LAURA CARTLEDGE: It is the season to be soppy – and for me that is the best gift of all

THIS column takes in many weird and wonderful topics.

I know many of you will be thinking it is more of the former.

But a highlight for me, in the four or so years I’ve been filling this little shape with my ramblings, is that it brought me in contact with a very special club.

The Clandestine Cake Club, started by a lady in Yorkshire, is now a worldwide phenomenon.

Each month, across the planet, people meet to eat and chat.

I got invited back in May 2012, with the view of writing a something about it, and I’ve not left yet.

In fact I was honoured to be asked to help run Chichester’s one a while ago – with my task being to find the venues to host our sweet-fueled gatherings.

As a result, we’ve been all over, from The Kennels at Goodwood to luxurious kitchen shops.

While I’ll be honest the initial attraction was eating a lot of cake – I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.

Sitting at the Christmas meal this week, the only time we meet without bringing baked goods, it really struck me.

We’ve shared so much.

Granted that includes tomato soup cake, mashed potato cake and avocado cake among others..

But I am not just talking about calories.

We’ve seen bumps turn into babies – with our youngest member less than four weeks old when he joined us for a meeting – and complete strangers become friends.

Yes, it sounds a bit soppy, but I think that is what this time of year is for.

It’s a sad fact that it is only really when we are asked ‘what do you want?’ that a lot of us realise what we already have.

I’m sure when I was little, I would reel off my list.

Knowing me, it would have been a heady mix of wanting a pet unicorn, more books and world peace.

Those that know me will tell you not much has changed on that front.