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What does your Christmas jumper say about you?

Are you all-out novelty or pared-back Scandi chic? Lauren Bravo decodes all the festive knits ahead of Christmas Jumper Day on December 15

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By Lauren Bravo on

You have been alerted to the date via an email from Karen the office manager, warning in no uncertain terms that non-participation will result in staunch disapproval from the senior management team, not to mention the HR consultancy they hired to help them make the Forbes 1000 Most Caring Companies Index. Never mind that ongoing wars over the office air con mean your current work wardrobe is either a camisole or a promotional fleece you found in a cupboard – there is no getting out of Christmas Jumper Day. It’s for charity, you monster.

But which jumper? Quelle vibes? What are you channelling? No, don’t just say, “Christmas.” There’s a vast universe of festive knitwear out there and the choice you make speaks volumes. Or sings volumes, if you’ve shelled out for the kind with a battery pack. Here’s a handy translation guide.

The normcore jumper

It is a crew-necked merino knit in a forest green or oxblood, with a discreet Fair Isle motif or at the very most a tiny procession of Alpine skiers. You justified the exorbitant price tag by telling yourself it’ll also do for your February trip to Courchevel and the opening of your friend Rupert’s pop-up raclette bar. The normcore Christmas jumper says many things, but mainly that you are not prepared to let standards slip for a little thing like goodwill to all mankind. Also, that your Secret Santa should probably rethink the novelty bog roll, before it’s too late.

The witty woollen jumper

You know – the one with a deadpan “December 25” across it or perhaps a plain black sweatshirt that says “Christmas jumper” in tiny print. The straight-mouth emoji in cosy form. It says: “My favourite board game is Cards Against Humanity, yet I refuse to dance to problematic Christmas songs.” It says: “In 2009, I bought Rage Against The Machine five times to keep Joe McElderry off the number one spot.” And most urgently, it says, “When I have finished this third glass, I’m going to remind you of every single reason you’re not allowed to enjoy Love Actually.”

This is just one of a whole wardrobe of Christmas jumpers, worn on rotation from the December 1 until mid-January. It could be the light-up reindeer, the snowman with the 3D carrot nose, the glittery robin or the one with “Sleigh all day” written in sequins

The fashion jumper

Perhaps it’s Bella Freud, perhaps Warehouse – but it will be metallic lurex, probably a roll neck, possibly with frills or avant-garde tasselling. Much like going as “Erm, a ghostbuster?” for Halloween because you wanted to get some wear out of your new khaki jumpsuit, wearing the fash sweater for Christmas Jumper Day is technically fine but spiritually wrong. Deep down, you know this, so you try to compensate with a pair of statement earrings and an OTT glitter eye. I mean, it’s Charlotte Tilbury. But still.

The vintage relic jumper 

A reformed indie kid, your festive style icon is 1986 Angie Watts behind the bar of the Queen Vic or a teenager dancing to Slade on Top Of The Pops 2. You hope your choice of jumper – a garish, tinsel-festooned batwing mohair from Beyond Retro – says that you are an old soul, one of a dying breed of true aficionados who know that Christmas was better in the days before Heston and John Lewis adverts and Scandi lifestyle trends ruined everything. It actually says: “Please nod admiringly as I sing every word of The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping by heart. Later, I will make a big fuss about drinking advocaat ironically.”

The high-street big-hitter jumper

Your objectives for the pre-Christmas period are simple but extensive: to Instagram a photo of your biggest socks cosied up in front of Elf, to eat every item on the Pret seasonal menu twice, to sing Santa Baby barefoot in a fast-food outlet and to wear a sweater so excessively festive it’s been recalled as a fire hazard. This is just one of a whole wardrobe of Christmas jumpers, worn on rotation from the December 1 until mid-January. It could be the light-up reindeer, the snowman with the 3D carrot nose, the glittery robin or the one with “Sleigh all day” written in sequins. But whichever you choose, it says, quite determinedly: “You will not shame me.”

The geek jumper

You’re usually the person who wears their passions on their sleeve – or chest or shoes – so when Christmas rolls around and everyone cracks out the gimmicky outfits, you feel an urge to up the ante. Enter the geek-mas jumper. Ostensibly a normal festive print, on closer inspection it will feature Star Wars characters, a Marvel superhero or a niche quote from a cult movie, ordered five weeks ago from Etsy. It says, “You mean you love [insert adorkable reference point here] too?! Come, won’t you join me in a meet-cute by the photocopier?”

The emergency stand-in jumper

You bought it from a shop that also sells royal memorabilia, batteries and bongs. It’s red, it’s slightly too small and there’s a wonky thing in the corner that might be a reindeer but might also be an oven glove. It says: “Shit, I forgot about Christmas Jumper Day until 8:42am, but I need to prove whoever wrote ‘not a team player’ on my most recent appraisal that they are wrong. This will end up in my box of bad life decisions, along with a Sexy Mario Bros Halloween costume, three waterproof ponchos and everything I have ever worn to a hen party.”

It also says “Cristmas”, misspelled.  

Click here for the Christmas jumpers you'll actually want to wear 


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Photo: Getty Images 
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Lauren bravo
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