The classic knitted festive designs originate from Norway, where women knitted the snowflake designs by hand. Knitted fragments have been found in nordic graves dating back to the 16th century, but the christmas designs are thought to have become more popular in the 20th century. 

As acrylic yarn became more available in 1980s knitwear production, jumpers were much cheaper to produce, which led to the boom in novelty knits. Over the next few decades, the price of jumpers went down, and so people didn’t have to limit themselves to versatile pieces that work all winter, but could instead buy Christmas themed jumpers to wear each December 25th.

Which leads us to now. Did you know that 95% of Christmas jumpers sold are made of virgin plastic? That’s fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide into the environment, being used to make nearly all of the Christmas jumpers, which then only get worn an average of once or twice. And then, because a lot of them have complicated materials like plastic gems, tinsel, or even electronics, it’s very difficult to dispose of them responsibly after their short lifespan.

So, what can we do? If you have a Christmas jumper already, keep wearing it every year! Look after it, store it carefully after each December, and you should be able to enjoy that jumper for years to come. Mend it or rework it when it gets a bit threadbare. 

Don’t have a Christmas jumper but want to feel cosy and festive? Consider buying secondhand, or making your own – temporary or permanent. There are so many options of all sizes and styles available in charity shops, eBay, etc. And as we saw from above, they likely have been worn only once! 

If you fancy making your own, you don’t have to sacrifice a workhorse jumper in your wardrobe for the Christmas kitsch. Try making a patch and safety pinning it on, like we did below. 

We wish you a sustainable festive season, and definitely tag us in any Christmas jumper crafts!

Want to give the gift of taking action on sustainable fashion this year? We sell gift vouchers for any amount, which can be used on our varied calendar of workshops and events