/ Shopping, Travel & Leisure

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?


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?


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!


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?


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!


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.


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


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.