Christmas Socks

Christmas socks opens with hosiery manufacturer, Harry Halsten, preparing for the Christmas rush but facing a breakdown. At home, Harry contemplates the coming Christmas with a lonely bottle of brandy. It is the time of year when sales should be at their peak and the local community depend on him.

This engaging animation, a bold move by director John Irvin, follows Harry’s surreal epiphany when the socks in the laundry basket bare their soles [sic] to him. Individual socks tell eight tales about what happens to them when they become separated. The stories are heart rendering and Harry realises he has to save the socks from the various humiliations they describe to him. “Socks talk – they all talk,” is the tag-line that reveals the bad habits of sock wearers.

Harry, privy to the sock secrets launches a campaign to improve the socks’ lot and uses Christmas stockings hung for display to convey the message; the information zooms around the world. By the week before Christmas, all the socks rise up and march. Appliances that have inadvertently caused the socks’ demise refuse to work. Vacuum cleaners, washing machines, tumble driers, clothes horses and clothes lines and radiators go on strike to show their solidarity. Bins become refusniks.

Santa is alerted to the trouble when the appliances that make up major gifts for grown-ups aren’t working. In between the expected hiccoughs in the toy department and the logistics of delivery, he has to broker a deal with Harry to quiet the discord. Although socks aren’t a popular request on Santa’s gift list, he appreciates that the sentiment behind giving a gift needs to be addressed if the season of goodwill is to continue. Jumpers, scarves, hats and gloves join the protest. As word spreads, stores and factories come to a halt.

Socks make feet comfortable – for walks together as a family, to dare to try climbing a mountain, to make the marathon bearable, to score the winning goal or try and to make you feel cosy when you’re feeling blue. Santa shows each of these little things to Harry when they meet to discuss the crisis and try to work out how to resolve the issue. As a representative of the hosiery industry, Harry makes an appeal on TV, revealing the sock’s torture and torment and asks for gift givers to include genuine love and affection with the gift of socks – it’s not an afterthought…it is a gift for fulfilling fantasy and potential and really showing that you care. Little things mean a lot and we shouldn’t take things for granted.

By Siobhan McKinney

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