A jumper you get at Christmas, certainly, but there's much more to them than that. You can get jumpers at any other time, sure, and you can get jumpers, just jumpers, at Christmas. A 'Christmas jumper' is a very particular piece of woollen, knitted clothing. And you know that - 'cos you've had one...

For a start, they're hideous. They are the jumpers that taste forgot. They are invariably chunky things, big wool, big stitches - and they are multicoloured too. They might be patterned, so long as that pattern is big and tacky. They might even have some 'comedy' illustration on them too, like Father Christmas (Santa Claus) or Rudolph doing something humorously festive, such as unwrapping presents, or sailing through the air on a sled. They are never, ever, sober, somber things. They are jumpers that demand attention, jumpers that shout, jumpers that scream obscentities. Loud, obnoxious things.

They are always given by well meaning relatives, the type of people who used to give socks, ties and aftershave that you never used to use. When they became aware that such things were hackneyed, and rather cliched, they switched to woollen wear, thinking that that would be far more acceptable. They were, of course, wrong. But you can't hurt their feelings, which leads to their next quality.

They are practically indestructable. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you can't give the things away - not even charity shops want them. The people who run such organisations look, and they frown, and they shake their heads sympathetically, and then they hand you it back. You can't hide it in a bag of jumble either - they always sort it. You also can't give them away, or burn them, or bury them, or eat them, because of guilt. This hideous thing was given to you by somebody who loved you and thought you would appreciate their gift. And you just want to get rid of it? Shame on you!

And so you do what everyone else does - you put it in a drawer so that when said relative comes round you can run upstairs and put it on. That's what everyone else does. You sit and roast, whilst close family guffaws at your discomfort and old present giver can look on with pride that you like their gift so much... In fact - if you liked that jumper so much, maybe they should buy you another one next year...

One drawer in your bedroom will be forever filled with meaningless, hateful, and self-propagating gifts.

And they say that Christmas is the season of goodwill?

Have you seen Bridget Jones's Diary? Colin Firth, Mark Darcy, wears a Christmas jumper in his first scene. He has to: one of his relatives gave it to him. See? They get everywhere.

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