Category Archives: Christmas

Potential increase in price of Christmas products worries British consumers

With the holidays approaching, many wonder how the decreasing pound will affect their shopping. Experts seem to be confident that, although there is an increase on the general price, consumers will not be affected.

The UK is a country that heavily relies on imported goods. With the decrease of the pound compared to the dollar and the euro, this might affect the price of the usual good that are bought and consumed around Christmas.

According to the Telegraph, foreign holidays, which are quite common at this time of the year, will also increase in price.

Professor of Economics at University College London, Dr. Antonio Cabrales, says:

“For what I’ve seen, the full impact of the devaluation hits hardest two years after the process has started. We are only two months in, so the full effect won’t be seen yet.”

Image from: Pixabay

The award-winning economics journalist for the Independent, Mr. Hamish McRae, says:

“I would expect to see a little more caution, but there is no evidence yet. And the unusual thing about British consumer is that if they have money they will go spend it. We spend nearly 70% of our GDP as consumers. We also have the highest proportion of retail sales are online, which means that we are also doing very sharp price comparisons.”


A possible solution to the issue is to buy national goods, which will not have a very increased price.

However, experts seem to be optimistic about the situation, and the majority of consumers seem to still be comfortable with the current price of Christmas products.



British ‘Santa’ worker stabbed to death in Finland

The 26-year-old Scottish female, who worked for a ‘Santa Safari’ tour, was found dead in the village of Kuttanen in Finland on Saturday.

Her boyfriend, who allegedly fled the incident on a dog sled, was found in -30 degree snow and taken to hospital.  The male is currently in Police custody under suspicion of murdering his girlfriend.

A spokesperson from the Santa Safari tour’s commented:

“We  are all in shock from this tragic news and our thoughts go out to her family.Our team is working closely with the Finnish Police and relevant authorities to support the investigation that is now under way.”

Scottish police have been alerted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the death of a national.

Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas?

It’s that time of year… when Michael Buble is paid thousands in royalties and individuals vow not to get embarrassingly drunk at their office/ university party. But with Black Friday shopping stampedes and thousands homeless this Christmas, what does the festive season mean in the 21st century?

Christmas is commonly depicted as an opportunity to spend time with family and treat your loved ones. Buying presents is therefore an important aspect of Christmas, especially in the modern era. In a time of slow economic growth across the world, with the UK falling into a double-dip recession in 2012 and only starting to recover, it would be easy to assume that maybe it’s no longer the time to spend time and money and looking for the perfect present.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAccording to a press release from  Recruitment firm, Randstad, a recent poll they have conducted has found that consumers “were willing to spend 3% of their family’s entire annual disposable income on gifts this year”.

Spending is linked to inflation and with inflation reaching a 22-month high of 1% in September and an unstable pound, British supermarket giant Tesco told the Guardian rising food prices “would be toxic for consumers if stores found that they had to pass on extra costs”. In a time of economic uncertainty, is spending 3% of an entire household’s annual disposable income on presents maybe a little over the top?

The retail sector has created increasing opportunities for “deals” for consumers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days dedicated to ‘special offers’ in shops and online. These specific days dedicated to shopping ‘specials’ seem a little too good to be true and this is probably the case. Black Friday even has a website, Black Friday Death Count, which has recorded 10 deaths and 105 injuries worldwide since 2008.

Reflecting on the influence of Black Friday, Tom Chaddick, lead pastor of the Reality Church in London says “there has been a backlash” involving “justice-oriented businesses”.

 “There’s a big company in San Francisco, Everlane, their Black Friday event was if you buy something they would donate money into a fund for their factory workers in Indonesia to have helmets that they can wear when riding their scooters, so they can be safe.”

Chaddick believes the message of Christmas is sometimes ‘lost’, to a certain extent even in the Church, explaining: “There’s a raw picture to Christmas that all the nativity scenes take away”. Once the “actual accounts” of Jesus’ birth are referred to the story is “so raw and hard-hitting”, especially when you consider “Jesus is the son of God” and was “born into poverty”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis message “brings the Church” to realise that Christmas “isn’t a sentimental time when we have too much pudding”, he adds. If even the Church can occasionally lose track of the original significance of this festivity, then it’s little surprise that Christmas has started to lose meaning to the rest of society.

Though the exact details regarding the origins of Christmas are a little confused, popular belief is that it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. There has always been a religious aspect to Christmas, even if it may be subtle at times. Is the more philosophical aspect of Christmas getting lost under a pile of snowflake-covered wrapping paper?

Although the historical and religious connotations of this celebration is sometimes neglected, many still attend the Christmas Eve midnight service or sing in Christmas carol services at the St James Church of England, according to its youth and children’s worker, Ben Slater.

