Licentiate Column: Christmas Jumper Hangover

Is it Christmas yet? The festive season has taken an unexpected turn and all my reserves of jolly have broken in my bag, making the bottom soggier than a reject cake from the Great British Bake Off. Less ho, ho, ho. More boo hoo hoo. This former lover of bedecked halls is having yet another allergic reaction to the Christmas Jumper.

I’ve written about the Christmas Jumper and my hard-to-place distaste for them before. Predictably, that column was written last Christmas and not during a particularly blazing day in July, though that would give me another reason not to like them.  Woolly knits don’t go down well at the beach.  You’ll be all hot and itchy and sand will get stuck in the wool, scratching the living daylights out of you.  We’re just so lucky that the existence of a warm summer isn’t usually a problem for Irish residents.  Truly, we are blessed as a nation. Truly, truly blessed.

Last year I went for a few drinks with some colleagues at a women’s website. It might be the fact that we’re all screeching, hardcore, dungaree-wearing, card-carrying feminists (read this sentence with a touch of irony, if you will) but the men out en masse in the festive jumpers were bothering us, in many senses of the word.

I went home that night, drunk and angry, with a sore bottom from most definitely unwanted pinches. I hated Christmas jumpers.  Hated them. They were evil. They made the people in them do terrible, terrible things.  Christmas Jumpers were sexism in a garment.  I had cracked it!

The resulting column was terrifically angry. It was also very, very wrong. If men in jumpers acted like drunken festive idiots, then surely it was the jumpers that made them so, right? If my argument was correct, it could also be argued that wearing a nice pair of running shoes makes the wearer an Olympic athlete.

I am fantastically ashamed of my old argument, and even more so now that Christmas Jumpers are getting such a bad rep. I still don’t like them, but I no longer think that they are endemic and an indicator of everything that is wrong with Christmas excess. I just think that they are kinda crap.

Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. I needed to wake up and see that the Christmas Jumper wasn’t the disease. It was only a symptom.  The real disease is the craziness that people go through when festivities and free booze are forced upon them.

Don’t get me wrong; I still hate Christmas Jumpers with a deep and abiding passion.  At least now I know that, like my hatred of flying, this particular dislike is almost totally illogical. It might make me feel uncomfortable, but I know it won’t kill me.

If only I could say the same for everything else I hate.

Licentiate Column 13/12/12: The Curse of the Christmas Jumper

This is me the last time I wore a Christmas jumper. Note 1) the lack of tinsel and 2) How drunk I am not.

Christmas is not a time for class and tact. Goodwill to all men perhaps, but a rough-hewn version of goodwill, all mince-pies and Twelve Pubs of Christmas, not cocktails and canapes and elongated vowels (“Merry Christmas, daaaahling!”).

Perhaps that’s why the Christmas Jumper has become so popular. It’s well on its way to becoming one of those festive staples that is done ironically at first, but after a few pints of mulled wine, becomes an excuse to act like a total and utter ass. How unrefined.

I may be biased. Last night I spent a much-anticipated few hours with a group of fellow female writers in Dublin. The company was great, the monster nachos I ate were also excellent and the two pubs were well-chosen hangouts. However, the last late bar we went into was typical of those often block-booked for office Christmas parties. You know the kind of party; peppered with Sexy Santas and men wearing well-pressed suit trousers and cheap Christmas jumpers from Penneys.

The Christmas jumper is a justification for acting like a complete and utter prat. A person looks ridiculous, so it is obviously becoming to act ridiculously as well. If it’s something as inoffensive as skanking like a loon, a person can be forgiven. If, however, you wish to project your Christmas cheer onto others in the form of vomit, word or otherwise, I’d advise you to get your act together. It’s a long way from here to New Year’s Eve and mass-produced holiday woollens, like a person’s liver, can burn out very quickly from overuse.

Clothing can be used to express many vital things – your job, your personality, your preferences in terms of almost everything. A Christmas Jumper in a pub, in my experience, expresses the following – “I will invade your personal space in the name of holiday fun, then I’ll get offended when you assert your boundaries by talking loudly to your friends about Mooncups and period pain. Finally, when I cop on that you don’t want to entertain me, I will tell you that you have undefined but incredibly serious ‘issues’, which will piss you off so much that you’ll just have to go away for a bit”.

Men of Ireland (just the obnoxious ones) – let not your Christmas Jumpers define you. You too can pop on a funny hat and a red pullover with a penguin on it without becoming a tiresome boor. I believe in you.

The Christmas Jumper needs to be rehabilitated. We need to go back to the days of unironic, begrudging jumper wearing. Think Colin Firth as Mark Darcy at the turkey curry buffet in Bridget Jones’ Diary, not Colin Firth in Fever Pitch.

Just in case you were wondering, I do own a Christmas Jumper. It has a picture of Garfield wearing a Santa hat, saying something very pessimistic. If the jumper fits, I say wear it.