The Wonderful World Of Nativi-Tat
The news this Christmas that a biblical mistranslation is responsible for the idea of Christ being born in an inn stable comes as no real surprise to me. Because I know Christ was born beside a jacuzzi, and I have proof.
If you’re looking for really mind-boggling religious rubbish, head for the Catholic Mediterranean countries, where you’ll find Christmas markets selling the most unbelievable nativit-tat. In Barcelona we have an entire market dedicated just to selling pieces of nativity scenes that you can add to your master model, like a train set.
These pieces range from camels, oxen, geese, sheep, seraphim, cherubim, ducks, palm trees, moss, forest glades, swimming pools (!) working streams, drumming mice, bonfires with flickering lights, stables, shitting figures, peasants, elephants (!!) and glittery shafts of moonlight.
I thought that the Med Catholics had Christmas scenes sewn up, but then I discovered that America, as always, goes one better.
The Catholic Supply Company of St Louis, Missouri is holding a post-Christmas clearance sale on nativi-tat, from its ceramic range of Santas visiting Christ’s manger to African-American tableaux and one ‘ethnic’ set which makes the nativity look a tad Middle-Eastern (bet they don’t sell many of those). And then there are the native-tat sets made up of worshipping cats and dogs…
There are more specific-race nativities, including this Irish-American gem, sadly without leprechauns but with a baby Jaysus O’ Christ in the manger…
So a nativity is clearly what you make it. Should you choose to surround the infant Jesus with large-eyed china waifs from the ‘Precious Moments’ set that depicts Mary and Joseph as creepily cute five year-olds with a baby, popping them beside a T-shaped lap pool and rotating disco shafts of cherubic glory, you’re free to do so. Or you may prefer to put outfits on your lawn geese (you do have lawn geese, I hope?)
Meanwhile, a man in Ohio is in trouble for building a zombie nativity outside his home. But given what’s already available, this seems like an entirely logical extension of the franchise.