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Christmas 2017

How to look drop dead score-geous this party season without breaking the bank

IT’S nearly Christmas and your diary will be filling up with parties. While you don’t want to be seen in the same dress twice, buying a new outfit for every occasion will soon leave you strapped for cash. The good news is, the High Street has plenty of bargain party frocks. The cheapest we found […]

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IT’S nearly Christmas and your diary will be filling up with parties.

While you don’t want to be seen in the same dress twice, buying a new outfit for every occasion will soon leave you strapped for cash.

Getty - Contributor
Dress up yourself this Christmas with fashion picks for £20 and under[/caption]

The good news is, the High Street has plenty of bargain party frocks.

The cheapest we found was just £8.99, leaving you with enough change for a mulled wine or two.
Here, Hayley Lawrence picks 20 party dresses under £20 and rates them out of five.

Green Faux leather, £13, Primark; heels, £20, Matalan
David Cummings - The Sun

Ooze sex appeal in this asymmetric dress – the faux leather looks far more expensive than it is

Rating: 2/5

Ruffle off-the-shoulder, £20, Forever 21; heels £20, <a href="https://www.prettylittlething.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pre</a>ttylittlething.com
David Cummings - The Sun

The bardot neckline is super sexy, and the loose fit means you can get stuck into those mince pies

Rating: 4/5

Black, £12, Topshop; heels, £39, Asos.com
David Cummings - The Sun

The 80s look is a huge favourite this season, and this one-shoulder number is a great way to embrace the trend

Rating: 4/5

Mustard frills, £15, Boohoo.com; heels, £39.99, Pull and Bear
David Cummings - The Sun

Inject sunshine into the party, but bear in mind the ruffle can draw attention to the bust

Rating: 4/5

Glitter swing, £16, F&F at Tesco; heels, £39, Asos
David Cummings - The Sun

Be a frill seeker and go all out in glitter. The V-neck and half sleeve show just the right amount of skin

Rating: 5/5

Maxi, £20, prettylittlething.com
David Cummings - The Sun

This red maxi dress is perfect for a fancy shindig, but perhaps a bit much for drinks with friends down the pub

Rating: 3/5

Glitter long sleeved, £19.99, Bershka; heels, £14, Primark
David Cummings - The Sun

A little sparkle goes a long way. The sleeves will cover bingo wings and keep out the chill

Rating: 5/5

Red cold shoulder, £15.99, Pull and Bear; heels, £20, Matalan
David Cummings - The Sun

This dress has the best intentions but looks like an old curtain. Though, it’s good for hiding tummies

Rating: 1/5

Metallic, £19.99, New Look; heels, £20, prettylittlething.com
David Cummings - The Sun

You need to be confident to pull of this metallic mini. It’s fun in style but fits like a second skin

Rating: 3/5

Red halterneck, £15, Asos; heels, £25.99, Bershka
David Cummings - The Sun

This dress is stunning but very thin. Not only would you catch a chill but it would also show off every unwanted lump and bump

Rating: 3/5

Snake print, £12, Nasty Gal; heels, £25.99, Bershka
David Cummings - The Sun

While skin-tight and off- the-shoulder aren’t ideal for dancing, this snake print is so s-s-sexy

Rating: 3/5

Glittery classic, £18, George at Asda; heels, £29, Topshop
David Cummings - The Sun

If you want to be understated, this is the dress. Simple and chic, it’s great for any occasion

Rating: 4/5

Teal velvet, £15.99, Stradivarius; heels, £39.99, Pull and Bear
David Cummings - The Sun

This dress is a perfect party number. A flirty length with a powerful punch of colour

Rating: 5/5

Blue velvet, £18, Tu at Sainsbury’s; heels, £27.99, New Look
David Cummings - The Sun

A swing dress suits all body shapes. And this opulent colour and texture oozes style

Rating: 5/5

Pink polka dot, £20, Miss Selfridge; heels, £20, prettylittlething.com
David Cummings - The Sun

Send others dotty with this pretty pink frock – the velvet fabric is bang on trend

Rating: 4/5

Maroon classic, £19, Mango; heels £29, Topshop
David Cummings - The Sun

Great if you want something simple, but it lacks va-va-voom if you need to make an entrance

Rating: 2/5

Silver T-shirt, £19.99, Zara; heels, £20, Matalan
David Cummings - The Sun

Too wide and too short.
It’s a great colour but needs a belt to cinch in your waist

Rating: 2/5

Velvet midi, £19.99, Uniqlo; heels, £27.99, New Look
David Cummings - The Sun

Get two looks for one by slipping a polo neck underneath so you can wear it during the day, too

Rating: 5/5

Floral off-the-shoulder, £16, Matalan; heels, £29, Topshop
David Cummings - The Sun

Look gorgeous in florals – but those with bigger busts will need to invest in a good strapless bra

Rating: 3/5

Short green glitter, £8.99, H&M; heels, £29, Topshop
David Cummings - The Sun

Show off a little flesh with this sexy mini. Dark green with a sprinkling of glitter – you’ll be the sexiest Christmas tree in the room

Rating: 4/5

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Christmas 2017

What is the Luvabella doll and where can you buy one ahead of Christmas 2017?

