Festive Excess and Unsuccess

6 Jan

I admitted last year that I didn’t really enjoy mince pies, Christmas pudding, Yule Log and the like, the family don’t either. But I still buy them every year. And every year we try to get through them because… why? Because we think we have to? Because we won’t be festive without them? Because it’s not Christmas unless you have some mince pies handy for unexpected guests (of which we get none)? So I dutifully fill the house with boxes of stuff we won’t eat and don’t even like.

I have a terrible fear of missing out, of not trying something I feel I should and I inflict this on my family. Someone mentioned Cherries in Brandy on Twitter and decided that I must have some.
Could I find them? No! And it burned. I tried everywhere, my husband drove me to farm shops and delicatessens all over Sussex for my search. Even on Christmas Eve I was still asking hopefully in every shop I went into (the card shop in Shoreham were slightly surprised by my request). I’ve not even tried them, I don’t drink Brandy and cherries make my mouth itch so what was I thinking?

During my search I did find some last minute Brandy Butter on Christmas Eve though, and was pleased about that because we didn’t have any in the fridge. We did however have Brandy Sauce, Vanilla Custard and Courvoisier Cream. Just how many pudding toppers would we need? For a pudding we don’t even like and actually didn’t even eat (it’s still in the cupboard).

I’d seen an advert for something called Christmas Tree Bread – a swirl of sweet buns in the shape of the tree festooned with dried fruits. It was being marketed as the perfect breakfast for the big day and only on sale in a supermarket that we never go to – because we don’t have one anywhere near us. But on Christmas Eve after our unsuccessful last ditch attempt to find the Cherries in Brandy I whined to my husband that we didn’t even have that Christmas Tree Bread…
‘What Christmas Tree Bread?’
‘The one you have to have for breakfast tomorrow morning while opening your presents’

And so off we went miles away to a supermarket we have never used to find it. While the family parked dangerously outside I

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ran up and down the aisles searching and searching (also keeping an eye out for Cherries in Brandy).
Breathlessly I asked a lady working in the Bakery about it. She looked at her watch and sucked her teeth (if she could have kicked some tyres she would have).
‘I’ve just put the last three out at the front of the store’
I must have walked straight past them, the

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last three Christmas Tree Breads and possibly my last chance to have a Happy And Fulfilled Christmas…
I raced back to the front of the store and there it was, not three but ONE.
The last ONE. The last Christmas Tree Bread on sale that Christmas Eve.
God Bless Us Everyone.
I snatched it up of course and nearly punched the air as I happily looked around at other customers who DID NOT have Christmas Tree Bread.
Our big day was saved.
xmas1The next morning, no one really fancied it.
We were all a bit stuffed with shortbread and chocolate.
I managed a couple of slices because I had to or it wouldn’t have been Christmas. My son and husband didn’t like it, only the dog showed a huge interest but he couldn’t eat it because it was covered in raisins.
Half of it ended up in the bin, along with my heavy heart.

And here is what happened to rest of our festive fare:

  • Mince Pies: All six eaten by me to make sure they didn’t go to waste, I don’t even like them
  • Heston’s Hidden Orange Christmas Pud: Hard fought for, bought in October, still in the cupboard
  • Creams, Custards, Butters: All ended up out of date and in the bin or dog
  • Panettone: One slice eaten by myself and my husband, the rest went hard
  • Mulled Cider: Bottle hidden away until we start drinking again
  • Sloe Gin: Unopened and also hidden away
  • Cheeses: We manfully tried to eat them all but the dog had most of them (inc a whole Brie)

Don’t get me wrong we ate loads! I spent two weeks snacking on crackers and drinking Cava and I’m finding it hard to settle in front of the TV now without a bowl of peanuts or Partymix next to me. But after all those big lunches and eating out with friends we didn’t really fancy setting fire to a huge pudding and smothering it with boozy cream, although the idea is wonderfully festive.

I hate wasting food so really need to curb my overbuying tendencies – next year note to self: DO NOT BUY AS MUCH AND CERTAINLY NOTHING YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE! Yes, I’m contemplating a Christmas without a mince pie in sight… Please remind me of this in 11months time. Thank you.

