Thursday 29 December 2022

Christmas fly-tippers are being targeted

Belfast Hills Partnership have been down chasing fly-tippers throughout 2022 with quite a measure of success, passing on details and images of over 20 incidents of fly-tipping to local councils for investigation and often resulting in prosecution.

“Most urban fringe areas suffer from ongoing fly-tipping”, explains Partnership Manager Jim Bradley, “with many assuming there’s nothing that can be done to stop persistent offenders emptying their rubbish along quiet country lanes in the hills. We decided enough was enough and started putting cameras up to catch these polluters.”

By securing funding, signage and licenses for cameras to monitor hot spots, the Partnership has been working in conjunction with local authorities to monitor and deter fly-tipping.

Local residents have welcomed signage from Belfast Hills Partnership discouraging fly-tipping. They have been co-operative and supportive of the measures being taken by the charity to address this ongoing issue. 

BHP Wildlife Connections Officer Noel Rice highlights the effectiveness of the signage, “Residents who bear the brunt of this anti-social behaviour have told us the presence of signage, whilst not eliminating fly-tipping, has definitely reduced the amount of incidents.”

Unfortunately, the Christmas season often coincides with an increase in fly-tipping around the hills. With Christmas decorations coming down and the New Year approaching a lot of people may have generated increased waste in their homes. 

BHP would like to remind residents to keep the hills tidy and free from waste by disposing of it properly. If not collected by a reliable person your rubbish could end up being dumped and you could be held liable for it.

BHP would like to remind people to explore their options when discarding unwanted items. Local Councils can offer a free bulky waste collection service for larger items like furniture and some electrical appliances. Items that are still in good condition can be donated for future use to charity shops. Platforms such as Freecycle can link you up with local people who might be interested in what you no longer want. 

BHP Manager Jim Bradley had this to say: “Everyone always focuses on recycling but re-using things are just as important. Before you part with something consider whether it's at the end of its life or if you or someone else can breathe some new life into it. Putting in that extra bit of thought and care means our hills stay free pf rubbish.”

If you see illegal dumping this festive season remember that you can report it to the local authorities who can take appropriate action. By working together communities can send a strong message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated at any time of the year.

New Year ecards from Hope Springs water charity

Water poverty alleviation charity, Hope Spring hopes to round up a successful year of fundraising, on its charity eCard platform with the release of its Happy New year ecards. 

There are a dozen cards in the series. The charity is expecting its supporters and visitors to their website to send New Year greetings.

The main target of the new ecards are those who forgot to send Christmas cards to their friends, colleagues and loved ones. Sending a new year eCard will help to ensure they did not miss our sending greeting during the holiday season.

The newly released eCard includes four, targeted at people who do not celebrate Christmas or new year, but wish to participate in the season’s festivities. It simply says seasons or winter greetings. Users of Hope Spring’s charity eCard platform can start sending the new eCards from 29th of December.

Spokesperson for the charity, Seun Olonade said “we had a strong take up of our Christmas eCards. Buoyed by that, we launch our new year and winter greeting range”. Hope Spring charity eCard platform, has been one of the organisation’s most reliable fundraisers.

Seun Olonade added “we do not expect new year ecards to be as successful as our Christmas eCards, but any additional donation generated by this new set of eCards, will help us achieve some of the projects we plan for next year”.

Hope Spring uses funds it raises from ecards and events it organises to fund clean water projects in Africa. Their clean water projects include boreholes and well construction. They plan to complete four borehole projects in 2023.

You can find out more information about Hope Spring from their website and social media pages.

Cold weather hints for the Twelve Days of Christmas and beyond

With cold temperatures threatening across the country, Graham Conway, who is a motoring expert and the MD at Select Car Leasing shares ways drivers you, AND your car, can stay warm behind the wheel without breaking the bank.

“On frosty cold mornings, many drivers will wake up extra early to boost the heating in their car. Whilst this won't really consume a significant amount of extra fuel, it can actually shorten the life of your engine. 

“After having your vehicle in the cold overnight and then warming it up, this can cause extra fuel can go into the combustion chamber, which can leak onto your cylinder walls. 

Too much fuel on your cylinder walls can dissolve the oil that keeps the cylinders lubricated, leading to damage to vital components.

“Instead of leaving your car to heat first thing in the morning, it’s advised you keep the vehicle warm overnight, taking the strain off the vehicle and making your mornings less stressful.”

Below, Select’s Graham Conway shares five things drivers can do the night before to make icy cold mornings that bit more bearable.

Park your car in an insulated garage

Whilst not everyone has the luxury of a garage, for those that do, make the most of it!

Keeping your vehicle in an insulated space overnight will keep the vehicle from reaching freezing temperatures. Even if the garage is not insulated, your car will stay warmer than it will out in the open.

An alternative method of insulation is a car cover blanket. Whilst it not only will from scratches caused by bikes, bins, or treacherous weather conditions, it will also reduce the chance of windows frosting over. 

Heated blankets

Again, if you are lucky enough to have a garage, place some heated blankets across the interior of the vehicle the night before.

A cheap electric blanket (costing around £14) costs about 3p an hour to run, equalling around £1.37 if used for seven hours a day.

With this in mind, placing blankets across the seats will help produce heat inside the vehicle and minimise the defrosting in the morning.

You can also buy electric blankets that actually plug straight into your car’s cigarette lighter terminal, to keep you toasty until your car warms up. 

Use the recirculation button

Whilst people can assume the recirculation button is only used the circulate cold air around the vehicle, it can also help to circulate hot air too.

The air recirculation button works by cutting off the outside air to the inside of the car, helping to recirculate air inside your vehicle.

This effectively will be a catalyst for the hot air circulating around the vehicle when the car’s heater is on, helping to heat it quicker.

Invest in heated car seat covers

You can actually buy heated covers for your seats. They include a thermostat that, like how any thermostat would work, will heat the seat to an ideal temperature before then turning off.

When the seat begins to cool down, it will then restart. These are pretty cost-effective accessories to have, as well as protecting your sets from any dirty hands, accidental spills, crumbs, stains, dirt etc. 

Stock up on hand warming packets

Especially for those with children, stock up on hand warmers that are completely self-efficient and will keep hands warm during the drive.

You can activate your hand warming packets around 10-15 minutes before getting into the vehicle and place them on the seats before the kids get in. 

Whilst slightly heating the car interior, they will more importantly keep children's little hands warm during the cold journey. 

Saturday 24 December 2022

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here in the UK it is a little under two hours to Christmas Day and my wife and I who publish That's Christmas and its sister That's Food and Drink.

We would like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and joyous New Year.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has helped us by providing us with information and also provided us with samples of foods, drinks, gifts, etc for our team to try, test out and review. 

Without all of you, we would not be able to publish our sites and we are genuinely grateful to all of you, readers, companies, Public Relations specialists, etc.

That's Christmas will soon be going into its period of semi-hibernation until the Christmas 2023 season starts up during the latter part of next year, 2023. However, if we find a story of intertest to fans of Christmas before then, we will publish those stories, so please do keep popping back to That's Christmas to check for such stories.

However, after a brief Christmas break, That's Food and Drink will continue to bring you the latest food and drink news plus recipes for you to try out.

Please do keep an eye out for the That's Christmas Veganuary feature when, throughout the month of January, we will be covering the latest vegetarian and vegan meals, ingredients, drinks and recipes.

Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday 23 December 2022

Tropical Sun Ready-to-Eat Jackfruit Range Exclusive to Asda

Justifiably famed for its meat-like texture, young green jackfruit is often hailed as a “vegan sensation.”

Whether preparing fresh or tinned jackfruit, the process can be long and manually intensive, making it impractical for those who are short of time or not good with cooking from scratch. 

But fear not, faster food fans, the UK’s top World Food brand Tropical Sun has teamed with Asda to offer its customers two ready-to-eat jackfruit products that will delight anyone looking for a plant-based ‘pulled meat’ experience. 

Tropical Sun’s BBQ and Tex Mex Pulled Jackfruit hit the shelves of the Asda World Food aisles on the late last month, just in time for ‘Veganuary.’

The 400g tins will retail at £2.49 (check in store) and are the perfect base for a quick and easy plant-based meal. Stuff the BBQ jackfruit into a lightly toasted brioche bun, top with salad and serve with chunky chips for the ultimate ‘pulled pork’ experience. Load a tortilla wrap with the Tex Mex jackfruit, rice, black beans and guacamole for a burrito that goes beyond!

Vas Sideras, Tropical Sun’s Supermarket Lead said of the jackfruit products: “We’ve seen a soaring demand for plant-based foods in recent years and these ready-to-eat products build off the success of our Jackfruit in Brine and Jackfruit in Water products which are amongst the most popular foods in our entire range.”

That's Christmas would like to point out that Tropical Sun ready-to-eat tinned jackfruit products will, in our experience, make an alternative to the usual nut roasts for the vegan Christmas dinner.

It's Christmas and your car's frozen! Here's expert advice on what to do and what not to do!

During the winter season, as the temperature drops, many drivers are making a common mistake that leaves their car doors damaged, and needing costly repairs. And who needs that, especially at Christmas time? 

And who doesn’t hate the chore of de-icing our car windscreen? But for many, what's even worse is finding out that your car door is frozen shut.

Sometimes the door handle is frozen, sometimes the rubber door seal is frosted shut to the body of the vehicle, and other times the ice is holding the metal of the door to another part of the car. 

Whichever frozen car part you’re dealing with, the one thing you should not do is to try and pull the door open. 

Graham Conway, the Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, is sharing some solutions on how to safely unfreeze a car door, saving you from an unwanted, broken car door handle. 

Try the door on the other side

“The quickest and easiest option is to carefully try another door on the vehicle. The problem could be that one side of the vehicle was exposed to more shade, and the other exposed to more sunlight, making the other side less likely to be frozen.

“If you can get in another way, start the engine and get the fans going, blowing heat out. The warm air inside the car will help thaw the frozen door. If you’re in a rush to get going, climb over to the driver's seat if you can do so, but only start driving once it’s safe to do so, which includes having properly defrosted windows.”

Push the door

“Instead of trying to pull the door open with force, give the door a firm shove instead. This might be enough to crack any ice that’s holding the door and keeping it forced shut. Put your hand flat on the door and lean against it, but don't give it a sudden slam. 

“This is much better than trying to pull the door open, as pulling with too much force can pull off the handle, damage the inside mechanisms of the door, or damage the rubber door seal.”

Scrape off ice 

“If the handle seems to be the only part of the vehicle that’s stuck, scrape off the ice on the handle with a scraper and this should hopefully sort out the problem. 

“If there’s ice all around the door and holding the door stuck, then slowly remove and scrape as much ice and the edges as possible. Once this is done, push the door in to try and crack the remaining ice and then pull.”

Hot water

“Pouring some hot, but never boiling, water around the affected area can help the ice that’s causing the jam to melt. However, this is a short-term solution, as once it cools it will freeze over the existing ice, potentially making the problem even worse.

“Make sure the water isn’t too hot, certainly as I say, certainly not boiling, and once you’ve got the door open be sure to dry down any wet surfaces to avoid more ice forming as you drive along.


“Whilst bottles of chemical de-icer are usually sold as a way to clear windscreens, it can also help with a stuck door or lock. 

“The chemicals will be able to break down the ice that’s stopping the door from opening, whether it’s a stuck handle, stuck bodywork or a tsuck rubber seal.”

How to stop it from freezing

“Unfortunately, aside from uprooting and moving to warmer climes,  the cold can’t be stopped, but there are ways to stop your car door from freezing. The easiest way is to park your car somewhere sheltered such as a garage or carport. If that’s not an option that's available, a car cover can provide enough protection to stop your car icing up.”

If you would like to use this content, please credit Select Car Leasing using this link:

That's Christmas would like to thank Select Car Leasing for their invaluable assistance in putting this blog post feature together.

(Image courtesy of Arek Socha and Pixabay)

Forgotten a Christmas present? Go digital!

There are many companies and retailers who can help you out if you have forgotten to buy a Christmas present or if a Christmas present has fallen victim to the Royal Mail strike.

Many firms offer electronic gift cards including those listed here:-

The Gift Card Centre



High Street Vouchers

Gift Cards 


The White Company


Argos, Sainsbury's, Habitat


John Lewis/Waitrose


(Image courtesy of Photo Mix and Pixabay)

Healthcare over Christmas

If you need healthcare over Christmas here are a number of useful tips for you:-

1) Remember to use the 111 number. It is a 24 hour service. Or use 999 in a case of genuine emergency.

2) Make sure you have plenty of painkillers in.

3) Have a good supply of throat sweets, etc in.

4) Have Lemsips or similar in your medicine cabinet. Plus some honey.

5) Make sure you have an adequate supply of plasters, bandages, etc.

6) Have you got any support bandages in stock? If not, get some as they will be very useful if someone pulls a muscle, develops a rheumatism flare-up, etc. 

7) Make sure you have a stock of liquid antiseptics, cream antiseptics, etc. Including something you can gargle with.

8) If you have pets make sure you have the emergency vet number available. Also, make sure that you have sufficient pet medications, etc, in stock.  

9) Take extra care. For example, please try to avoid doing any DIY if you can. 

10) Make sure you have all prescription medicines that you will require. 

(Image courtesy of Steve Buissinne and Pixabay)

That's Food and Drink: Shocking food price rises are concern for millions...

That's Food and Drink: Shocking food price rises are concern for millions...: The consumer protection body Which? has issued a statement on the increasing food and drink prices. Sue Davies, who is the Which? Head of Fo...

How to make your Christmas charity donations go further

The cost of living crisis has left some charities with dwindling donations at the same time as increased demand from those in need, especially at this time of year.

As households struggle with rising costs, one in five people are considering cutting back on charitable donations to help them manage bills, says research from the Charities Aid Foundation.

A Which? survey learned four in 10 (44%) of people who have given money to a charity in the previous 12 months don’t normally do any research before making a donation. For its latest Money-saving Monday, Which? has identified ways to make your contributions count this Christmas if you’re looking to support worthy causes. 

1. Check how much money from your purchase is donated 

Many shoppers buy Christmas cards that donate a percentage of the profits raised to a given charity. However, Which? found charity Christmas cards are a potentially inefficient way of donating if the percentage given to charity is low. Always check the pack to see how much is given to charity and consider whether it might be better to buy a cheaper pack of cards and donate the difference yourself. 

