Home Christmas Chrisco Hampers: Are They Good Value?

Chrisco Hampers: Are They Good Value?

written by Shelley Marsh 21/11/2013
Chrisco Hamper

To be honest, I have always wondered whether it is worth purchasing a Chrisco hamper.  Every year around Christmas time when the glossy Chrisco TV adverts appear, I wonder whether it would work for me and my family.  You see, there are many parts of the Chrisco concept that really appeal to me.  The simplicity of choosing your hamper at the start of the year, then making automated payments weekly/fornightly or monthly and then ‘ta da’ a bunch of branded food products arrive at your door just in time for Christmas.  It does sound like it takes some of the hassle out of Christmas.  Yet, I have never done it.  So this year, I decided to do the math and figure out whether the value really stacks up.  This is how I went about it and what I found out.

I went on to the Chrisco site and I chose the “Traditional Christmas” hamper (click here to check it out).  It includes a range of sweets, a ham, a couple of chickens, ice cream, frozen veges, loads of sauces and of course the all important Tim Tams!  It might be a little bit big for my small family of 3 but my mother and sister join us for Christmas day and then the relos from New Zealand pop across on boxing day so I think it is the type of hamper that would get us through the Christmas/New Year period relatively well fed :-).  Now Chrisco say that the total value of the hamper is $426.40 or $8.89 per week.

It was really easy to check the value of the hamper, I just went to the Woolworths internet shopping site (which could have just as easily been the Coles site), typed in each product and found the Woolworths price.  If I could not find an exact match for the product I chose another brand with the same size or for some things I found the same brand but a different size (these are all annotated in my spreadsheet, us finance geeks love a good spreadsheet :-)).

To my surprise, the hamper valued at $426.40 according to Chrisco was only worth $306 according to Woolworths!!!!  Which means I save $120.40 by buying the same goods direct from Woolworths!!!   A whopping 28% difference!!!!   I thought there might be some difference, but I had no idea that the difference would be that big.  On their website Chrisco admit that they “do charge a little more than some supermarkets because of all the extra costs”, including the costs of collecting payments, special packaging and distribution.  But to me 29% is a whole lot more than “a little more”.  So, I am sorry Chrisco, in 2014 you will not be getting any of my hard earned cash,  as the value of your hampers simply does not stack up.

Note:  If you would like to check out my calculations please click here.  Interestingly, my blogging buddy Elise from Mummy Hearts Money looked at her Chrisco order in 2012 and came to a similar conclusion.  Click here to see her post.

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65 comments

Katie (@mumabytes) 22/11/2013 at 8:22 am

Wow – they are really taking people for a ride…I’ve never done hampers because I’ve never seen the value. If you are a savvy shopper, and use markets and Aldi and look out for specials, I believe you can save almost all the time. Great post, Shelley. xx

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:41 pm

I agree Katie, my calculations were without even shopping around. I suspect you could do even better on the pricing by shopping around.

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Vanessa 22/11/2013 at 9:53 am

We looked at Chrisco hampers but it is better to set up a high interest savings account and have the money automatically debited from your regular account. (I use Ubank, but there are others). Your money is now working for you even if it is only making a few dollars a month. Also these accounts are fee free. Another advantage is that you can access the money overnight if you have an emergency. A sizeable chunk of mine just went on vets bills. Furthermore, if you are planning on buying an expensive item as a gift, saving the money you self allows you to shop around for the best deal. Ubank was my best financial discovery!

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Ellen 22/11/2013 at 8:36 pm

Very interesting!
What is sad is that Crisco hampers tend to be marketed toward and appealing to the very people in society who cannot afford that 28%…

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:38 pm

Hi Ellen, yes I agree it is a bit of a disgrace quite frankly!

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Lynda @HomeleaLass 22/11/2013 at 8:40 pm

That’s very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Lynda.

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:38 pm

Hi Lynda, glad you liked it.

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Mums Take Five 22/11/2013 at 10:20 pm

Thats a little ridiculous. i knew it was up the few times i did look at it i checked a few prices of things i knew and thought they were a little high but that is ridiculous. Surely they have supplier pricing so they are selling full retail price plus their little extra – shame
agreed with Ellen. the people they are marketing to cannot afford that.

