Christmas Markets can be an absolute delight – they smell fantastic and are a real feast for the eyes. Over the festive season they are a great place to get snuggly with loved ones and enjoy a cup of mulled wine amid the bustle of a busy city. They can, however, get very expensive too – and who has extra money to splash on cheese and wooden things over Christmas?
Last year I wrote a note to myself to remind me what not to get at the Christmas markets, and where to get it cheaper. I suppose it’d be peevish of me not to share the knowledge, so without further ado here are 5 things that are overpriced at the Christmas markets, and where to get them cheaper.
Generally, a small cup of mulled wine can set you back £5 at the markets, and that’s before you include the deposit for the mug. You can often buy bottles to take home in the region of £10 – however this same glugwein is always available in Aldi and Lidl for £4.49 – and they’re not small bottles! They make a nice gift and are handy to have in for winter visitors too!
I love cheeses, but they sure are expensive in the markets! 3 blocks for £10 was the best deal I heard last year, which is alright, but not exactly cheap. I favour visiting farmers markets (Ashton and Bury both have great ones) where you’ll support year-round business people, pay reasonable prices and not have to bump into 100 other people on your way.
Alternatively, do like I do and get Mum to bring you back a huge lump of Gruyere from her Winter visit to France. This year, Aldi & Lidl have a great selection of speciality cheeses, too.
Fudges, Cannoli and Sweet Treats
I’m ashamed to say that last year I spent £4 on a bitesize cannoli. TWICE. Sometimes you just get caught up in the moment, and they are so tasty…
Anyway, if you’re buying fudge, sweets or pastries at the Christmas Market then you’re paying a premium.
Lebukten, gingerbread, caramel waffles and florentines are abundantly available, again in Aldi and Lidl, for very reasonable prices. Save your pennies and stock up there instead!
Alternatively why not try to make your own? I’ve got a Florentine recipe coming up next week, so eyes peeled.
Hand Knitted Goods
Yep, hand knitted goods are lovely, and everyone wants a dinosaur or princess themed bonnet, but is it worth £30+ when you’ll only wear it that night, for a joke? I blogged a while ago about starting a simple knitting project (a scarf) which turned out a beautiful, thick and well made scarf for under £10. One that would give Lenny Kravitz’s famous scarf a run for it’s money.
Failing that, they’re just as handmade in all the high street stores. I promise.
Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Mistletoe & Centrepieces
I love tootling past the Christmas markets and seeing the trees and other decor merrily waiting to be taken home, but they are very expensive! Foolishly, I bought a sprig of mistletoe for around £6 one year – and it’s basically just a bit of branch!
If you’re set on a real tree, your local garden centre is a good place to start (NOT B&Q) – for those of you in the North West try Bents or Dobbies for real trees starting at £15.
I personally prefer to have a false tree – investing in a good, chunky one means you only lay out the cost once, plus I have no guilt about deforestation.
I hope that this helps you stay more frugal this festive season! Of course, don’t be a miser – just remember if you buy your biscuits elsewhere you might have change for another pint!
Do you have any spending savvy tips for Christmas?