It was a good Christmas. I got a lot of socks.
We are a family of people who teach and people who make rules, all perfectly fine until you get us into a room together and we each try to bend others to our own sets of rules. Several years ago, some family members jumped onto the Christmas list bandwagon, the concept being that specifying some items as interesting would prevent horrible gifts, those well or not-so-well intentioned items that someone spends hard earned money to acquire and that subsequently clutter our houses. It is a good concept and one that sometimes even works.
Still, I don’t really approve, because I consider Christmas more than the season of stuff and more stuff. I think the heart of Christmas is considering how we can touch each other, and the Christmas list gets in the way as much as it bridges gaps.
In the end, I had no alternative but to offer up a few suggestions just to cut down the yammering. So I confessed that I like socks. I like warm socks and silly socks, slipper socks and all kinds of socks. It is hard to have too many socks or too many mittens or too many hats, because these items all disappear, even when rigorously protected from dogs who love them as chew toys.
Socks can make a fashion statement, but even people (like me) who are picky about clothes cannot be picky about socks.
The iPod was a delightful gift, all the more so because I didn’t even know I wanted one. Probably the best gift I got was my nine-year-old niece stopping in mid-unwrapping to curl up beside me and read me the book she picked out for me all on her own, and a surprisingly appropriate book at that. These were wonderful, unexpected gifts.
But I would really have been happy with socks.
There is little that I want these days, and the things I need are unromantic and unsuited to gift-giving occasions. But anyone who knows me even a little knows how little it takes to please me. Cookbooks or cooking gear—the simpler the better. Dishtowels trump the latest gadget to carve vegetables. Luxurious towels and sheets in white. And socks.
One of the best gifts I ever received was a four-pack of luxurious gray socks with blue snowflakes on them. Multiple pairs of good socks are wonderful, because when one sock gets lost or eaten, there are other matches. I loved these socks so much that I have protected them from dog mouths and I think I still have seven of the original eight socks. They are still my very favorite socks.