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:36 pm

Hi Bel, yes I agree, to me the mark up seems completely unfair and excessive.

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Bec @ The Plumbette 23/11/2013 at 8:37 am

I’ve always thought you were better off putting the $8 or $10 aside per week in a high interest account and then use the money at the end of the year to buy everything from Woolworths. They best thing is you can still get the stuff delivered to you if you do online shopping with Coles or Woolworths. I think it’s a good program though for those that don’t have any control when it comes to savings and would blow the whole lot before Christmas. At least with Chrisco they can guarantee they can’t dip into the money or food and will get what they need when they need it at Christmas. A great post too by the way. 🙂

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:35 pm

Thanks Bec! I absolutely agree, I think in some circumstances Chrisco is a great solution for people, but at least they should be informed as to how much extra they are paying.

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Sheridan 23/11/2013 at 9:54 am

I was so happy to read this post!! I have been getting Chrisco for the past three years VERY GENEROUSLY paid for by my Mum to help us out at Christmas time.
I totally agree with you. Like anything, there are definitely pros and cons. Let’s see if next year I will be able to convince mum to finally stop buying me Chrisco hampers lol (definitely hard to say without seeming ungrateful!!!)
I am posting on my blog next week because my 2013 Chrisco hamper arrives on Monday! Will share on fb when it is up so you can check it out.

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:33 pm

Great Sheridan, please let me know. I would love to read your post and hear of your experiences.

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Maxabella 23/11/2013 at 12:17 pm

I’ve always hated the idea of hampers. I’m not even sure why. I think they feel ‘stale’ to me. x

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:32 pm

Hi Maxabella, yes I understand how you feel. I would rather buy exactly what I want, otherwise I find I end up with a stack of products that sit at the back of the cupboard and never get used. A waste of money and space!

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Leanne Winter 23/11/2013 at 8:50 pm

Shelley, have I told you lately how much I love your site? Who else would go to the trouble of confirming what I’ve suspected for about 20 years re the value of these hampers. Have I mentioned that I used to be an accountant? I do so love a good spreadsheet also! Thanks for taking the time to look into this. I agree that 28% is too high of a mark up to justify buying one of these. People would be far better off saving some money into a special online account each year just for Christmas. x

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:30 pm

Hi Leanne, so glad you like my site. I agree that doing it yourself using direct debit into a separate account throughout the year does seem like a better solution.

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Seana 24/11/2013 at 11:55 am

I’m shocked!! And a bit appalled. Good on you for taking the time to do the maths

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi Seana, yes I am appalled too! I thought it would be a bit more expensive but not that much!!! Especially given they are buying everything in bulk at wholesale prices, I thought their prices would be much closer to the supermarkets. They must be making a fortune!!

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Julie 24/11/2013 at 2:58 pm

I have been a Chrisco recipient for many years however have cancelled for next year as my circumstances have change. I have always known the you pay for convenience, and that is what Chrisco provides.
I had cancelled before reading your article, and the reason is that it is not providing Christmas. In the hamper I received yesterday, there is no Xmas cake, Xmas pudding, mince tarts or shortbread. We received 2 apple pies (instead of sticky date pudding), no liquid gravy, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce or cocktail onions. Cancelled from me, and I hope others follow.

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Shelley Marsh 24/11/2013 at 9:53 pm

Hi Julie, thanks for sharing your experience. That certainly doesn’t sound like they are providing Christmas to me!! And it is not like they don’t have the whole year to figure out how many puddings etc they need to order! Thanks again for sharing. Money Mummy

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floodproofmum 26/11/2013 at 7:55 am

I can see the value in paying it off every week but I have always thought they seem expensive. I fill a whole trolley load to overflowing for $300 a few days before Christmas…and I get exactly what I want 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:00 pm

Hi! Yes I would prefer to get what I want too, otherwise you end up with bits and pieces hiding down the back of the cupboard going out of date!

