Don’t let Christmas get on top of you: an A to Z guide for consumers
Buying presents for everyone. A potential ESB blackout. The shrinking contents of a Quality Street tin. The festive season is enough to drive anyone crackers
Advent: ’Tis the season to be Christian – or at least that is what Advent is supposed to be. It has been hijacked by everyone from Homer Simpson to Peppa Pig and used to flog seasonal sweets to children through the medium of calendars – some of which are selling for more than €50. When did this happen? And since when did Advent last 25 days, as all the calendars claim it does? It actually starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which was yesterday.
Bubbly: Do you need to spend more than €50 on Bolly or will cheap sparkles do just as well? No and yes. There is no good reason for spending that amount on a bottle of alcohol. If you shop smarter – look out for Cremants rather than Champagne, and don’t turn your nose up at the pink fizz from Jacob’s Creek – you will have a jollier, cheaper season.
Crackers: Don’t spend too much on crackers these. You can get boxes for €5 or for 10 times that much. While the trinkets in the pricey option might look better and the hats will be sturdier, a shoehorn is a shoehorn. And the paper hat is for Christmas, not for life, so flimsy is fine.
Dinner: Once you have munched your way through the turkey, ham, biscuits, mince pies, rashers and sausages, melon, plum pudding, trifle, fancy cheeses and Quality Street on Christmas Day you will have taken in about 6,000 calories. Add a few glasses of wine and half a bottle of Baileys, and your intake will have topped 7,000. This is more than three times an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake.
ESB: Are all the unions working at ESB really going to strike this Christmas? We can’t think of a better way for them to alienate customers than by making fairy lights across the land go out.
Festivus: This alternative to Christmas – made famous by George Castanza in Seinfeld – allows you to let your family and friends know how much they have disappointed you throughout the year. It is the perfect antidote to all that good cheer for Ebenezers everywhere.
Goose fat: The fat from the goose is another relatively new thing in Irish homes, thanks mainly to Jamie Oliver. Foodies insist it makes the best roasties becase it gets hotter than other oils. The real trick, however, is semolina. Parboil your potatoes, liberally dust them with semolina and they will taste amazing.
Holly: Do you take it from the wild? Or buy it? We hope the latter.
Ice cream: Has to be Vienetta – the perfect Christmas day dessert and a lot lighter than pudding and cake.