When I was a little girl, the advent calendar that I had was a cardboard affair with colours and lots of glitter, and little doors that opened, and no chocolate. About twenty-five years ago, I tried to buy my daughters a traditional advent calendar in the village where we lived. It was very difficult, even then, to find anything that did not include chocolate. I don’t know where it started – I loved my advent calendar. Open the doors, and you were excited. “I’ve got a shepherd!” or “I’ve got a star on mine!” And in the middle there were arch shaped door, and on the 24th December, and when you opened them, there was baby Jesus in the crib. These days, no one knows about that. They only know about which chocolate they’re going to get on which day. All the supermarkets sell is chocolate calendars, between the price of £2.50 to £10. Where did the whole point of Christmas go? I hate to tell everyone, but it’s not all about the chocolate. The question is, why do we celebrate Christmas? We celebrate Christmas because of the religious aspect. I hate to tell people, and I don’t want to upset anyone, but Christmas is about the baby Jesus. It is! If I google ‘traditional advent calendars’, I can find them online, but that involves ordering them, and paying postage and packing. All the supermarkets sell the chocolate versions, but I can’t find anywhere that still knows about a calendar without chocolate involved. This isn’t meant to be a rant, and I don’t want it to be, but I’m upset and worried that we’ve lost the whole point. I’m just old-fashioned, but I think somewhere along the line, we should go back to recognising that Christmas is about more than just how much chocolate our children can consume in twelve days.
If we have an obesity crisis in children, couldn’t somebody high up in supermarkets or confectionary say, “Well, we’ll forfeit, and go back to traditional calendars, maybe wildlife or scenic views, it doesn’t have to be religious, it doesn’t have to offend anyone, it can have lots of glitter, but let’s hold back on the chocolate.”