AN artificial intelligence doll called Luvabella has been tipped since early on as this Christmas’ must-have toy. The doll hit shops on Sunday October 1 – and it has been flying off the shelves ever since. How much does Luvabella cost? The Luvabella doll has a recommended retail price of £99.99. The toy is made […]

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AN artificial intelligence doll called Luvabella has been tipped since early on as this Christmas’ must-have toy.

The doll hit shops on Sunday October 1 – and it has been flying off the shelves ever since.

The toy is tipped to be a sell out this Christmas
Luvabella

How much does Luvabella cost?

The Luvabella doll has a recommended retail price of £99.99.

The toy is made by Spin Master – the company behind last year’s Christmas sell-out, Hatchimals – and has already featured in Argos’ top toy prediction list for this year.

But some parents think that the Luvbella doll has spooky resemblance to Chucky, the horror film character.

 

Most retailers started selling the doll on October 1
Luvabella

Where can I buy Luvabella cheapest and where is it in stock?

Here are the cheapest prices we’ve seen:

How can I get alerted when Luvabella is in stock?

Many of the retailers will be getting their stock at different times.

But the clever bods at money saving website LatestDeals.co.uk have created a Luvabella stock checker.

You can sign up to get email alerts when the doll is in stores or online, ready to buy.

You can also sign up for alerts directly from retailers – including The Entertainer.

How to save money on your Christmas shopping

CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, here's how to treat yourself without splashing too much cash.

  • LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS Visit websites like Vouchercloud, Myvouchercodes.co.uk and Vouchercodes.co.uk to look for discounts before buying.
  • EARN CASHBACK Before you buy anything, visit cashback websites like Quidco or TopCashback, to see if you could earn money for shopping.
  • COMPARE Find the cheapest deal buy using websites like Pricerunner.co.uk or Kelkoo.co.uk.
  • SIGN UP to newsletters. Most retailers will offer exclusive discounts to loyal shoppers.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516


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Christmas 2017

What is a Hatchimal Surprise, how much are they and where can I buy them before Christmas 2017?

IT seems like every kid wants to get their hands on a Hatchimal this Christmas. The furry craze has swept the nation and is one of the year’s most sought-after gifts. Here’s how to track one down in time for the big day… What is a Hatchimal Surprise? The toy essentially an egg which will hatch revealing […]

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IT seems like every kid wants to get their hands on a Hatchimal this Christmas.

The furry craze has swept the nation and is one of the year’s most sought-after gifts. Here’s how to track one down in time for the big day…

The cult kids’ toy is back with a brand new design – so will you be buying one?
hatchimals

What is a Hatchimal Surprise?

The toy essentially an egg which will hatch revealing a neon coloured furry creature which will interact with you.

Unlike regular Hatchimals, the surprise edition births twin fuzzy animals.

This process takes between seven to 15 minutes and requires the player to coax the creature out with words and interaction.

After it hatches, the children can help it develop, teaching it to walk, talk, dance, play games and other fun activities.

This year’s product takes up to 15 minutes to hatch
hatchimals

How does the Hatchimal Surprise differ from the original?

Spin Master’s head of robotics, James Martin, revealed that the 2017 toy is more realistic.

He said: “(They) burst their way out of the top, very much like we see real animals come out of an egg.

“Their hatching experience is totally different.”

The twin animals also communicate with each other through sensors, adding further dimension to the first version of the game.

The Giraven is the first fluffy creature on sale – and it combines a bird and a giraffe
hatchimals

What are the different species in the Hatchimal Surprise?

The design varies from 2016’s Penguin-like creation.

Kids can choose between two different options: the Peacat and the Giraven.

The first combines the look of a peacock and cat, whereas the second is a mix of a giraffe and raven.

How much does the Hatchimal Surprise cost?

The peacat is a moggy with peacock wings and bright colouring
hatchimals

The recommended retail price of a Hatchimal Surprise is £74.99.

Some stores may flog it cheaper than this or include it in toy bundles in time for Christmas.

Be wary of how much the cult kids’ item retails for, as parents last year ended up paying over the odds.

In 2016, the sought-after festive gifts were being flogged for FOUR times the price on eBay.

Don’t get ripped off, here’s where you can get hold of a Hatchimal Surprise
hatchimals

Where can I buy a Hatchimal Surprise?