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Eleise 26/11/2013 at 8:48 am

I looked at the Crisco hampers once and was really suprised how expensive they were. You could buy a $10 gift voucher everytime you shop through the year and have it on hand for Christmas. Also I start Christmas food shopping in Novemeber when things like soft drink and crackers are on special and squirrel them away for Christmas.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:00 pm

Great idea Eleise, I didn’t realise so many sales were on in Novemember.

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Becc 26/11/2013 at 10:47 am

Holy cow! I have been the same as you thinking it looks good each year but thinking about actually taking the step this year. I don’t mind paying a premium for convenience, but I don’t think the convenience is worth quite that much when you are in the shops doing your groceries each week anyway.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:01 pm

Hi Becc, I absolutely agree!

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Toni @ Finding Myself Young 26/11/2013 at 11:32 am

Holy crap thats a huge difference! I have never bought hampers because I can tell just by looking at them that they are usually well overpriced. People would save so much money if they just made a list of what they wanted at the beginning of the year and then either bought one item a week or just bought them when they were on special. You just have to be restrained enough to put it away somewhere and not eat it.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:02 pm

Buying one item per week Toni is such as great idea! Though I agree it would be hard to put it aside and not use it or eat it!

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ann 26/11/2013 at 1:55 pm

I buy a gift card every couple of weeks and save them up for the big end of year shop. I once was reading a chrisco catalogue and saw the prices and was in shock.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi Ann, I love the gift card idea! So much better than buying a hamper!

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Emily 26/11/2013 at 2:53 pm

They’ve always seemed like a rip-off to me. But 29%? And I presume that not every item was on sale either – if you timed your purchases for non-perishables right, you could go even cheaper at the supermarkets! RIDICULOUS, CHRISCO!

Great post.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 10:04 pm

Thanks Emily – yes I think you could do way better than my numbers if you used the sales at the major retailers.

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Janet @ Redland City Living 26/11/2013 at 3:22 pm

The only benefit I can think of with a hamper like this, is not having to set foot inside a grocery store during the craziness of just before Christmas. Interesting to see it after it’s been costed out because I’ve always wondered too.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:57 pm

Yes Janet – that is the only bit about Chrisco that appeals to me. I guess now you can just internet shop instead and get the same convenience without the extra hamper cost.

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Wendy Parks 26/11/2013 at 3:25 pm

I too have often wondered if the hampers were good value, so I’m glad you’ve done the hard work for me.
Think I’ll keep doing my Christmas shopping at Aldi and Woolworths.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:56 pm

Yes I agree that is a much better idea Wendy.

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Living Serenely 26/11/2013 at 5:50 pm

This is very informative! I always see those Chrisco ads and wonder if they are worth it. Thanks for doing the homework for us! ^_^

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:55 pm

Not a problem! I am glad you found it useful.

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Nikki@Wonderfully Women 26/11/2013 at 7:06 pm

I did order Chrisco hampers many years ago and it was fun getting all these goodies delivered to your door, but I did a price check before ordering for the following year and decided it was not good value. If you can put aside your payments into a special bank account and NOT touch it you will be able to buy many more goodies for your pennies. 🙂

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:54 pm

I totally agree Nikki!

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Emma Fahy Davis 26/11/2013 at 8:00 pm

We did Chrisco years ago too and like Nikki, it was a bit of a novelty getting all the goodies delivered, but even then I knew I was getting taken for a ride. These days we do the gift card each week thing.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:54 pm

Hi Emma – I think the gift card idea is such a good one!

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EssentiallyJess 27/11/2013 at 4:03 pm

Oh wow! I had thought of it a few years ago but then figured if you keep any eye out for sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you can usually do ok anyway. Glad I’ve never gone that way for Christmas now!

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 9:53 pm

Yes Jess – I think your strategy is the right one for sure!

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Hulya 29/11/2013 at 3:42 pm

I worked at chrisco many years ago in the call centre. They know they are ripping people off but it is pushed for those less fortunate. Like on pensions which is sad. Often thought his was the only way some could afford Xmas. I just wish they would have had the discipline to put money aside each fortnight instead and save a whole bunch of money.

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Shelley Marsh 29/11/2013 at 7:41 pm

Thanks Hulya for stopping by and sharing your story.