Slater mentions the use of the nativity scene “in some way or another” in “big shops”, suggesting that this depiction of Jesus’ birth can inspire children to “ask their parents questions” about Jesus’ life.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIs displaying scenes of nativity a way for businesses to capitalise on religious beliefs?

In a capitalist society it is not surprising that Christmas is increasingly becoming about lavishing family members with gifts, yet you are probably taking the cliché ‘It comes from the heart’ too seriously if you nearly suffer from heart failure while trying to find the perfect present. What shouldn’t be lost is the essence of generosity at Christmas, whether stuffing your face with too much stuffing or providing helmets to Everlane’s factory-workers.


7 Cheap Locations To Visit This Christmas

Looking for somewhere to go to this Christmas but you don’t have much in your bank account? It’s that time of the year where everyone wants to escape from the city for a couple of days either alone or with their loved ones. Whether it’s a brief countryside trip you desire, or even travel abroad, there are always cheap solutions for those who are on a tight budget.

Here are some ideas that might get you going:

  1. If spending a relaxing Christmas with your significant other but without going too far away from London sounds ideal to you, then escaping to Bournemouth is just for you. Just minutes away from the beach, The Royal Bath Hotel offers a one-night stay for two with breakfast for the price of £49. Bournemouth is ideal for those that admire Victorian architecture and beautiful seaside views. Tourists can enjoy plenty of attractions, including beaches, the Lower Gardens and also the renowned Bournemouth Oceanarium.
The beach at Bournemouth

2. Located at the border between England and Wales, the Wye Valley is a beautiful location for those who would like to experience the woodlands, landscapes and architecture that the area has to offer. The NDAC Wooden Wigwams are an excellent opportunity for those who would like to reconnect with nature and enjoy a trip including various outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and horseback riding. A standard wigwam stay for up to five people (in case you wanted to enjoy a trip with your friends) costs £45 for one night and £75 for two nights. If you don’t want to leave your pets behind, you could pay an extra £5 fee per animal.

Chepstow Castle at Wye Valley

3. In case you wanted to enjoy a stay at a 17th century English manor house close to London, then staying at the Mercure Letchworth Hall Hotel at Hertfordshire should be one of your options. The hotel offers a stay for two with breakfast, a three-course dinner (on the first night only) and a leisure club access. The price is £99 for one night and £159 for two, which makes it a bit pricier than the previous options – but a fairly good deal! Travelers can enjoy the Gothic architecture of St Alban’s Cathedral or even immerse themselves into Roman history with the Verulamium Museum and the Roman Theatre.

The Roman Theatre at Hertfordshire

4. Another great holiday spot would be Dublin, where the traveler can appreciate the River Liffey, the old stone bridges, and various avenues and parks. The Best Western Sheldon Park Hotel is an ideal location where the visitor can explore the Irish capital, as it is in close proximity to the Dublin Zoo and downtown Dublin. The price of a two or three night stay ranges from £99 to £179 (depending on the number of nights and dates chosen), including the flights to and from London and spa access.

Downtown Dublin

5. If a cruise is what you fancy then look no further! Escape the city with a two-night return cruise sailing from Newcastle to Amsterdam in a two to four berth cabin, brought to you by DFDS Seaways. The price is £69 for a two-berth cabin and £116 for a fourth-berth cabin. So, not only do you get to enjoy a cruise, but you also have the chance to go abroad. In Amsterdam, one can enjoy the vibrant nightlife and festivals, along with beautiful Renaissance architecture and cultural events. The capital city of the Netherlands is a convenient place to explore and relax for a few days.

Snowy Amsterdam

6. From famed historic sites to the vibrant nightlife, Rome is an excellent place to go to this Christmas for a few days if you wish to leave the country. Visitors can enjoy the city’s main attractions such as the Pantheon, the Vatican Museums and the iconic Trevi Fountain and also relish the traditional Italian Christmas ‘Panettone’. The tourists can explore many shops and markets in the Eternal City and enjoy a stroll at night in the iconic streets. The price of the trip is £79, but can increase depending on the number of nights and dates chosen. The price Hotel Saint Paul offers includes two nights in a double room with breakfast and return flights.

St Peter’s Square in Rome

7. Last but certainly not least, the capital of Hungary is one of the most beautiful places one can visit this Christmas outside the UK. With £69 for a two-night stay including return flights, you can discover the gems of Budapest, while staying at the Hotel Mediterran which is close to the inner city and constitutes a good starting point for exploring the city. There are many things to do in the city, ranging from a stroll along the River Danube to visiting plenty of landmarks like the historic Lajos Kossuth Square and the majestic Parliament Building to name a few.

Snowy Budapest

Hopefully you might have been inspired from these ideas. Honestly, if one plans their trips out carefully with their budget in mind, most destinations can be adapted to suit everyone’s purse. You just need to do your research and look for the best deals out there! Happy travelling and enjoy your holidays!