The same goes for charity credit cards, which donate a percentage of your spending. According to, this is typically 0.25%of your purchase, so spending £100 in a month would raise 25p. There are other ways to give that could benefit both you and the charity more. For example, with a cashback card that pays between 1% and 5%, you could donate some or all of the cashback you make.

2. Consider where your donation would be most impactful 

It's worth considering whether donating to causes you care about is making a difference and the best way to support them. If the cause is already well funded, your money might have a greater impact elsewhere. If you want to donate to a charity but aren’t sure which is the best to donate to, you could check if there are organisations that might be in greater need of donations. 

If you want to check how charities use your funds, most will include information on how they use their funds on their websites, but you can also contact them to find out more about how their funds are used.

3. Systemic change vs direct help

Spend some time thinking about whether you want your contribution to go towards systemic change or direct intervention. For example, donating to a cancer research charity may help develop cures and treatments to prevent more people being affected by cancer in the long term, while funding palliative care and support offers more immediate help. 

4. Consider what to give

Humanitarian aid is often provided through donations of physical goods such as food, clothing and shelter, but donating money to charities can offer them more flexibility to buy what they need and enables supplies to be bought locally, or it can help fund longer-term  projects.

Which? spoke to some food bank charities and found that monetary donations can be more valuable than food donations, because they allow food banks to buy exactly what they need as well as funding other support, such as fuel vouchers.

5. Give time, not just money

Many charities rely on work from volunteers to keep running. If you would like to offer your time to a charity and you’re thinking of signing up, think about how many hours you can commit to working, and what skills you can offer to maximise the value for both the cause and yourself.

6. Update for inflation

Long-standing, regular financial donations are a very effective way to give to charity. But if you’ve been signed up to give regular donations for a few years, it could be worth taking inflation into account and increasing your donation accordingly – if household budgets allow. 

7. Give tax effectively

You can maximise the value of your donation to a charity by using Gift Aid or Payroll Giving. 

Gift Aid means that an extra 25 per cent goes to the charity when you make a donation. Your donations should qualify as long as they’re not more than four times what you have paid in tax in that tax year. Payroll Giving deducts your donation from your wages before tax. It must be paid through PAYE from someone’s wages or pension.

8. Do sense checks

If a charity makes an unsolicited approach, use simple checks to ensure it’s legitimate. Street collectors should have ID, collection tins should be sealed and letterbox collection bags should have a charity number. You should also look out for the Fundraising Badge logo on a charity’s fundraising materials – a purple circle containing the letters ‘FR’. Charities exhibiting this logo have committed to fundraise in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice.

9. Check the charity is genuine

Fraudsters can take advantage with fake websites, emails and bogus causes – particularly around the holiday season. If you have any doubts about a charity’s validity, you can look up the charity’s name and number on the Charity Commission register. This will also alert you if a charity is being investigated.

Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered at By using the ‘advanced search’ button, you can find charities working in specific regions or countries to make sure they exist before giving out your financial information.

10. Don’t feel under pressure

Giving to charity is an important decision and sometimes a significant financial commitment, so never feel under any pressure. Always take your time, ask questions and do your research.

Reena Sewraz, Which? Money Expert, said: “The festive season is a great time to give something back and many of us plan to donate to a charity at this time of year. However, with the cost of living crisis hitting many household budgets – some people might be worried that their money won’t go far enough. 

“There are many simple steps to make sure your contributions go further. It’s important to know where your money is going so do your research about the charity and think about the best way you can support your chosen cause. Giving your time can be as precious as giving money, so also consider volunteering in a charity shop or at a charitable event nearby.”

(Image courtesy of Mary Pahlke and Pixabay)

The That's Christmas Christmas Quiz for 2022

This is the That's Christmas Christmas quiz 2022. No prizes, just enjoy the quiz with your family and friends. You can run it in your pub, too, if you wish!

There are 32 questions and answers. Here are the questions. The answers are included below:-

Christmas quiz 2022

1) The three Magi brought gifts for which person?

2) Which was the first ghost that Scrooge was met by?

3) Which actor played a child who was accidentally left alone at Christmas?

4) How many types of birds are featured in the Twelves Days of Christmas?

Six (Partridge, French hens, turtle doves, swans, calling birds, Geese)

5) What were the Lords doing in the Twelve Days of Christmas?

6) In the Muppet Christmas Movie, which famous actor played Scrooge? 

7) Which pantomime character was based on a real person who became Lord Mayor of London?


8) In which town was Jesus born?

9) Bony M and Harry Belafonte had hits with what Christmas song?

10) What Christmas product is Tom Smith credited with creating?

11) Which Prince popularised the concept of Christmas trees in Britain?

12) What number of days are traditionally celebrated over Christmas?

13) What do many people now eat on Christmas Day in Japan?

14) In which country is Father Christmas called Kerstman?

15) In which country is Father Christmas called Babbo Natale?

16) Who wrote and originally released Felice Navidad in 1970?


17) What Christmas hit did Wham! Have 38 years ago?

18) What Shakespeare play is set during the period of Christmas celebrations?

19) What Day is also known as Epiphany Eve?

20) In the traditional carol, how many ships came sailing in?

21) In South India, one widespread Christmas tradition is putting a burning earthen lamp on their roofs. True or false?

22) The USA doesn’t celebrate Boxing Day as a holiday. True or false?

23) In which season does Christmas occur in South Africa?

24) The name Snowball is, actually, a British surname. True or false?

25) Which supermarket has Kevin the Carrot as a character?

26) The music for Carol of the Bells is based on a Ukrainian folk song? True or false?

27) The members of the group The Waitresses who had a hit with Christmas Wrapping were actually waitresses in real life working in a New York Pizza restaurant at Lombardi’s Pizza Restaurant and were discovered by famed music producer and utter loony Phil Spector. True or false?

28) What Church service is held on Christmas Eve?

29) Bishops Offley Christmas Trees from Staffordshire provided a 19 foot tall Christmas tree for which famous location in London?

30) Which US entity offers a Santa tracking service to the world? 

31) What Christmas cake or sweet bread is Italy famous for?

32) In mid-Wales, it was the custom to make goose blood tart with the blood of three geese being mixed with currants, flour, suet, salt, spice and golden syrup, when the farmers were killing a large number of geese at Christmastime. True or false?


1) The three Magi brought gifts for which person?


2) Which was the first ghost that Scrooge was met by?

Jacob Marley

3) Which actor played a child who was accidentally left alone at Christmas?

 Macaulay Culkin

4) How many types of birds are featured in the Twelves Days of Christmas?

Six (Partridge, French hens, turtle doves, swans, calling birds, Geese)

5) What were the Lords doing in the Twelve Days of Christmas?


6) In the Muppet Christmas Movie, which famous actor played Scrooge? 

Sir Michael Caine

7) Which pantomime character was based on a real person who became Lord Mayor of London?

Dick or Sir Richard Whittington 

8) In which town was Jesus born?


9) Bony M and Harry Belafonte had hits with what Christmas song?

Mary’s Boy Child

10) What Christmas product is Tom Smith credited with creating?

Christmas Crackers

11) Which Prince popularised the concept of Christmas trees in Britain?

Prince Albert

12) What number of days are traditionally celebrated over Christmas?


13) What do many people now eat on Christmas Day in Japan?

A KFC meal

14) In which country is Father Christmas called Kerstman?


15) In which country is Father Christmas called Babbo Natale?


16) Who wrote and originally released Felice Navidad in 1970?

