Although there is no record of him either uttering or writing the words, former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is commonly reputed to have said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
There are certainly all manner of statistics flying around when it comes to Christmas. How much the average family spends on presents. (Too much.) How many men leave their present shopping until the last possible minute. (Fewer than the lazy male stereotype might have you think.) And so on.
Yesterday I heard it said that British shoppers were expected to spend four times as much on food that day as on an average Wednesday. (Honestly, I’m surprised it was only four times as much.)
But what about the Christmas statistics that really matter, the ones we never hear about on the news? After literally minutes of painstaking research – okay, okay, I scribbled some numbers down on the back of an envelope – here are five pie charts that reveal the true nature of Christmas.
(I would have done these as mince pies, but my graphical skills weren’t up to it.)
1. The liquid diet phenomenon
How much of the food we buy for Christmas has any actual nutritional value? And how much of it is merely stacks of Pringles bought on a buy-one-get-one-free offer and bottles of Baileys?
2. The feeding of the five thousand
Jesus allegedly fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, but how many of us go to the other extreme and feed five people with a turkey fit for five thousand? Yeah, me too.
3. The mystery of the disappearing sweets
It doesn’t matter which brand you buy or how big the tin, you can guarantee that within minutes of it being opened all that will remain are those hard toffees that are only ever any good for your dentist’s bank balance, or the sickly fruit-flavoured ones that you can’t stand. Every. Single. Time.
4. It’s a wrap
All those hours spent lovingly wrapping your children’s Christmas presents, eh? What a waste of time. No matter how many presents they have, no matter how much tape you use, your living room will be a sea of hastily ripped garish paper within seconds.
5. Once you pop, you can’t stop
You spend months writing painstaking lists of great present ideas. But all the ungrateful little buggers want is the toy their sibling, neighbour or best friend has been given. Either that or the pile of toys sits forgotten in a corner as the whole of Christmas Day is spent playing with empty cardboard boxes and popping bubble wrap.
Is everyone else’s Christmas like this too? Or is it just us?