Christmas Dinner Leftovers

by admin on December 21, 2011

My husband’s extended family is quite large but the only holiday we spend together with the whole clan is Christmas Eve.  We are all local so we have a good system down of rotating the event between 4 different cousin’s homes (including mine).  Everyone brings something and the hosting family always provides a large and very expensive prime rib as the main course.  One of the cousins who loves to host had offered her home several years in a row because a couple of us were busy having babies.  Finally we decided that she had done it enough and we were ready to go back to the old rotation.

The cousin who was next in line for a turn, lets call her Buffy, (remember she had had extra few years off because of the other person had hosted 2 or 3 years in a row), was not to thrilled about taking her turn.  Besides the fact that she doesn’t work, has grown children and a housekeeper, she has the largest home of all of us, so we were looking forward to a place for us all to spread out.  Buffy made it known that she wasn’t too thrilled and tried to push it off on me since it would be my turn after her.   I still had a small baby and another child and knew I would find it difficult to do all the regular “work” that we parents have to do on Christmas Eve, after serving 35 people dinner and cleaning up.  I told Buffy that as a compromise I would make the prime rib in my counter top roaster and bring it to the dinner.  She said that would be great because it can be nerve wracking making sure the large cut of meat is not overdone, and it would take a load off of her as the hostess.  The fact that I wouldn’t have to host (even though it wasn’t my turn anyway) made it all worthwhile to me.  Buffy did not offer to pay for the prime rib which as I stated, is usually bought by the host.  On top of that Buffy makes it known to other members of the family that my husband and I better not try and take all the leftover prime rib home, she wants it.

So we purchase the $200 piece of meat, cook it all day at our home, and transport it the short drive to her house. My husband was designated the meat carver (I guess since we brought it?), and he spent a good 20 minutes cutting it all up before dinner.  After dinner she hovered around the meat trying to act nonchalant.  My husband was cleaning up our electric knife to take home and he felt her eyes all over him.  We decided not take any leftovers, even though we probably did have the right to.  Come to find out the reason why she was so obsessed with the leftovers was that she was planning to serve them to her family for their Christmas day dinner!   0427-11

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

L.J. December 21, 2011 at 6:48 am

Letting someone walk all over you doesn’t make you the better person. It just makes them more confident and entitled when they do it to the next person.


Avisse December 21, 2011 at 6:48 am

Eh, you bought the ribs, took the effort to spend the whole day cooking it, so you were entitled to at least take home some leftovers. You should have just gone ahead and pack some home. What’s she going to do? Cause a scene and waylay you as you’re leaving, over some food? If she means to degrade herself doing that, just look her in the eyes and tell her calmly that she didn’t spend a cent or effort on it, while you did.

Wonder if she’ll be hogging your ribs again next year since it’ll be your turn to host and cook the ribs again 😛


kelly December 21, 2011 at 7:29 am

I think it is all well and good taking turns, but it should not be forced on people. I suspect that buffy was maybe finding the cost of hosting 35 people overwhelming (yes maybe she has a housekeeper, but you have no idea why or how much that costs etc), which is why she wanted you to buy the meat, and was keen to serve her fmaily leftovers for Christmas dinner.


Mechtilde December 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

If Buffy didn’t want to host, she should have just said so, but understood that she may not be able to participate that year, or in future.

What she actually did was horribly rude and greedy.


Kate December 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

So . . . You invited yourselves to her house when she didn’t want to host, dictated a menu including an extremely expensive entree she felt uncomfortable making, and shes the rude one? Sounds like your fabulous system of rotating through the Cousins doesn’t actually work for her, and you should consider “your” leftovers a gift to the woman you imposed on.


o_gal December 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

You are partially at fault here. When the dinner was finished, you should have begun to wrap up the leftovers to take to your home. If she protested, you would then pull her aside in private and say “We purchased, prepared, and carved this entree. We are planning on taking the leftovers. Do you have a problem with that? If so, we will gladly leave them here with you if you reimburse us $X.” Where X is a smaller amount than $200, since the leftovers only represent a fraction of the original purchase. You can be polite and have a spine at the same time.


Shannon December 21, 2011 at 8:55 am

Generally, I think leftovers become the property of the host, not the person who brought the food in the first place. I host often, and admit I feel a bit peevish when guests bring a dish and pack up their leftovers without leaving any for me. (One of the perks of hosting is munching on yummy leftovers while cleaning up the next day!) If it’s a big deal to take the leftovers home, I would have simply brought a smaller prime rib, or let Buffy know you’d be taking the leftovers with you.


Barbara December 21, 2011 at 8:57 am

I think it’s time for the rotation tradition to end. Buffy should have clearly stated that she would not be hosting, and other arrangements should have been made. The fact that she doesn’t work, and has a large home and a housekeeper doesn’t matter.

