No one hopes they will get a leathery Chevin for Christmas. Usually, the appearance of such a horrible doll is a sign that you have caused deep offence. It suggests someone may even be considering killing you, and that you should, as a matter of some urgency, mend your ways.
Leather is a valuable commodity and not as common as would be ideal. Everyone needs leather shoes, and in the winter, you want oilskins, or oiled leather. Seals know not to venture too close to the island, and sea otters are in desperately short supply, so the chances of you getting winter wear from such a creature depends on it washing up dead, but not so dead as to be unsalvageable.
For generations, the Chevins have specialised in both harvesting and processing leather. The smells associated with this work have only enhanced their reputation for not being very nice. However, if a creature dies, getting a Chevin in quickly to process the skin is always popular. And no one wants to leave a dead donkey on the roof through the winter.
Hopeless does not lend itself to the leather industry. The goats and donkeys are clever and keep to themselves a lot. The cows are decidedly on the small side. As a consequence, rather a lot of leather-like materials are harvested from the sea. The Chevins are discrete and secretive about this. To the point whereby the family’s entire secrecy budget seems to go on not talking about the leather, while their oversharing and indiscretion bloom wildly in all other contexts. No one really knows what most of their leather is. The general assumption is that the leather-ish material they sell has probably been extracted from some horrible form of sea life in the sort of way it would likely be best not to know about.
All of this contributes to the leathery Chevin being so ominous and unwelcome a gift. There are those who say that the leathery Chevins are made from the skins of people who have previously annoyed the Chevins. I’m sure that’s unfounded. I am prepared to continue to be publicly confident on this score, because I neither wish to receive nor become a leathery Chevin.