As a result of the move into the show home, we had little time to plan our usual Christmas food and drink purchases, so we hit on the mutual idea of buying a Christmas hamper, instead. Or, as my wife, put it: "Let's have Christmas in a box!"
This year, twelve years on, my wife had the romantic idea of recreating that first Christmas by organising "Christmas in a box."
We visited supermarkets, we wandered through department stores, visited specialist websites and consulted old-fashioned printed catalogues and were left cold by the contents of some and we could not believe the prices that some were charging.
Twelve years ago we could get a genuine wicker Christmas hamper that was filled with festive goodies for a price that, though by no means cheap, certainly wasn't overly excessive.
This year? It seemed that our plans were to be thwarted. Until I had an idea. Many years ago when I was still living with my parents, I had, over a period of a couple of months, created a collection of seasonal foods and condiments, which I presented to my mother a couple of days before Christmas.
Could we, I suggested to my wife. do the same thing this year, but for us?
My wife was very enthusiastic about the idea and we took ourselves off to the nearest branch of Lidl and bought mice pies, a Christmas pudding and a Christmas cake, Christmas biscuits, biscuits for cheese, fudge, chocolates, Stollen, two bottles of wine, a bottle of gluhwein, a large case of beer, condiments, pickles and sauces and so forth.
The total cost came in at about £99. We later worked out that the same items in a Christmas hamper would have cost about £400 to £500.
The same savings can be made at Lidl, B&M Bargains and other discount stores.
Shop carefully as we did and you could save yourself a three figure saving. And if that doesn't help you have a Merry Christmas, we don't know what will!