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Emily Morgan 09/12/2013 at 10:28 pm

It’s always good to get people thinking about this sort of thing. But to play devil’s advocate, they are probably trying to make money like everyone else, and if people are happy to pay for the experience, then a company might as well take advantage of it! But it is important to be informed of all your options.

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Nathaniel 27/02/2014 at 11:14 am

My family has been with Chrisco for quite some time and orders with them every now and then. Of course it’s going to be more expensive at the end of the day but if you think about how much time and effort (including petrol), it can be worth it. If you set up a high interest savings account you still have access to it during the year.

Everything is shown quite clearly what you receive in each hamper and there are no hidden costs. I find it much easier having a direct debit of a few dollars per week than having to go out, spend time and petrol looking for parking, walking up and down aisles and waiting in long lines behind other Christmas shoppers with a whole trolley full of things for Christmas. I noticed a previous comment about someone cancelling because there was no Christmas cakes or puddings in last year’s hampers and had a look in the catalogue, and at no time did it say there were those items in the hampers. I noticed they have them in this year’s catalogues though so I’m guessing it must have been an issue (for those who don’t double check what they are actually ordering) lol..

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Hamper King: Are They Value For Money 06/08/2014 at 6:16 am

[…] being horrified that Chrisco charges 28% more than Woolworths for the same hamper of goods (click here to see the post) I wondered whether Hamper King would be better value.  So I decided to do the […]

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Kim 13/10/2014 at 8:03 pm

Hi I have been using Chrisco Hampers for probably 15 years. I don’t buy the food hampers at all. I only buy gift vouchers like Kmart, EB Games and I also buy a few gifts that they stock. It works well for me even though there is a small cost involved for the vouchers. Each to their own:)

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Shelley Marsh 14/10/2014 at 6:36 am

Hi Kim, absolutely, if it works well for you then stick with it. I am a bit of a fan of vouchers myself as you can sometimes use the voucher to pick up something on sale 🙂

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Shane taylor 25/10/2014 at 3:45 pm

You have to realise you are paying for the convenience, you place order, give details, sit back and relax. All of a sudden in November/early December, all of your order arrives and guess what? No shopping for next 6 weeks/ 3 months depending on what you ordered. I gladly pay that little extra. in the long run I believe I save more from getting presents and household items through chrisco than in store, no retailer I know will allow me to layby a shed, or pool table or motorbike for my kids for a whole year. Yes you pay more but I believe depending on what you buy, it is worth it.

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Shelley Marsh 26/10/2014 at 9:47 am

Hi Shane, I am glad to hear that it works really well for you. There is definitely something to be said for convenience, especially at Christmas time! 🙂

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How To Raise Extra Cash To Pay For Christmas 11/11/2014 at 6:38 pm

[…] Chrisco Hampers: Are They Worth It? […]

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Lorraine 13/11/2014 at 8:28 am

This year did not order chrisco hampers as had worked out value and also to get a frozen ham , not on so got vouchers this year for my daughter and myself. I also subscribe to a local supermarket Christmas where you can pay in your loose change or have a nominated amount deducted each month. You get it all back in time for Christmas plus a bonus if you have saved over a certain amount plus a small thank you hamper. Lorraine

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Kath 20/11/2014 at 2:27 pm

I knew it cost a bit more, but for me it was the convenience, I have 5 kids and hate shopping at the best of times!
but yesterday i went to do an online shop with woolworths and they now have a “delivery saver” pass where you can purchase a 3, 6 or 12 month delivery pass for $40 for 3 months, $60 for 6 and $80 for 12 months. unlimited “free” delivery as long as you spend minimum $100. so for me, this would be better than chrisco! it would also make a great gift idea (hint hint mum!).
think i will have to find myself a high interest savings account!

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Shelley Marsh 20/11/2014 at 6:48 pm

Hi Kath, thanks for letting me know about the delivery passes. We live walking distance from a Woolies so I am yet to try their internet site. Good luck on your search for your new internet savings account and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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Tricia 06/12/2014 at 12:43 pm

I did get chriso it seemed like a good idea at the time as we were both working full-time. I admit I didn’t look into cost it was just a lot of things I didn.t have to worry about. The disapoining thing is we believe that they must get the items below cost as the use by date for all the perishables was Jan Feb and some March of the following year. Which meant we ended up thowing out a lot. who uses a box of custard powder in a month.

