Cheap streak comes out at advent time

There’s no doubt that this will be a different cup

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Day six on the advent calendar and it looked like a chocolate screwdriver was behind the little door.

Such a cheap and simple mechanism brings so much joy.

Now we’ve smoothed out the teething problems, everyone enjoys a little choccy nibble in the morning.

One of our issues, though, is should confectionery consumption come before or after breakfast?

I have a simple manifesto: in December, anything goes. You can eat what you like, when you like, and we’ll all deal with the consequences in January.

If you want to eat a packet of Raging Hot Monster Munch 10 seconds after you’ve woken up, go for it, be my guest. If you want to eat a whole family-sized Dairy Milk and skip breakfast and lunch, fill your boots – it’s Christmas.

At six, Molly hasn’t shown the evil tendencies that were emerging in me at the same age.

Having a younger brother, I prayed on his vulnerability by carefully sliding open his little doors and craftily using tweezers to wangle the treat out through the smallest gap.

He’d open the door and throw off an accepting sigh whilst I gorged my podgy face on his booty.

Another good trick was to shake the entire calendar vigorously and feel the festive delight fall from its little plastic housing to the bottom of the cardboard sleeve. Easy prey for a person with my appetite – for food and torment. I’m not proud of my actions now, but I was then.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were all happy to open the door on the advent calendar and enjoy looking at a plastic button.

I’ve been explaining to Molly that, before the dawn of the confectionary calendar, we’d all get quite excited every morning, wondering what was behind each number.

Sometimes it was a penny, sometimes it was a little festive treat. Other times it was the red plastic fingernail that had been knocking around in a kitchen drawer from a Christmas cracker circa 1978. Never a dull moment.

The clever people behind advent calendars have now broadened the appeal by offering ones for everyone in the house, from granny to Fido.

Pet advent calendars are a booming industry. Many people love their pets more than their immediate family, so it stands to reason that they’d want to wake up in the morning and treat their python to a chocolate-shaped mouse from behind door number 14.

Not that I’d ever want to come across as tight-fisted but by the end of the week, advent calendars will be reduced to 50p each.

It may be December 9 on Friday but you can buy four for the price of one and have nine days of catching up to do.