The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 20

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Jihee Junn on Christmas desserts.

Around this time last year, I was very publicly, very elaborately outed to the world as an office Christmas Grinch. Turns out my once-trusted Spinoff colleague, Madeleine Chapman (aka self-described office Christmas tragic), spent five whole days in a futile attempt to unwittingly convert me by stealth – or in this case, tinsel – from my predisposed ambivalence to all modes of Christmas cheer.

While I’d like to clarify that I don’t actually hate Christmas (just the commercialised sales opportunity it’s turned itself into and how it slowly creeps up earlier and earlier every year like a pest that won’t stop gnawing until it gets to July) we all have our part to play in this weird, crazy world, so I’ll go on playing the hater, the villain, and tell you that I think Christmas desserts are a weird, stodgy mess.

Christmas pudding? Stodgy.

Christmas cake? Stodgy.

Fruitcake? Panettone? Stollen? Stodgy Stodgy Stodgy.

Pavlova? Too sweet.

Trifle? Too much.

Eggnog? Too fucking weird.

Then there are Christmas mince pies, which have plenty of staunch defenders. Sadly, I’m not one of them. Mostly, it’s to do with the dried fruit. And the spices. And the shortcrust pastry (far less superior to puff, if you ask me).

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Any exceptions? Any at all?

I’m slowly coming round to the appeal of gingerbread, and I wouldn’t exactly say no to a vanillekipferl or two. But ultimately, I’d still take a plate of fresh fruit or Guylian choccies over any of these, any day. Or those delicious chocolate wafer sticks that come in round storage tins which, I still maintain, have nothing to do with Christmas.

Read the Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar in full here.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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