Replenishing our fridge after the festivities this week with normal everyday (and less calorific) foodstuffs in the supermarket I use all the time I walked straight into a display of Cherries in Brandy. Reduced at £2.
My hand hovered over a jar…


9 Responses to “Festive Excess and Unsuccess”

  1. Suzietastic 06/01/2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Brilliant! I was in M&S at 7am Xmas eve looking for a particular kind of pork belly. Which I got. Which is still in the freezer. My husband stopped me from buying Christmas pudding, reminding me that we had three in the cupboard. On the big day we got one out only to find it had gone out of date in 2009.

    • Alice Can't Cook 09/01/2013 at 11:47 am #

      Ha ha Suzie – if you ever eat that pork you must pull a cracker at the same time so that it wasn’t totally a wasted venture!
      Sorry about your pud – you could have had mine!!!
      Happy new year and thanks for reading xxx

  2. Jenny Davies 06/01/2013 at 1:47 pm #

    This kind of thing is just craziness. I know, because it afflicts me too – even after all these years of being careful of the money. So far, we’ve managed to resist a) making and b) buying a Christmas Cake because we just never get around to eating it until around Easter time – when if we really wanted a fruit cake, we could make a Simnel cake which is way more interesting anyway. We got gifted some mince pies (which were fabulous), but then bought two more boxes (which I can’t understand, because I don’t like them much – ordinary ones, anyway – and hubby is really the only one who likes them and he’s diabetic! The Christmas Pudding I made (and was fabulous) and I’ll definitely do that again, as we all like Christmas Pudding. We had Brandy butter and double cream with ours, which was sufficient. One thing we’ve decided, though, is to keep certain foodstuffs for Christmas only. Like a Pie d’Angloys cheese – it is so gorgeous, that it is tempting to eat it “out of season” which doesn’t render it “special” at Christmas. So we’ve decided to make a list of “Christmas only” foodstuffs – and another list of “things we don’t need” – to remind us not to fall into the trap of feeling pressured into buying them. What’s the betting I’ll have forgotten where I saved the lists by next Christmas though!

    • Alice Can't Cook 09/01/2013 at 11:49 am #

      It’s absolute madness Jenny and a terrible waste!
      I like your idea of Christmas Only Foodstuffs to add festive magic to them. I would like to do that with things other than mince pies and the boozy cream, which although do taste like Christmas aren’t really to our liking… It’s a very good idea. I shall think of ‘alternative festive fare’ for next year.

      Glad your pudding worked out. Happy New Year to You and Yours xxx

  3. Jo Rickhards (@Jounderground) 06/01/2013 at 5:15 pm #

    To add to my own, I get other peoples waste off loaded onto me because they think, ‘She’s got four kids. They’re always hungry. I’ll dump the enormous, heavy uneaten Tesco Christmas pudding on them. They can also have the nasty dry Panettone and the Christmas coffee’.

    • Alice Can't Cook 09/01/2013 at 11:51 am #

      Panettone is dry isn’t it? I’m glad someone said it. These fashionable festive items aren’t all great are they?
      I forgot about Christmas coffee (and tea) what is that about? It’s either coffee or it’s not!
      I have a spare pudding if you need another 🙂
      Happy New Year Jo, great to see you in Sainsburys xxx

  4. Distressed Housewife 07/01/2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I really enjoyed your post and can completely relate; we too always buy mince pies ‘just in case’ that never get eaten. I wish I could say the same thing for the chocolate! 🙂

    • Alice Can't Cook 09/01/2013 at 11:52 am #

      Ha ha yes – chocolate is just a staple isn’t it?
      Mince pies though? Yes, I think we can do without. Let’s make a stand!
      Thanks so much for reading Distressed Housewife.
      Happy New Year x


  1. Giving up giving up… Some new new years resolutions | - 02/01/2014

    […] is over, and yes I did buy some mince pies, even though I swore I wouldn’t. And I ate some even though I don’t like them. Thinking about it I do this a lot, sabotage […]

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