Taking Stock - January 10

Three things in life are certain. Death and taxes, most people know about, but I'd like to add my own entry to the list – socks for Christmas.

Who honestly can't say they've unwrapped those gifts on the big day and not come across at least one item of,usually novelty, footwear?

I don't know whether it's being in my thirties, or just down to the sock gnomes who appear to take great glee in raiding my washing bin – making orphans of virtually every pair – but these days I'm glad of the gift.

That wasn't always the case.

I can remember, in the dim and distant past of my twenties, belittling socks as an amusing stocking-filler.

But no more, to the point I was disappointed on my last birthday to receive none at all.

Now, I'm well aware that my fondness for gifted socks is partly down to my hatred of shopping and laziness when it comes to Saturday afternoon expeditions which don't involve either beer, football or a combination of the two.

But there's something comforting about being given a pair of socks – after all, they're always going to be put to good use. Of course, thanks to the mysteries of the washing basket, pairs don't ever remain pairs for very long.

But I've learned not to let that bother me. On a dark, cold winter morning there's enough to do, without rummaging through drawers to find a pair. I'll admit openly to often wearing odd socks – but I already wear a cardigan, so I'm never going to be a winner in the fashion stakes.

I'm not even worried about people noticing. The mismatched footwear at least gives an excuse for a laugh and a joke, even if it is at my expense, and besides, I know one person who once arrived at work wearing odd shoes, which beats my effort any day.

The Formerly Pregnant One has all but given up on making me match, to the point her festive sock gift this year came in the form of seven orphans – plain black above the shoe, a riot of different patterns by the time you've reached the tip of the toes.

The fact somebody is selling these collections of odd socks makes me certain I'm not alone.

Others out there must surely share my devil-may-care attitude towards hosiery.

I know not who, or where, but somewhere there's men, and women, just like me, who don't mind a bit or sartorial inelegance – as long as it's tucked away inside a shoe or behind a trouser leg.

As far as I'm concerned, it was a great present. In fact when it comes to certainties, death and taxes I can do without – but keep those gift-wrapped socks coming.