The 7 struggles of being a vegetarian on Christmas day
"Ah love, won't you have a slice of turkey?"
Christmas dinner is the greatest meal of the year.
Everybody is aware of this fact - it doesn't need to be debated.
Christmas dinner without the meat is also the greatest meal of the year too. It is. Why wouldn't it be? I don't need to prove myself to you. Whatever.
This will be my first year not eating meat at Christmas.
At first I was like, ah be grand.
But then, after some careful consideration and thought, I was like, ah never mind.
What follows are some predictions for how I feel Christmas dinner will go down for me, and many other veggies, this year.
1. People feel sorry for you even though you're grand
Your family will look at you like you're a lost little puppy, a child forgotten at the supermarket, the last one of the Roses left in the tin.
"Oh god, why is she here?"
"Will she be okay watching us all eat?"
"Do you need a hug?"
It'll be grand for a while, you'll laugh it off.
But then it will continue for the entire day and you will continue to explain that, no, avoiding the cocktail sausages is not actually ruining your Christmas.
2. There's not enough room in the oven for your sad little nut loaf
You've come prepared with your pre-made nut loaf (let's be honest, it's mostly cheese), and set it down on the countertop ready to be slid into the oven for a bit of heating up when the time comes.
Naturally, the precious loaf is pushed aside to make room for the giant turkey and other meat-based bits.
Which is fine. Not bitter at all.
Eventually, it gets cooked but only slightly because it didn't have enough time in the oven but whatever, it's grand, not a big deal, we're all friends here.
3. Everybody hates you
They won't admit it but they do.
4. People keep looking at your plate and sighing
"It just looks so empty and sad," they'll say.
"Look at all the space where that succulent turkey and ham should be," they'll lament.
Irrespective of the fact that you've loaded up on about eight trays worth of potato gratin and 73 croquettes, it's just never enough for some people.
5. Your mam keeps trying to shlip a slice or eight of turkey onto your plate
You'll be munching away quite content on your sprouts and then, suddenly, you'll look up and mam will be there waving a dripping slice of turkey in your face.
She'll say she's just offering.
She'll say there's no pressure.
But there is pressure. And she is not just offering.
6. "Aren't you going to be hungry later?!"
No Ronan, I'm actually not going to be hungry later because we've literally been eating non-stop since 8am this morning and will continue to eat well into the night.
Thanks for your concern though, appreciate it.
7. The stuffing does smell fairly unreal, to be fair
Look, none of us are perfect, alright?
I still crave meat like any normal human being and I already know that not devouring 10kg worth of stuffing is going to be a very difficult feat for me this year.
It's just so delicious.
So crumbly, so tasty. So unfortunately off-limits.