Why have decorations been removed from the shelves?

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STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

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So I finally went to get my Christmas tree. It seems to get later and later every year as the utter faff of getting it into the house, rearranging the furniture around it (we like big trees) and getting the stand out of the attic just puts me off. So I put it off. With a capital O.

Added to the chaos this year was going into the woods and actually cutting a tree down ourselves. This would have been fine had we lashed it with less enthusiasm and more skill to the roofrack.

Instead we caused a roadblock on the top of Portsdown Hill when the tree swung off the roof and into a field of something – perhaps cabbages.

I didn’t hang around to get a proper look at the veg as, unsurprisingly, the mood in the car (well, the front seats in particular) had turned distinctly unfestive.

With tree safely installed at home , I popped into Homebase to update my decorations and, for once, go for something a little more tasteful than my eclectic and much-loved baubles.

But, unbelievably, nearly all their Christmas stuff had been taken down – even the tunnel of lights, which I force the children into on a yearly basis so I can ooh and aah, had disappeared.

The shop assistant assured me that, as the decorations had been up since October, it was time to get rid of them – before Christmas. So there I was, on a specific festive timetable, all revved up with a week to go, only to find that I had missed the four-month slot that everyone else appears to be working to.

It’s plain rude, isn’t it? I’m sure that there are many like me who are still frantically running around trying to gather bits and bobs. for Christmas. But how can we if they’ve already been taken off the shelves?

Imagine if the supermarkets decided not to sell turkeys in the last few days before Christmas because they’d been selling them all year? Or the garage forecourts decided to do without coal as it’s just sitting in the rain for many months and surely all coal buyers would have bought some by now? It’d be chaos.

Oh, I’m just moaning because, yet again, I have a Christmas colour scheme that looks as if a rainbow got into a massive fight at a paintball facility.