José Feliciano

17) What Christmas hit did Wham! Have 38 years ago?

Last Christmas

18) What Shakespeare play is set during the period of Christmas celebrations?

Twelfth Night

19) What Day is also known as Epiphany Eve?

Twelfth Night

20) In the traditional carol, how many ships came sailing in?


21) In South India, one widespread Christmas tradition is putting a burning earthen lamp on their roofs. True or false?


22) The USA doesn’t celebrate Boxing Day as a holiday. True or false?


23) In which season does Christmas occur in South Africa?


24) The name Snowball is, actually, a British surname. True or false?


25) Which supermarket has Kevin the Carrot as a character?


26) The music for Carol of the Bells is based on a Ukrainian folk song? True or false?


27) The members of the group The Waitresses who had a hit with Christmas Wrapping were actually waitresses in real life working in a New York Pizza restaurant at Lombardi’s Pizza Restaurant and were discovered by famed music producer and utter loony Phil Spector. True or false?

False, the band actually originated in Akron, Ohio.

28) What Church service is held on Christmas Eve?

Midnight Mass

29) Bishops Offley Christmas Trees from Staffordshire provided a 19 foot tall Christmas tree for which famous location in London?

10 Downing Street

30) Which US entity offers a Santa tracking service to the world? 


31) What Christmas cake or sweet bread is Italy famous for?


32) In mid-Wales, it was the custom to make goose blood tart with the blood of three geese being mixed with currants, flour, suet, salt, spice and golden syrup, when the farmers were killing a large number of geese at Christmastime. True or false?


188% increase in searches for "vegan Christmas food"

Waitrose, one of the UK’s “big five” supermarket chains, has announced searches for “vegan Christmas food” on its website are up by a staggering 188% compared on last year’s figures.

As a result of the upward trend, the high-end grocer is anticipating its most successful vegan Christmas period ever.

A spokesperson for Waitrose revealed specific search terms are driving the spike in traffic. Consumers hunting for “vegan roast potatoes” increased by 166%. Meanwhile, enquiries for “vegan panettone” rose by 110% on last year.

To cater to its increasingly vegan-curious and fully plant-based clientele, the supermarket has unveiled its biggest animal-free festive range so far. Included in the 20+ items are Thai Style No Fishcakes and other finger foods. All are part of a multi-buy party food promotion.

In addition to its groceries sector, Waitrose has reported significant interest in vegan options through two of its other channels. The Waitrose Entertaining department, which prepares ready-to-serve foods for customers, has apparently seen orders for meat-free dishes increase by almost half. This figure is expected to rise further before the end of the year.

“I'm thrilled we're now able to provide a vegan option for every course and with vegan and vegetarian Waitrose Entertaining orders up 49% compared to last year, I have no doubt this category will continue to go from strength-to-strength,” said Simona Cohen-Vida-Welsh, the vegan product developer for Waitrose.

Simultaneously, home cooks are looking to Waitrose for vegan inspiration. A rise in the number of people searching for nut wellington and vegan Yorkshire pudding recipes has been observed. The latter alone has seen a 94 percent increase.

Vegan Christmas food at UK supermarkets

Waitrose isn’t the only UK supermarket chain upping its plant-based festive range. 

Notably, Asda unveiled its largest-ever plant-based line-up this year, featuring 97 products. As well as traditional items, including roasting joints and Christmas pudding, increasingly inventive recipes have been added. These include non-dairy breaded brie and chocolate truffles.

It's Christmas but not as we know it?

Christmas Day looks set to be somewhat different this year with millions of households cooking more from scratch to save money, using air fryers, microwaves and keeping the heating lowered to reduce their energy bills.

Most will be dressing down (if they get dressed at all!), as one in ten plan to spend the day in their pyjamas.

The insights come from research commissioned by John Lewis and Waitrose among 2,000 UK adults who celebrate Christmas. 

The most popular foods people are planning to make themselves to save money are:  1. stuffing, 2. gravy, 3.desserts, 4. mince pies, 5. Christmas pudding, 6. bread sauce and 7. yule logs, 8.canapes, 9. brandy butter and brand sauce, 10. cranberry sauce. 

To save money on bills when cooking their Christmas dinner nearly one fifth said they'll use an air fryer and a similar number said they'll use a microwave (18%) and cook more on the stove to reduce oven time (18%). 15% said they'll serve cold desserts to save money. 

The traditional festive activities we’re least likely to cut back on are: 1. giving gifts to the children, 2. drinking alcohol, 3. eating mince pies, 4. sending Christmas cards, 5. buying cheese, 6. Christmas trees, 7. donations to charity, 8. gifts for pets 9. food and drink left out for Father Christmas, 10. a present for ourselves. (Nothing beats a bit of self-gifting!) 

When it comes to drinks on Christmas Day the approach for most is sticking to tried and tested favourites.   

When asked which drinks they’re most looking forward to prosecco and red wine came top followed closely by non-alcoholic drinks such as Coke and white wine, beer and bucks fizz. 7% are looking forward to a traditional glass of port, 9% want mulled wine, 5% want on-trend rum and 4% are more adventurous in craving an nifty Eggnog. 

Those cutting back on the amount they are spending on gifts are most likely to spend less on the adults closest to them with friends impacted first, followed by partners and siblings. 41% said they will spend less on gifts for friends this year, but  less than half as many (19%) said they will spend less on a secret Santa gift for a work colleague. 

People started shopping for Christmas earlier than ever this year to spread the cost, and as a result only 15% expect to still be buying gifts on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year.

For most it’s going to be a dress down Christmas day with only 9% planning to wear sequins, velvet, black tie, or high heels. Almost half of us (45%) will wear pyjamas, jogging bottoms, or jeans for most of the day, and about a quarter (24%) of UK adults will get in the festive mood by wearing a Christmas jumper.

Only 12% of people expect to have their heating on more than other days with a quarter (26%) planning to have it on less, possibly because their house will be heated by guests. 

Many want to be active and healthy on Christmas Day with 43% planning to stretch their legs on a walk or run, 5% will swim or bathe in cold water. Habits started in lockdown will continue for others with a quarter (24%) planning to have a video call with friends or family, and  5% saying they will do an online exercise class.  Some will unwind from the stress of it all by meditating 6% and just over one fifth (21%) expect to fall asleep after lunch.

Alone this Christmas? No need to be lonely!

Many people will spend Chirstmas alone this year. But there's no need to be lonely. There are radio phone-ins to participate in, for example.

Also you can have Facebook calls, Zoom or Google Groups calls, etc, with friends and family members no matter where they are in the world.

If you feel that you cannot cope The Samaritans are always there. The local number will be listed in the phone book or the online phone directory.

Mind has a list of services that can provide help to people who require it. You can check it out here:

Services listed are: The Samaritans (English or Welsh services are available) SANEline, National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), Shout (text only service if you'd rather not talk to anyone, but do require help to cope) The Mix (for those who are under 25) Papyrus HOPELINEUK, Nightline, Switchboard (for those identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender), C.A.L.L. (If you live in Wales), Helplines Partnership, Urgent mental health helplines (England only).

The NHS 111 service can also provide help to people who have mental health issues you can call them on 111 or visit

You can also "chat" to other people on Twitter, Facebook, etc., who may very well also be on their own at Christmas time.

