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Advent calendars go for Fido rather than faith

More than one million pet Advent calendars will be on sale in UK supermarkets this year – with just 400,000 Christian alternatives on their shelves ...

More than one million pet Advent calendars will be on sale in UK supermarkets this year – with just 400,000 Christian alternatives on their shelves.

With an estimated nine million pet dogs and eight million domesticated cats in the UK, stores are keen to cash in on festive share of the annual £5.4bn pet market. Advent calendars are a key part of the market and there is even an Advent calendar for rabbits and hamsters. However, the options for humans are more limited.

Out of the 20 million calendars produced for human consumption, less than 400,000 carry any mention of the Nativity, only two brands are Fairtrade and only one is charitable.

David Marshall, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, manufacturers of The Real Advent Calendar, said: "Stores are happy to cater for pet owners but don't think Christians want to give children a quality Advent calendar which connects with the Christmas story – it's barking."

The Real Advent Calendar is the UK’s only Fairtrade, religious, charity option.

"Parents or grandparents looking for a calendar with religious or ethical content usually find nothing but superhero-themed calendars and £1 cheap chocolate versions on offer," said Marshall. "Virtually no religious chocolate Advent calendars are on the market. There is a demand for them but they are not stocked by most major stores."

The news comes in a week when a new survey revealed 40 per cent of the population think Jesus was not a historical figure; Mulberry began an advertising campaign in which they replace baby Jesus with a £5,000 handbag; and John Lewis asked people to look to the moon for the meaning of Christmas.

The Real Advent Calendar costs £3.99 and can be purchased from Tesco and online retailers at www.realadvent.co.uk/shop

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