Tony and the Christmas Socks

Twenty something years ago, I was fresh out of college and working my first office job.  I had a co-worker and friend named Tony who made work much more fun. 

One day around Christmas, I sat down at the conference table with several co-workers, including Tony.   Someone noticed my festive red candy cane socks.  I told them how my mom bought me a pair of Christmas socks every year!  Even when I was away in college, she would mail me a new pair.  I laughed as I told them the gesture was very thoughtful, but how many pair of Christmas socks does one girl need?  I mean, you really only have a small window of time to wear them.  December is OK, but January is a little silly.  Christmas socks in May or June is downright odd. 

We had a fun conversation about ugly Christmas sweaters, Christmas socks Clark Griswold.   Then we all got back to work, and I never gave it another thought.

That is until that Christmas when Tony and I exchanged gifts.  I opened my gift bag to find, you guessed it, a new pair of Christmas socks!  Typical Tony - He always had a great sense of humor and a wonderful, hearty laugh!

In fact, one year we all went to a comedy club.  After several jokes, and Tony’s boisterous laugh, the comedian actually stopped the show to thank Tony.  He said that he wished Tony and his encouraging laugh could be at all his shows!

Anyway, as I opened the gift, Tony reminded me of the story I shared about my mom and her Christmas sock tradition.  We laughed knowing that the pressure was on.  Now I would have to rotate two new pairs of socks into my December wardrobe.

A year passed.  The following December 1st, I started to dig into my collection of Christmas socks and laughed when I found Tony’s pair among them. 

I think I may have even worn that pair on the day of our office Christmas party.  Again, Tony and I exchanged gifts.  I unwrapped my gift to find yet another pair of Christmas socks!  I realized that Tony was not letting this go. 

For the next five or six more holidays, that Tony and I worked together, I received a new pair of Christmas socks!  Each year, he found a new, unique pair to add to my collection!  Knee socks, crew socks, slippers even Christmas footies.

The next year, my first child was born, so I left my full-time job working with Tony.  We still kept in touch, but naturally drifted apart.  Like most people, we got caught up in our own lives and lost touch.

That is, until the next Christmas when I received a mysterious package in the mail.  The return address said S. Claus, The North Pole.  Hmmm?  I didn’t hear anything ticking or see any white powder residue, so I cautiously opened the package.

Inside the padded envelope I discovered another new pair of Christmas socks.  There was no note or gift tag, but I knew exactly who they were from!

And then every year that followed, I received the same package in the mail.  It was always addressed from the North Pole or Chrsitmastown – depending on the year.  Every package contained a new pair of Christmas socks.  They seemed to get sillier each year.  There were elf socks, Christmas trees, Mrs. Claus and Santa on the beach, and even a pair of T-Rex Santas.

A few years later, Tony left the company where we first met.  There was nothing left to connect us except, apparenty, the Christmas socks! 

This Christmas marks over 20 years since I shared the story of my mom and the Christmas socks.  It’s been a tough year for Tony.  His father passed away just a few months ago after a battle with cancer.

This is the year I figured Tony would finally forget, or decide to let the tradition go.   He had more important things to deal with, and he had certainly made his point!

But of course, the package arrived again just a few days ago.  Right on schedule was my padded envelope from S. Claus filled with a festive pair of Christmas socks.  This year’s pair feature a holiday Llama and say Falalala Llama!

Thank you, Tony, for a giant drawer full of Christmas socks.  But more importantly, thank you for making me laugh every December for over 20 years!  You are my very own Santa Claus.  Hmmm, maybe there is something about that jolly laugh of yours.

Merry Christmas my friend!  May you never lose your wonderful sense of humor!