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Your view: it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

Christmas keyboard

We resist chatting about Christmas too early on Which? Convo but it seems like you’re raring to go. So put up your lights, tuck into a mince pie and get the Christmas list in order as we explore your best bits…

We’ve discussed the impact the rising cost of energy has had on our energy bills. But just how much is this affecting our plans to celebrate Christmas. Lee told us he’s a child at heart:

‘I normally have a tree, loads of lights and even Santa himself in a blow up form at the end of my bed. But this year I won’t be having any of it. Such a shame, but I just can’t bring myself to use all that electricity.’

But John Ward told us it’s not put him off, as he likes all the bells and whistles:

‘I’m a fully paid-up member of the Say No to Ebenezer society and the only thing that constrains our display is the time it takes to set it all up and take it down again!’

Cheap but chic Christmas

Figgerty wishes there was a ‘Martha Stewart type to advise us on how to have a cheap but chic Christmas.’ I’d put that on your Christmas list Figgerty – you never know what Santa might bring. And Josquine told us:

‘In principle I should enjoy looking at other people’s decorations – I’d never put such things up myself – but in practice I just can’t help thinking of the waste of energy and I get quite troubled at seeing them.’

And it’s not just the glitz that people are cutting back on as a number of you are cutting back on the Christmas card tradition too. Hugh D told us that he sends hand-written cards to family and his closest friends:

‘To the rest, I send e-cards or a text. I also often phone them for a nice long chin-wag, at the same time letting them know that this is my ‘‘card’’ to them.

The Christmas card cull

Pat’s taken a similar approach with her wishes of merriment after making an agreement with her friends and family. She’s also earned our comment of the week:

‘My card list has shrunk enormously over the last two years simply because of the cost of postage. A lot of my friends have stopped sending cards for the same reason so we’ve agreed to wish each other a Merry Christmas verbally. We’ve long ago agreed not to exchange presents for the same reason and none of us are particularly poor. But it saves on money and the worry of what to get someone who has everything plus the shopping involved. We all complain about Christmas and the moral blackmail it entails, but none of us have the guts to cancel it.’

Let’s make Figgerty’s Christmas and keep sharing your tips for a cheap but chic Christmas. I’ve dealt with this by setting budget limits with friends and family or making homemade gifts (who can resist a box of homebaked goods) so what are your top tips for Christmas?

Profile photo of malcolm r

It really is too early to be talking seriously about Christmas – I haven’t bought any presents yet and it just reminds me of that. Once upon a time, things Christmassy really began in the couple of weeks leading up to Santa’s arrival – decorations, town lights, deals in shops. Now, once we’ve got over our summer hols the shops start winding us up for the festive season. Why buy mince pies in November? I wonder whether Easter Eggs will appear just before or just after Christmas this year?

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Christmas decorations in a commercial environment should be banned before 1st December; otherwise they are unseasonal and out of place. I find it particularly annoying when I see them in September.

ryan noble says:
23 November 2013

I imagine in about 10 years the Queen will make john lewis the official christmas department store and they will handle all things to do with christmas including teaching christmas at free schools and how to be good consumers

Sophie Gilbert says:
24 November 2013

By the looks of it, Edinburgh Council and quite a few shops still don’t find electricity expensive enough, and thinking of what overconsumption of energy does to the environment couldn’t be further from their minds.

We need cheer at this time of year when days grow so much shorter and darker, and we all know that’s why quite a few feast are celebrated around now, but do we need to be so wasteful and unwise about it?

We are also robbed of our enjoyment of autumn, we are being rushed towards the beginning of winter in what I’m sure proves to be a huge anti-climax after the preceding build up that lasts well over three months. A whole season! I’m really disgusted when I think about it like this, and I’m not even a bah-humbug*er!

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Christrmas lights are designed to bring in the shoppers, so energy cost is offset by extra profits. We mustn’t become to obsessed with saving energy must we? Otherwise we would ban floodlit sports events, street lighting (stay in after dark), foreign travel……… and how would Santa find his way around?

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Couldn’t agree more – anything to brighten up the inspissated gloom.

With my Moonstar cocktail under his belt [see the festive lights Conversation] the jolly Santanaut will be able to see in the dark alright!

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One solution is to use LEDs as any colour can now be produced and the running costs
are very low … If you set up a dc power supply to the lighting ring to replace the 230 v mains
and do use individual power supply inits as this is where power loss can occur.

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Paul, If I’ve read your post correctly, I do not think replacing a lighting ring with a dc supply is very practical or economic – and modest Christmas lights would generally be fed from the socket ring. Even taking individual power supply losses into account you are not going to break the bank through energy use.
If, however, you are planning a grand lighting extravaganza then using specialist equipment and a dedicated supply is probably the answer

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Last week, a friend gave me a pack of reduced price mince pies from Waitrose. The ‘use by’ date is today, 25 November. 🙂

I have shared the pack of mince pies and bought some charity cards at a charity event, but I will not be giving any further thought to Christmas until the start of December.

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Yes, some friends just take the biscuit, don’t they?

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I received an email today – extract attached – that solves most of my Christmas present problems. It came under the heading “Festive gifts: Tablet bundles and Toilet seats” (yes, really) and the offer was:
” Soft Slow Close Toilet Seat
Say goodbye to unnecessary noise with this soft slow close toilet seat for £8.99 instead of £19.99. Bottom fixings are included”
The lucky recipient(s) might find it hard to tear themselves away from this welcome gift.

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I hesitate to enquire as to the nature of the tablets.

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Well I would like to propose that journalists who descry the round robin be hung drawn and quartered.

In a week with Esther Rantzen promoting The Silverline (www.thesilverline.org.uk) I think we should all reconsider the sending of Christmas cards.

There are many who actually enjoy reading the round robins and are able to take with a pinch of salt the fantastic exploits and achievements of the senders’ children. I would suggest that those journalists might just be having a problem with writing their own Christmas cards and looking for an easy get out clause. I do have to say that someone did write a very funny round robin about a disastrous previous year.

Many people like to read and re-read what has been written in their Christmas cards and it is lovely when it is more than “with love from Fred and Sue”. Those are the ones that can be ticked on the “still alive” list. With Christmas cards you don’t need to bother with other decorations.

So re-think about sending Christmas cards. They may be expensive – especially so when they say no more than “with love from Fred and Sue” but they may also be the only gift you are sending the recipient – and it may be a greater gift than you imagine.

Why are you sending Christmas cards? For you or the recipient? Who cares what a few opinionated journalists think! I don’t.