The most practical gift

Really sick Christmas socks, anyone?

I hated getting socks for Christmas when I was a kid. So did my husband Patrick. It always struck me as a daily necessity dressed up as a gift.

So, imagine my puzzlement when, upon being asked what they’d like for Christmas, my teenaged sons answered in unison, “Socks, please.”

Patrick and I stared at each other quizzically. “I’m sorry, did you just say ‘socks’?” Patrick asked.

“Totes,” one of them answered in gruesome teen-speak, “I’d love some really sick Christmas socks.”

Feeling unqualified to select “sick socks,” I sat my test group down and had them show me their top picks online. The holidays were kept in mind, but we looked beyond socks with Santa and reindeers. And even though I knew my man would love J. Crew’s Chup socks ($34) we shouldn’t shell out that kind of moolah this year.

My eldest teen son, the resident sock expert, sent me straight to his favorite place: stance.com. “Socks are the guy’s style statement piece,” he explained while the site opened. “You can’t have a cool outfit without cool socks.”

Again, Patrick and I looked at each other.

Teen son continued, “I like this site; they’re the shizzle.”

My mind paused at the word “shizzle.” Wow, I’m really not that cool, I thought. I tuned back in to hear him say, “Their Reservation Socks [$12] are cool.” He clicked on a tribal pattern crew sock in black with a gray, red, yellow, and turquoise pattern throughout.

“I like the Moroccan Mini [$14],” interrupted my teen daughter, looking at a crew sock with a mosaic of red, blue, and black on a cream sock. “It’ll give my feet some love during the holiday season,” she smiled.

Both Stance socks were a blend of cotton, nylon, polyester, and spandex.

My eyes were drawn to Clarissa: a merino wool snow knee sock in a gray and turquoise Nordic pattern ($20).

“In your mind, you’re already at the cabin in Mammoth, aren’t you baby?” smiled Patrick.

“Yep, I’m sitting by the fire in the cabin, watching the snow fall, tired from my day of shredding the mountain, and I am admiring my wintry socks in front of the fire,” I replied, laughing at the absurdity.

“Let’s check out HappySocks.com,” I suggested, “the site name is promising. And, look, they carry a holiday classic, the Paisley Sock. A red with green paisley crew sock [$12].” A cotton and polyamide blend sock.

“I’d actually go with the Inca Holiday [$12],” added my son. The Inca is an explosion of polka dots and geometric shapes in black, yellow, red, turquoise, and orange.

“I like the Faded Diamond sock in purple [$12],” offered my girl, showing me the diamond pattern blend of multiple shades of purple. “Or the Zigzag sock in purple, orange, and black zigzags [$12].”

“I’ve found the socks for you, Mom,” announced my sassy daughter. “Sock Dreams is selling a knee-high striped sock, in brown and tan, with ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice’ in red on each leg. And there’s green toes and heels [$10 at sockdreams.com].”

“Dad will like these Revival Stripe Midcalf [$15 at sockdreams.com],” I replied, ignoring the bait. A Greek key pattern in gold, green, and black.

 “Or how about giving up on matching and give him some Solmate Mismatched Adult Socks, made from recycled cotton in the USA [$18–$20 on Amazon],” I said. “He’ll never have to match socks again.”

“I’ll take the Soxnet Christmas Two-Pack Women Over the Knee Socks [$9.99 for two pairs on Amazon],” I added, “One in red-and-white candy stripes and one in black with red, green, and white polka dots. Perfect for this Santa’s helper,” I smiled.

“What about Van Gogh’s Starry Night on your socks?” asked Patrick, heckling us for poring over sock sites. “I see the Hot Sox Starry Night Trouser Socks at Macy’s, a little art masterpiece for your toesies [$8],” he added.

We went on like this for another couple of hours until I ran the kids off to bed and I was left feeling that my old wounds surrounding socks and Christmas had been healed.

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