Shepherds, wise men and Woody from Toy Story

RATHER than bore you all with the usual column on a single subject I thought I’d draw inspiration today from all those cheerfully-gaudy confectionery selection boxes that adorn the supermarket shelves only at this time of year – the ones that are dearer than buying the component chocolate bars separately. It’s a lot to pay simply for a cardboard box with a cut-out snakes-and-ladders game on the back and a picture of Father Christmas . . .

So here goes with a series of treats (who am I kidding?) – a variety of wordy soft centres, biscuity vowels, chewy diphthongs and bon mots bon-bons to sink your teeth into.

Card sharp: Thanks to a week’s holiday, I’m well ahead with the half-delight/half-chore of writing Christmas cards, though I must admit August was a tad early for posting.

I jest: the hols were in December. I asked at the counter for 25 second-class stamps. “Wallace and Gromit OK?” said the post office lady. “Well, the long-suffering dog’s expressive eyes and body-language manage to convey so much, without words, and that’s amusing, but Wallace is an irritating drip”, I replied. “Overall, I don’t much care for them.” Then I realised she meant the 2010 Christmas stamps bearing their image.

Shiny Apple: By working several Saturdays at the world’s quietest gift shop, Emma has amassed more disposable income than her parents combined. She wanted to spend it on an iPod. Well, �180 could provide safe drinking-water for 200 people, and she’s a victim of fad-driven capitalism, but it’s her graft, her cash and her choice, so I kept bah humbug thoughts to myself. I’ll just slip an Oxfam Unwrapped virtual goat in her stocking on Christmas Eve, to get the point across.

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Anyway, iPod arrives and she can’t link it to the world wide web. Ask Elspeth, I suggest. She’s got the same gadget. “She’s not on anything,” snaps frustrated teen. Not on anything? What? Drugs? The stage? A plane to Morocco? “Not on Facebook or Twitter at the moment.”

Er . . . Elspeth is a neighbour – near enough to hear if you open the window and shout . . . Technology: proof it rots brain cells.

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Window woe: I still detest the advent calendars I was obliged to buy because I left it too late (5pm on November 30). Emma’s isn’t too bad – main picture of a kitten (they must have had those in the stable) and nicely-drawn images behind the windows of robins, snowmen, holly – but (looking at James’s) it’s unlikely Buzz Lightyear and three-eyed aliens from Toy Story were in Bethlehem at the time of the census.

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