Whether it’s being used as a suit-substitute at a formal holiday event or expressing festive joy at a holiday party, the Christmas sweater is a tried-and-true classic of the boys’ winter wardrobe. But as anyone who’s ever pulled a sweater over their boy’s head and then fought to keep it there knows, the “itch factor” should be avoided at all costs.
The sensitivity of a child’s skin exacerbates the scratchy quality that can come from a thick, coarse knit. But don’t let that turn you—and your boy off—from Christmas sweaters entirely. Instead, opt for something that manages to be itch-free while embracing the spirit of the holidays.
Your greatest ally in the fight against itch may be Sherpa lining. Sherpa fleece is a manmade fabric that manages to capture the soft texture, fuzzy nap, and insulating power of sheep’s wool without feeling heavy or itchy.
A half-zip cable knit sweater lined with soft Sherpa will create a warm, cozy shell that he’ll be delighted to stay in all day long. A Fair Isle sweater with a Sherpa-lined mock neck combines the festivity of a classic winter pattern with extra-soft, non-itch comfort where it’s needed the most.
Cotton Christmas sweaters also provide a smooth alternative to the itchy sweater blues. A 100% cotton sweater sidesteps the question of wool entirely, allowing your boy to wear a piece of knitwear made from one of the softest, most comfortable fabrics we enjoy every day.
But don’t allow yourself to equate “cotton” with “boring.” A cotton Christmas sweater is every bit as capable as a wool sweater to carry patterns and demonstrate some Christmas cheer. Consider a cotton boys' Christmas sweater featuring a penguin filled in by a Fair Isle pattern, or a smiling penguin topped by a pair of wearable reindeer antlers.
In fact, your biggest challenge may not be convincing him to keep it on, but getting him to change out of it at the end of a long, present-filled day.