I don't know about you but I have a strong dislike for those 'chocolate' (I use the word in its loosest meaning) advent calendars that supermarket have had on display since October.
And it's not because I'm against giving my children a tiny morsel of chocolate after breakfast... that stuff it's not even chocolate!!!
It's more to do with how ghastly they look (what's Ben10 got to do with Christmas???) and with what to do with them for three weeks... it's clutter!
There's nothing wrong with counting down to Christmas... hey that's the fun part... but I resent being told how to do it by the marketing team of Disney and the like.
So this year, I got organised and did my own calendar.
I collected 24 tins from kind and bewildered friends. I painted them - the tins, not the friends.
I then hired Mr M and the boys, armed them with scissors and old magazines and told them to find lots of big numbers. (They're used to strange requests by now so got on with the job quite admirably).
I filled the lot in secret with sweets and little toys and stickers and chocolate and coins...
closed them with coloured tissue paper tied with white string
and now the boys can't wait to start. They speculate on the content, argue about who's opening which number, try to shake the tins behind my back...
Surely that beats some cardboard and pretend chocolate shapes!