How I became a cool sock

Isn’t there this thing about receiving socks for Christmas and how it’s a punishment or a test of how well you can hide your disappointment? Maybe that’s only the case if you’re a child? Or if you receive nothing but socks? Or if the socks are boring? I don’t remember. I just know that at some point in my life I was under the impression that giving or receiving socks as a Christmas or birthday present was somewhat frowned upon.
As some of you might remember from a previous sock post, I used to be a plain-socks-to-look-‘professional’ kind of person. So receiving those would indeed be boring. But thanks to a set of wonderful friends with great taste in socks, I was forced to rethink my take on socks. I had received the occasional pair of pretty (souvenir) socks from friends (and even myself) before, but in the past few years the duck and I have noticed a trend: It started when our lovely friend J sent us a cool set of socks, some of which featured fluffy wolves! Those socks definitely boosted my coolness factor whenever I wore them because everyone who caught sight of them just had to tell me how cool they were (this really was the kind of gift that kept on giving)! I had, in fact, turned into a coole Socke, a ‘cool sock’ (which must be one of the weirdest German expressions for ‘cool person’) overnight. After that I received quite a few nice pairs of socks – maybe the duck and my friends had plotted to make me cooler (perhaps out of embarrassment)? Or maybe there just are more fun sock brands around these days? What do you think?
sock duckReflecting on cool socks also made the duck and me think about Christmas presents. We actually  believe that Christmas presents should be optional (and we don’t ever expect anyone to get us anything because we’re just not that great at picking out presents ourselves and we try way too hard which stresses us out more than it should). In fact, the duck and I prefer sending out homemade Christmas cards because we worry that what we get the other person might feel forced and impersonal. I wish we were as good at seeking out presents as our lovely friends are (I think I’ve never ugly-cried as much about amazing unexpected gifts as I have in the past few years). There have been a few instances, however, when we saw something and knew exactly who we’d want to send it to. Those rare moments (I guess because our favorite kind of shopping still is grocery shopping) excite us more than they should and we find ourselves waking up in the middle of the night wondering how the giftee will react. Cards can do the same for us, though, and even though we tend to spend way too much time on designing them, the outcome can be quite rewarding. This is the kind of stress that we appreciate because if the design isn’t good, that’s our fault alone and not that of the local shops or the internet for not having exactly what we want to give away…
Do you like shopping for Christmas presents? Do you think they are compulsory?