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It’s catalog shopping time again

December 3, 2015
Westfield Republican

As the activities of the holiday shopping season pick up, my mailbox is once again stuffed with catalogs.

Apparently, even though my catalog shopping is infrequent, the folks who mail out the inviting publications have long memories.

Still, I don't mind receiving these colorful presentations of useful and unusual products. It's interesting to see what odd things the creative minds have been developing. And I must admit, gift shopping this way avoids that whole driving and parking challenge.

So, last night I sat down with the collection of catalogs I've been gathering on my chair side table for several weeks. My plan was to study the latest offerings for the 2015 season in hopes of finding something both useful and unique for the special folks on my Christmas list.

My stack had grown to over a dozen catalogs from a wide variety of businesses. Among them were catalogs from The Paragon (Living and Giving at its Best), Breck's Gifts (Inspired by Nature), Hammacher Schlemmer (America's Longest Running Catalog) and Mind Ware (Brainy toys for kids of all ages).

The Figis Catalog is one upscale catalog that always amazes me with its variety of food gifts from candy and baked goods to nuts and cheese/meat trays.

The displays on every page are so tempting I can almost feel the calories jump off the paper and slide down to my hips. The prices, too, tend to give me a jolt.

A "Fudge Wheel" features four different kinds of fudge in a decorative tin. Even though the descriptions had my mouth watering, I stopped at the bottom line. For just under a pound and a half of fudge, the price was $24.99.

Another tempting gift tin contained a tasty combination of pecans and cashews. At one pound, the item went for $27.99. Next I moved on to a star of my collection, the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, a group of decidedly up-scale gifts.

The treasures within this slick publication include such unique items as the Wizard of Oz Cuckoo Clock that "celebrates the Wizard with lights, sound and motion." The unusual piece literally has all the bells and whistles and sells for the keepsake-quality price of $199.95.

Another gift option featured in this catalog that caters to those who have everything is an Australian Kangaroo Wallet. The listing claims, "this wallet is made from kangaroo leather, the strongest leather in the world. It is also two-times thinner than traditional hides." In addition, the gent who enjoys shopping will appreciate the wallet for its "eight credit card slots." One of the cards can be used to cover the price of $99.95.

But, the most amazing item offered in this selection of gifts is obviously intended for the person who has everything. Called a "Handcrafted Hippopotamine Sofa," this treasure is a "life-size majestic hippopotamus in the form of a sofa." The piece "requires over 400 hours to make" and would provide an attention-getting addition to any eclectic decorating style for a mere $95,000.

Unfortunately, with offerings of odd but interesting items like the Wizard of Oz Clock, the costly Fudge Wheel, and the Hippo-Sofa, the catalogs in my collection had little to fit my gift list.

With a loud sigh of relief, I tucked my credit card safely back in my purse. And I decided the catalogs that flood my mailbox at this time of year may not help me with my gift list, but they certainly manage to give me a glimpse of how the other half lives.



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