The Meaning Of Christmas


Ever since The Year dot (literally) people have been tying themselves in knots, trying to define the true meaning of Christmas.  And, over the last 2-plus millennia, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers and editorials have covered a lot of territory – everything from eternal salvation to Amazon Gift Cards.  Good on ya, folks but you ain’t even close.  The true meaning of Christmas … is loot.  That’s right!  Like it or not, admit it or don’t, the harsh reality is Christmas is all about the presents.  Let me explain.

Right from the very beginning — Here we are in Bethlehem.  There’s Mary, Joseph, Jesus in the manger and a couple of sketchy shepherds.  There’s a knock on the door.

“Who’s there?”
“Three Wise Men.”
“What do you want?”
“Nothing.  We brought gifts.”
“Cool!  Come on in.”

And thus, Christmas was born.  Plus the fine tradition of getting useless crap for Christmas (I’m looking at you, myrrh) instead of something Mary and Joseph might actually need – like an extra helping of gold.

Fast forward 2,000 years or so – Here we are visiting Santa Claus.  There’s you (as a little kid); there’s a parent (or two); there’s the photographer, the incessant jingle bell music and a couple of over-happy elves.  You’re not there to discuss the care and feeding of flying reindeer or talk about the weather at the North Pole.  You’re there to negotiate.  You’re there to effect a deal between you and Santa so he’s convinced you’ve been more nice than naughty and therefore deserve your share of the loot.  You know it’s the truth, but it’s no particular sin.  Remember, it was the parents who told you how the system worked.

Add a couple more decades — It’s three days before Christmas.  There’s you (as an adult.)  There’s a couple of your kids, a spouse, maybe a dog.  You’re walking over a crisp blanket of new-fallen snow that crunch, crunch, crunches under your feet.  You can see your breath, and your hands are warm in cozy mittens.  At home, there’s hot chocolate, and Grandma’s making cookies.  The coloured lights from the street twinkle and dance across the early evening, and there’s the faint sound of children singing,

“Oh little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.”

It’s the most idyllic scene, out of the most beautiful Christmas card you could ever imagine … and what are you thinking?  Totally stressed, cuz it’s your turn to host the family dinner, you’re thinking, “What the hell am I going to buy Harry/Harriet and Uncle Bob for Christmas?  Screw it!  Amazon Gift Cards.”

I rest my case!

The Wonderful World Of Socks

sockamore1.jpgLast week, I got a free pair of Sockamore Socks from Sweden.  (You can find their website here — Sockamore Socks.)  The how and why of them are a long story that involves my Tasmanian e-friend, Claudette — who, BTW, has a platypus in her garden. (You can find her blog here) a couple of kickass Swedish entrepreneurs, and my own big mouth.  Of course, we all know there is no such thing as free socks so I agreed to write a free review.

Full Disclosure — Although I love Nordic Noir television (Wallander, Bergman, The Bridge) and the Sedin brothers, I do not drive a Volvo and I have never been to Sweden.  Up until a month ago, I had no idea Sockamore Socks even existed, and Christoffer is not my brother-in-law.  And, finally, yes, every man has his price — but mine is a lot more than 7.5 Euros worth of socks.  Therefore, this is a completely unbiased evaluation.

The In-shoe experience — The socks did exactly what they were told.  The heels stayed with the heels, and the toes stayed with the toes.  Even after one complete (3.8 km.) walk around the park, there was no bunching at the instep nor nasty elastic lines around the ankles.

The Out-of-shoe experience — Again, the socks did as they were told, and didn’t try to escape every time I took my shoes off.

The Cozy Test — I chose two typically cold, rainy January evenings for the cozy test.  On the first evening, I paired the socks with Earl Grey tea, ginger cookies and a reread of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man.  The socks performed very well and were cozy enough to keep me from running for a blanket after 50 pages — but not so cozy that I fell asleep.  On the second evening, I paired the socks with Pepsi, Doritos and a binge watch of Berlin Babylon on Netflix.  Again, the socks conducted themselves admirably, remaining uniformly cozy through the entire 5- hour video viewing experience.

The Static Electricity Test — Unfortunately, the socks utterly failed this test.  I repeatedly rubbed the socks on the carpet, trying to build up enough static electricity to zap my wife on the back of the neck while she was washing dishes — with no result.

The Notice Me/Notice Me Test — This is a very important test because what the hell’s the sense of having the coolest socks in the world if nobody notices?  I chose the grocery store, the mall and a restaurant for this test — and there were mixed results.  While grocery shopping on a busy Saturday morning, no one noticed my socks.  Likewise, walking around the mall for a couple of  shopping hours didn’t result in a single “OMG! Where did you get those socks?”  However, the socks were noticed almost immediately in the restaurant — where, luckily, the server wasn’t injured when she stumbled over my outstretched feet.

The Creative Use Test — Although the socks didn’t work at all in the Oven Mitt test, they entertained a two-year-old quite adequately in the Sock Puppet test.  Plus, in the Folded-Into-A-Ball test, they performed well at kitchen table hockey, get-down-from-there-you-stupid-cat (no animals were harmed during this test) and indoor hacky sack.

The Results — Overall, Sockamore socks do exactly what socks are supposed to do; however, they have two unique features rarely seen in the sock world.  One, they’re fun.  Normally, socks are like accountants: totally necessary and terminally dull.  Sockamore socks are not dull, and as you can see from the photos, I’m into fun socks and know the difference.  Two, and much more importantly, Sockamore socks are the perfect gift — not too expensive and not too cheap — with just the right amount of amount of I-was-thinking-about-you to make it stick.  Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even matching socks for a wedding present!  Think about it: for less than 100 Euros, you can wipe out half your Christmas list!  The best thing to do is just go to their website, Sockamore Socks, and get creative.  Tuck a pair in a fruit basket, or a Thank You card, or give the jerk at work a retirement gift and what better way to say “Get Well Soon” than with a pair of socks?  Let your imagination be your palette and see where it takes you.  Who knows?  You could end up even treating yourself to a little Swedish mysig.


And now I’ve added Sockamore socks to my collection


photos by Lady C (Carolyn Bourcier)