Is Christmas getting cheaper, or more expensive?
In December 2015 we created a special interactive feature on the price of Christmas, 'Is Christmas getting cheaper?'. We looked at the data for the most popular toys, a YouGov survey on Christmas spending intentions, and for 18 items that make up a typical Christmas dinner and found the average total price had risen from £103 a decade previously to £138. We factored inflation into our calculations.
In 2016 we revisited the figures for the cost of 12 items for a Christmas meal and reported Christmas dinner costs 'rise 14%'.
As in 2015 the story was based on data obtained from mySupermarket which monitors prices at the superstores that have the largest market share in the UK.
Quantities were based on those recommended by BBC Good Food except for Christmas pudding, which is a standard size in supermarkets, and wine, which was based on having enough to give everyone two 125ml glasses.
A few days earlier, however, another BBC story written outside of the data unit had reported Christmas 2016 may be the cheapest ever, following a press release by Good Housekeeping.
The contrast between the two stories was covered in a 'Reality Check' feature 'Is Christmas dinner going up or down?'
Was it possible for both stories to be true? Yes: the data unit story was based on a typical shop at the supermarkets that the majority of shoppers use. The Good Housekeeping press release was based on an individual actively seeking out the cheapest items by visiting a number of different shops and choosing the lowest priced items.
The two shops were also based on a slightly different selection of items. One of the items to suffer the biggest increase, for example - crackers - was not included in the Good Housekeeping list.
So, if you want the cheapest possible items from the supermarkets and are prepared to shop around, then you could be in for a bargain. But if you are like most shoppers, and use one of the big name stores you might be paying about 14% more for your Christmas dinner this year, especially if you fancy pulling a cracker or two.
We do not have access to the data used by Good Housekeeping
Visualisation (Christmas dinner costs 'rise 14%')
- Line chart: Christmas dinner costs rising again
- Table: The trolley-full of goods
- Bar chart: How the cost of your Christmas dinner has changed