If the popularity of Hatchimals last year was anything to go by, it’s advised to snap up the item in advance before they’re out of stock.

To prevent similar carnage this year, some shops have limited the number of products you can buy at once.

The following stores are selling the children’s toy:

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Christmas 2017

19 of the strangest Christmas traditions from around the world – from deep-fried caterpillars to the Catalonian ‘pooing’ man

WE ALL have our treasured Christmas traditions, whether it’s leaving a mince pie out for Santa or watching the Queen’s speech with a hearty glass of mulled wine. But in other parts of the world, typical yuletide celebrations can be a touch on the unusual side. Here we’ve rounded up 19 of the strangest Christmas traditions […]

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WE ALL have our treasured Christmas traditions, whether it’s leaving a mince pie out for Santa or watching the Queen’s speech with a hearty glass of mulled wine.

But in other parts of the world, typical yuletide celebrations can be a touch on the unusual side. Here we’ve rounded up 19 of the strangest Christmas traditions from across the globe…

Some Christmas traditions from around the world make lighting the pudding seem tame

The Krampus – Germany, Austria and eastern Europe

If you misbehave as a child in the run-up to Christmas in this country, the worst you can expect is a lump of coal in your stocking.

But if you’re a kid in Krampus territory, be afraid.

The horned figure, often described as half-goat, half-demon, apparently preys on naughty youngsters on the evening of December 5, armed with rusty chains and bells.

He’s so creepy he was banned in Austria in the 1930s for being too, well, terrifying.

Watch out for the creepy Krampus!
Watch out for the creepy Krampus!
Rex Features

The “pooing” man – Catalonia

We all know three wise men visited the baby Jesus – but in Catalan tradition there’s an extra chap on the scene (though his gift leaves a lot to be desired).

The man in question is a Caganer – a charming figurine of a peasant man wearing the Catalan red cap with his trousers down taking a poo.

The name “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or “the s*****r”.

The Catalonians’ obsession with festive defecating doesn’t stop there – there’s also the Caga Tio, a “pooping” wooden log (pardon the pun) with a painted face and two front legs.

It appears in homes on December 8 every year and is ‘fed’ by children until Christmas Day, where it’s beaten up and ‘poops’ out presents, which are usually the goodies it’s ‘consumed’.

Hunt the Wren – The Isle of Man

If you go out for an afternoon stroll on Boxing Day in the Isle of Man, you may come across a gang of men and women singing and banging sticks.

Don’t panic – this is the centuries old Celtic tradition of Hunt the Wren.

Originally it was quite a bloodthirsty ritual, where gangs would scour the countryside looking for the tiny “sacred” bird to trap and kill it as a sacrifice, before it was plucked and buried in the local church with much pomp and ceremony.

The Caganer is a figurine of a peasant man wearing the Catalan red cap with his trousers down taking a poo who crops up in the Catalan nativity scene
The Caganer is a figurine of a peasant man wearing the Catalan red cap with his trousers down taking a poo who crops up in the Catalan nativity scene
Alamy

These days it’s a more humane affair, with the wren represented by an artificial bird which is the centrepiece for a “bush” – two wooden hoops placed on top of a pole, covered with ribbons and evergreens – which is carried from house to house.

One theory as to why the wren is targeted for ‘revenge’ is that it’s the reincarnation of an enchantress who lured Manx men to their deaths.

Eating raw whale skin with blubber and mouldy birds – Greenland

Before you ask, this isn’t buying a turkey on sell-by the previous year and cooking it up when it’s way out of date.

The mouldy bird “delicacy” in Greenland is called kiviak.

It’s made with a small bird called in auk which has been preserved in the hollowed-out body of a seal, buried for several months, and then eaten once it’s decomposed. Mmm.

Another treat on the menu is mattak, made from the skin and blubber of a whale and usually eaten raw – though sometimes it’s deep-fried and munched on with soy sauce.

Swapping baubles for spider webs – Ukraine

The Ukranian custom of adorning your Christmas tree with a fake spider and web is believed to bring good luck and stems from an old wive’s tale about a poor woman who couldn’t afford decorations.

The story goes, she woke up the next morning to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web.

In Ukraine, people decorate their Christmas trees with spider webs
In Ukraine, people decorate their Christmas trees with spider webs
Getty Images

Roller-skating to church – Venezuela

In the capital there’s a ‘wheelly’ fun tradition which involves pretty much the entire city roller skating to early morning church services throughout the Christmas period.

They even close the roads off specially to allow for the unconventional commute.

According to Hispanic Culture Online, children are put to bed earlier than normal the night before to give them enough strength to wake up and attend the Mass.

Afterwards, those who attended apparently all go out, eat tostados and drink coffee.

In Venezuela people roller skate to early morning church services throughout the Christmas period
In Venezuela people roller skate to early morning church services throughout the Christmas period
Getty Images

Hiding the brooms – Norway

Norwegians don’t take any chances on Christmas Eve.

