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There’s a long-standing Christmas tradition in my family. It isn’t leaving cookies and milk for Santa, or attending a church service. It isn’t serving the less fortunate a hearty holiday meal.

Nope. Not in my family. The tradition in my family is the Tacky Gift Contest.

There are only two rules for the Tacky Gift Contest. Each entry must be a gift, and, it must be tacky. Past TGC winners have included a toy gorilla sporting a gold dinner jacket, a pair of breast-shaped coffee cups, and most recently, a dead, lacquered armadillo which was cleverly converted into a ladies’ handbag.

You see the tail comes up…and around…and fits snugly into the armadillo’s mouth, forming a handle…you get the idea. Stiff competition, to be sure, but last year I won the Tacky Gift Contest with something even better. Or worse. Definitely tackier.

My friend Nate and I found them quite by accident. Nate is a Christian, a good and decent man who tolerates my snide remarks and godless ways.

But he’s a cheap bastard, and loves all those “Ninety-nine Cents for Everything” stores. So one day, C.B. and me were in one of those “Everything’s a Buck” places, and while he was picking through packets of off-brand ramen noodles, I found them.

Sexy dog statues.

It was startling, to say the least, finding those preening she-doggies there amidst cute little turtle paperweights and piggy-shaped gravy boats. Imagine, if you will, Collies and German Shepherds standing on curvaceous hind legs. Scantily clad in nurse or flight attendant garb that just barely contains its bosomy content. Pouty-mouthed preening pooches, with pillbox hats resting between their ears.

I am less concerned about the creator of the sexy dog statues than whoever made the executive decision to greenlight their manufacture. Of the idea behind these hottie hounds I can only say, it has this in common with barbecue pizza: just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should.

There is one other long-standing tradition in my family; the Tacky Gift Contest winner gets to keep the winning entry.

Where’s an armadillo when you need one.

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