It has long been Mrs Dee’s habit at this time of year to buy a selection box for every child of everyone she works with, and the list has obviously extended as families have grown.
It never got any shorter, though, despite the fact that some of the recipients have now left home, completed university, and embarked on careers. None are yet parents in their own right, but that day can’t be far off – never mind, they still get a selection box of chocolate treats.
Having patiently explained that it was probably time to call a halt, I secured her agreement that the list would be trimmed to include only those whose age was still in single figures.
But then one of the big supermarkets trumpeted a buy one, get one free offer and she couldn’t resist. The list currently stands at 26 names, since you ask, and it’s the same at Easter, but that’s a cross I will just have to bear.
Bodycam footage shows police breaking into hot car to free distressed dog stuck in high temperatures
More than 400 potential victims of modern slavery identified in Bedfordshire last year
Three members of the same Bedford family die in Italian road crash
Bedford woman jailed after head-on collision on wrong side of the road
Police step up patrols after Bedford car workshop broken into more than 35 TIMES
My belief that grown-ups have no need of the sort of kiddy choc compilation provided by a selection box could well be misplaced, though.
I reluctantly came to that conclusion after overhearing two twentysomethings comparing the contents of their respective Advent calendars.
Cue a decided doubletake on the part of yours truly.
It’s a free country, of course, and if you wish to pick away at a cardboard flap in the expectation of a thin sliver of greasy chocolate that’s entirely your affair, although I do think it’s a little sad if you have to buy your own.
For those confused about whether or not they should still be indulging in these childish Christmas treats, here’s a checklist of questions that should be answered before you open that next window.
1. Do you actually know what Advent is all about, and will you be attending a church service on Christmas Day?
2. Do you still believe in Father Christmas, and do you still write him a list every year?
3. Does that list include anything but high-end electrical items and hard cash?
4. Are you still required to wear a school uniform on a regular basis? Fancy dress parties or adult roleplay doesn’t count.
5. Will you be required to go to bed early on Christmas Eve to clear the way for Santa?
6. Do you still expect a stocking full of goodies at the foot of your bed when you wake up?
7. Is your main source of income pocket money provided by your parents?
8. Will the most intoxicating drink you sup this festive season be just a single sip of mummy’s wine?
If you answered no to most of the above, it’s time to turn your back on the Advent calendar. And the selection box. And, with an eye to future savings, on Easter eggs as well.