I remember when the Advent of Christmas was marked by the lighting of candles in Church, and the opening of a cardboard door that revealed the picture of a robin. In my teens, the cardboard door revealed a chocolate, and in my twenties the rule in the flat I  shared, was that Advent was marked by the playing of Christmas tunes. Now of course, the world’s gone mad.

Never mind that most Advent Calendars have nothing to do with Christmas and are instead based on the latest films and children’s crazes. Never mind that you can now buy Advent Calendars for dogs!!! DOGS!! Are you barking? Well, if my Facebook feed is to be believed, it seems that enough people are! But no, that is not the worst of it.

Because it seems that watching your child opening their Advent Calendar is enough to send so many parents wild with envy, that they are now catered for in the Advent Calendar market. Not with normal Advent Calendars though. No, the Advent Calendars for adults don’t conceal chocolate behind their alluring cardboard doors! They have beauty treats, nail varnish, gin, jewellery, beer, tea bags, and even seeds!

Surely this is taking the commercialisation of Christmas too far? These ‘calendars’ can cost up to £260! Far be it for me to tell other people how to spend their money. But how is this anything to do with Christmas. I’m not overly religious, but even so there’s something magical about this time of year, and I think it’s a shame that even Advent has become so blatantly commercial.

I guess we’re becoming a more secular nation. And that many people don’t read anything religious into Christmas. But I wonder at a nation that’s so desperate for stuff and presents, that they’re willing to spend a couple of hundred pounds to get 24 small samples of face-cream that they’ll probably never use. There’s a widely held belief that we buy stuff we don’t need in an attempt to fill an emptiness inside of ourselves. An emptiness that many claim used to be filled by spirituality. How’s that for irony.