…. our unwanted gifts?

Jeff Mowatt posted a blog title “Autosocks anyone?” My immediate reaction was that this was about an unwanted Christmas present! The ubiquitous and omnipresent universal “present-to-give-Dad-Uncle-and-Granddad-because-I-don’t-know-what-else-to-give-them” sort of thing but with a twist. Seasonal humour coming to the fore to amuse and entertain us? Actually no! It was a blog asking about the efficacy of some new fangled thing that you can put on the tyres of your car when ice and snow create treacherous driving conditions. Hmmm – but I wasn’t going to waste my thought processes. When inspiration strikes – you just have to grab the new serendipitous opportunity and act!

The problem of unwanted Christmas presents seems to plague everyone – perhaps not every year but we have all had this issue at some point in our lives. What to do with these gifts for which we feel no gratitude is a persistent and tiresome quandary. Re-gifting to some other unsuspecting victim is no good because although it may seem like a good idea at the time – when it comes to actually wrapping the present, the act just does not sit comfortably within our conscience. How can I possibly inflict this on anyone else and actually admit to it by putting my name on it – with love from me ……really? I don’t think so! Bit of a problem too if your own name is emblazoned across something like a home-hand-made-with-love jumper. Charity shops are no good either – not unless you drive to shop a hundred miles away because there is no doubt that Murphy’s Law will guarantee that the giftor will find it. That would be just too embarrassing as the dreaded thing boomerangs back to you – this time with thorns of disapproval perhaps? With more people getting familiar with the internet, Ebay can be equally risky. Refunds are not always possible and you might not want to exchange your treasured item for anything in that shop – it would all be just as embarrassing. There are too many possible unpleasant consequences of anything that we may choose to do – so much so that we are left paralysed into storing the ever-expanding collection in some dusty corner of the house. But .. are we actually looking a gift horse in the mouth?

My thought processes about Jeff’s Autosocks went along the lines of “Awww – poor Jeff. He has some awful naff novelty seasonal socks that he wouldn’t be seen dead wearing. Autosocks? What are autosocks anyway?” And so it continued …

Do they put themselves on your feet? Or do they just automatically stay up and you never have to bend down to stretch out those Nora Batty wrinkles ever again.

Then I thought perhaps that they were self-heating socks. Automatically regulating the temperature of your feet to keep them warm and toasty when out in the ice and snow. Auto-socks are clever though because they cool down when you get indoors into your snug centrally heated home keeping your peddies at perfect temperature for optimum comfort.

What else could be automated about a sock anyway but maybe that is the point – it is about socks not sock. They always remain a pair so are automatically attracted to each partner forever. Every time they they are in the laundry basket they seek each other out – squirming and wriggling through the tangle of sheets and shirts and not quitting until they lie side by side. But then what about the journey through the washing machine? They would surely be separated and they would have to do it all again. No! That wouldn’t do. They would have to be programmed into seeking each other out only when they are actually clean. They could sidle up to each other on the washing line or gymnastically leap past the vests and pants to be re-united once more. Perhaps once in the ironing heap they could automatically fold themselves into the perfect paired ball. There will never be a lost sock mountain for people to ponder about. The myth of the single sock will be a tale told down the generations and wondered at by the youth of tomorrow.

Oooh – I know – gosh this would be a really good idea! Auto-deodorising socks! Wow! Now that would be an idea worth patenting. It wouldn’t be long before they became auto-self-cleaning socks – ah but when would they self clean? Automatically all through the day? Or put into a receptacle at night. You would only need one pair of socks then – especially if you could make them so that they are auto-darning too then they would never wear out.

Or is this a pre-manifestation idea? Are they socks made from pre-programmed yarn? “I think …….. I might be a sock. Hmmmm I think that I am a sock. Therefore I AM a sock. Voilà!” Whereupon it miraculously and automatically knits itself into a sock! But then what about pairing up? Perhaps it has to think it is a pair of socks first? I wonder what staff you would need for a factory making self-knitting socks?

The thing is – we might be terribly ungrateful for these awful and tasteless tacky presents but are we actually missing an opportunity here? Sometimes when we get what we DON”T want – it could be seen as a new door of opportunity being sent to us. My ideas of what an autosock might be, are VERY silly and probably not that original but with the development of technology they are perhaps not quite so unrealistic. They may be completely impractical and more than likely not cost-effective solutions (yet) but you just never know what ideas will be born out of the silliness. Nano-technology particularly comes to mind which is already providing some astonishing solutions to many things – all it would take is a difference in application perhaps.

If you can’t bear the thought of going down a more creative avenue then a couple of sites that might prove useful for you to recycle, swap, exchange or just give away.

www.freecycle.org – international recycling site.
http://www.hitflip.co.uk – now redirects to a German site – not sure what has happened to the UK version.
http://readitswapit.co.uk/ – great for all unwanted books.

http://www.regiftable.com/ – then if you rehome your unwanted gift you can tell everyone your story here! smile

So the question is – what presents have you been given for which you are feeling particularly ungrateful? Can they provide you with inspiration for a new idea or business venture? When we ponder upon this puzzle, wandering through the quagmire of finding a solution to this never-ending problem perhaps we should look at this as a perfect moment of serendipity and get creative. Perhaps you might not think that is possible or does the suggestion send you into paroxysms of uncontrollable laughter at the ludicrousness of such a thought? Then I challenge you to post your unwanted presents here and see what ideas come out of the collective creativity of this community!

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