Nothing says Christmas like Monty the John Lewis penguin and a plastic Kalashnikov

ARMOURY: My son's arsenal of toys
ARMOURY: My son's arsenal of toys
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CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and already two Santa’s Lists have been drawn up by the boys.

 As you might expect with the passing of time, our boys’ lists are no longer cute, hand-scrawled wish lists of goodies which we, with great ceremony, would leave on the open hearth for Santa’s elves to collect and deliver straight to the big man in a beard.

 These days the pair of them (Bradley, 13, and Isaac, 10) produce their list on the computer, complete with hi-res colour images of the goodies, clear descriptions typed out (in bold Times New Roman font, clarity is essential) and hints at the various outlets where listed items can be purchased (they’ve stopped short of including order numbers and prices – I suspect that’ll come next year.) Several copies of the list are printed on A4 and updated every two days. A large print version is also available for the short-sighted and elderly.

To make way for the new presents, I was tasked with clearing out some old toys, which involved updating our Isaac’s weapons store.

 On emptying his armoury onto the bedroom floor (see pic), I was forced to consider the potential pitfalls of giving children guns, grenades, swords, catapults and the like.

 I understand most schools frown on arming kids with toy guns, but there has been surprisingly little research into the subject.

 My extensive research (10 minutes on Google being journalistic shorthand for ‘extensive research’) could find just two reports.

 Good parent or bad parent? The jury’s out. One report said children playing with guns increased violent tendencies, while another said it helped the development of young boys by encouraging play and creativity.

 When our Isaac is caught in the bell tower picking off teachers with a high-powered rifle, I will, of course, direct the judge to the latter. If it’s the former, well, guilty as charged.

Which is a pity because, while John Lewis stuffed penguins are cute, I think nothing says Christmas like a plastic Kalashnikov and bullet belt.