(Image courtesy of  Wokandapix and Pixabay)

Thursday 22 December 2022

Rishi Sunak thanks British military protecting global peace and security at Christmas

The UK Prime Minister has today paid tribute to the professionalism and bravery of UK Armed Forces in an unprecedented year of global instability.

Addressing military personnel in Tapa, Estonia, he told British troops their service and dedication would not go unnoticed this Christmas, and their selfless commitment was instrumental to keeping the UK and our allies safe.

Around 6000 marines, soldiers, sailors, and aviators will be deployed across the world this Christmas, serving on 33 military operations in 28 countries. They will be supported by dedicated merchant sailors from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and civilian staff.

More than 1000 of those Armed Forces will be on Op Cabrit across Estonia and Poland, including the King’s Royal Hussars, from Catterick Garrison in the Prime Minister’s constituency in North Yorkshire.

The Prime Minister thanked those troops personally today, and, alongside Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, served Christmas lunch to NATO forces. He also shared mince pies with UK military personnel after dinner, hearing first-hand about their experience as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence across the Baltics.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "This year, we have seen a full-scale war return to our continent, and I am immensely proud of the selfless dedication and bravery of our Armed Forces who responded to that threat to keep the UK and our allies safe.

"As thousands of our military personnel prepare to spend Christmas on deployment, I know that this year of all years we will not take their sacrifice, or the sacrifice of their loved ones, for granted.

"Christmas, after all, is a time for peace, and as alongside our allies, we’ll continue to support our Ukrainian and European friends in pursuit of a return of that peace.

"This year, partly in response to the invasion of Ukraine, over 12000 UK military personnel have been deployed across Europe, from Cyprus in the Mediterranean to Norway within the Arctic Circle, across land, sea and air.

"In Estonia, the UK temporarily doubled its footprint in response to rising tensions, underlining our commitment to NATO and wider European security. We have since bolstered the lethality of the deployment with multiple rocket launch systems and short range air defence, allowing force numbers to be reduced and redeployed in other areas of the world.

"The UK’s contribution to European security has not just been on land in 2022, with the Royal Navy deploying on nine different operations across Europe, involving 31 ships and submarines, six Naval Air Squadrons and 1750 Royal Marines.

"And the UK played a leading role in protecting European skies, with around 1900 UK military flights patrolling,  gathering intelligence and providing essential transport and resilience across the region this year.

"From January 2023, UK Apache and Chinook helicopters will deploy to Estonia. This additional surge capability into Estonia will include an aviation task force of three CH47 helicopters, followed by a deployment of four AH64 and two Wildcat Helicopters."

RAC says: "This Christmas is set to be most expensive ever"

This Christmas is set to be the most expensive ever on the roads with petrol and diesel both at record highs for the festive period.

Petrol is currently being sold for an average of 152.96p a litre which is 7p more than it was on 22 December 2021 (145.66p). 

Diesel, however, is a shocking 27p more expensive on the nation’s forecourts than it was a year ago (148.95p) at 175.75p, which was previously the most expensive Christmas ever for drivers.

A tank of petrol for a family driving to see family and friends now costs nearly £4 more at £84 than it did last Christmas (£80). For those travelling in diesel cars it’s even worse with a fill-up now costing nearly £97 – almost £15 more than last year (£82).

But disturbingly, this Christmas shouldn't actually be hurting drivers’ pockets as much as it is, as the wholesale price of petrol has now fallen to just 106p a litre. The same price it was this time last year. 

And more worryingly, this year’s price includes the Government’s 5p fuel duty discount which was introduced in March to ease the pain of rising fuel prices caused by Russia invading Ukraine. The wholesale price of diesel has dropped to 126p a litre which is only 14p more expensive than just before last Christmas (112p).

The RAC calculates that the average price of petrol should be around 138p – 15p cheaper than it actually is, and that diesel should be around 160p a litre – 13p cheaper than it is now.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “With the cost-of-living crisis making this one of the toughest Christmases ever, it's even more galling to know drivers are being heartlessly overcharged for fuel, making this the most expensive ever festive getaway on the roads.

“The big four supermarkets, which dominate UK fuel retailing, have robustly refused to significantly lower their forecourt prices to reflect what’s happened with the substantial reduction in the price of wholesale fuel they are enjoying.

“We now have a bizarre situation where many smaller independent retailers are charging far less for their fuel than the supermarkets. The trouble is after years of the supermarkets being the cheapest place to fill up many drivers automatically assume this is still the case and may lose out as a result.

“We urge all supermarkets to properly cut their petrol and diesel prices to give drivers the Christmas present they deserve. Sadly though, having seen a similar situation last year where the biggest retailers failed to pass on much lower wholesale costs, we’re not holding out much hope they will do the right thing this year. We suspect they’re just going to try to tough out all our calls for price cuts in the hope the price of oil will go back up in the new year.

“The only consolation for drivers is that both petrol and diesel have fallen a long way from their summer highs of 191.5p for unleaded and 199.09p for diesel.”

(Image courtesy of Rudy and Peter Skitterians and Pixabay)

WaterAid's Christmas appeal

WaterAid is asking community groups, churches and schools throughout the UK to support its Water Means Life appeal this Christmas and help bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to healthcare centres worldwide. 

The international charity’s appeal aims to raise £2.5 million between November 2022 and February 2023. Funds raised will bring water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities to healthcare centres in Mozambique and across the world.  

Currently one in four healthcare centres has no clean water on site and almost half of healthcare centres have no basic handwashing facilities, putting staff and patients at a risk of ill-health. 

Maria, who is a nurse at Posto de Saúde de Napacala health centre in Niassa Province, Mozambique said: “We use the water from the well for patients’ laundry, delivering babies and washing our hands between appointments.” 

“The situation is very difficult. And when our well runs dry we can't wash our hands. We have in total 16 communities around the health centre in desperate need of water. Water for me is life and without it there is no life.” 

By fundraising for WaterAid this Christmas, congregations and community groups can help tackle the global hygiene crisis in healthcare centres across the world. Patients are dying needlessly; nurses and doctors are at risk and there is a higher threat of future pandemics. 

Wanji Wambari-Kairu, Supporter Exploration and Influencing Lead at WaterAid, who saw the situation faced by health centres in Mozambique first-hand, said: “Nurses, cleaners and doctors go above and beyond to treat their patients, but it’s not enough. When dirty water is the only option you have, every effort to heal risks bringing harm. It’s heart-breaking that 3.85 billion people use or work in a healthcare facility without basic hygiene services.” 

“By joining WaterAid’s appeal your church can start working with nurses like Maria and local communities to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to health centres like Posto de Saúde de Napacala and around the world. This will make a lasting difference and save lives.” 

WaterAid has produced a range of free fundraising resources, including Sunday School session and fundraising ideas ranging from bauble decorating competitions to wreath making, a presentation on Maria’s story and a poster. Churches can even book a free WaterAid speaker to come and talk to their congregation about the campaign. 

Access these resources and learn more about the Water Means Life appeal at

“STEM” into Christmas: Nottingham schoolchildren get a taste of engineering at annual festive lecture

Hundreds of schoolchildren from all over Britain were learning about ‘The Future of Transportation” as part of the Faculty of Engineering’s Christmas Lecture at the University of Nottingham.

Hosted by a different department every year, the Christmas Lecture aims to inspire the next generation of students to continue with STEM subjects and, eventually, pursue a career in the industry.

