittering thread leaping out at us from every direction this month, we will uncover the true spirit of the Christmas jumper: one of generosity and kindness. It is in this respect, and not in the over the top cliché of consumerism and luxury that we have come to expect of the Christmas season, that jumpers really do encapsulate Christmas.
We hate to love them. Some of us just love them. The jumper has truly earned its mantle of the woolly personification of Christmas, and it is here to stay.