Here, to mark the start of the Christmas week, are twelve of our "and finally" news stories from the Monday Briefing in 2019. The Monday Briefing is taking a break until Monday, 6 January. In the meantime, the Deloitte Economics team wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

In February UK discount store Poundland sold engagement rings just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Bling Ring range, priced at £1, went on sale in January and the retailer sold 20,000 pieces in just seven days – sterling proposal.

US police were called to check on the welfare of an adult male who had been standing “motionless outside” while wearing “no coat in the cold and hugging a pillow”. When they arrived, officers of the state of Minnesota were surprised to find that the figure was actually a life-sized cardboard cutout of local businessman and CEO of MyPillow, Mike Lindell – 2D or not 2D.

A man in Texas tested the ‘all leashed pets welcome’ policy at his local pet shop by walking his 1600lb African Watusi, a longhorn cow with horns measuring nine and a half foot from tip to tip, into the store – bull market.

Bristol residents complained that 1930s street lights in their neighbourhood were being removed to be relocated to a more affluent part of the city – gaslight robbery.

To the anger of vegans, vegetarians and environmentalists, the European Parliament is considering if meat-substitute producers should be banned from describing their products as steaks, sausages, escalopes or burgers – regulation at its wurst?

Pope Francis warned against football fans calling Lionel Messi “God”. Messi, arguably the best player to have ever played the game, is often referred to in such terms by Barcelona supporters – Messiah.

A beluga whale fitted with a harness labelled ‘Equipment of St Petersburg’ is believed to be an escapee from a covert Russian spy programme – licence to krill.

A human ‘mermaid’ from Devon claims she is being refused access to local swimming pools. 29-year-old Becky Allen says pools in Plymouth, which don’t allow her to wear her tail in the water, are behind the times and are treating mermaids worse than other cities – tail of woe.

The US embassy in Austria has announced a partnership with McDonalds in Austria to allow Americans to contact the US embassy via a McDonalds restaurant should they lose their passport or if they are in distress – when the chips are down.

Josh Thompson, a New Zealand-based copywriter, exercised his option to bring a ‘support person’ with him to a meeting to discuss his redundancy by hiring the services of a clown called Joe. Joe, who charged NZ$200 for his services as a ‘support clown’, spent the meeting crafting balloon animals including a poodle and making squeaky noises – on the drôle.

Thieves struck at a Herefordshire cider mill over the weekend with between seven and nine lorries loaded with up to 3,500 bottles of Westons cider being looted by thieves – in-cider trading.

A team of Russian scientists were hit with an unexpected bill after migrating eagles they had fitted with SMS trackers ran up large data roaming charges. One eagle, named Min, unexpectedly flew to Iran from Kazakhstan causing significant expense – soaring costs.