Finding Christmas meaning in a catalog

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There seems to be no end to them. Christmas catalogs have been arriving for the past couple of months and what started off as a trickle has become a torrent. Our mailbox is stuffed.

The pile usually ends up on the dining room table, along with “important” mail such as bills to be sorted out at some point. And from there it goes – I wish we could do the same with the bills – into a brown paper bag for recycling.

Well, there’s a little more discretion applied than what might be suggested, but not much. That is until I got my copy of The Paragon, Living and Giving at its Best.

Based on the cover, a white cuddly kitten photo-shopped next to a cat tote, it was a prime candidate for recycling. But it was so saccharine, I had to open it, if just for amusement.

I’m glad I did, for never would I have discovered the musical keyboard necktie that promised to be the life of the party. For $14.99, the tie plays eight notes that are sure to give new meaning to “tie one on.”

In disbelief that anyone would dream of making and selling such neckwear, I flipped a few more pages. It got better.

There was the Wellie-Wearing Pig.

Every front door should have this “delightful” [yes, that’s the word] pet cast in “durable weather-resistant polyresin.” This little guy, who looks like it escaped the barbecue spit, stands 6 inches high in his green Wellingtons, sells for $24.99.

“I found it,” I declared to Carol who was in the kitchen.

“What?” came the somewhat exasperated reply. She was making dinner.

“The Christmas present I’ve been searching for.”

That piqued her interest.

She was at my side to see for herself.

She wasn’t to be outdone.

“How could you have missed it? It’s that,” she said, pointing to a sleep shirt on the adjoining page; pink, with a dog standing with a cup of steaming coffee and the words, “pawsitively exhausted.”

We kept turning pages, discovering gifts, each one more ridiculous than the last. There was the mini paintball blaster; the 2-carat coffee mug, with a ring on the side so the ring finger can easily slip in; headlight lashes for her car; and “the incredible fishing rod pen” for him. The pen telescopes out to a 38-inch rod and mini brass reel with 2-pound, 3-ounce line.

What a trove of the fanciful! There were caps and T-shirts with the words “Real men use duct tape” and “Bank on dad, open 24 hours” and the T-shirt [presumably for her] with, “Let’s assume I’m right. It will save time.”

We kept turning pages and kept laughing. It was the best therapy for the frenetic shopping season that officially starts this Friday.

For the moment, dinner was forgotten. We imagined who would be the appropriate recipient for one ludicrous gift after the next and how they would react. Perhaps it’s not such a foolish thought after all – totally absurd gifts that may serve little or no purpose other than for the recipient to wonder, “What were you thinking?”

The answer should be obvious – I was thinking of you, and how you would get a kick out of this.

Isn’t that what Christmas should be about?

I’ll bet Carol would never forget a set of fingertip light lasers.


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