As Dec 1st approaches, the travesty of modern Advent Calendars will, once again, rear its ugly, chocolatey head and make me sigh inwardly as I leave the supermarket checkout.
Gone, it seems, are the simple, paper Advent Calendars of Christmas Past where you opened a little window and found a lovely picture of a toy soldier or a teddy bear or a robin in the snow. Gone, is the delight of comparing your picture to your sister's to discover that she got a rubbish bauble picture and you got a snowman. Gone is the sheer joy of the Double Window for 24th December which you tried and tried to resist peeking at for the entire month. Gone is the thrill of the Christmas Eve nativity scene which was eventually revealed behind that final, huge window. Gone are these simple, happy advent times.
Now, we have the dubious festive delights of, Peppa Pig, The Simpsons and Ben effing Ten - all with a nasty, cheap chocolate hiding behind the 'window' in a crappy plastic tray which will inevitably be eaten for breakfast because, obviously, the windows are opened first thing in the morning. What, pray tell, is festive about that? Huh? HUH, Tescos, M&S and other offending shops -what do you have to say for yourselves for foisting this annual travesty upon our poor, unsuspecting children? Call me a snob, call me scrooge, call me whatever you like, I would rather consume an entire platter of brussels sprouts than have a chocolate advent calendar in the house.
Thankfully, sense has prevailed among some and there are still a few paper calendars to be found. We have had a UNICEF advent calendar for the last few years - it's a lovely calendar which goes right back to traditions, keeps things simple and does just what an advent calendar is supposed to do - count the days down to Christmas with festive pictures behind each window. We also have a lovely hand-made fabric calendar which, admittedly, does have a little pocket for each day of December, but that doesn't necessarily mean the pockets will be filled with sweets - possibly little notes to the children, or something (when I've got around to thinking about it) but not chocolates every day.
So, who's with me? What's your opinion of the advent calendar - do you choc, or not?