As to the leftover meat, I would have packed it up and taken it home


Laura December 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

I’d like to think that had I spent $200 on a cut of meat, I’d have no qualms whatsoever about taking the leftovers home! Depending on how much was left, I may have offered it to others as well, but certainly would have taken some home with me. Especially if it wasn’t even your turn to host!


AE December 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

Tacky! It’s a rule as old as humanity: your meat, your leftovers. I admit, I would have packed it up and if she’d complained, been tempted to present her with a bill for the meat and labor…


Margaret December 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

I hope that next year when it’s your turn to host, you matter of factly, in front of as many of the family as you can, say something like, “My goodness, it’s going to be quite a handful hosting this year with my two little guys! I’m so thankful, Buffy, that you thought of splitting the duties last year. It’s so wonderful to know that you are going to provide the prime rib. We will so appreciate having the leftovers on Christmas Day!” Say it just as if you had explicitly agreed to this very fair exchange. I’m sure she had no intention of returning the favour, but it would be interesting to see how she tries to wriggle out of it. Mind you, I’ve known people who, when asked to reciprocate a favour, handle it with a derisive snort and, “Not a chance.”


AMC December 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

Since Buffy made it known to everyone beforehand that she intended to take the leftover prime rib even though you and your husband bought it, cooked it, and carved it, I’m wondering why you or someone else didn’t speak up and say, “Hey, Buffy, if you want it, maybe YOU should pay for it.” I don’t know what your budget looks like, but $200 would be a substantial investment for me. I’m not sure I would have given up the leftovers so easily.


jena rogers December 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

Your narrative makes your cousin sound like a tyrant. Where is everyone’s spine in this story? I know hindsight is 20/20, but there appears to have been plenty of time to develop one. We can’t complain about being victims when we are complicit with the bully.


Wink-n-Smile December 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

Cousin Ethel, surely you jest. You want me to buy a $200 piece of meat and YOU are claiming the leftovers? Hahaha! You’re so funny!

And you take home the leftovers. She can get her OWN food to feed her family Christmas dinner.


Coralreef December 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

If I understand correctly, Buffy supplies the house, everyone else supplies the food. Since she has a housekeeper, my guess is that cleaning up would not be much of a challenge. And she demands the leftovers? Of the prime rib she should have been the one supplying, as dictated by family tradition? So her family can have a meal without her putting up a dime or any effort? I find that insulting to the rest of the OP’s family. Rude, greedy and insulting. It’s a bit like a guest showing up with plastic containers and demanding a serving for somenone else. Only Buffy didn’t need the plastic containers, the food was already at her home.

I’m afraid the next family gathering may be a bit awkward.


Wink-n-Smile December 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

Alternately, buy a smaller piece of meat, so that there ARE no leftovers. Or, change the menu for a less-expensive, but just as tasty, piece of meat.


Jay December 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

@Kate: It’s a family tradition to do it exactly that way. This was not a case of the OP inviting herself over somewhere and dictating the menu. If “her system” of rotating doesn’t work for Buffy, fine.. but it would be up to Buffy to stand up to everyone else in her family and break the tradition. That doesn’t make the OP a rude person. At all.


twik December 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’m not sure why the OP didn’t simply ask to be reimbursed for the meat. It does sound like Buffy didn’t want to do the hosting, but if she agreed, she should have paid for it. If she didn’t want to pay for it, she should have simply declined to be the host.

I agree with Jena, it sounds like no one had much spine in this story.


karen December 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

I would be pretty angry if someone forced me to host a holiday party for 35 people. You think this system works for everyone, but it clearly doesn’t.

Buffy probably couldn’t afford this, and you’re description of her “large home, grown children and housekeeper” sounds pretty judgmental. You do not know her financial situation.

Perhaps, in the future, your family can tone down the event? You don’t need a $200 piece of meat to celebrate the holidays.


kjr December 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

I don’t know, but I tend to agree with Kate. “Forcing” someone to host a party? And if someone is hosting – shouldn’t they be able to decide what to serve their guests? To me it should be more important to spend the holidays with family rather than making rules and stipulations on where it is hosted and what is served. And yes, I think the leftovers go to the hostess, you are bringing something to their house, it is a contribution to the party and host. Would you bring home a half consumed bottle of wine? Sorry, don’t see the huge misstep of the hostess here.


acr December 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

I don’t agree with the posters who say that Buffy was “bullied”. Reciprocity is an important component of hospitality. If cost is an issue, she could choose not to serve the traditional prime rib. I think the fact that she has a large home and a housekeeper IS relevant. Hosting is easier for her than it is for her cousins who willingly take up the mantle.

