There was a period for a few years during my childhood and teenage years when I anticipated my father’s Christmas gift: pajamas.
Every Christmas, like clockwork, my sister and I received pajamas from our dad. We used to joke and wonder which colors or patterns he would surprise us with that year. As a kid, my heart sunk a bit upon holding the wrapped gift and feeling the lightness of the bundle. Light gifts were almost always clothes, which were practical and no fun at all to a ten-year-old. As a teen and young woman, I gradually grew fond of the pajamas from dad tradition.
I have an assorted collection of pajama tops and bottoms from him — a pink and grey plaid Espirit flannel set, pink Betty Boop cropped pants with a white ruffle trim, and a light blue snowflake cotton set. Some pieces have come and gone throughout the years, whether lost or donated, but I still wear a majority of them. During the final two years before the tradition faded, he decided to mix things up by giving us robes instead of pajama pant sets.
My favorite clothing item to wear at home is the fuzzy, pink robe I received one Christmas. I honestly can’t remember which year he had purchased it for me, but it was around the time I first moved back home from graduate school. 2008? I vaguely recall having received two pink robes that Christmas year — one from my dad and one from my aunt. I gave the robe from my aunt to my mom, since I reasoned that I didn’t need two plush robes taking up space in my closet — a patch of fluffy pink in the corner that contrasted my wardrobe of largely black, whites, and denim.
The robe followed me when my husband and I purchased our home. On chilly mornings, I would throw it on as I prepared my coffee. I also love writing and reading in it. I imagine stay-at-home writers to be people with messy hair wearing robes and drinking coffee. Doing so makes me feel like I’m donning the wardrobe of a writer. I’d cozy up in it on slow Saturday mornings. I feel immediately at ease when I wrap myself in it. It was like receiving a big bear hug. There is now a little hole in the back of the neck tag area from excessive wear and hanging. Although I have a tiny suspicion that my stepmom had a say in my dad’s gifts over the years, I like to think of my serious dad – the opposite of a fuzzy, pink robe person – tied to this warm and loving piece of clothing.
My husband made comments now and then about how warm and comfortable I looked in my robe. I think he longed for a robe of his own. Two years ago for Christmas, I purchased him a fuzzy robe on a whim. It was a dark green and blue plaid robe, and it was just as soft and cozy as the pale pink robe I wear and love so much.
This piece is inspired by the book Worn Stories by Emily Spivack, a collection of sartorial stories and memories of the clothing we wear, own, and love. For a deeper dive, read Brain Pickings post of the book here and see Spivack’s ongoing project Worn Stories here.