Captain Birdseye calendar is top of my list for Santa
Struggling for gift ideas? How about a Captain Birdseye calendar featuring the new captain, Riccardo Acerbi, gazing moodily into the distance while clutching a plate of fish fingers.
The limited-edition calendar has been released re after an “ooverwhelming reaction” to the rugged new captain. Well, what’s not to love about a man who can make Jeremy Corbyn’s hat and a midweek meal look attractive?
If Captain Birdseye was also wearing a pair of Greggs sausage-roll themed socks, all our Christmases would have come at once.
So the Elf on the Shelf has to go, tiny dictator that he is.
Yes, on behalf of every mother (or father) who has ever laid a weary head on a pillow after a long day’s slog only to blink open their eyes in horror and leap out of bed to attend to urgent elf business.
On behalf of every parent who has ever found themselves alone at a laptop at midnight, googling ideas on clever tricks and interesting elf positions (yes, this can be as dodgy as it sounds if you stumble across the wrong kind of site).
And, actually, on behalf of every child who’s growing up believing they’re being spied upon by an interloper pretending to be a toy that they’re not allowed to touch?
That elf with the stupid pointy hat. How blooming annoying is he?
For the uninitiated (you lucky blighters), the Elf on the Shelf is the most irritating American import to reach these shores since Donald Trump started eyeing up golf courses.
Inspired by a US children’s book, which was only written in 2004, it has been rather successfully sold to us unsuspecting parents as a “Christmas tradition”. Fourteen years old? That’s not a tradition – that’s a marketing triumph.
Spin-off Elf toys – emaciated little creatures cleverly styled to look old-fashioned – quickly began appearing in homes across the States and, inevitably, they found their way to these shores (probably tied to a toy airplane by some smug parent).
And because us guilt-ridden sorts are forever looking for ways to enhance the experience of Christmas for our little darlings, pesky Elfies have been adopted with unbecoming enthusiasm over here. secret, magical life and wasn’t just chewed by the dog, then abandoned behind the couch while the kids were in bed. “There’s only one rule that you have to follow, so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.” Well, ho ho ho. What an elfin’ bully. The issue here is not just that the introduction of the wee clype has added yet another layer of espionage and malevolence to judgemental old Father Christmas. Isn’t it enough that the burglar-alarm eyeballs are giving Santa direct monitoring of our living space and the tiny plastic door we stuck on the skirting board allows access to the tooth fairy? Russian spooks give their targets an easier time than this. No, it’s also that proper deployment of Elf on the Shelf requires a level of effort and commitment from parents that is, quite frankly, one Christmas irritant too far. Social media is awash with posts offering tips on what the elf could do next: Make snow angels in spilled sugar, perhaps? Toast marshmallows over battery-operated tealights? Or get into a fight with some mini Lego figures? Hilarious? Nah. Exhausting, challenging and infuriating. I have otherwise level-headed friends who “allowed” their elf to draw moustaches on to framed family portraits one night, only to realise next morning that the wee tike had used permanent marker. So we are rebelling in our house. We sacked our elf for gross misconduct and he is now packed away in a box with some discarded Barbie dolls. And we all sleep soundly at night. I think...