Buffy strikes me as a greedy and ungenerous person. I really hope the OP puts her on the spot about that prime rib when it’s the OP’s turn to host!


Pixie December 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

I think this was a Christmas where everyone lost.


josie December 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

Perhaps its time to change the menu to a lesser costing meat….ham? Roast? Meatballs? In the grand scheme of things, its not worth alienating the family over meat. Time for a non-snippy family discussion on rotating the holiday festivities and how the meat will be taken care of.


Lerah December 21, 2011 at 11:20 am

The poster wrote “On top of that Buffy makes it known to other members of the family that my husband and I better not try and take all the leftover prime rib home, she wants it.”

It was at this point where you had the opportunity to nip this whole mess in the bud. A simple phone call to Buffy stating that you felt it unfair to buy the prime rib and forfit any leftovers could have opened a dialog.

It could be that Buffy is having a very financially difficult year and really couldn’t afford the prime rib or anything special for her family’s Christmas dinner. So she saw you offering to cook the prime rib as a wonderful blessing. With you paying for the prime rib and her having the leftovers due to hosting the event made her financial worries lighter.

Or it could be that the last time she hosted family members all carved up the leftover prime rib and carted it off leaving her family with none.

But you will never know her motivations because you didn’t talk with her about it. It is better to ask than to assume the worst of family members.


Xtina December 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

Obviously Buffy has gotten disinterested in the rotation/hosting plan. I wonder if perhaps this might be a good time to do a check-around with everyone to be sure that the family as a whole wants to continue this plan–Buffy might not be the only one that no longer wants to do things this way. Perhaps a restructure of the plan going foward might be called for.

Anyway–Buffy was pretty bold to presume that she should get to keep the leftovers, and it was quite rude of her to do so. However, the OP complied (and had knowledge of it in advance). If the OP didn’t speak up or pack up the leftovers and take them with her when she left, then it is as much her fault for not having a polite spine. Next time, speak up or split the cost of the food.


grumpy_otter December 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

It amazes me what happens in other people’s families. I must be really lucky–my mom’s a pill but everyone else is mellow and fun. The problem in my family would be “No no no, YOU take the leftovers.” “Oh no, I couldn’t–YOU take them.” And it would end with everyone getting some.

But with Buffy the Rib-Hogger, I like o-gal’s suggestion. Something like “It cost us $200, so I guess there’s about $150 worth left. Would you like to pay by cash or check?”

I don’t really mean that–maintaining family harmony sometimes means you have to put up with the Buffies of the world. Since it was at her house, it could have been an awkward scene.

Wait a few days, then send her a link to a “really cool website.” Maybe Buffy will read some of the past articles. . . .


Alkira6 December 21, 2011 at 11:38 am

Wow, just wow. First, you complain about imposing on a woman who did not want to host at all. Housekeeper, stay at home mom, whatever – she was clearly not comfortable at all with hosting. Then you complain about her plan to keep the leftovers. Really, there is enough rudeness to go around. You steamrolled over Buffy to make sure that the event was comfortable for everyone but the hostess – your fault (and everyone who went along with you). You complain and feel put upon when you have to buy and $200 piece of meat to take the burden off a hostess who did not want to host – dual fault. Buffy could have grown a spine and you could have declined to buy the meat. Buffy hovering over the meat and you coming later to complain to others about it – total fail on both your parts. Again, Buffy should grow a spine, you should stop expecting things to go the way that is most convenient for you despite the protests of others.

Frankly, I’m shocked at the entitlement that this post reeked of.


Littlepixie December 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

So you all forced Buffy to host when she made it very clear she didn’t want to? I certainly wouldn’t want to cook and clean for 35 ungrateful people.


lkb December 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I understand the OPs point of view as well as Buffy’s and I think I agree with everyone’s responses to it.

This line, though, got my back up: “Besides the fact that she doesn’t work, has grown children and a housekeeper, she has the largest home of all of us, so we were looking forward to a place for us all to spread out. ”

I’m dealing with in-laws who pretty much ignore me. One of them is heavily involved in a student competition group and they happened to learn that a new chapter of that group is opening in my county and suggested I get involved. When I snapped back (probably too derisively), “Yeah, sure, in my free time.” The response was (in all seriousness, no kidding around), “Why? You don’t have anything else to do.”

So reading the line quoted above really bugs me. You don’t necessarily know all that Buffy has going on in her life. Remember, she’s also serving her side of the family the next day. So after the OP’s side of the family leaves, she has to clean up the place and get things ready for Round Two the next day.

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is going through some sort of battle.”


Laura December 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I think its time to ditch the prime rib dinner. Obviously the only one interested is the cousin who took it over- Buffy and yourself seem to think of it as a giant chore. Christmas should be about fighting over who hosts, who brings what and who spends what.

