AS a nation, we appear to have a collective soft spot for bumbling fools. I don't mean the current incumbent of No.10 Downing Street (although that would be an excellent example). Nor the kind found on reality TV shows (I'm looking at you, Love Island).

Rather, I mean the star of the new John Lewis Christmas advert, a rambunctious dragon called Edgar who single-handedly derails Yuletide festivities with his uncontrollable fire breathing.

A snowman is reduced to a puddle, a beautifully decorated tree scorched into a pile of ash and ice-skating fun on the village pond brought to an abrupt and soggy end.

As Edgar banishes himself behind closed doors, his friend Ava comes up with the perfect gift idea. She produces a Christmas pudding allowing him to set it alight and utilise his fiery power for good. There are cheers from their fellow villagers, then everyone lives happily ever after.

Hang on, not so fast. Let's just examine the facts for a moment. Is Edgar cute? Very. Is he an arsonist? Affirmative. Should we be condoning this behaviour? Erm, technically probably not ...

Put it this way: no one was oohing and aahing in delight when Daenerys Targaryen ordered her dragons to burn King's Landing to the ground in Game of Thrones, were they?

Yet, because Edgar is small in stature with an adorably plump midriff and puppy-like big brown eyes, we are happy to overlook the fact that he's assassinated a snowman, torched the Christmas decorations and almost caused a mass drowning by melting the frozen skating pond.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick: Dating labels, existential guilt and is it too early for Christmas?

It's sweet now, but wait until Edgar is a moody teenager and your good curtains are going up in flames. Imagine the carnage if he joined Love Island (fire doesn't mix well with acrylic nails, synthetic hair extensions and vats of Prosecco).

Or worse still, runs for Prime Minister. Only to incinerate the House of Commons when the Brexit deal doesn't pass for the 2,743rd time.

Petal power

POT-POURRI is making a comeback. Time was (circa 1983) that a bowl filled with dried petals, spices, pine cones, herbs and dehydrated fruit, was considered the height of sophistication.

It clung on as a coffee table staple until the advent of the noughties saw new-fangled air fresheners and posh-scented candles become all the rage. Poor old pot-pourri was banished to the doldrums alongside avocado bathroom suites and shag pile carpets.

Lately, though, growing concerns have been voiced that fancy candles could be harming the environment, as well as causing damage to our lungs, due to the toxins they release.

Earlier this year, Michael Gove (then the Environment Secretary) said that candle manufacturers will be told to reduce emissions in their products. Clearly not a big fan of hygge, then?

Such rumblings are being credited with people returning to pot-pourri as an eco-friendlier alternative. I mean, it's basically composting in your living room, right?*

However, pot-pourri is not without its perils. On a cruise years ago, a friend awoke in his cabin feeling parched. Alcohol had been consumed the night before, but he couldn't quite put a finger on the odd taste lingering in his mouth.

It was only when he stepped out of bed and felt something crunch underfoot that the penny dropped. An upended bowl of pot-pourri lay on the carpet.

In his inebriated confusion, he'd mistaken it for crisps and wolfed down a handful of rose-scented petals. "At least my breath smells good," he quipped. Reader, it did not.

*This claim is not based on science.

A right pickle

All hail Matthew McConaughey, the self-proclaimed pickle expert. Could this be the hero to get us out of the Brexit debacle, end climate chaos and cure world ills? Hold that thought. It turns out we're talking about a different type of pickle.

The actor joined social media site Instagram earlier this month. Now, coming up with a bio is no easy feat. You need to nail your colours to the mast. And be quirky. Such as revealing you own a unicorn farm. Or in McConaughey's case are an out-and-proud pickle guru.

I have no doubt McConaughey knows a lot about pickles but all I can picture is him delivering a 17-minute monologue extolling their merits in that excruciatingly intense manner that he seems to channel into every film and TV role these days.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick: Dating labels, existential guilt and is it too early for Christmas?

You know the vibe I mean: two parts cult leader, one part annoying guy who corners you at a party and bangs on about the Barnett formula.

As yet, there have been no posts from McConaughey to shine any light on what being a pickle expert entails. Is he a gherkins man or partial to a couple of chip onions with a sausage supper on a Friday night? The mind boggles.