Socks for Christmas

29 Dec 2021

Himself rather likes receiving socks for Christmas – so long as they are the right socks in the right size.

He shares this liking with Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from the Harry Potter series of books and films.

In the first book, Harry finds a magical mirror, the Mirror of Erised, in which one sees, not one’s reflection, but the deepest desire of one’s heart. When Harry asks Professor Dumbledore what it is that he sees in the mirror, the headmaster says, “I see myself holding a pair of thick, woollen socks. One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

My sister, on the other hand, likes receiving books – but they must be the right books. She tells me what she wants, and I get them for her. I am always surprised as they are not the books I would automatically have chosen for her.

In our house, we ensure we get the gifts we want, by writing out a list. We don’t expect to get everything on the list but at least we do not receive unwanted gifts. The best gift I received this year was a set of 100 wax-based colouring pencils. They are made in China however, and all the writing is in Chinese. I don’t understand Chinese, so I have passed the information onto my dear friend Raziel, who lists Mandarin as one of the many languages in which he is fluent. He has told me, “These are really high-quality colours, used by masters; the explanation of the colours is by dynasty.” I can see that this additional information will increase my enjoyment in using them.

And use them I will. It would be so easy to admire them, all pristine in their beautiful boxes, just as it would be easy to put away the packet of gourmet tea I received in a lovely hamper of goodies, but these things are meant to be used.

What about the things that cannot be used, at least by you? The hamper contained a bottle of prosecco but, these days, I don’t drink alcohol. My sister does, however, and I shall pass it onto her. I know the real gift is the love that prompted the giving: the thing itself is just the wrapping of the love. Even if I could use nothing in the hamper itself, I would still have received it with thankfulness and joy – and passed everything onto someone who can use it.

I hope all of us received at least one gift for Christmas – if we keep that festival, of course. I hope it is something we wanted and can use.

If we can, then use that gift – don’t keep it in a dark cupboard. If we can’t, then keep the love that prompted the gift and pass the “wrapping” on without guilt.


A Moodscope member.

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