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12.22.2011

SUGAR+CHRISTMAS=JESUS?

I wonder how much sugar is bought and eaten during the holidays.  I searched for that stat but could not locate that specific of a breakdown on sugar consumption.  Though I did find out a few facts that were both surmised yet  still very alarming.  For instance, before the 20th century sugar consumption stood at 5 pounds per person per year on average.  When I say 5 pounds, I don't mean that they bought one-five pound bag (wasn't produced and packaged so conveniently way back then).  I mean, roughly the population consumed 5 pounds per year which was mainly garnered by the occasional baked good at say holiday time or birthdays.  Today that same 5 pounds would only last the average person close to 12-14 days.  The average per capita sugar consumption in the U.S. stands at 135-142 pounds per person.  When I read that statistic I tried imaging all the sugar I buy combined with all the products that I eat that have sugar as an ingredient and then stacking 140 pounds of something in my basement.  I buy water softener salt every so often.  The bags are 40 pounds each.  I thought about lugging 3-4 bags of salt to the basement would equal how much sugar they say I eat yearly.  I felt ill from that picture.  I bake things throughout the year.  But at Christmas, like many others, my baking of products increases to Biblical proportions!  As I came in from running last night, I decided to go give Eddie (our elderly neighbor man) his tin of goodies.  Walking out the door, I was met by my next door neighbor lady carrying a pie over she had made for us for Christmas.  Thanking her I went back inside.  Sitting it on the counter I laughed out loud at the boatload of sugary things on the counter; her pie, a container of homemade hot cocoa mix, a box of chocolates given to my husband by one of his employees, another tin of goodies made by another of his employees.  I shook my head as I thought of the 3 batches of cookies, the triple batch of caramel corn and two batches of glazed nuts created in my kitchen in the past couple weeks.   All made mostly for gifts to others. Though we have had our share of them too!   Oh no, I too was part of the Christmas+Sugar=Jesus phenom!  Where did our love affair with all things sweet truly turn addictive?  Do you know if you chart the past 111 years it means our sugar consumption has increased by .32 yearly to get us to the 140 pound a year marker?  Not only that, but at what point did we ever make the connection of sugary gifts or their consumption at the holiday time an unwritten but expected part of the true meaning of Christmas.  I'm pretty sure that Mary and Joseph didn't consume sugar on the day Jesus was born.  Maybe a fig or two:)  The wisemen brought gifts of significance; gold (fitting a king), frankincense and myrrh (a tree resin used in incense/perfume/medicinal purposes-sometimes used in burials...a sign of why Jesus was born - to die for us).   They didn't bring fig newtons or stalks of sugar cane.  We give gifts to people in our lives for differing reasons; love, appreciation, apologies, celebration, and sometimes as a non-verbal way of communicating something we can't articulate with words.  I am not sure what the gift of sugar speaks.  What it tells the recipient.  Or, why we bombard each other with so much excess in the sugar category this time of year.  I think the best thing this prolific display and consumption of sugar does for us is make us ready to make a New Year's resolution to stay away from it for awhile.  Which normally fails somewhat because sugar is a drug of sorts and we are a society of addictive behaviors.  So have yourself a sweet holiday.  May all your holiday baking and ingestion of sugar remind you of the sweet gift Jesus was to the world!

1 comment:

  1. Imagine that....I have a little sugar gift named Mary myself!!

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