Colm O'Regan: I haven't settled on our Christmas sweets strategy yet 

For me, the signifier of Christmas goodies was two bottles of Tanora
Colm O'Regan: I haven't settled on our Christmas sweets strategy yet 

I don’t think I’ve quite got over the fact that as an adult I just go into a shop and buy chocolates and crisps whenever I want. 

“Daddy how about these?” she bounced along the aisle, full of optimism. 

“No pet” I said, ruining everything. 

“Why not?” 


“Because what?”

“Because I … we… haven’t decided our strategy for chocolates for Christmas yet.” 

Those were the actual words out of my mouth. Other people turned to see who was the tool talking about a Christmas chocolate "strategy". I looked sheepish. 

We were in Aldi (other German and non-German supermarkets are available.) It was still November. This was a standard Big Shop. 

The Eldest was among the aisles exploring the boundaries of some newly acquired tallness and ability to reach things and kept coming back with Celebrations, Roses, Quality Street, Heroes and other tubs of individually wrapped chocolates that probably weigh less than they did a few years ago.

What I was trying to get across is that buying the Christmas goodies needs a special trip. It’s not a standard grocery trip. Groceries might be bought on this trip but the whole focus has changed.

It’s a time of misrule, where killjoys like me get excited about what goodies we might get. The children know I will not be Doctor No. Nothing has been ruled out. Except for anything aniseedy or liquorish.

It doesn’t mean as much now as it used to. The sheer volume of goodies in our lives and access to them has just exploded. 

We, sorry I mean the children, have only just got through the Halloween stuff. The UN estimate that there are more not-nice sweets in the bottom of trick or treat bags in Ireland this year than all the sweets that have ever lived up to the year 1994.

I find it hard to control myself in these decades of plenty. 

I don’t think I’ve quite got over the fact that as an adult I just go into a shop and buy chocolates and crisps whenever I want. 

When I first moved out of home and into my first rented house, I bought TWO packets of Mighty Munch to celebrate. This was big-city living.

So the Christmas Goodies is a bit of a ceremony. It evokes a simpler time where it stood out more against the backdrop of a more austere year. 

For me, the signifier was two bottles of Tanora. As a family. we would have a tipple of Tanora on weekend nights. One 1.5 litre bottle in the classic blue and red livery (before they ruined it with redesign). 

1.5 litres into six smoky mugs barely goes. Two good gulps and it was gone. 

But when two 2litre bottles of Tanora arrived that meant we were scaling up for that most special of moments. Having Tanora with the Christmas dinner.

There were other anomalies. Multipacks of Tayto. Is there anything more lovely? 

I mean I suppose a flower in bloom, but no, really it’s nothing like the fecund bulging of a multipack of crisps with all the possibilities inside. When there are 6, 5, 4, 3, even 2 packets left, it felt infinite.

The box of biscuits obviously. Sitting sealed and guarded by Cerberus (the Greek dog thing, not the vulture fund) against any possible re-sellotaping and ‘hollowing out’ of lower layers by theft.

But even normal sweet consumption was up. There were extra Scots Clan. If there’s one thing I miss about the days of Spartan Sweet Strategy, is that we don’t get enough joy out of sweet packets like we used to. 

Éclairs, Bon-Bons, Iced Caramels, Chocolate Emeralds, Scots Clan, Foxes Glacier Mints. Murray Mints, the entire Trebor and Oatfield factory product line, essentially. We just don’t buy them so much anymore. They’ve been muscled out by bars of chocolate.

The children are lobbying for Christmas Goodies Shop Day.

Give me time I say. I’m working on a strategy.

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