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When you're handed a Christmas present from your loved one and you feel that familiar squishiness enclosed inside, two things go through people's mind: "Hmm I wonder what this could be," followed quickly by "I hope they're not socks."
Lockdown has given us a lot of time to think about what is important in our lives. And with Christmas fast approaching, there is one particular gift that always, each and every year, gets a bad rep: socks.
I'd like to make a case for their defence.
For millions across the globe, socks have been a source of comfort and warmth at home or during the cold winter months.
Yet they're widely recognised as being the worst possible gift you can give someone, especially at Christmas.
On 'World's Worst Christmas Gifts' roundups, you can always bet on seeing socks somewhere on the list. In 2018 Which? published the results of a survey for which people revealed the awful things they had received. In addition to a book about drainpipes and out-of-date chocolates, socks secured their place on the list.
Novelty hosiery has a lot to answer for; you know, the socks with the kitsch snowflake pattern, pairs emblazoned with Santa's face, or even (shudder) the ones with actual bells attached to them.
Granted, they're not the most practical gift, being as they are only socially acceptable to wear within a 48-hour window. But are they really such a terrible gift?
Over the years I have given and received countless pairs of socks. Admittedly these usually accompany a "better", or more expensive gift.
But on reflection, what could be more thoughtful, more practical, than a 20-piece multi-pack of black socks from H&M? What else could be worn in constant rotation from January through to December?
One of the best gifts I've ever bought (you'll have to take my word for it) was a box filled with three pairs of pastel-coloured socks folded into a matching coloured cupcake cases.
At this time of year, especially after the year we have all had, when we're opening up our presents on Christmas day we should all keep in mind that "it's the thought that counts".
What could show more thought than someone putting time and effort into buying something to keep your feet toasty and warm during these cold winter months?
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