Christmas will cost you £973 – these are the holidays to book instead

Club Del Sol Aparthotel in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca
Treat yourself to a sunny break in the Balearics for the cost of a typical Christmas celebration in London - Hasselblad H4D

Bah humbug, it’s that time of year again. Over-eating, over-drinking and over-exposure to family, plus a battering when it comes to the bank account. A recent survey suggests that Londoners spend an average of £973 on Christmas, including the gifts, food, drink and all the extras it entails. The tally is lower in some regions (£752 in Scotland, £803 in East Anglia) but, for many families, the bill will be even higher.

But, if it doesn’t sound too Scrooge-like, does Christmas really warrant spending so much money? Does the family need those expensive presents, the flowing fizz, the deluxe crackers, the vast turkey and all the endless trimmings? Wouldn’t everyone be happier if they reined it in a little? After all, think what else you could do with the money when it comes to getting a different kind of break in 2024.

Granted, £973 won’t buy you a luxury holiday in peak season, but there are plenty of fabulous breaks to be had for this amount at other times of year. It could be a few nights of dinner, bed and breakfast in a UK spa hotel, or a family half-term stay in a cosy cottage in Wales. Or perhaps a chance to soak up the sights on a weekend break to Paris, or even some early-season sunshine in the Balearics. Alternatively, invest your cash in a new year’s resolution and challenge yourself on a creative course in West Sussex.

It’s not too late to set your festive budget a little lower. Send fewer cards, pick a smaller tree, cut down on gifts, skimp on stockings and curb your culinary costs. Make the bells jingle, not the cash tills. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference when it comes to good cheer and jollity – and if it means being able to afford an extra break in 2024, surely it’s worth a go?

So spend that £973 on a holiday instead: we’ve picked out a selection of top breaks which cost, give or take a tenner, exactly that:

£963: Spring break in Paris

Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France
Enjoy a spring trip to the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris for the same price as a Christmas celebration - Stone RF/Getty

Maximise the Christmas cheer by planning a springtime flit to Paris in May. Savour the prospect of sauntering through its grand boulevards and gardens in the early sunshine and people-watching from a street-side café table. Window-shop along the Champs Élysées, stroll from the Place de la Concorde through the Jardin des Tuileries Garden to the Louvre and book advance tickets for the forthcoming “Inventing Impressionism” exhibition at the Orsay Museum.

Book this: Eurostar (03432 186 186; offers a three-night stay at four-star Maison Malesherbes on Place Saint Augustin from £963 b&b for two people, including rail travel, departing St Pancras on May 10.

£966: Family half term in Wales

Stockwell Farm
Stockwell Farm is one of the Landmark Trust’s many characterful, family-sized houses - Nigel Forster Photography

Hold back on the presents and instead give your family the gift of a February half term break in a spectacular corner of the UK for bracing walks and board games by the fire. Pick one of the Landmark Trust’s many characterful, family-sized houses, a choice which includes Stockwell Farm in Powys, a centuries-old stone farmhouse with far-reaching views over the Radnor countryside. The scenic walking country of Offa’s Dyke is close by, and the towns of Hay-on-Wye and Llandrindod Wells are within a 15-minute drive.

Book this: Landmark Trust (01628 825925; offers stays at Stockwell Farm, sleeping six, at £966 for a seven-night rental, from February 9-16.

£970: Spa hotel in Norfolk

Congham Hall, West Norfolk
Congham Hall is great place to relax and pamper yourself while enjoying country views - Tim Charles Photography

Rein back on the Christmas cooking and treat yourself to an indulgent half-board break at Congham Hall near Kings Lynn in West Norfolk, where the nightly rate includes a full English breakfast and three-course dinner. With 31 rooms spread through the main house and courtyard garden, this relaxed Georgian house also offers an onsite Secret Garden Spa with a swimming pool, hot tub and range of treatments. Local excursions include the King’s house at Sandringham, 18th-century Houghton Hall, the shopping town of Burnham Market and Norfolk’s vast sandy beaches.

Book this: Congham Hall (01485 600250; offers three nights from £840 half board for two people sharing a standard room. Add in a half-day spa package at £130. Based on a weekday or weekend stay before March 31.

£982: Sunshine in the Balearics

Club Del Sol Aparthotel in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca
Club Del Sol Aparthotel is a top accommodation choice in Majorca beach resort Puerto Pollensa

Endure the worst of December’s wintery chill by looking forward to the prospect of a sunny June getaway funded by the money you’ve saved on Christmas. Head to Majorca’s northeastern beach resort of Puerto Pollensa, with its pretty bay backed by the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains and its promenade and marina edged with low-key bars and restaurants, for a week of watersports, walking or poolside flopping.

Book this: Tui (0203 451 2688; offers a seven-night stay at four-star Club Del Sol Aparthotel in Puerto Pollensa from £982 B&B per person, based on two people sharing a junior suite with balcony or terrace including flights and transfers, departing June 20.

£984: Creativity in West Sussex

West Dean College in Chichester, West Sussex, UK
For something a little different, sign up for course at West Dean Estate on the edge of the South Downs - Alamy

Divert your Christmas cash into an inspiring residential course at West Dean College near Chichester in West Sussex. Part of the West Dean Estate on the edge of the South Downs, it offers tuition in a wide variety of arts and crafts including painting, photography, jewellery making, sculpture and basketry, aimed at all levels from beginner to expert. Accommodation is provided at the main house or the adjacent Old Vicarage – and food is sourced from produce which is largely grown onsite.

Book this: West Dean (01243 818 300; offers a four-day “making jewellery in silver” course at £545. Add in a four-night stay at the college at £439 half board, based on sole use of an en suite standard room, from January 14-18.