Recession, what recession? The average British household is expected to spend about pounds 800 over Christmas on presents, food and the oceans of alcohol required to take our minds off the impending thud of January's credit card bill. Add a substantial sum for cab fares and telephone charges incurred in the pursuit of this year's It toy: the Teletubbies-meets-Tamagotchi hybrid known as the Furby. Here's the rough cost for a family of four:

The run-up 20 cards, pounds 9.90; 20 stamps, pounds 5.20; Advent calendar, pounds 3.99; wrapping paper, pounds 3.59; gift tags, pounds 1.98; bows, 99p

The ambience Orange/cinnamon pot pourri, pounds 3.95; saccharine CD by unavoidable prodigy (Charlotte Church, Voice of an Angel), pounds 11.99; aromatherapy candles, pounds 7.50; poinsettia, pounds 7.95; wreath, pounds 9.99

The tree Eight-foot Norwegian spruce, pounds 39.95; 24 over-priced yet irresistible baubles, pounds 22.05; shiny spheres, pounds 10; tinsel, pounds 3.99; fake snow, pounds 3.99; fairy lights, pounds 17.35; ribbon, pounds 1.50; gold star, pounds 4.99

The food 12lb turkey, pounds 15.85; 10lb smoked ham, pounds 18.50; Christmas pudding, pounds 6.50; veg, pounds 3.87; stilton, pounds 8.99; two pounds each of walnuts, almonds, pounds 6.56; five pounds of clementines, pounds 3.04; four dozen mince pies, pounds 10.36; chocolate, pounds 10; shortbread, pounds 5.98; deluxe Christmas crackers, pounds 18.50; dozen jumbo candycanes, pounds 6

The drink Mulled wine sachets, pounds 2.75 (to gather dust); two bottles each of vodka, whisky, gin, pounds 79.78; two litres tonic, 90p; two litres lemonade, 98p; three bottles claret, pounds 26.97

The morning Son: deluxe yo-yo, pounds 29.99; Lego system with remote-control four-wheel-drive vehicles, pounds 69.99; Daughter: Furby, pounds 29.99; Titanic video, pounds 14.99; Mum: wool and velvet shawl, pounds 79.99; Delia Smith's How to Cook, pounds 12.99; Dad: The obligatory Booker (Ian McEwan's Amsterdam), pounds 14.99; hand- operated cappuccino frother, pounds 9.99; Granny: sheepskin hot-water bottle, pounds 50; Fido: dog biscuits, pounds 2.09; 15-minute call to relations in Sydney, pounds 6.30; three rolls colour film, pounds 8.58

The emergencies AA batteries, pounds 8.49; presents for unexpected friends: designer olive oils, pounds 18.95, book tokens, pounds 15; indigestion tablets, pounds 2.70

The guilt Donation to Oxfam's campaign to help street children, pounds 25

Total: pounds 796.41

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