This year will be a “tablet Christmas”, according to my colleagues Lisa Bachelor and Mark King, who say Santa’s sack will be full of iPad Minis and Google Nexus 7s.
If your nearest and dearest has put one on their Christmas list, make sure you read our guide to the latest tablets and what you will pay for them. And if you are doing any of your shopping online, make sure you’ve read our guide to your rights.
There were signs of life in the housing market as mortgage lenders revealed a surge in the number of first-time buyers taking out new loans in October. A total of 20,000 buyers took their first step on the housing ladder during the month, 14% more than in September. However, brokers warned that the high level of deposits required by lenders meant “what we’re currently seeing are the transactions of the privileged few.”
As the countdown to Christmas gathers pace, the less organised among us are approaching the time when a last-minute dash round the supermarket is the only obvious option. Not so Joanne O’Connell. As she approaches her first festive season since she decided to give up on Tesco and its supermarket rivals she has bread in the freezer, potatoes in the garden and a stash of recipes to get her through – but she wants your advice on what snacks to make and where she can get hold of some last-minute items. You can share your tips here.
Also on the site this week
• UK expats around the world shared photos of the view from their windows – the perfect antidote to a miserable December day.
• Our reader’s question about the most economical way to warm a house led to a heated debate.
I love a Christmas bargain, and the chance to save money by buying books in bulk for family members always catches my eye, but I’m probably going to say no to this multi-buy deal from WH Smith. Thanks to Nick Moore who spotted this in Hinckley.
• Use our broadband package comparison service to find a TV deal for your Christmas viewing.
• Get your free guide to Mortgages written by Jill Insley.
That’s all this week, thanks for reading
Hilary Osborne, editor guardian.co.uk/money