The latest research by RIFT Tax Refunds reveals that the average cost of a family Christmas dinner has increased by almost 20% since last December, while the cost of cooking it has soared by 96%.
As families gather to celebrate Christmas, there is widespread concern about energy prices and the rising cost of living. For many, this year’s festive budgets will be tighter than ever while prices hit levels that the nation has rarely seen before.
Last Christmas, the average price of a Christmas dinner for four people was an estimated £20.12. This year, the price is expected to rise to £24.07, an increase of 19.6%.
As for popular individual ingredients, the biggest price increase has been added to cranberry sauce and gravy granules, both of which are 33% more expensive. For a family of four, cranberry sauce now costs £1.20 while gravy costs £1.85.
Potatoes are 19.9% more expensive this year while turkey prices have increased by 19.7%. Enough turkey to feed four people now costs £14.91.
Other Christmas dinner ingredients to see significant price increases are Christmas pudding (12.4%), brussel sprouts (11.9%), carrots (11.9%), and parsnips (11.9%).
While this year’s food price hikes are a concern for many, they pale in comparison to the increase in cooking costs as energy prices soar. Since last Christmas, the price of energy has gone up by 95.8% from £1,277 to £2,500.
Adding to the stress of rising food and energy bills is the increase of general living costs that families across the land are dealing with. Since last Christmas, house prices have increased by 4.4%, rent prices have gone up by 11.1%, and the average council tax bill is now 3.5% more expensive.
Even the trees…
As if all of these price hikes aren’t enough to contend with, the price of a humble Christmas tree has also gone up. This year, a real tree costs an average of £42.31 after rising by 12.9% since December 2021.
CEO of RIFT Tax Refunds, Bradley Post said, “The Christmas period is usually a period of reflection, celebration, and relaxation for families. But this year, with all of the financial hardships we’re facing, it might be harder than usual to let the festive spirit in.
For those with the financial foundation to stomach it, a 20% price increase for Christmas lunch might not seem that much, but for households on tight, fixed budgets, it makes a massive difference.
And while we may not need to pay our energy bill immediately, the far higher cost of simply cooking our Christmas dinner is also likely to come back to haunt many households.
Although Christmas is going to stretch a lot of budgets very thin, January presents an opportunity to reclaim some money. Tax returns are due on 31st January and for lots of people, self-employed or otherwise, this means tax refunds can be claimed.
If you’ve never claimed a tax refund before, in January you’ll be able to claim for the past four years for which the average refund is £3,000, more than enough to make up for the extra cash being spent over the festive season.”