The day was hosted by Professor James Bonnyman from the university’s Electrical and Electronics Department. He said: “We need people to help us solve difficult challenges we’re facing around decarbonisation, the impact of transport on air quality, the balance between public and private transport, and ensuring we design transport systems that suit the needs of everyone.

"All fields of engineering, from electrical engineering to transform the way we deliver and distribute power through to mechanical systems to design future vehicles, and everything in between, are critical to delivering the transport systems of the future, and we need to engage the next generation of engineers to be able to realise these ambitions."

Over 250 secondary students from eight schools attended the event, where they also had the opportunity to engage with a variety of interactive STEM activities, including a VR experience hosted by Rolls Royce.

Students were provided with an insight into the real-life applications of STEM at Rolls-Royce, through an interactive jet engine build challenge, hands-on activities from their submarines business, and an immersive virtual reality experience to explore their amazing jet engine architecture, all led by STEM ambassadors from the company.

Sarah Sharples, Professor of Human Factors at the University of Nottingham and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport, delivered the lecture. She said: “I’m delighted to have hosted this year’s Engineering Christmas Lecture. Transport technologies are undergoing major changes that will transform the way we live and travel, and we need the best science and engineering expertise to help us.

Sarah Sharples, Professor of Human Factors at the University of Nottingham and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport said: "I always enjoy talking and hearing about new forms of power, new methods of transport, and thinking about how, when, and why we travel. I hope some of those who attended are inspired to think about ways they can use their science and engineering expertise to help us design the transport system of the future."

Louise Caunt, Careers and Employer Engagement Lead at South Nottinghamshire Academy, said: “South Nottinghamshire Academy is keen to offer a range of STEM experiences, both in and out of the classroom, and we encourage our students to learn more about higher education and where it can lead. We are passionate about engaging with inspirational leaders from the world of work, who can share their knowledge and help to develop career ideas, because STEM never sleeps, and futuristic STEM jobs are the exciting vacancies of the future for our young people to consider.

“This event for our year nine students provides an excellent follow on from their year eight STEM Week, which took place earlier this year. An opportunity to stretch curiosity and actively develop interpersonal and collaboration skills, to help them develop through life. It's important to keep talking about STEM, it teaches critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills and instils a passion for innovation that fuels success across a variety of tasks and disciplines.

“As we head into the holidays, what better time to take students out of school to experience a great event at a prestigious university? I’d like to thank the University of Nottingham for having us.”

British Retail Consortium releases Christmas trading statement

Responding to the latest CPI inflation figures which shows headline inflation at 10.7%, and food inflation at 16.4%, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It will undoubtedly be a challenging Christmas period for many households throughout the UK. 

"Not only are the costs of food and gifts up on last year, but bills are up 27% too. Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine continues to put pressure on energy and food prices, meaning there's little sign inflation will ease significantly soon.

“To combat inflation, retailers are investing hundreds of millions into lower prices for the future, as well as finding ways to keep the cost of Christmas down for their customers. This includes freezing the price of many essentials, offering discounts to vulnerable groups, raising pay for their own staff, and expanding their value ranges.”

"Keep up the great recycling work this Christmas" says WRAP

Christmas can be pricey at the best of times, and this year budgets are likely to be tighter, so Love Food Hate Waste is sharing festive food waste prevention tips that can help save you money by making your Yuletide food go further.

Delicious new meals can be easily made from Christmas leftovers. Last Christmas the UK’s most searched for recipe was Boxing Day bubble and squeak.

Recycle Now tackles the most common Christmas recycling niggles to rid your home of packaging and wrapping responsibly.

Climate action NGO WRAP is using the run up to Christmas to help us save money by avoiding food waste, and have a greener Christmas via its Love Food Hate Waste and Recycle Now citizen campaigns, across social media.

Each year in the UK, something like 6.6 million tonnes of food go to waste from our homes over the twelve months. This is by far the most significant amount of food waste overall, with 70% of the UK’s total food waste coming from our own homes. 

This costs households around £14 billion a year, or £730 for an average family. It produces 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and what’s more, a whopping 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten. 2 million tonnes of which wasn’t used in time.

Of this annual total food waste, the amount of poultry thrown away in one year could make 800 million Boxing Day curries. Enough potatoes are binned annually to make roasties for Christmas Day for the whole country, for 48 years. And the amount of carrots thrown away every year by UK homes could feed Santa’s nine reindeers a carrot a day, for nearly half a million years!

Each Christmas, thousands of households take time during the festive break to log on to Love Food Hate Waste to look for a tasty recipes to stop leftover festive foods going to waste, and for tips on how to freeze and reuse uneaten food items with the annual Ultimate guide to Christmas food planning.

Boxing Day is the busiest day for home chefs who are looking for inspiration to transform leftovers into tasty stomach fillers. Searches range from recipe ideas to use up classic Christmas staples, to guidance on freezing leftover meat. 

The Love Food Hate Waste Portion Planner can help save money by guiding people towards the best number of parsnips and other trimmings to serve, no matter the number of guests. The A to Z Storage Guide is the best Christmas present in terms of helping to keep any food in top condition for as long as possible, with WRAP showing earlier this year that fresh produce can stay fresher for longer in the fridge. With refrigerated apples lasting two and a half months longer than those in a fruit bowl!

Poultry is number eight in the top ten most wasted foods in the UK. 100,000 tonnes of poultry end up in the bin every year. Most is chicken, the nation’s favourite meat, but at Christmas it is all about turkey. Leftover turkey can be stored in the fridge for up to two days, but turkeys usually produce more than a couple of days’ worth of leftovers. Freeze the excess turkey and defrost either in the fridge or using the microwave on the defrost setting directly before re-heating. The golden rule? Only re-heat once.

Fresh vegetables and salad are the most wasted food group in the UK. We waste a horrifying 1.3 million tonnes of perfectly good fresh veggies and salads every year, costing £2.7 billion. Swapping highly wasted fresh foods for frozen options (’swaptions’) could help to reduce food waste. They last for months and you can use as much as you need when you need it. Frozen vegetables (including your brussel sprouts) can be cooked from frozen. Top tip - when preparing fresh veg for freezing, blanch in boiling water for a few minutes and plunge into cold water before freezing them.

With the festive season upon us, there are lots of culinary treats to be enjoyed this month and local produce is still coming in fresh from the fields during December. Christmas vegetables will need to be used up so read the latest blog for festive seasonal meal planning inspiration What’s good to eat this month? – December.

Christmas WRAPping

During the festive period – and on any day of the year – you can find out EXACTLY what can and can’t be recycled in your area using Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator. This is the best way to manage the influx of Christmas packaging and wrapping and help Recycle right this Christmas.

Visits to Recycle Now and searches for the ‘twelve most commonly queried items’ rise significantly between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, showing that as a nation we like to have our recycling sorted nice and early in the New Year. By far the most queried Christmas questions is what to do with your Christmas tree, then decorations and packaging, and finally the faulty Christmas lights? Recycle Now expects the same high volume of visits to its Recycling Locator this year, for advice on what and where to recycle – anywhere in the UK.

Top tips for Christmas recycling

Do the wrapping paper scrunch test to see if you can recycle it. If it springs back, it contains plastic and can’t be recycled. Paper and Christmas cards covered in glitter are NOT recyclable. Remember to also remove ribbons, bows, batteries, and other adornments before recycling. 

