With Christmas starting earlier and earlier every year, 'tis the season to spend and shop. In celebration of this very modern tradition, Channel 4’s The World's Most Expensive Christmas is giving us an insight into some truly jaw-dropping novelties. Indeed, Brits spend almost 40% of their disposable income during the Christmas period, smashing the global average of 23% according to Ferratum’s Christmas Barometer 2015.
This represents each person buying an average of about 14 presents. Surprising? Not really.
Nevertheless, there are some Christmas trimmings that not even the biggest retail rush could justify. Here are some of the more outrageous that we have seen over the years:
The £20,000 Christmas card
This happens to be one of the first ever Christmas cards, and was sold at a small auction house in 2001 for a staggering £20,000. The card shows a jolly family around the table, raising a toast and enjoying the festivities. It was first sent in 1843, and is believed to be one of only 12 remaining cards of the original 1,000. Certainly not something to be lost in the post...
The £615,000 Christmas star
Laden with 280 diamonds, including a blinding 5 carat showstopper in the middle, is a Christmas star costing £615,000. The ornament is 20cm tall, but luckily the diamond in the middle is removable, so you can wear it round your neck for the rest of the year. This way, you can feel a little bit better about blowing the budget on one day, no matter how special it may be…
The £7 million Christmas tree
Standing tall at 13 metres, this glitzy evergreen was erected in the lobby of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi in 2010. Estimated at over £7 million, its branches were adorned with rings, necklaces and other extravagant jewellery encrusted in emeralds, sapphires, pearls and diamonds. If all that was on top of the tree, we can only imagine what was underneath...
The £21,000 mince pie
In 2012, London chef Ben Tish baked a tray of mince pies costing £21,000 for six. Each pie contained a deliciously moist filling of foie gras and white truffle, soaked with extravagant cognac and finished off in gold leaf detail. The pies were given away one by one in a raffle at the Taste of Christmas festival at the Excel in London.
The £23,500 Christmas pudding
The showstopping “Most Precious Christmas Pudding” cost an eye-watering £23,500. Divided into 12 portions, that's equal to an impressive £1,959 a slice. The tasty treat was created by ex-Savoy Hotel pastry chef Martin Chiffers in 2013, who soaked it in a potent vintage cognac (£10,890 a bottle). Lucky diners also had to be careful not to choke on a collectible gold Henry VI Salut D'Or coin worth £7,500...
The £82,000 ornament
This bit of bling involved 1,500 diamonds encrusted on a sphere of 18 carat white gold surrounded by two ruby encrusted rings, and was valued at £82,000. Bauble daddy Mark Hussey, the owner of Hallmark Jewellers, said that it was more about doing something special for Christmas than the exceptional cost. Special, it certainly was...
The £3,270 snow globe
Adding a personal touch to this luxury gift, designer Leah Andrews will meticulously sculpt a miniature model of your own family, glamorously immortalised on a bed of fluffy diamond ‘snow’. The globe also includes ten more 0.7 carat diamonds and will set you back £3,270. Perhaps don't shake this one too hard...
The £1,200 sprout
The Brussels sprout has been the subject of much gastronomic debate. Whether you love them or you hate them, in 2006, one such sprout was sold for £1,200 at an auction on eBay. Perhaps this year, we should think twice when we're clearing up those leftovers. Could 2015 be the year of the roasted parsnip, perhaps?
The World's Most Expensive Christmas is on Channel 4 on Tuesday, December 15 at 9pm.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a Christmas gift? Tell us in the Comments section.