I could just about understand Christmas stockings for pets. Grudgingly, I might admit that the children in a family would love Rover and Kitty to have their own Christmas stocking. But why would you really want to buy doggie treats at an elevated price, just because they are packaged nicely for Christmas day?
When it comes to advent calendars, though, my sense of the ridiculous rises up and protests. I grew up with advent calendars that simply showed you a Christmas-related picture every time you opened a little paper door. None of this stuff about sweets and chocolates every time you open the door. Or even, going up the scale somewhat, a mini-present every time you open a door! So you can imagine my reaction to advent calendars for cats and dogs.
Surely there are going to be some confused pets around after Christmas. For 25 days, their beloved owner calls them over once a day and gives them a special treat. After this has gone on just long enough to be implanted in the small animal's idea of what is routine, the whole thing stops! I imagine the owner saying, "Sorry, Tiddles, Christmas is over now. But, never mind, it'll soon be your birthday and I'll bake you a special cake. And I'll buy you a special Easter egg as well!"
Leaving the supermarket, I saw my bus sailing away down the road. Faced with half an hour to wait for the next one, and not having too much to carry, I set off walking part of the way home. As usual my route went round the side of the supermarket and through the entrance where the delivery vans arrive. So, to save myself a few hundred yards of bag carrying, I pushed my trolley along to the gate and left it there, donning my rucksack in preparation for a bit of a walk.
Just after I set off a car driver hailed me and asked in a posh voice if that was my trolley. I resisted the temptation to say that in fact it was not mine but belonged to the supermarket and owned up, wondering what he was after. Why was I leaving it there? Once again, I refrained from sarcasm and did not reply that the supermarket does not like you walking off with their trolleys. Instead I reassured him that the supermarket staff would collect it and all would be well. With that he drove away.
What did he take me for? Some kind of vandal? My soft answer turned away his indignation but he still seemed a little bemused as he set off again.