If you buy a tree that still has its roots attached, you can plant it out in the garden so you can enjoy it throughout the year as well as for future Christmases. If you don’t have space for it, or if you’ve bought a cut tree that no longer has its roots, your local council is likely to have a collection point or may even pick up your tree from your home in the New Year (check your local council’s website). 

Trees can be recycled into wood chips or shredded and composted. If you have a fake tree, this can’t be recycled, but they can be reused! Charities, care homes and so on will often take artificial trees, and if they’re in good condition, they could also be resold at a charity shop or online.

Flatten cardboard boxes to make more room in your recycling bin, bag or box. 

Empty, rinse and squash plastic bottles and pop the lid back on. 

Buy recyclable Christmas Crackers and avoid single use plastic gift crackers and those covered in glitter as these cannot be recycled.

Christmas trainspotting special on Channel 4

Earlier this year, Channel 4 sensationally hit the rails with trainspotter and viral sensation Francis Bourgeois as he and some of Britain’s favourite celebrities embarked on a wild trainspotting adventure across the UK.

Now Francis is back in tome to celebrate the festive season aboard the locomotives in this one-off digital original, produced by Untold Studios.

Joining for some Christmas cheer is Olympic champion diver Tom Daley who’ll be swapping the diving pool and knitting needles for the railways as he joins Francis for a magical and heart-warming Christmas expedition.

They’ll be thrown into an eye-opening adventure across London that will lead them into all sorts of mischief, from space hopping through Clapham Junction to spreading joy with railway inspired gifts to and a festive finale at Waterloo Station, resulting in one of the most embarrassing moments of Tom Daley’s life so far.

There’s even better news for fans of the series – it has also been extended by a further three episodes, with Francis’ celeb explorers yet to be announced.

The Christmas special of Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois will be available to stream on Channel 4’s YouTube on 22nd December.

Charlie Hyland said: “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the success of Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois, so we couldn’t be more delighted we’ve commissioned a festive special with Tom Daley airing this Christmas, alongside a brand-new bunch of episodes that will air in the new year. I can’t wait to see who else will be joining Francis on his travels”

Executive Producer Jonathan Levene said: “There is never a dull moment when you’re trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois. His unapologetic outlook and ability to find joy in the most unexpected of places is charming and hilarious, and we can't wait to get back on the railway for more adventures in 2023! We’ve got some exciting surprises planned for Francis’ guests, but in the meantime, we can’t wait to share Francis and Tom Daley spreading some festive joy in the Christmas special.”

Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois was created and Exec Produced by Francis Bourgeois, Jonathan Levene and Iona Goulder at Untold Studios and commissioned by Charlie Hyland, Channel 4’s Digital Commissioning Editor, Comedy.

How to reuse Christmas trees

We are being offered advice on how to reuse and make the most of their real Christmas tree after holidays are over. 

Experts at Gardening Express have looked into the creative and eco-friendly ways that dried out Christmas trees can be put to good use at home and in the garden. 

Many real Christmas trees find their way to landfill after the festivities are over, but there are a number of better ways the needles, branches and wood from the tree can be repurposed and reused. 

From mulch to decorations, upcycling the dying tree will have many beneficial uses around the garden and home. 

Chris Bonnett, the founder of Gardening Express said: “There’s so much more that can be done with your real Christmas tree besides merely throwing them away. 

“Once the tree has fulfilled its festive purpose, it can be recycled and used for gardening, supporting wildlife or even raft projects.

“Extending the life of your Christmas tree won't only allow you to make the most of it, but it’s also good for the environment, too.”

Here are seven ways to reuse Christmas trees from the team at Gardening Express: 

Make mulch

Take advantage of all the organic matter from the Christmas tree by turning it into natural mulch. Pine wood and needles are excellent mulch-making materials. Let the tree dry, put the branches into a shredder and let the wood chips rot before using them to mulch around trees and shrubs. If you don’t have a wood chipper then pine needles work well also since they dry quickly but decompose slowly. 

Use wood chips for paths

If you shredded the tree into wood chips for mulching then you can also save some to fill in the garden paths. A layer of wood chips will keep away weeds, hold moisture in the soil and create texture in the garden. 

Use branches as insulation

Pine branches can be used to protect tender plants from the frost. Chop large branches from the tree and lay them on the soil to provide insulation and limit the thawing and freezing of the soil.

Create a wildlife shelter

You can attract and support wildlife by letting the tree sit in the garden over winter. This will provide a shelter for little animals and birds to nestle in during harsh weather conditions. You can also hang bird food, slices of fruit or seed cakes on the branches to provide some snacks for the wildlife. 

Make garden and home décor

There are countless of DIY decorations you can craft using different elements of the tree. For example, you can make a beautiful wreath from the branches that can be hung on your door all year long. You’ll just need some binding wire, scissors, glue and any extra decorations you’d like to see on your wreath. 

Make fragrant sachets

The needles from your Christmas tree have a fresh, wintery scent, making them excellent additions to fragrant sachets. Just add the fallen needles to small bags and tie a ribbon around the top. The sachets could be placed in wardrobes and drawers for a fresh scent, they’re also great gifts to give to loved ones. 

Use branches as plant stakes

Strip the branches of needles and use them to support tender and young plants during winter winds and frosts. To prevent injuring the roots, plant the stakes about 2 to 3 inches from the plant's stem. Keep in mind to set the stake at an angle to give the plant more protection from winds.

From Giles Hurley CEO – Aldi UK and IRE

Dear Customer,

With Christmas nearly upon us, I am writing to let you know what Aldi is doing to help make the big day special this year.

Unbeatable value

We know that lots of our customers are worried about the rising cost of living, so we have been working hard all year to keep prices as low as possible and do all we can to support our customers, colleagues and communities.

But don’t take our word for it – consumer champion Which? recently revealed that the traditional Big Four full-price supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – are 16% more expensive than Aldi on a basket of 48 everyday grocery items.

For the main event this year, Aldi has once again cut the price of our fresh turkeys. Whole birds are available from £3.99 per kilo, meaning you can get a delicious, 100% British turkey for as little as £7.98, while prices for fresh, Class A British turkey breast crowns start from just £7.64.

We also offer amazing value on Christmas dinner veg essentials. This week’s Super 6 deal includes potatoes for just 15p, with carrots, brussels sprouts, parsnips, swede and cabbage at 19p each.

We are thrilled to be named Best Christmas Retailer at the Quality Food Awards, too.

Store opening times   

This week our stores will be open for longer to make it even easier for you to pick up what you need during the festive period.

And, as always, we close on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to make sure our amazing, hard-working colleagues can celebrate and enjoy time with their own families and loved ones.

Supporting communities during the cost-of-living crisis

Our thoughts are with those who may be struggling this Christmas and Aldi has launched an Emergency Winter Foodbank Fund worth £250,000 to support charities, foodbanks and community groups across the country.

We will also once again be donating surplus unsold food to local charities and foodbanks once stores close on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, as part of our long-established partnership with Neighbourly.

I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of everyone at Aldi, to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Giles Hurley

CEO – Aldi UK and IRE

Aldi launches big winter clearance sale with savings of over 50%

Supermarket, Aldi, has today announced a HUGE ‘Big Winter Clearance Sale’, with reductions across hundreds of Specialbuy products. 

