I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: My Mother receives almost every catalog available in the known Universe. As some of you know, last holiday season I had grand aspirations of using her vast library as fodder for clever and thoughtful gift ideas. I look back on what I compiled, and I find it rather VERBOSE and consisting mostly of English foods with names that I find amusing. This notion was corroborated by the fact that last year Grettir AND The Blobby Farm both trumped me with cleverness and brevity. And what’s more, each accomplished this in a single entry (well, two for Grettir if you want to count this golden oldie).

Nonetheless, if you want to browse through last years “prime” gift picks (there’s a link in the sidebar as well), please do so. NO – I will not guarantee that any of the links are current. If they are broken, please just look at the pretty pictures.

Despite what I’ve just said, I can guarantee two things:

  1. Blobbies STILL and forevermore make people happy. I promise. Cross my heart and all that jazz.
  2. I think perhaps the “Twelve Dickies of Christmas” was mildly amusing. Well – at least the fact that I FOUND twelve separate assorted dickies is a little funny in and of itself.

That said, notwithstanding the fact that I bagged the idea of “Kate’s Holiday Gift Ideas du Jour 2006” several months ago, I still browsed through stacks and piles and heaps of catalogs. This is, more often than not, an amusing pastime. Occasionally, though, one finds reason to be quite terrified.

This holiday season I was genuinely alarmed by the profusion of Nativities (Crèches – call them what you prefer) featuring – hmmm, let’s say “non-human” characters. Yes, indeed – I found teddy bears (fuzzy), snowmen, teddy bears (poly-resin), frogs and a few others that must have scared me so much that I’ve blocked them out completely. I would always show them to my Mother and tell her that I’d found the PERFECT Christmas gift just for her.

I should probably put this in context: In case you do not know, I am very hard to offend. And kitschy, tacky catalog items ordinarily amuse me. Moreover, to put this an even clearer perspective: I LOVE Life of Brian. I think it’s uproariously funny and don’t consider it the least bit blasphemous. In short, I am about as far from a right-wing religious conservative as you can get.

Yet I find the representations of the “Holy Family” as reptile or canine or ursine creatures to be CREEPY. This, apparently, brought out my Mother’s devious side.

One day there was a notice about a package that they wouldn’t deliver without someone home to accept it. Says she, “Oh no – they wouldn’t leave your ‘Get ready for Christmas’ present!” My Mother is the Queen of All Holidays, so it’s not strange that there were “Get ready for Christmas” gifts this year.

I did not have to wait very long to find out what festive surprise lay in store for me. The next evening I came home to found the following collection artfully arrayed on the dining room table:

Holy Cats?

It’s scary, yes, but I must admit that it’s hysterically amusing, too. I was going to try and take a picture of my ACTUAL Cat Nativity (my “Cativity”), but Fiona wanted to lounge voluptuously on the box behind it, which I’d wanted to artistically drape with black fabric (okay, with a jacket – it’s not like I’m Annie Freakin’ Leibovitz). So I stole the image from the merchant.

I cannot say I’m sorry, though, because when I searched for the picture I also found this description of the Cativity:

Sweetly sculpted of polyresin, each of these 9 figures is beautifully hand painted and delightfully detailed. Set includes Mary, Joseph, the 3 wise cats, shepherd cat, little drummer cat, angel cat and, of course, the baby kitten curled up in his makeshift crib. Largest figurine measures 4 3/4″H x 2 1/2″W x 2 1/2″D. Stable not included.

That’s right, no stable (and if you don’t know already, cats LOVE containers). I’m considering a surreptitious removal of my Mother’s LLadro Crèche figures from its satin underpinning and dazzling backdrop and replacing them with my Feline “Holy Family” and ensemble.

Last but not least, a disclaimer: If you like or worse, hold dear, any of these things I’ve just ridiculed, bear in mind I adore many things that others would find worthy of ridicule. I do not scoff at YOU – I’m mocking your STUFF. Everyone to their own tastes. Right?

*Hah! You thought I meant “cavity.” Coincidentally, I did have a cavity filled last week, but this was a very deliberate “CATIVITY.”