is a holiday for everyone -- drunks, gamblers, cheats, kids, construction workers and, especially,
-- because it's a whole season devoted to edible hedonism. People are tacitly allowed -- if not outright encouraged -- to glut themselves on whatever takes their fancy at any time, everything from candy canes right off the tree to a crown roast of pork right off the cloven hoof.
In honor of this, here are our top five reasons why Christmas is a foodie holiday. Eat up, chow down, and may the force of the holiday buffet be with you -- always.
5. You can eat as much candy as you want.
The rest of the year, it's really only kids who can cram their guts and rot their teeth with fistfuls of chocolate, caramel and things covered in sprinkles. But not at Christmas. Grown adults can pack themselves with fudge, pork out on peanut brittle and arm-wrestle each other over the last one of those cheap chocolate oranges. Nobody judges, nobody cares, and watching forty-somethings get strung out on spice drops and make naked snow angels on the lawn is a holiday treat that only comes once a year.
4. You can make fancy brunches.
While brunches traditionally belong to rich people, Saturday-night drinkers and tourists, everyone can use Christmas Day to show off their late-breakfast-to-early-lunch recipe skills by Bisquick-busting some biscuits and gravy or making quiche Lorraine your bitch. Use that box of cran-oat-herring-fig scone mix you got for Christmas last year, or create bacon-covered sausage patties. You only have the time and energy to make an impressive brunch once a year, and that's roughly around the same time you'll remember you own a waffle iron.
3. Anything works for dinner.
Most holidays have traditional entrees: turkey for Thanksgiving, corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day, and cheap vodka and Diet Pepsi for New Year's Eve. But Christmas is open season for preparing any meal you want, from fish chowder to tamale pie. You can even get wacky with it, because baby Jesus smiles upon fish sticks, meatball sandwiches and moo goo gai pan.
2. You can spike the eggnog with whatever you want.
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Sure, most folks make traditional, rum-laden vats of eggnog, but over the years, nogging has become an acceptable way to get crazy and use up whatever leftover ingredients and/or booze that have been haunting your icebox since Halloween. Crème de cacao? No problem. Crusty old bottle of Pimm's? Yummy. Baked beans and cigarette butts? Go for it. Some of the best incarnations of nog have been discovered accidentally, and you'd be surprised by how good butterscotch-Evan Williams-cinnamon-orange eggnog tastes after seven or eight glasses of it.
1. Mint-o-philes can come out of the closet.
Come on out, mint-loving minions: The coast is clear. There are so many of you in hiding, afraid to show your faces or reveal your secret mint fetishes from January to November, but December is the month when you can indulge your innermost peppermint fantasies: mint brownies, layer cakes, peppermint bark, spearmint sauce. And this is definitely the only time of the year when you can order a mint mocha latte at Dazbog without the baristas snickering or rolling their eyes.