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Sinead Ryan: Our Christmas splurging is disgusting


We all go overboard at Christmas

We all go overboard at Christmas

We all go overboard at Christmas

Eggnog. I tried making it once and although the ingredients sound as if they go together – eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg, whiskey – it’s actually revolting stuff.

It’s no surprise it’s only served at Christmas, but then again, you’d have to wonder how it ever became a drink at all, even if you blame the Americans, who invented it and then valiantly tried to send it our way.

There are lots of things we only eat and drink once a year – if they’re any good, you’d imagine they’d have migrated to other holiday occasions, but no. 

Mince pies, plum pudding, heavy fruit cake, sprouts, even turkey, barely get a look-in at any other time, but yet we feel obliged to stuff our faces with them in vast quantities over the festive season, leaving us like beached whales come January 1.

We Irish are brilliant at over-indulging. Give us any kind of a notion we might be good at something and we become instant addicts, whether it’s property buying, swilling alcohol or a time of the year when celebration becomes mandatory. 

Where the Germans, Scandinavians and Americans consider Christmas to be a two-day event of diverting pleasantries, before everyone actually gets back to work, we take an entire three weeks off to act as if the world is ending.

Research by Webloyalty, a supermarket reward scheme operator, reveals we’ll spend €528m on food and drink this year.


Items which move into the ‘Essential Purchases’ category from the ‘What Were You Thinking?’ list include tins of chocolates, boxes of biscuits and liqueurs. We’ll spend up to €20 per head on dinner alone on the 25th. 

While most will eat turkey – a meat renowned for it’s dry, flavourless texture, a wayward 5pc will tuck into steak. 

Astonishingly, we will continue to eat despite (a) not being hungry, (b) it not being a mealtime and (c) not particularly liking what we’re putting in our mouths but because it’s there.

You know the drill: a crisp sandwich and Mars bar becomes a perfectly acceptable breakfast.

I was gifted my first box of Heroes last night – it’s half gone already. I expect the Roses and Quality Street aren’t far off, and it’s only the first week. 

All the good intentions we have the rest of the year, some of which we even follow through on, go clear out the window from now. 

And we justify it easily and in a guilt-free way with a cheery “Sure it’s Christmas!”, as if the laws of body mass index and metabolic digestion don’t exist in December.

We’ll pitch into January like some bloated flotsam, stranded on the shores of 2015, flopping around in disgust at ourselves, inexplicably unaware of how we got like this. Again.