Friday, December 05, 2008

Sock It to Me: Sock Monkeys for the Santa Season

Sock monkeys and I go way back. One of my sons got one (christened Monk-Monk) from his grandmother, and it traveled with him all the way to the rafters of the place where he lived in graduate school. In fact, it's still with him, worn and well traveled.

So naturally, when my grandchildren started to come along, I started to make and give them myself--finally making six, one for each child and a replacement for one that was lost. They were all different, since I had plenty of time to forget all the clever quality control tricks between births, and they were all cute in a definitely, er, quirky way. Ugly or charming, though, little kids love these things, probably because with long limbs and a long tail, they are easy to haul around.

If you are a crafter (or just determined, like me!) you can make your own, even ordering all the materials as an inexpensive kit, Peejay the Sock Monkey Kit, which includes the traditional red-heel socks, cotton floss and embroidery needle, instructions, adoption papers(!) and buttons, felt and pom-pom for trim. (If you are making the sock monkey for a child under three years, I'd advise NOT trimming with the buttons or pom-pom; I embroidered the eyes along with the smile.) I also found that craft stores sell cute little knitted sweaters which fit the monk-monks perfectly.

If you lack the time or sewing machine to make your own, there are several ready-made authentic sock monkeys available. If you want a celebrity monk-monk, there's Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Exclusive Gift Set Sock Monkey & Book, featuring the star and book of the movie, or the appealing Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Sock Monkey & Red Wagon, which features the monkey in his own little red wagon. Or, if you are a purist, you can get an unembellished monkey, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium Sock Monkey, and pair it with noted author Harriet Ziefert's cute count-down book, 10 Little Sock Monkeys, shown above. However he comes, the sock monkey is a great toy which looks quaint and fetching in a stocking and can become a keepsake for generations to come.

And, for kids (and adults) too old for a sock monkey, there's that other monkey, the best-selling Slingshot Flying Monkey With Scream Sound, the stocking stuffer perfect for anyone except the pre-three spectre Scrooge. It's not going to become a keepsake, but let's just say that it'll probably last about as long as you want it to!

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