The Unpopular Opinion: “I Can’t Stand Christmas Jumpers”

Denise Curtin is ready to ditch the itch and give festive clothing the boot.

I kid you not, I’ve just spent the past 20 minutes having a full-blown scratch fest that included, but wasn’t limited to, my neck, shoulders, arms and chest after simply thinking about the thought of wearing a Christmas jumper this season. It’s like when you’re having a conversation with friends about that kid in your niece’s school who gave head lice to the whole class and then, all of a sudden, you can almost feel them crawling around your scalp too. Christmas jumpers are my head lice.

The very thought of them makes me feel sweaty and itchy, and just knowing that I’ll see a sea of them in all their varieties of horrible stitching cramped into every little bar makes me think, how did we get here? And why did we allow these sensory assaulting portable furnaces to become the so-called garment of festive cheer?

Now, before I get called the Grinch or a Scrooge let me tell you that I actually adore Christmas and all its festivities. Granted, I’ve got a few hot takes up my sleeve from disliking Die Hard to hating the taste of mulled wine and forever manifesting for the disappearance of mince pies. But aside from that, I’m all in for celebrating the holiday, and I immerse myself in all that the season offers.

From the countless dinner dates in twinkly lit restaurants, to emotional reunions with old friends, days spent gift hunting to nights spent tree decorating, I love it all. They make me feel warm, but in a pleasant, soul nourishing sort of way, not a cheap cotton, sticky back during 12 pubs sort of way… thankfully.

To give you more of a visual understanding as to why I think a ‘Christmas’ jumper has got to be the most undesirable thing to wear during the festive period, let’s take the iconic Bridget Jones’s Diary as an example. Bridget, desperately single and on the lookout for ‘the one’, arrives at her parents’ Christmas party. Only shortly in the door, Bridget is ushered across the sitting room by her mother to be reintroduced to an old childhood friend, Mark Darcy.

Dashing, tall and with a mop of curls on top of his head, Bridget’s internal monologue voices ‘maybe this was the mysterious Mr Right I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet?’ Until her eyes scan down past his neck to unveil a green turtleneck reindeer jumper, to which she then quickly adds, ‘maybe not’. Why? Because our Bridge was smart enough (at this point in the movie) to clock that a Christmas-jumper-wearing-man is the ick.

Do I think Mark Darcy was unaware that his Christmas jumper was naff? No, I’m sure he knew, he does have eyes. But somehow Christmas jumpers have weaselled their way in as being universally acceptable like boomerangs of prosecco flutes on Instagram, despite how cringe they are.

Christmas jumpers are now seen as being part of the tackiness of the season, but can we not leave that up to the endless foil garlands steaming from every ceiling, the multicoloured string lights wrapped around every banister, the endless tinsel, sleigh ornaments, baubles, Santa statues and f*cking mistletoe, I ask?

Is John’s jumper that reads ‘Jingle My Balls’ or Marianne’s little cardi that questions whether she should be on the naughty or nice list really what brings the festivities up a notch? Blatantly obvious sex jokes aside, when these garments are not gathering dust in the back of the wardrobe for 11 and a half months, they’re inducing a worrying shade of rouge on the cheeks of the wearer.

A sort of rouge that would be quickly captured by a club photographer only to haunt you years later when you realise that this unpopular opinion was in fact, maybe on to something. Christmas jumpers provide no joy sparking qualities.

And trust me, my own selection of horror photos from nights out in ill-fitted jumpers of dancing turkeys and bejewelled trees teamed with skirts, tights and festive light up headbands – just to really help me reach boiling point – have assisted me in finally coming to this point, or end if you will. I’m now ready and waiting for Christmas jumpers to be thrown into the skip, given the Gen-Z cheugy nod and placed on top of that special pile in the past where we keep skinny jeans, fedora hats, TOMS and peplum dresses.

Like relics in a museum of dated choices. However, unlike a style column where it ends with advice, I’ve no solution on what you should now pair with your new trousers or sparkly skirt for your staff night out. But what I can I promise you is that anything in that wardrobe has got to be better.

Images via Twenty20