Jane Bradley: Seduced by the Christmas jumper

WINGING its way to our house right at this mom­ent is a Christmas jumper. This one, however, is not just any old Christmas jumper. It is a Star Wars-themed one. Complete with Darth Vader masks and light sabres, nestling among snowflakes and reindeer heads.

St Johnstone fan sports a Christmas jumper at a recent match. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone fan sports a Christmas jumper at a recent match. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone fan sports a Christmas jumper at a recent match. Picture: SNS

My husband’s office, a merry bunch of people working for a charity, have all decided, collectively, to each buy one of these sci-fi festive monstrosities and wear them on the last working day before Christmas.

Sounds jolly festive. And really rather heartwarming. I like the fact that people in my husband’s office actually want to have fun together.

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I have, however, spent most of the past week trying to imagine what would happen if I arrived at Scotsman Towers one morning with such an outlandish, Christmassy idea. There would be a stony silence. Perhaps a forced laugh from somebody who thought I was joking.

Then the news editor would probably send me out to cover the most depressing story on that day’s news list to knock some seasonal misery into me.

For journalists are not a particularly festive bunch. Our newsroom has no Christmas decorations. We don’t send 
corporate cards. Some of us (not me this year, with much thanks to the rota gods) even work Christmas Day. Bah humbug.

Organising the Christmas party is a much-maligned job given to whoever has worked here for the least amount of time – or whoever we think we can bully most successfully.

The arts correspondent, who is, due to the flamboyant nature of his job, allowed a bit of leeway, has a tiny silver Christmas tree on his desk, which he brings out every year.

Most of us just pretend we haven’t seen it.


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So, as you can see, we’d be unlikely to wear Christmas jumpers. We’ll leave that to the happy folk of the charity sector.

However, according to a survey from market research firm Kantar World–panel, we’re not the only knitwear Scrooges around this Christmas. When grilled on the subject, a massive 56 per cent of Scots admitted they did not enjoy wearing Christmas jumpers.

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Interestingly, despite claims from retailers that Christmas jumpers are – yet again – a must-have this year, with the likes of Amazon and Debenhams claiming they are flying off the shelves, Mark Thomson, the head of Kantar in Scotland, tells me he believes overall sales will actually be lower – and he has warned retailers of this fact.

His logic makes sense. We are unlikely to have a whole wardrobe full of the garish items – more likely, those of us who indulge at all probably have just one, which we pull out on those occasions of jollity that require such attire.

And any of us who are that way inclined bought one last year, when they really were a must-have – and are not going to do so again.

But a host of festive Scottish stats from Kantar made me think that we north of the Border really are a funny bunch when it comes to Christmas.

We are more likely to buy batteries than festive mince pies in the run-up to the festive period – and while we’re happy to fork out more cash for our turkey than our neighbours down south, we’re a bit stingy when it comes to Brussels sprouts, with only half of us considering them to be a necessary addition to the Christmas table.

Carrots, on the other hand, those perfectly pleasant but not-very-exciting orange vegetables which are a year-round staple, are a must-have at Scottish Christmas dinners, even at the time of peak indulgence – with three-quarters of us buying a bag for the festive feast.

When it comes to presents, almost a third of people buy gifts on impulse, with almost no thought or planning going into the purchase.

Which is probably why – and this is the final stat, I promise – a whopping 25 per cent of gifts received by men at Christmas are … wait for it … socks.

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Socks? Seriously. Even a Christmas jumper would be better, wouldn’t it?


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