DEBATE: Is it okay to wear a Christmas jumper?

The most important debate of the festive season is upon us: Novelty sweaters

Michelle Clements
Art-Director of ShortList and someone for whom there are no festive limits

A few winters ago, I asked Santa (my Mum) to make sure every one of us had Christmas jumpers to wear on the big day. She pulled this off, and as a household on December 25 we rocked those jumpers. Each one of us was wearing a different festive knit: we had snowmen, reindeers, Christmas trees, elves, and Star Wars even made a special woolly appearance. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your Dad trying not to drop the turkey sporting Rudolph’s face on his tummy, while your Mum is running around the kitchen with her 3D knitted snowman’s carrot nose.

I love a Christmas jumper, not just because it helps me get Christmassy vibes, but it’s another excuse to add some silliness to the month of December. Why not make a little fun of yourself?

Just think how much time you save not having to decide what outfit you need to wear to the office party or on the big day itself. Live in it for the whole month of December if you like, I won’t judge.

Nowadays, you can even choose something a little more chic from Gap or Try a Christmas slogan sweater or Game of Thrones “Winter is coming” pullover. You can even get Christmas jumper dresses, I’ve got one of those on my wish list. Who knows, maybe we will all be wearing full Christmas two-piece suits next year…

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Eddie Taylor
Editor-in-chief of ShortList and general curmudgeon about any hipster fad

There has been for some years now, allied to the rise of hipsterdom, a trend towards celebrating the awful as some kind of ironic gesture – a cool-kid preference rather than a consumerist con. There are plenty of examples – 1970s interior design, 1980s music – but in recent years, the Christmas jumper seems to have become a seasonal staple.

These grimly gauche celebrations of the festive season, with reindeer, snowmen, elves and other horrors rendered in chunky-knit wool, have been reclaimed from the fashion trash can, where they happily resided since the video for Wham’s “Last Christmas”, and repositioned as a must-have accessory. And therein lies the issue.

It’s just as big a statement of your on-trend conformity as a carrying an enormous Louis Vuitton bag covered in logos to a coffee morning at Lime Tree Cafe. It’s a laugh-line for pre-approved peers who are already in on the joke. You wouldn’t, for instance, wear a deliberately ugly sweater that didn’t come with a clear context and peer support. Admit it: you need the herd for it to work.

I see the crazy Christmas jumper the same way I see the “Keep Calm and…” meme. It’s done. It’s over. It stopped being a thing the second it was a thing. You can enjoy Christmas without looking like a fool. We always used to.

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