What would Christmas be without clichés and cheese?
I bought this wonderfully cheesy snow globe in a dollar shop in
The male Cardinal bird is brilliant red all over and found anywhere the
I’ve never seen one in the wild, but do remember seeing them on Christmas cards in the cheap boxes of cards my Mum used to but from Woollies each year. I often wondered what the bird was, and why a small crested parrot (for that’s what I thought it was) should have anything to do with Christmas and Christmas cards.
Those grey-backed cardboard boxes of cards were very mixed, the cards were usually really flimsy, the glitter always fell off, and the glue on the envelopes tasted awful and never stuck. The subject matter was even worse - stagecoaches, Victorian carollers, sixties cubist Santa’s, nativities with huge-eyed children, piles of presents, leg-out skaters, and of course the North American Red Cardinal bird; just about the cheesiest collection of Christmas icons imaginable.
Just why a Northern Cardinal should turn up in a box of Woolie’s cards is a mystery to me. Perhaps the cards, or more likely the designs, were imported.
The Cardinal was always one of the cards that never got sent. The bird, pretty or not, would end up as one of the cards that remained in the box forever, an orphan with no home to go to - unless of course we were really desperate, or disliked someone so much that we just didn’t care. Every year I’d lift the dusty box lid to find the Cardinal bird along with the cutesy mouse in the stripey nightcap, the badly photographed close-up of the blue Christmas bauble, and the terribly drawn poinsettias and Christmas roses.
Those old boxes of cards make my snowman look sophisticated by comparison. Anyway cheesy or not, I like my dollar shop snowman, whizzing through the snow on his sled, a piece of holly tucked into the brim of his hat, scarf flying behind as he whizzes. I even like his pet cardinal bird as it perches on his hand, merrily chirping away, as they both rush towards Christmas.
They may be a clichés, but at least they’re having fun.