According to Good Housekeeping magazine, in 2017, the annual Christmas dinner will cost around 18% more than it did last year. The survey looked at a Christmas dinner for eight people with all the trimmings and found that factors such as inflation and Brexit had pushed the overall cost up from £19.82 to £23.53. Christmas is a very expensive time of year for everyone but no one wants to go without those celebratory essentials. If you want to make sure you have everything you need to celebrate this year – at the best price – where can you find it?
The Christmas dinner
In terms of getting the entire package of Christmas food, the Good Housekeeping survey revealed the best places to shop. This included a whole turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, parsnips, carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Christmas pudding, mince pies and brandy butter. The cheapest supermarket for purchasing the entire Christmas dinner is Lidl with a basket that comes in at £25.53 for all the Christmas Day essentials. Second is Aldi at £25.68 and after that Iceland (£28.12), Tesco (£28.48), Asda (£31.17) and the Coop (£33.48). The priciest place to buy your Christmas feast is Waitrose with the same items costing £41.47 (60% more than Lidl).
Higher welfare meat is becoming a priority for many – i.e. turkeys that have been raised seeing some daylight or completely in the wild. These will never be the cheapest turkeys to buy but offer a more ethical option and, many believe, a tastier meat. Only the free range and organic turkey has actually lived the natural turkey life (a free range turkey could still have been almost completely confined). This year it’s not just the expensive retailers offering consumers the option to make a better choice – Morrison’s, Asda and Lidl have free range turkeys from £8 and you can pick up a free range, organic turkey at Ocado or Tesco from £30 – £50.
The Christmas cake
If you’re not making your own cake this year then there are lots of different options on the high street. For a fully iced, full size Christmas cake Aldi is a popular choice – its £9.99 boozy Christmas cake comes complete with icing snowflakes and glittery baubles. Iceland has a simple, stylish gold and white iced Christmas cake from just £7.50 and Lidl’s luxury two tier cake is £9.99. If you want to impress your guests, the M&S six month matured Christmas cake (£20.00) is a bit of a showstopper.
The Christmas fizz
A bit of celebratory fizz is something of an essential to mark Christmas Day. If you’re pushing the boat out this year but don’t want to pay through the nose for your booze then Lidl has launched its Christmas magnums. These 1.5 litre bottles of real champagne come in at £29.99 – which is half what you’d pay for a regular champagne magnum. If you’re more of a prosecco fan then Lidl also has a 1.5 litre magnum of prosecco for just £12.99.
Alcohol can be the most expensive part of the Christmas shop but this year the supermarkets are going all out on deals to try to attract customers to their stores. There are some great bargains to be had, including:
Waitrose – free champagne with orders over £100
Asda – 6 wines for £25
Tesco – 2 bottles of Tesco Finest for £12
Sainsbury’s – £2.50 off
M&S – 25% off when you buy two bottles
Morrison’s – cases of wine for £25
Iceland – 2 for £3
The Boxing Day ham
The traditional Boxing Day ham is an essential for many – if you’re willing to glaze and roast it yourself then you’ll always find it cheaper. Tesco has great deals on its Woodside farm smoked gammon joints, from around £4 and if you’re happy to roast your own then Asda’s joints start at just £3 – even Lidl can’t beat that price.
The Christmas chocolate
Having a tray, tin or box of chocolate treats to dig into while you’re watching the Christmas film has become something of a tradition. Right now, a 750g tin of classic Quality Street is cheapest at Tesco, Asda and Morrison’s (£4). You’ll pay £5 for the same tin at Waitrose unless you buy two for £8. If your treat of choice is a Terry’s Chocolate orange then you can get this for just £1 at Asda or Morrison’s, which is half the price that you’ll pay elsewhere.
The Christmas spirit
Not the booze but the feeling of time off work with family and friends and lots of delicious food and drink to enjoy – that’s priceless.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley