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A Christmas sweater or Christmas jumper is a knitted garment intended to cover the torso and arms that is themed with a Christmas or winter-style design. Typically, Christmas Jumpers feature a Christmas character such as a reindeer, a santa or a snowman. They have had a resurgence in popularity during the 2010s, with both high-street and designer brands producing them.
In the United Kingdom, Christmas jumpers became popular during the 1980s after a variety of television presenters began wearing them during the holiday season. In particular, their popularity may be attributed to the influence of singers such as Andy Williams and Val Doonican, who appeared in these type of jumpers in their television Christmas specials. They are often seen as a hand-made present knitted by an elderly relative that are given as a Christmas present. During the 1990s and 2000s they were seen as ironic and fell out of favour, and featured as something to be embarrassed of in the 2001 film Bridget Jones's Diary. They have again become popular during the 2010s, with online retailer Amazon reporting an increase in sales of 600% in 2011, and the trend has been followed by a number of celebrities.
In 2012, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph described them as "this season's must have", with retailer Topman selling 34 different designs alone and reporting sales have increased 54% compared to 2011. Higher end fashion labels have also produced Christmas jumpers, including Burberry and Jil Sander, and even metal band Slayer released one as part of their merchandise range. A survey conducted in 2012 showed that 41% of the British population owned a Christmas themed jumper, which increased to 50% within London and Wales.
The charity Save the Children runs an annual Christmas sweater day each year in December using the slogan "Make the world better with a sweater". It encourages people to raise money for the charity by wearing their Christmas sweaters on a specific day. Age UK also runs a similar fundraising drive. The New York Times reported in 2012 that a major venue for sweater sales are independent company websites, with ugly-sweater themed names such as ButtUglySweaters, Tipsy Elves, and My Ugly Christmas Sweater.