A nation haunted by the snacks of Christmas past

Around one in five people is still hoarding unused food and drink items that they bought last Christmas. Picture: Getty
Around one in five people is still hoarding unused food and drink items that they bought last Christmas. Picture: Getty
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THEY are a staple of every larder or freezer, bought in anticipation of a festive feast only to lie unused for the rest of the year.

The nation’s appetite for stocking up on food, drink and sundries over the Christmas period may be bigger than its stomach, according to research which reveals how the average kitchen contains a few leftover treats well into the new year.

From packs of nuts to pickles and preserves snapped up for a roast turkey dinner, our cupboards contain the snacks of Christmas past, the new survey of thousands of households suggests.

Around one in five people is still hoarding unused food and drink items that they bought last Christmas, the research commissioned by Nationwide building society found.


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Even with the spiralling cost of living, the habit is proving hard to break, the survey shows, perhaps an indication of how ordinary shoppers fret that they never quite have enough in supply to feed family and guests over the Christmas break. Nearly two thirds of people (65 per cent) admitted to buying too many Christmas trimmings, while nearly a fifth (19 per cent) confessed to storing excess jars, packets, bottles and tins for more than 12 months in the back of cupboards.

Of those who say they buy too much during the festive season, alcohol was the most popular item that people have kept since last Christmas, with 23 per cent of people saying they still having a bottle or two put by. Christmas pudding was the next most common item, with 16 per cent of people saying they still have one left over.

One in ten (10 per cent) who over-buy have a jar of pickled onions or preserves, a packet of crackers, or a jar of spices sitting in the cupboard from last year. Meanwhile, 7 per cent of those who had gone overboard still had sweets or chocolates put by from a year ago, 9 per cent had a packet of stuffing and 6 per cent had some dried fruit and nuts.

However, the findings show that Scots were least likely to buy too much for the larder, contrary to other research which traditionally paints the nation as the biggest spenders over Christmas.

Just six out of ten (60 per cent) households in Scotland were holding on to excess goods after their Christmas trolley dash, compared to 65 per cent in England and 73 per cent in Wales.

Sweet treats appear to be the one area where Scottish shoppers are guilty over purchasing, with 40 per cent admitting to hoarding chocolate or sweets after the celebrations were over.

People in Wales are more likely to stock up on pickled onions, crackers, Christmas pudding, stuffing and sweets and chocolates, according to the findings, while English shoppers have a stronger tendency to stuff excess packets of fruit and nuts and jars of spices into their shopping baskets.

Scots, by contrast, seem either to have little desire for pickled onions, or love them so much that they are always finished by the time Hogmanay is over – just 6 per cent keep them in their kitchens beyond Christmas, the survey shows.

Similarly, less than a quarter of Scottish houses (23 per cent) still have alcohol bought for Christmas left over come the new year.


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