This review was written in 2018 and updated in 2019
Max says: There are two things I really love about the festive season: turkey leftovers (especially the table scraps I hide down the back of the sofa until July) and wantonly destroying delicate Christmas tree ornaments with a casual paw swipe or a nonchalant swish of my tail.
But while shiny elves, snowmen and anything resembling a penguin deserve my utter contempt, there are some decorations I can’t bring myself to smash. Instead, I lay on my back under the tree for hours on end, licking a large candy cane and gazing in awe at these completely magical baubles: a pair of holiday icons that are loved by cats throughout the world.
The Yuletide Salmon and the Christmas Crow represent everything that’s important to us whisker-twitchers when it comes to the festive season. The Salmon reflects every cat’s Christmas dream of receiving a gift of top-of-the-range canned food made from real fish––rather than something that smells a bit fishy but is probably concocted from horse’s kneecaps, gerbil gonads and decommissioned tires (believe me: we can tell).
And the Crow––as every cat knows––represents what happens to naughty little kittens if they misbehave in the run-up to Christmas: they’re transformed into our arch feathered enemy and forced to spend the rest of their days stomping around angrily, dive-bombing pedestrians and cawing in protest like a stuck record (side note: give it a rest crows, we heard you the first time).
Bearing in mind how important these icons are in feline folklore, I was delighted to discover these two handcrafted decorations from Vancouver Christmas Ornaments. It’s rare to find a business so in tune with the cat-based holiday decoration market. And they even cover human interests, with a range of ornaments reflecting clever Vancouver and BC-flavoured themes. That includes detailed glass invocations of Science World, the East Van Cross and the Gastown Steam Clock. And for nature fans, they also have a handsome Spirit Bear and a very pretty Pacific Dogwood flower.
But the ornament I’m really hoping to find on the tree this year is their decorative effigy of those grand old lion statues that guard the Lion’s Gate Bridge from dogs (this was their original purpose, but only a few of us now remember). Noble, powerful and handsome with a supremely confident dogs-shall-not-pass demeanor, it’s a Christmas decoration that totally reminds me of myself.
UPDATE: I’m delighted to announce that Vancouver Christmas Ornaments sent me a couple of sparkling new baubles for the 2019 season. And like the lovely examples mentioned above (all of which are still available), these handsome new decorations maintain the tradition of reflecting some key feline themes. I can’t wait to hang these on the tree this year and gaze at them for hours on end.
The first one is B.C.’s iconic Spirit Bear (or kermode bear). I love this one because it reminds me of the province’s lesser-known Spirit Cat, a ghostly white feline that lives in the back alleys of Vancouver. Feasting on vegan pizza crusts and sipping from open tanks of East Van craft beer, it’s rarely spotted. But to us cats, it’s a legend we all look up to.
Which brings us to the second bauble: a miniature evocation of Science World. It’s not well know that the original architect behind this Vancouver landmark was a distinguished feline. He spent many years designing what he hoped would be his legacy project, cementing his reputation alongside Gehry, Norman Foster and Frank Lloyd Wright. Unfortunately, when he finally unveiled his model, the room fell silent: no one had been expecting a huge spherical building in the shape of a giant yarn ball. Dismissed from the project, his design was hastily recreated as the far less impressive geodesic dome thing you see today. Only us cats know the grandeur of what it could have been, though.
Price: Each ornament costs $20 to $25.
Where to buy: Order from the full range via the Vancouver Christmas Ornaments website. They’re also available at some local stores and Christmas markets.