Thinking of Christmas and the Learning and Skills Council, my thoughts turn to this time last year when my desk was full of corporate Christmas cards from the great and the good of the world of lifelong learning. I even used to get one from that nice John Harwood, then chief executive of the LSC.
His nickname at the quango's HQ was Mr Burns because of his resemblance to the character from The Simpsons.
This year, though, the office is almost bare. Mr Harwood's replacement and Matthew Corbett lookalike Mark Haysom seems to have left me off his list for some reason. It's nothing personal, I'm told. One of his staff explains that the LSC has joined the legions of progressive organisations which prefer to make a donation to charity rather than waste vast sums on cards.
This is to be applauded. But instead of giving the money to an existing charity, perhaps they should start a new one - to provide welfare for all those unemployed Christmas card-makers.