Are you struggling with your Christmas shopping? Are there difficult members of your family, who seem unexcited no matter what they unwrap on December 25? Then the answer to your prayers may well have arrived.
For the last few years, the traditional Christmas jumper has made an inexplicable resurgence. Like much of popular culture, its renewed popularity began in irony, but suddenly those gaudy designs, large pictures of reindeer and even flashing lights have become a staple of the modern Christmas. And in a further proving of my increasingly-compelling hypothesis that if something exists, someone has made a cheesy Christian version of it (let's call that Saunders' Law), there are now a growing number of Christian Christmas jumpers. They're perfect for the Christian, or indeed the ironically-minded atheist, in your life, and here are just a few of the best.
1. Happy Birthday Jesus
There's actually a surprising number of designs which offer a corrective on the true historical significance of Christmas (if you ignore the fact that is almost certainly wasn't his actual birthday). Jesus is variously pictured with cakes, candles, and thumbs up. Wear this to parties and reinforce everyone's opinion of you as a religiously overbearing killjoy!
2. Donkey skit
This jumper perfectly captures the waiting journey of advent, as Mary complains like a small child while on the back of the donkey. The red and white santa theme is a bonus, although not for Mary's haemorrhoids.
3. Keep Christ in Christmas
This is one of the most popular messages in Christian Christmas jumpers: a reminder to keep the Saviour's name in the title of the festival. In fact, the fear that we might do otherwise is largely unfounded; no-one apart from the druids and a couple of barking local councils actually want to rebrand it as 'Winterval', and if you were to delete his name entirely, we'd just be calling it "Mas." And arguably that actually makes it sound more religious.
4. Tasteful nativity scene
If you really want to go to town on the dodgy Christmas jumper front, this could be for you. This beautifully-constructed piece of nativity artwork is enough to send anyone who meets the wearer reaching for the Christmas carol sheet. With no expense spared, the detail even includes extra sheep on the sleeves. However, not all nativity-themed jumpers are quite as pretty...
5. Tasteless nativity scene
By contrast, this design looks like someone has thrown up on it after eating 15 bowls of Lucky Charms. It gets some marks for the neat hand-embroidery, but the garish colour choices and weird Disney Fairies make this the sort of fashion nightmare you can't even wear ironically.
6. 3D Baby Jesus
There are already about 15 million different Christian Christmas jumpers bearing the message 'The Reason for the Season', but this one takes the biscuit for its impressively terrifying use of a three-dimensional baby on a bed of straw. The baby is impressively non-white, and thankfully has a pair of flesh-toned pants to save everyone's blushes. I wouldn't pay money for this, but I might just wear it.
7. Inter-faith harmony
Here's a great attempt at a bit of cultural bridge-building. Jesus and Santa, killing those you-never-see-them-together rumours once and for all. Of course the downside of this is that reinforces the idea that they're both fictional characters...
8. The full-on subculture jumper
Perhaps my favourite of the lot - this jumper only really works if you know the Scriptural reference about the Lion laying down with the Lamb. And if you do, you're a better scholar than me, because I can't actually find it in the Bible. Isaiah 11 v 6 puts a wolf and a lamb together alongside a leopard and a kid, while 65 v 25 of the same book has a lion eating like a bullock. But the Lion and the Lamb are actually only found together in a Chris Tomlin song. So it's a cute jumper, but it also promotes Biblical illiteracy.
9. Clever hipster pun
This jumper combines the current fashion for hip graphic fonts with the timeless tradition of Christian puns. Coming soon from the same manufacturer: a jumper with the slogan "How does Moses make his tea? He brews it!"
Merry Christmas everyone.