With impressive deals on toys, homeware and festive decorations, shoppers can make savings of over 50% this holiday season. Launching today (Thursday 22nd December), Aldi’s Big Winter Clearance Sale is sure to be popular with Specialbuy fans, so shoppers will need to be quick to grab a bargain, because as with all Specialbuys, once they’re gone, they’re gone!

With everything from kids’ toys and pet accessories to Flannel Pyjamas (£6.99), 4PK Cocktail Glasses (£6.99) for the adults, there is something for everyone in Aldi’s Big Winter Clearance Sale – available online now

Wishing your pets a very furry Christmas!

A new study from Co-op Insurance shows that despite the UKs rising cost of living, we're set to spend an average of up to £873 million on presents for pets including dogs and cats this Christmas, as four-fifths (82%) of pet owners plan to spoil their beloved cats and dogs, by spending up to £50 on gifts as part of the festivities this year.

Despite the pinch, three-fifths (61%) of cat and dog owners agree they like to spend money on their pets at Christmas, and this year they won’t be cutting back. 

But unfortunately, it looks like Aunties and Uncles are set to lose out, as two fifths (40%) of those planning to spend up to £50 on pets say they won’t spend anything on gifts for their extended family.

Over three-fifths (62%) of dogs and cats in the UK will be receiving their own Christmas present this year, with over a nearly a quarter (23%) set to feed their pet from their own Christmas Dinner plate. Some pet owners (4%) are even go so far as giving their pets Christmas card - despite pets not being able to read!

Ways people include their pets at Christmas time:

They give them Christmas presents (62%)

They give them special Christmas toys (43%)

They give them more food treats (43%)

They go on a special Christmas walk (25%)

Make their pet a special Christmas meal with leftovers (27%)

Feed their pet from their own Christmas Dinner plate (23%)

They give them an advent calendar (15%)

They let their pets sit at the dinner table (13%)

They put them in a Christmas Jumper (8%)

They're allowed to sleep in owner's bed (7%)

They give them a Christmas card (4%)

The new data also points towards a rise in Empty Nest Syndrome, with 91% of pet owners 55 and over saying they are planning to buy their furry friend a Christmas gift. This is compared to 84% of those aged 25-34 and 64% of Gen Z animal lovers.

With over a quarter (27%) of dog and cat owners planning to make their pet a special Christmas meal with leftovers, be warned, it’s sharing Christmas leftovers that can pose unwanted health problems.

 From pet poisonings, to gaining a few extra pounds, a pet's wellbeing can be negatively impacted. The most common heart conditions in pets are linked back to obesity, so be certain to re-think the offerings this year, and opt for something healthier. 

It’s vital to do the research and avoid popular festive ingredients causing poisoning in animals, such as chocolate, grapes, garlic, onions, and even poinsettias.

Andrew Nevitt at Head of Co-op Pet Insurance said: "Despite the cost of living, it seems we’re still a nation looking to include our pets in family traditions, with Christmas being a time when pet owners obviously want to make sure their dogs and cats are included in our celebrations.

"Our research confirms how much our pets really mean to us, so although it’s vital to many to include their pets in Christmas and in many cases take the opportunity to spoil their pets, it’s important to keep our furry friends safe. So keep them away from those Christmas chocolates!

“Despite the festivities, we also advise animal lovers to closely monitor their pets’ food intake, as their weight and appetite can be the tell tale signs of several health concerns. Overfeeding your pet at Christmas, or offering them a one-off taste of human food, may do more harm to them than initially thought, so it’s best to stick to treats specifically manufactured for them in order to avoid unwanted trips to the vet this winter.”

For more information about Co-op Pet Insurance plans, which includes 24/7 access to vets online, visit:

(Image courtesy of Oli R and Pixabay)

Asda launches brand new Jingle the Reindeer Double-Smash chocolate cake along with range of themed products!

Asda has announced it's introduced a new festive mascot for the Christmas season. Perfect for some family fun in the lead up to the big day, the brand’s new Jingle the Reindeer range includes 14 new and delicious products.

A standout centrepiece of the collection, Asda’s new Double Smash Jingle the Reindeer Cake (£14), features decadent and rich chocolate sponge layers and creamy chocolate frosting. With two milk chocolate domes, the cake is the first of its kind to feature two smashable elements.

Once inside the first deliciously smooth dome, Jingle the Reindeer’s face can be seen, with two golden chocolate antlers and icing eyes. From there, those looking to indulge can smash his bright red nose, revealing a selection of yummy treats.

With the full range unveiled and prices starting from just 65p, whether it's a baking activity with the kids, a show-stopping dessert, or even a tasty afternoon treat - there’s something for everyone.

Perfect for those colder winter nights, the Jingle the Reindeer Hot Chocolate Melt makes for a fantastic stocking filler. Simply pour warm milk over the reindeer shaped chocolate melt to release the fluffy marshmallows and create a mouth-watering hot chocolate that’ll melt even the biggest chocoholics.

To add a reindeer twist on a classic, the Jingle the Reindeer and Friends Icing Kit (£2) gives aspiring cake decorators a chance to create their own Jingle themed Christmas cake icing, with all the ingredients included to create their very own Jingle the Reindeer out of icing and instructions available via a QR code on the pack.

Looking for a selection of treats to enjoy this Christmas Eve? Look no further than Asda’s Jingle the Reindeer Mini Rolls (£2) and Jingle the Reindeer Gingerbread Biscuit (65p each), with the finger food snacks perfect for adding Christmas magic to any evening. Plus, the Jingle the Reindeer Swiss Roll Cake (£6) was made for sharing with loved ones this festive season.

The full range is available to buy in-store now, with products also available to buy online while stocks last.

With Asda Christmas deserts, bigger is better!

The bigger, the better; Asda proves that the age-old adage is true this year. As part of their Christmas range, the retailer has introduced three larger-than-life dessert offerings sure to excite little ones and grown-ups alike. Comprised of a Giant Éclair, a Giant Mince Pie, and a Giant Santa Themed Donut, these limited-edition giant desserts each serve up to six people and will bring smiles all round.

Firstly, there’s the Extra Special Giant Belgian Chocolate and Caramel Éclair (£7). Decadent as ever, this choux pastry éclair is filled with chocolate and caramel flavour mousse. On top, it’s coated with chocolate fondant and a caramel flavour fudge icing. 

To add a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, the pastry is topped with a gold coloured sweet dusting. This isn’t your typical dainty dessert, however, the Giant Éclair serves up to 10 people. Bon Appetit!

If you’re after something a little more traditional this year, why not go for the Extra Special Giant Mince Pie (£4.50)? Encased in an orange zest infused all-butter pastry, the pie has a deliciously rich mincemeat filling infused with brandy and port for a truly wonderful flavour. For just £4.50, this giant dessert serves up to six people, making it perfect for any festive gathering.

There’s one last giant dessert to bring ho-ho-home this year: the Giant Santa Belt Donut (£7). The donut is filled with cream and topped with a yummy raspberry glaze. And, of course, a Santa's belt. What better way to pay tribute to Old St. Nick than a giant dessert in his honour? The donut serves 4 lucky guests for £4 total.

Between the Giant Éclair, Extra Special Giant Mince Pie, and Giant Santa Belt Donut, there’s plenty to choose from when looking for that party-perfect dessert to bring to the next festive gathering. The bigger, the better and the more, the merrier.

For a limited time only, all three giant desserts are available from the bakery in Asda stores now.