Apparently the night is renowned as a prime broom-joyriding time for evil witches and spirits, who may help themselves if yours isn’t hidden from sight.

Traditionally families squirrel away their brooms before they go to bed.

Filling the shoe – Germans

German children leave a shoe outside the house on December 5th which is then filled with sweets overnight.

Naughty children awake to find a tree branch in the shoe instead!

Killer kitty – Iceland

You’d better hope you’re the one with nine lives if you come into contact with this furious feline while when you’re not looking your best.

The Jólakötturinn, or Yule Cat, is a monster from Icelandic folklore who lurks in the snow and eats people who are wearing scruffy clothes.

Apparently the pussy dates back to medieval times and was a way to motivate wool workers during autumn, ahead of the chilly Scandinavian winter.

If you worked hard, you got new clothes – if you didn’t, risk the wrath of the Yule Cat.

Beware the Yule Cat - especially if you're wearing old clothes
Beware the Yule Cat – especially if you’re wearing old clothes
Getty Images

Shoe tossing – Czech Republic

Feeling lonely this Christmas?

Why not take a leaf out of Czech womens’ books and try this clever trick to see what lies in store for your love life in the coming year?

Standing with their backs to their front doors, unmarried ladies toss their shoes over their shoulders.

If one lands with its toe pointing towards the door, the woman will supposedly get married within the next 12 months.

Night of the radishes – Mexico

Mmm, who doesn’t love a nice juicy radish with their Christmas lunch?

The Night of the Radishes (Noche de Rábanos in Spanish) is an annual event held in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, where people carve oversized radishes into scenes, with the best ones receiving prizes.

The contest now attracts more than 100 competitors and thousands of visitors.

People flock to Mexico for the Night of the Radishes festival
People flock to Mexico for the Night of the Radishes festival
Getty Images

Santa, and machine guns – Arizona

It may sound like the latest offering from the team behind the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but this is a genuine Christmas tradition in the American state.

Since 2010 Arizona’s Scottsdale Gun Club has hosted what may well be the oddest selfie opportunity of the holiday season – a snap of you with jolly Santa, and an AK-47.

Club spokesman Ron Kennedy said in 2011: “People decide to celebrate the holidays in unique ways.

“Some choose to do it with Santa at the mall, others in front of their tree.

“Our members and customers like to do it with ‘Santa and Machine Guns’.”

KFC Bargain Buckets for Christmas – Japan

Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, but when a group of foreigners tried and failed to find turkey in the country on Christmas Day and opted for chicken instead, KFC saw a gap in the market.

Thanks to the successful ‘Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!’ (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japan now can’t get enough festive bargain buckets.

KFC is a popular choice for Christmas lunch in Japan
KFC is a popular choice for Christmas lunch in Japan
Getty Images

Wearing red knickers – Spain

OK, so this is actually a New Year tradition, but that’s still covered in the 12 days of Christmas.

It’s a Spanish ritual to wear red undies on the last night of the year in order to bring you good luck.

Though one little Valencian village – La Font de Figuera – has gone a step further.

Here it’s tradition to run through the streets wearing nothing but your scarlet lingerie – and probably a red face to match.

Hide the pickle – Germany

It’s a very old Christmas Eve tradition in Germany to hide a pickle (of the ornament variety) in the branches of the Christmas tree.

In the morning, the child who finds it first gets a special gift from Santa, while the first adult traditionally gets good luck for the coming year.

Mmm, deep-fried caterpillars for Christmas lunch, anyone?
Mmm, deep-fried caterpillars for Christmas lunch, anyone?
Alamy

Deep-fried caterpillars – South Africa

Rather than pass around the cheese board on Christmas Day, South Africans choose to snack on caterpillars from the Emperor moth.

Although it sounds like a Bushtucker trial, they do at least deep-fry them first.

Parading the skull – Wales

This sounds like something out of Hamlet, but it’s a Christmas tradition in some Welsh villages to parade through the streets bearing the skull of a mare on the end of a stick.

The ancient custom is called the Mari Lwyd and is used to mark the passing of the darkest days of midwinter.

Santa’s postcode – Canada

How cool is this?

In Canada, the postal system genuinely recognises the address Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO.

Any letters received bearing this address are not only opened – they’re also replied to!

Santa has his own postcode in Canada
Santa has his own postcode in Canada
Getty Images

Loksa fun with pudding – Slovakia

While a sixpence in the pudding is a good luck token in Britain, Slovakia has a much messier tradition regarding dessert to secure future happiness.

It’s tradition for the man of the house to hurl a spoonful of traditional loksa (made from poppy seeds, honey, milk and bread) at the ceiling.

The more that sticks, the better your luck.

 

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