Holiday season cost of living

Costs do increase around the Christmas season- although the increases are in no way as high as the UK.


Christmas is in a very commercial time of year these days, with costs increasing on seemingly a year-on-year basis.  In Spain, you will find that this is the same – although the increases are in no way as high as in the UK.


The first decision an expat in Spain has to make is whether to go back to the UK to be with family, have family over to visit, or spend the holiday period immersed in your local life. Not all local airports will have flights back to the UK at this time, so you may have to travel further to get back to your family. If you book early, though, you may well be able to keep the cost of these flights down to around €120 per person.

Many UK expats in Spain celebrate Christmas in the traditional British manner, with turkey and all the trimmings. Others tend to combine elements from Britain with those from Spain. The main meal here is eaten on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day, and seafood will usually feature in it somewhere. Turrón is a Spanish Christmas nougat speciality which locals and expats enjoy.

The Spanish don’t tend to send Christmas cards, except perhaps to close family abroad. The choice here isn’t very good, and cards tend to be pricey. The Post Office (correos) sell UNICEF charity cards, but a packet of 10 costs 12€. These days, online ecards are being used more and more to keep the cost down.

Baubles and beads, and other decorations are not expensive as practically every Chinese shop (local corner style shops managed or owned by Chinese people and good value; generally all similar stores are known under this name) sell them and cards, wrapping paper and tree lights too. Supermarkets and other chain stores sell a variety of Christmas items at very reasonable prices, and you will also be able to find the more upmarket shops which offer that “special” decorative item.

So, if you are planning to spend this Christmas in Spain, here are a selection of various seasonal items you may well need to purchase – along with their comparative UK prices - as an example of the cost of living between Spain and the UK at this time of year.


Christmas Tree€25.00 - €80.00£19.74 - £63.17€37.98-€101.31 £29.99- £79.99
Christnams decorations from local "Chinese shop"    
Tree decorations €0.75- €2.00£0.59 - £1.58€2.53£2.00
6 Gift Tags€0.60 £0.47€1.27£1.00
Tinsel€0.80 - €2.50£0.63 - £1.97€0.85£0.67
Christmas cards€0.50£0.39€1.27£1.00
Wrapping paper 10m €1.79£1.41€3.17£2.50
100 tea lights€2.99£2.36€5.05£3.99
Perfumed Christmas candle in glass bowl€2.95£2.33€6.75£5.33
Tawny port€4.29£3.39€8.86£7.00
Dry Sherry€2.89£2.28€8.86£7.00
Red wine - Ribera Duero Lapuillus Crianza€7.99£6.31€11.39£9.00
Red wine - St Emilion Cru AP€9.99£7.89€12.66£10.00
Cava€2.99-€8.99£2.36-£7.10€6.96- €12.66£5.50 - £10.00

French Champagne, Brut Grande Reserve

White wine - Baltasar Gracian, Catalunya€4.99£2.94€8.86£7.00


Usually, we have to visit several supermarkets to find traditional British Christmas fayre or rely on friends and family to bring it over. The south of Spain caters much more to the British than here in the North East, but there is a British food shop in Lloret de Mar, and you can order online from there. Inevitably the items are expensive, but they stock many items you won’t find elsewhere. Lidl and Aldi often have promotions of British Christmas food but you have to sign up for their newsletters to know about the offers and get there quickly as they sell out. Hipercor in Girona offers a variety of foreign foods including traditional British items. 


British Food Imports, Lloret de Mar    
Christmas pudding 454g€7.45£5.88€3.80£3.00
Birds brandy sauce 500g€2.25£2.78€2.03£1.60
6 Mince pies€2.75£2.17€1.65£1.30
Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce, 250g€3.85£3.04€1.27£1.00
Paxo sage & onion stuffing 85g€1.45£1.15€0.76£0.60
Robertsons mincemeat 411g€3.65£2.88€1.27£1.00
Jar Quality Street 600g€9.25£7.31€6.33£5.00
Box 10 crackers €6.25£4.94€5.06£4.00


*Prices correct as 5th December 2014, from shop as outlined in table

*all prices from Sainsbury's, EXCEPT Christmas tree + tea lighs price from Homebase; all prices correct as 9th Decemeber 2014

***based on GBP/EUR exchange rate 1:2679, 9th December

Further reading for Living In Spain


Finding work

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Spain.

Read more..


Social life in Spain

Find out as much as you can about your new community and find new friends.




Arrange health insurance and locate your new local hospitals and practices.



Education in Spain

Emigrating with school-age children? Learn more about schooling in your local area.