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As the days draw in and the Christmas adverts fill the slots between TV and radio programmes, it’s time to dig out that storage bag from under the stairs and dust off the one piece of clothing that Christmas would not be the same without… No, not the flashing Santa hat with a musical rendition of “Jingle Bells” built in (although those are useful too) – we’re talking about that old Bridget Jones favourite, the festive Christmas jumper!

Whether you have a matching set for your family, a handknitted one made by your maiden aunt, or have cobbled together your own with some cut-out reindeers and an old bobble hat, there’s nothing that says ‘Christmas is coming’ more than donning a Christmas jumper and wearing it with pride, so why not join in with Save the Children this year and wear your jumper with pride for their annual Christmas Jumper Day appeal?

How did it all start?

According to the Save the Children website, the first Christmas Jumper Day was held on December 14th, 2012, and was proposed by the charity as a way of highlighting the plight of millions of children worldwide who still live in poverty. The day was endorsed by a myriad of celebrities and used the slogan “make the world better with a sweater” to get the message across. The idea grew and each year since then, Save the Children have used the day as a fund-raiser and over £18 million has already been raised for children in the UK and around the world.

Who can take part?

The answer to this is simple – anyone can take part, even dogs and horses have been known to wear their festive best on the day and estimates suggest that around 15,000 schools and 4 million of us joined in last year.

Why Save the Children?

For most of us, Christmas is a time to celebrate with our families, over-indulge in our favourite foods and exchange presents in the spirit of love and hope. But for many children, Christmas does not hold the same magical promise. For these children, Christmas can be a time of loneliness, fear, isolation, and it can serve merely as a stark reminder that not everyone’s family life is always happy. In addition, the pressure to buy presents can be problematic for families who are living below or just above the poverty line, and the recent economic pressure from the pandemic and other factors beyond their control, may exacerbate the situation further. This is where Save the Children can help and the money raised from the Christmas Jumper Day goes towards helping children in this country and around the world who are currently living in poverty. Save the Children generally provides emergency food, shelter and education to children to help improve their situations and give them hope for the future. The charity also helps children gain access to medical services which might otherwise not be available. Last year, Save the Children helped 45 million children across the globe with medicines, nutritious food and education.

How to get involved

Joining in is simple. You just need to wear a Christmas Jumper on the day, which this year is Friday 10th December. Ideally, you would then make a donation to Save the Children to help with their charity work. The suggested donation is £2 for adults or £1 for school children although whatever you can afford is absolutely fine too. And you don’t have to spend money on buying expensive jumpers either, you could just decorate an ordinary jumper to make it look more festive. There are some useful resources on Twinkl about Christmas Jumper Day and a page dedicated to upcycling your old jumpers into a new Christmas creation which you can view here. A quick search of the internet will also reveal lots of arts and crafts ideas to do with the children, and we’ve listed a few simple ones below.

Simple ideas for decorating Christmas jumpers

1

Add some tinsel to the neck and cuffs of an old sweater and pin or sew on some tree decorations – be careful about the types of decorations you use if doing this for children – make sure they are safe and safely attached.

2

Cut some festive Christmas shapes out of felt and either tack or pin them onto and existing jumper. Think of things like snowflakes, Christmas trees, reindeers and presents.

3

Wear a brown coloured jumper and cut out a jagged white colour to make it look like a Christmas pudding.

4

Create a Santa-costume jumper by adding some large black buttons to a red sweater and sewing on some white, faux fur cuffs. Add a black belt and some use a cushion to create some extra ‘Santa’ volume.

5

Sew an old Christmas stocking to the front of a jumper and add a soft toy in the stocking for extra authenticity.

6

Tie a large piece of ribbon around your waist in a bow, and make a large label to wear like a necklace, turning yourself into a large Christmas present.

Apart from making and wearing a jumper, there are a number of other things that you can do in your setting to help too.

Ideas for celebrating Christmas Jumper Day in your setting

If you sign up as a supporter to the page on the Save the Children website, you will receive a free fundraising pack with more ideas of how to get involved. We’ve listed a few of our own ideas that don’t cost a lot of money, to help you get into the swing. There are also some good resources on Twinkl that you can download and adapt too.

  1. Download or draw a picture of a plain jumper and get the children (and staff) to design their own Christmas-themed jumper
  2. Make a mobile using a scaled down version of a blank Christmas jumper template and some coat hangers
  3. Hold a fashion show or competition for the best homemade Christmas jumper. You could invite the parents in to watch the show. Add some music, face paint, fun wigs and a commentary to pretend you’re all at a real designer show
  4. Hold a bake sale to help raise money for Save the Children
  5. Hold a Christmas bring and buy sale where people can donate goods to sell and hopefully buy some new things

Whatever you do, let us know and send your pictures to us at hello@parenta.com.

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