How much will Christmas food cost you? The festive season may be all about celebrating traditions, but when one of those traditions is to get a huge gathering of the family around the table and to fill them to bursting point, it can be a horribly expensive business.
And while nobody wants to be known for their cheap Christmas food, it's worth knowing just what it will cost you to buy the basics from each of the major supermarkets.
Over the next few days we will be exploring the cost of a trolley of Christmas food at each of the supermarkets, and we begin with Tesco. For the sake of a fair comparison, we include a well-known brand name for each (where it's available), and a mid-range own-brand too.
The overall cost of a trolley of festive favourites will set you back £65.28 at Tesco - and £68.84 if you go for own brands. As ever it's a shocking sum of cash for what is essentially one meal plus a few snacks, but at least armed with this information you can prepare your Christmas budget for the pain.
The shopping breaks down as:
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Tesco whole fresh turkey (around 6kg and serves 8-12) £37.45
Fresh turkey is usually around twice the price of a frozen bird, but is also usually nicer too. The bad news is that turkey prices have risen around 6% a year for the past few years. However, they have also tended to be reduced closer to the big day, so you could get yours for less.
Tesco 500g of fresh sprouts (bagged) £1
Clearly the supermarkets don't share information on pricing, but a 'bag of sprouts' will set you back a remarkably similar price at most of the supermarkets.
White potatoes (2.5 kg) £1.75
The price of potatoes has been soaring this year, so you can expect to pay more than you did last Christmas. You can pay even more for specific types of potato, but if you're going to roast them then all most people are interested is the crunch, so straightforward white potatoes should do the job.
1kg carrots (bagged) 80p
Carrot harvests haven't been brilliant, so the prices have been rising. However, supermarkets have kept a tight grip on their suppliers, so you shouldn't pay more than last year
Tesco Garden Peas (1kg) £1.60
Birds Eye Field Fresh Garden Peas (800g) £2
There's clearly a big difference in price between the branded peas and the own brand ones, so it's worth testing them out to see if you notice a difference. Overall, however, the price of peas hasn't seen much change from last year
Tesco Gravy Granules for Chicken (200g) 80p
Bisto for Chicken Gravy Granules (300g) £2.20
Again, the difference in price may mean it's worth experimenting with the own brand. It might, however, be a good idea to do this in advance, as it would be a disaster to discover the gravy doesn't suit your tastes once you've doused your entire Christmas meal in it.
Tesco Classic Christmas Pudding (100g) £1
Fox's Christmas Pudding (100g) £1.20
The own brands dominate here, and the 'round pound' is a popular feature at most of the supermarkets for Christmas puddings. Every year there are more and more options, so you can spend as much as £5 on a novelty flavour, or stick to the classics at a cut price.
Tesco Christmas Brandy Butter with Courvoisier £1.89
The own brands dominate here too, and will set you back roughly the same as last year. Tesco's price is roughly middle of the league table among the supermarkets.
Tesco Traditional Mince Pies £1
My Kipling Exceedingly Merry Mince Pies £1.90
Unsurprisingly the supermarkets have mainly gone for the round pound in this sector. Endless blind taste tests have shown that the more expensive options don't necessarily appeal to everyone more than the own-brand options, but there are bound to be plenty of willing testers who will help you compare them in advance.
Tin of Quality Streets
Nestle Quality Street Tin (780g) £5.00
The price of this Christmas classic doesn't vary between the supermarkets - although at some point they tend to be the subject of a promotion, so you could get a better deal later.
Tesco Silver Snowflake Cube Crackers, 12 Pack (from Tesco Direct) £4
Tesco Glittered Snowflake Christmas Wrapping Paper, 3m £2
With both crackers and wrapping paper you can essentially spend anything you like on them. The Tesco range starts at £4 for crackers and £2 for wrapping paper, but Tesco also sells crackers for more than £20, and luxury paper for far more, so you can tailor your choice to your budget. At the moment Tesco is offering 3 for 2 on much of the range, so it's worth considering some advance purchases.
Tesco Finest Vintage Cava £6.99
Codorniu Brut Vintage Cava (750ml) £7.65
Everyone's traditional Christmas tipple is different, but for those who want sparkling wine, Cava is a reliably affordable option. This is another Christmas tradition that tends to be wildly discounted at some point in the run up to Christmas, so is worth keeping an eye out for.
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