Ah, December. The month of twinkle lights, Love Actually, and candy canes. It seems just yesterday the supermarket shelves were stocked with pumpkin spice everything, but now those suspiciously orange treats have taken a back seat to another wave of seasonal branding: the Christmas tie-in.
Don’t get me wrong; I love a good gingerbread man. And you can pry this peppermint bark from my cold, dead hands. But some of this holiday branding has gotten out of control.
I’m not talking about Tastykake Kringle Kakes or Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. Those are cute and delicious and seasonally appropriate. They get a pass. Frankly, most sweets get a pass. I’m talking about the foods that look or taste like a science experiment, all for the sake of “the season.”
Here are the five most unnecessary holiday-themed foods. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my hands on some Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Pancake Mix…
Xochitl “Holiday Inspired” Tortilla Chips
Were the salsa and guacamole not red and green enough already?
Dunkin’ Donuts “Apple Pie Coffee”
From the Dunkin’ web site: “Just like Mom used to brew. Nothing says ‘made with love’ quite like a warm slice — err, we mean mug — of Apple Pie flavored coffee.” Nothing in that statement is true. Not one word.
Pringles Limited Edition Holiday Flavors
Specifically: the “white chocolate” and “pecan pie” flavors. Why? WHY?
Limited Edition Christmas-Tree-Shaped Doritos
Okay, so these are only sold in Japan, but COME ON. Green, tree-shaped Doritos that taste like creamy chicken-corn stew? WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO?
Pepperidge Farm Red and Green Holiday Goldfish
These actually aren’t so bad. At least the colors are derived from things like beets and watermelon. But just because we can make something red and green, doesn’t mean we should make it red and green. What’s next? Red and green bagels? Oh, wait…
Dana Bate is the author of The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and the upcoming novel A Second Bite at the Apple.