Hey, at least Father Christmas is real
Ever since you asked for a Mr Frosty and got a new dressing gown instead, Christmas has come with a side of inevitable disappointment.
It's as traditional as mistletoe, Morecambe and Wise, and Monopoly-based family arguments. But these days the let downs are more likely to be on your plate than in your stocking.
Let's free our inner foodie Scrooges all together now, shall we? Bah, humbug!
(Don't get us started on humbugs.)
Bubble and squeak
It's not bubble and squeak's fault that bubble and squeak is always disappointing. In theory it's a fantastic idea – all the healthful greens that you need to finish but will never feel enthusiastic about, submerged in a lovely heap of delicious reclaimed roasties, laced with cheese and then fried because: comfort and joy (comfort and joy).
But here's the thing about bubble and squeak: it requires a certain ratio of ingredients that you'll never actually have on Boxing Day. You end up with a measly one-and-a-half roast potatoes (because roast potatoes are delicious, and there's never any left) but still be facing a mound of sprouts bigger than your head.
Cooking up extra spuds feels like cheating, so instead you try to balance the surplus "squeak" out by chucking in all the parsnips too, then some of the stuffing, and finally half a Yorkshire pudding. It ends up looking just like yesterday's lunch, but if somebody sat on it. Good job.
For the first few sips they're a festive delight. Like having a whole branch of Yankee Candle in your mouth.
But fast forward half an hour when the caffeine shakes have set in, you're so giddy on sugar that you've just made friends with a lifesize inflatable Santa and you've inconveniently remembered you're a bit lactose intolerant, just before sloshing your way around an overcrowded ice rink.
You're always going to wish you'd had a totally un-Christmassy tea. Always.
Not real mulled wine, obviously – we're talking about "mulled wine". The stuff that's actually just hot Ribena with a superiority complex and a cinnamon stick for a third cousin. It gives you a headache before you've even got to the gritty bit at the bottom. Found most often at school carol concerts, overpriced refreshment vans, and very sedate office parties.
You know Christmas food has really jumped the shark when you find yourself genuinely upset that your pudding doesn't taste more of trees.
Advent calendar chocolate
For starters, it's too small. Just enough to get your stomach going "OOH, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST IS IT?" but not enough to stop you going out and buying a Terry's Chocolate Orange for elevenses. Then there's the feverish anticipation of seeing what shape it'll be each day – a robin? A reindeer? A chocolate rendering of Mariah Carey in the snow?
Ah no, a star again. Actually they're all stars, but it will take until 22 December for you to realise this.
Fancy turkey recipes
You've brined it, marinaded it, massaged it, oiled it, rubbed things under its skin, tucked lemons in intimate places, taken it on a romantic three-day mini-break to the New Forest, risen at 4am on Christmas Day to put it in a just-warm oven for eight hours and rested it on a velvet chaise longue. You finally carve it, dole it out and sit down to tuck in.
And it tastes of … turkey. It's fine. Turkeyish! But slightly dry. Ah well.
WAIT A MINUTE, you've just iced a fondant Santa on to a normal vanilla cupcake! LIES! DECEPTION! There's nothing Christmassy about this AT ALL!
We'll still eat it, obviously. But you should be ashamed.
Christmas is a time of peace, joy and goodwill to all men! Unless you're a vegetarian, in which case sit in that corner and chew on this slice of dusty cardboard.
A little gravy, you say? Sure! It has turkey juice in it. That's fine, right?
Gain an air of youthful, Christmassy cheer and lose a filling. It's not a totally fair swap.