The month of gift-giving is here. But this time around, spreading Christmas joy comes at a heavy price.
That's certainly the case in Romania -- where prices in the shops have increased by as much as fourfold. This year's Christmas meal is set to be another victim of price hikes, with many Romanians faced with the prospect of ditching their favourite festive foods to cut costs.
"Of course, you can feel it," said one shopper. "I am not good with percentages, but I know things got more expensive and I feel it."
"I'm not giving up anything in particular, but I'm reducing quantities," she added.
Things aren't looking much brighter for the merchants, who say that in some cases, they're failing to break even.
"To make a profit, the price should be €1 per kilo. But if they don't sell, we have to sell them at a loss," said one market trader.
"We're making a loss on cabbages," revealed one stall worker. "Since August 1st, we watered them four times a month, and with gas prices so high, you end up making a loss!"
In Romania, the price of staple goods has shot up the most. Sugar here is 60% more expensive. Butter, oil, flour and milk costs have also soared.
Now economists are warning that when inflation begins to level off, prices might not go down.
"In the coming months, the inflation index will be lower. Even if in the coming months the prices will rise less, it does not mean that the prices will decrease," Dan Suciu, spokesperson of the National Bank told Euronews.
The National Bank of Romania has forecast a 5% decrease in inflation next year but warns that it won't fall below 10% until at least 2024.