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Patricia 28/03/2015 at 5:18 pm

I wouldn’t suggest this to a family unless they can afford it, I used it for school snacks {lunch hampers} I have never had a problem with them, ever. My kids are grown now so it’s main use for me is to stock the pantry mostly, they come twice a year and that’s plenty for me. I grow my own fruits and veggies in my garden and do a lot of canning. I would never suggest getting the meat as it is a rip off, I did one year and was very disappointed in the amount that came out. This is a company like any other company, trying to help people stock up, not live off of. They like all businesses have to pay their employee’s not to mention the finance on the building they use, heat and hydro, telephone lines and the toll free number they pay for so we don’t have to worry about racking up a phone bill. I ate all that came in good standing time and was very careful on what I picked. I know some of the pantry items I’ll most likely not use by expiration date so it’s pointless to get that type of hamper. they have always treated me fairly, and when an order is wrong they were quick to make sure it was replaced with no questions asked. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but if you know your foods and know how to shop, it’s not a bad thing either. You can pay any way you wish: telephone banking, direct debit, cheque, monthly, bi weekly, weekly. It’s all up to you, of course they are going to try to get you to do one thing when you want to do something else, but you can always say no

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Annette Kirk 18/01/2016 at 8:41 pm

I do agree that the bank account sounds good but generally you need quite a sum of money to open one, which I don’t have.
I really like Chris Co and companies like them for a couple of reasons. …
1. Unless you cancel your order you can’t get at your money for an emergency. This is good for those of us who always seem to have an emergency.
2. One of the contributors above said she could save $120 by doing the shopping herself. That’s ok for some people but not a lot I think. I hate grocery shopping especially around Christmas and because I live 45mins from a supermarket, I love what Chris on offers.
3. This contributor also found the cost at a supermarket of the pack would be $300 approx. Many of us don’t have $300 at that time of year to outlay at one time. So thank you for your concern about those who can least afford it, we are doing fine paying off our Chrisco at an amount we can afford each week or fortnight and enjoying the total excitement of tearing open our boxes on Chrisco day.
Chrisco may not be for everyone but I know it is for me and many people I know. We know it’s more expensive, we are not stupid, we just like to lay by our Christmas. So please stop giving these kind of companies a hard time.

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Patricia Parker 25/10/2016 at 4:16 pm

True the food is a bit more expensive, but they deliver it to your door, they travel at great distances for most to get the food to the customer and trucks, cars or vans don’t run on air. They have employees to pay as well and packaging to buy to be able to do all this, I have been a member since it started up, yes the price has gone up some but so has the cost of gas. I’m on O.D.S.P aka Disability so I know it can be hard for a lot of people out there. The hampers I get, and I generally just get the snack hampers is about a 70 to 80 dollar difference, but I’m willing to pay the extra cash for gas, I’d be spending gas money if I was shopping as I go store to store for the best deals.

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Alana Ashford 17/11/2016 at 12:59 am

I love Chrisco because you can’t get the money out or use a gift card. Things have gone up so much since this article was written and and makes things so much easier and we can afford Christmas with Chrisco.

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Sharron Thompson 05/02/2017 at 11:59 pm

Hi everyone, i have been a Chrisco buyer for around 18 years when the kids were young i used to go all out but for the last 8 to 9 years i have only ordered the meat hampers most times over $1200 worth and have found the last 2 years the quality has gone down that low i have had to complain for frost bitten meat,loose packaging when it’s supposed to be vacum sealed,missing meat,quite a few problems so i am thinking long and hard about ordering more this year.The only reason i keep it up is because i am a hopeless saver and most of the time i cant afford to buy meat as i am on a pension so this way at least i know i have meat for the rest of the coming year so thankyou everyone for all the comments they have been a great help to me and i look forward to reading about Castle Hampers and Hamper King to see how they fair and also a big thankyou to Shelley Marsh for her great page and blog i shall be back.Sharron Thompson

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