Lots of workplaces encourage people to wear a Christmas jumper into the office, and at the same time donate some money to charity. It’s a fun way to add a sparkle of Christmas spirit to the workplace and raise cash for good causes.
Consumer campaign, Love Your Clothes, found that over 10m people in the UK were likely to buy a Christmas jumper and 40% would wear them just once or twice.
The revenue generated from the sale of Christmas jumpers in the UK alone was expected to exceed £300 million (US$447m), which will mostly benefit high street retail chains. I have no idea how much is raised in offices for charity through this practice, but I’d be surprised if people donated as much as they’d spent on their jumper.
This raises some interesting questions.
I’m not a Grinch, but I do struggle with mindless consumerism and disposable fashion.
I’m not suggesting we stop having fun. What I am suggesting is that we can do something different.
The Love Your Clothes campaign recommended people make their own Christmas jumpers, which is a lovely idea, but there were still a whopping 10 million of these items bought from shops, unlikely to ever see the light of day in 2016.
They’re not much use donated to charity shops, as they can’t be sold again for another 11 months, and the numbers simply don’t add up (how many people shop in charity shops?).
The chances are that these jumpers will either be sent to developing countries for recycling, where people will wonder what the hell we’re doing; or they’ll end up in landfill. (Needless to say, most of the Christmas jumpers were probably made in factories in developing countries anyway…)
My solution: Christmas Jumper Re-use
Idea #1: Everyone passes their Christmas jumper on to a friend to wear next year. This idea came from the Friendship Cake idea, where you pass on a slice of cake, a cup of the mixture, and the recipe, to your neighbour or friend. In that way the cake continues ad infinitum. And so could the jumpers.
Idea #2: A high street clothes shop organises a collection of Christmas jumpers. They then remove and replace the labels, launder and store them, and then come next Christmas put them out on display in their shops, with the proceeds going to charity.
I reckon we already have enough Christmas jumpers in circulation to keep the nation looking festive for at least a decade. If we’re spending £300 million a year on these things, then in ten years that’s a whopping £3 billion we could be giving to charities.
£3 billion. In addition to the money we raise in our workplaces.
A smarter way to celebrate Christmas me thinks.
So who’s going to take up the baton and run with it? H&M? M&S? Top Shop?
Here’s to a smarter 2016.