How I Found Myself on a Quest of My Own

It all began with a post. When I read that my blogging friend, Hugh, was visiting New York City, I was excited to hear about his trip. You can read his first post about the trip here → New York, New Hugh – What Really Happened – Day 1 As I enjoyed Hugh’s recounting of his adventures at the airport, on the plane and finally reaching the Big Apple, he also threw out a teaser. He was on a mission while in NYC, but in order to find out if he was successful, I needed to read all 5 parts.

And in the end, it came down to Christmas socks. But not just any Christmas socks. Men’s Christmas socks. Hugh also wrote about why they make the perfect present. Why Christmas Socks Make The Perfect Present

Hugh came to the conclusion that men’s Christmas socks just weren’t as big as a deal in the US as they are in the UK. The minute I read this, I thought that couldn’t be possible. Over the years I had purchased decorative socks with all sorts of festive patterns for husband, hadn’t I? Hmmmm This got me thinking and I realized that it had been a few years since I had filled Mr. K’s stocking with some funny socks. But they had to be out there. I was just sure of it.

And so, in the midst of my holiday shopping, I set out to find men’s Christmas socks. It became my own person quest and while I couldn’t solely devote  large chunks of time to my investigation, I worked it into my Christmas shopping.

Since I spend half my waking life at Target, it seemed like the obvious place

Target Christmas SocksThere you have it. The one and only pair. Yup. That’s a cactus wearing a Santa hat and wrapped up in Christmas lights. Why? I don’t know. It was just hanging there among the black socks like it had every right to be there. Why the cactus? Illinois is not known for its cactus population. That should have been my first clue.

Ross for Less- nothing

T. J. Maxx- zip

Things were not looking good. I spent too much time staring at rows and rows of boring men’s socks. Not a Christmas sock to be found. I was ready to give up. Other than one lonely pair of cactus socks, I had found nothing.

Then I found myself wandering through Old Navy and my spirits lifted. I saw some bright welcoming colors calling me from across the aisle and lo and behold, it was on the men’s side of the store.

Boxers. Lots and lots of cute Christmas boxers. Very cute boxers. But not a pair of Christmas socks to be found.

I was ready to admit defeat. Apparently Christmas socks were a thing of the past not only in NYC but also in Midwest suburbia. I made a mental note to check in with Hugh and let him know that he was correct. Apparently American men did not do Christmas socks anymore.

And then a few days later, as I was looking through my bags, preparing to wrap presents, I found a large Kohl’s bag from that long forgotten (but not so long ago Black Friday shopping excursion Shopping With CJ and Buzz).

I sifted through the Star Wars t-shirts- one for each brother, set aside the “Best Little Bro” hoodie and fire engine sweatshirt- both size 18 months for Beej next year, stacked the “Grandkids” frames that I purchased for myself and Jasmine’s mom to celebrate our grandsons, refolded the three firefighter themed shirts for CJ (I swear I told him to pick out his favorite- I don’t remember buying all three!) and reached into the very bottom of the bag. My hands closed around something knit. Three somethings to be exact. I pulled them out and stared down at the set, as if seeing them for the first time.

christmas socks

But this was not the first time I was seeing them. I had stood at an end cap in Kohl’s on Black Friday, trying to keep track of a rambunctious 5 year old and his Space Ranger companion while I picked out Christmas socks for my sons. Looking back, I recall there being more than three styles but not much more. I guess this speaks to my state of mind and the level of my distraction this holiday season, right?

The far left ones, which read Nice on one side and Naughty on the other were for Michael, the middle “Happy Elfin’ Holiday” were fitting Andrew’s sarcastic wit and the penguins shouted Kris from the minute I saw them.

And upon telling Kris of my quest to find the socks, he kept an eye out for them himself. Although he did not locate any men’s Christmas socks, he did find these for me (at Kohl’s)-

christmas socksI’m fond of my pink ugly sweater Christmas socks.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that Hugh, you must be right. Other than that smattering of socks at Kohl’s, those socks remain elusive…..


Twizzler* Returns

Last year we welcomed a new member of the family. His name is Twizzler* and he’s an Elf on the Shelf.

Our elf on the shelf

Have you heard of this? It’s the latest thing. I had first come across it on Pinterest a few years ago and it’s popularity has skyrocketed since.

The premise is simple. A scout elf is sent out from Santa to keep an eye on small children to make sure they are behaving before Christmas. At night the elf goes back to the North Pole to give Santa a report. The way the child knows that his elf left is that when he gets up in the morning, the elf has moved. The rules are simple- the child must behave and he can never touch the elf, or else the elf will lose his magic.

I had mixed feelings about the elf. While I liked the idea, being that mom who was always threatening my kids with Santa watching, it has become so commercialized that I feel like it’s losing its appeal. The elf section at Target has more than tripled this year. Last year it was a shelf with a few of the original boxes, which contain the elf and the book and some stuffed elves. This year it is 4 shelves complete with outfits, different size elves, elf pets and kid size pajamas. Oh yes, and a video. You can’t log into Pinterest without being swamped with ideas of all the different scenes elves find themselves in. (And yes, it was only a matter of time before some jokers put the elf in risque scenarios….some being funny but many being wrong- just wrong.)

Elf on the Shelf

An elf, Brownie, showed up at CJ’s apartment last year and he LOVED it! He was so delighted when he located the elf and he was actually behaving. This came at a time when CJ was really challenging his parents and testing the boundaries as well as everyone’s patience. Since CJ spent so much time at our house, it wasn’t long before our own elf, Twizzler appeared.

I have to admit that CJ gets the biggest kick out of his elves’ antics. It was a lot of fun to watch him run through the house in search of Twizzler. CJ’s uncles were skeptical at first but as CJ’s enjoyment grew, so did their enthusiasm. I’m not sure who was more disappointed when Twizzler had to return to the North Pole- CJ or Kris and Andrew. Last year Twizzler could be found lounging amongst the apples in the fruit bowl or chilling on a shelf with Buzz and Woody. He was seen hanging off of life fixtures, peeking over the edge of the curtains, and laying about in silly positions. I can’t imagine where he will end up this year!

I won’t be out buying Twizzler his own ugly sweater or a reindeer as a pet, however he is welcome to come hang out at our house and pop out to report to Santa as long as he doesn’t wake up the dog when he returns.

* As with all names, Twizzler’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.