Do people want clothes as gifts for Christmas?

Joe Molander considers whether clothes are an appropriate thing to find under the tree.

Joe Molander
8th December 2019
When I was a kid there was no worse present than clothes. Now I’m a student, and while I still have the mental age of a child, I no longer have the financial resources of one.
Doc Martens are always popular at Christmas
Image: Mainstream on Flickr

The bank of mum and dad no longer extends to everything I wear, and as a result, my socks are more hole than sock, and even my Doc Martens – supposedly the perfect marriage of hipster and resilience – have gaping tears in them. The soles are worn down, parts of the leather have become detached at the seams, and the laces are filthy. I’m the first person I know to wear shoes in such poor condition. A homeless man once asked me for change, and when I said I didn’t have any, he smiled and said “no problem: nice shoes by the way”, so at least they appeal to one demographic.

Essentially, if I didn’t get clothes for Christmas I would have to spend Boxing Day searching through my old cupboards for t-shirts I got when I was thirteen that still fit me. My Angry Birds t-shirt might have been funny in 2012 (if nothing else, it’s fascinating: it has a bird in a fedora saying “Go ahead punk, make my day”, a reference to a film that came out decades before the target demographic for Angry Birds was born), but it hardly cuts the mustard now. Alternatively, I might have to beg my younger brothers for the world’s first hand-me-‘ups’. Clearly, clothes are a great gift for Christmas.

Clothes are a good Christmas present if you need them, but is the same true for when you just want them?

Not everyone will agree: so far, I’ve focussed very heavily on gifts that come from need. A lot of people reading this, though, won’t need any more clothes: it’s possible our readers (yes, both of them) are agonisingly close to having their lives together. Maybe, just maybe, their shoes don’t leak when it rains. What about them? Are clothes a good gift idea for them?

Certainly, it’s easy to avoid getting stuff you don’t like, simply by asking for specific clothes. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with taking a potluck approach: for a couple of birthdays, my parents would get me a t-shirt they found funny, and the results were nothing short of incredible. I’m writing this very article wearing a top they got me with a Dalek from Doctor Who on it, edited to look like a lollipop; the stick reads “Da-lick”, and I refuse to believe that isn’t genius.  

The holidays can be used as an excuse to splash out if you put up half the money

The t-shirt I've asked for this Christmas. If I'm asked back next year, I'll be amazed
Image: corbynomics on Redbubble

A very specific group of people aren’t a fan of that type of fashion, namely the group of people who have taste. It’s still possible for this elite cabal to get clothes for Christmas without looking ridiculous, though. Indeed, the holiday can be used as an excuse to splash out on something nice that you wouldn’t usually be able to afford, if you put up half the money. Alternatively, you could get something you can afford but don’t really need, so wouldn’t buy unless someone else was offering. It’s also nice to go through a website with a sibling or parent and find something you both agree would suit you, and do the same for them.

Alternatively, you can follow the same festive tradition as Christmas jumpers and abandon all taste in fashion. This year, I’ve asked for a t-shirt that is so awful and so poorly designed that it won’t even be able to function as a pyjama top. As soon as Boxing Day rolls around, it’ll go in a drawer to be forgotten about, but on the day, it’ll make people laugh, and bring us all together. If that isn’t a good gift, I don’t know what is.

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AUTHOR: Joe Molander
Head of Current Affairs and co-founder of The Toon Lampoon. Politics, interviews, satire and the Courier's leading authority on frosted tips. @JoeMolander on Twitter and full portfolio available on Muckrack.

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