So Advent is finally here. All across the land families are opening Door 1 on the calendar and rejoicing in the wholesome Christmas-related images that lie behind it (unless you're my sister, who is currently wondering what on earth a pig on a skateboard has to do with the Holiday Season, but that's a story for another post).
I'm a fan of an old-fashioned advent calendar myself, loving the nostalgia of the process. Who doesn't enjoy the hunt for the right number hidden in an overly-crowded design, the subsequent battle with the inadequate perforations around each door, or the jolt of recognition as you discover a candy cane or a toy train pictured behind it? (Both of which still seem to look the same as they did 45 years ago, which shouldn't be a shock, because how many ways are there to draw a wrapped present, after all?) And let's not forget the joyful surprise of the inevitable discovery, a couple of hours later, that the glitter from the calendar has somehow transferred itself to your cheek. Twelve year old me liked to pretend it was make-up. I always have loved a bit of sparkle.
Consequently I've been fighting a rear-guard action against the inevitable march of chocolate advent calendars since the Boys were tiny. Mainly this was down to my reluctance to give them a sugar rush before breakfast each day, (what's the point of making them eat Weetabix rather than sugared cereal if they've already been snacking on milk chocolate or, nowadays, Percy Pigs?). But this year? This year I couldn't be that cruel. This year, after all, is 2020. Normal service is currently suspended.
This, it turns out, is the year I finally caved and bought each of my sons a chocolate advent calendar.
I didn't tell them in advance, simply presenting them with their calendars when they came down for breakfast this morning. Boy #1 - the junk food king - was delighted, and had ripped open the card and gobbled down the milk chocolate bunny behind Door 1 in 2 seconds flat.
Boy #2, however, doesn't like milk chocolate. Do you know how difficult it is to find a dark chocolate advent calendar at the end of November? Or at least, how hard it is to find one that doesn't cost £40? (I love him, but there are limits). Nevertheless I managed it eventually, returning home in triumph with a 70 percenter for less than five quid, only to find - after he tried what lay behind his Door 1 this morning - that there is yet another brand of chocolate for us to add to the list of those to which he is allergic.
Oh well. My intention is that my Husband will benefit from his younger son's misfortune. But I'm home alone, and you know what they say; the road to hell and all that...