And in today's Daily Express, we have the...traa laaaa...Christmas appeal! Is this going to be a regular occurrence for the next 50 year until 89 year-old Kate McCann is pleading for her daughter to walk through the door of Rothley Towers, where her bedroom is just as she left it, with all her Christmas and birthday presents from the intervening years blocking the way to her toddler bed?
Now, I know I must be sounding unsympathetic to their plight, but this is just a money-grubbing exercise at the time of year when folks out there are thinking of other people less fortunate than themselves and are in the mood to give to worthy causes.
"Kate and Gerry McCann have issued a fresh appeal for help in finding their missing daughter Madeleine as they face spending a third Christmas without her."
Third Christmas without Madeleine? Well, actually, if we're counting, it's the fourth, because at Christmas when Madeleine was 2 years old, in 2005, Madeleine spent Christmas with her grandmother, Eileen Mccann, while I assume the rest of the family enjoyed the twins' first Christmas back at Rothley Towers.
"Madeleine McCann's gran on the family's year of tears." Daily Record April 27th 2008.
"Eileen said: "Madeleine was in my heart from that very first day.
"She was born on a Tuesday and I went down to see her on the Friday.
"I felt I had a really special bond with her.She said: "When she was two, Madeleine spent Christmas at my house and it was lovely.
"The next year, the family came up for New Year but on Christmas Day Madeleine called and said she'd got a kitchen from Santa. She was very excited and said 'I'm going to make some tea'."
So, Madeleine wasn't at the festive table that Christmas. Seems odd to me that she wouldn't be part of the twins' first Christmas, but then I find such dates and events memorable and special and well worth the effort that has to be put into them when you have small children.
"In an emotional plea greeting visitors to the site, they said: "There will be a spare place at the Christmas table again this year. If you know anything - do the right thing and help us fill it." (Daily Express)
From what I can gather, there's been a spare place at that table before, not just at Christmas either. Early on in this case, Kate McCann, asked about how the twins were coping with Madeleine's disappearance, said that they were ok because they had never spent much time with Madeleine. So, I guess there weren't many lingering meals en famille then?
"Mr and Mrs McCann added: "There's only one thing Madeleine wants this Christmas - and that's to be back home. If you know where she might be, please help." (Daily Express)
If Madeleine is still alive somewhere, being treated like a princess, or as Kate McCann said in an interview for Spanish TV, "in somebody's house," I seriously doubt that were she to turn up to sit at the Christmas table, that she would just slip happily into the family fold and joyously tuck into the roast turkey. A child who was suddenly taken from her family in the trauma of a night time snatch, from where she had been left sleeping, and kept apart from that family for nearly three years, would be an emotionally distressed child, returning to a house she did not recognise any more, siblings she had hardly known before and who would now be strangers, and parents she hardly remembered, who would also have changed in the intervening years.
And if, God forbid, Maddie is alive and in the hands of paedophiles, as her parents have suggested so many times, then that place at the table would not be the most appropriate place for an abused child's introduction back into the arms of her family. Have a slice of turkey, Madeleine, and forget that you were abused in every imaginable way, after we left you alone in the dark in an unlocked apartment. Let's all join hands and sing Kumbaya. Somehow, I don't think so!