When I was in the 6th grade, one of my stocking stuffers was a pair of white socks with Santa's holding small Christmas trees all over them. These were my very first pair of novelty socks, and I thought they were pretty cool. I can't remember if I wore them every Christmas after that or just sporadically, but I do still have them. They are still in excellent shape, but then again, they are only worn once a year.
Several years ago, I picked up a couple more pairs of Christmas socks on a whim, and a couple more the year after that. Before I knew it, I had enough pairs of Christmas socks for the "12 days of Christmas." I had 11 pairs of my own; the 12th pair was James' Mickey Mouse Christmas socks.
Of course, I couldn't just wear the Christmas socks. I had to model them for my poor co-workers. Everyday, first thing, I would show off that day's socks and then go on my merry way. And when we exchanged gifts, a couple of them gave me socks, so they must not mind too much. (I also now have Halloween, Easter and Valentine's Day socks. I could use St. Patrick's Day socks-that would make it so I didn't forget to wear green).
My collection of socks has now grown enough that this year, I started the "Sock Countdown to Christmas" on December 8th. The week before, I proudly announced (or warned, depending on your point of view) to the sock viewing co-workers when the socks would begin. I almost sent them text messages this weekend of the socks of the day.
My excitement over my Christmas socks may seem silly, and it is. But this is the one part of the holidays for me that is not centered around family-it is the one holiday tradition that did not die with James as this was always my thing, not ours. It is the one part of the holidays that still truly brings me joy. And my co-workers graciously play along (and support me by giving me more socks. There was a pair waiting for me on my desk when I got to work not too long ago). So, I will continue to wear and show off my socks daily (when I went to volunteer today, one of the girls there asked what today's socks were and said she forgot to see if I was wearing Christmas socks at bunco last night), ending on Christmas Day with the socks that started this ball rolling 23 (wow!) years ago. Maybe next year, I will have enough that I can start wearing them the day after Thanksgiving.