If someone told me I was hosting and that I had to buy a $200 cut of meat for it, I’d tell them to get bent. My whole Christmas dinner that I am preparing is nowhere near $200 and thats for 11 people.


Kitty Lizard December 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I’ve never thought of serving leftovers for Christmas dinner and cannot imagine the reception
I’d get if I tried it. (Well, actually I can imagine the reception I’d get, and I’m not tempted
to try it.) Either Buffy’s more creative than I am in the kitchen, or a lot more desperate.
Sheesh. Wonder what the mortgage is on that house.



Chocobo December 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I think next time it would be wise not to foist the party on someone who does not want to host it. For whatever reason, she did not want to host the party and that shouldn’t have been forced on her. It may seem unfair, but another person’s perceived circumstances (a larger home, no young children, doesn’t work professionally, supposedly wealthy) is not for us to speculate and has no bearing on whether she has an obligation to host the party. As for the roast, I thought that anything brought to a host’s home is left with the host, and while ‘Buffy’ should not have put a flag in it a declared it hers, the OP should not have expected to get it back. But perhaps there are different rules with potlucks.


gramma dishes December 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

It sounds like the “system” has broken down under the weight of an ever expanding family. Maybe instead of assigning someone as ‘host’ for the occasion, you could all switch to a pot luck style dinner where each family brings a dish.

Hosting 35 people in one house sounds like a truly formidable task when you consider all the cleaning and food preparation and the seating logistics and the expense. I don’t think I’d feel quite up for that myself! Frankly I don’t blame Buffy for being reluctant!

It sounds like this was something she’d made quite clear she did NOT want to do, but it was kind of forced on her and she didn’t have quite spine enough to stick to her guns and just say “No, sorry, I just can’t/won’t.” And you didn’t have spine enough to say “I bought this meat, I prepared this meat, and, gosh darn it, I’m going to take some home with me.”

Why are you putting all the blame on Buffy here? Was she the only one who consumed that terribly expensive cut of beef? If you contributed, why didn’t everyone?

It sounds like it’s time to go to Plan B. Your current hosting system is just no longer workable.


Melissa December 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I think the real issue here is the “tradition” of forcing people to host 30+ people and spend $200+ on meat for them.

My large extended family gets together every holiday as well. We ensure there is plenty of food brought (split among all of us) and allow people to volunteer to host. I imagine the price tag is part of what made Buffy reticent to host…..I don’t blame her.

Sounds like it is time to modify the tradition.


--Lia December 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Kelly and Kate have the right idea. This is a family, right? You’re close, and you love each other? For whatever reasons, getting the whole clan together on a rotating basis worked for many years but isn’t working any longer. The people who host are starting to feel put-upon for a variety of reasons (small children, expense, clean-up). Buffy communicated her lack of enthusiasm about hosting, but lost her spine when it came to putting her foot down and saying that she just wasn’t up to it. With casual friends and with acquaintances you can keep score about who contributes more, and you can take people off the invite list if they take advantage too often. With family, you make allowances. So instead of bickering over who does the prime rib and who gets the leftovers, everyone needs to get together and come up with some new traditions that work for everyone. (Or approximate that. You’re never going to get everyone to agree on everything.)

Maybe the menu will change to something less fancy and expensive than prime rib. Maybe everyone will eat before they come, and just gather in one place for coffee and a little dessert. Maybe the cousin who enjoys hosting will insist that she doesn’t mind and just take over for the next several years (with the assurances on everyone else’s part that she only has to say the word when she’s had enough). Maybe give a whole Christmas dinner including leftover prime rib as a gift to a cousin who seems to be going through a rough time right now for no better reason than because you’re generous.


Elsewhere December 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I’m a little surprised at the focus on the cost, as I’m working out the cost per person at around $5.71 apiece ($200 / 35 servings = $5.71 per person), and it’s actually less than that per person as there appears to be a fair amount left over. It’s not cheap by any means, but it’s frugal — and imagine having to roast who know how many turkeys in order to feed 35 people. My giblets reel at the thought…

But more than that? Let it go. Let your ignoring Buffy’s greed be your gift of the season to her, and remind yourself to know better next time. If this is an example of her attitude — and she’s a grown woman with a family (and a housekeeper!) then she probably isn’t going to be doing any changing in the near future. But the OP has what sounds like a large, loving family that for the most part gets along at the holidays, and I can tell you one thing; if I had that, I would consider $200 in meat a very reasonable price to pay for what sounds like a wonderful evening with family.


kittytongue December 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

What I don’t understand is how you can have enough of a spine to insist that someone host when they patently don’t want to and yet not have enough of a spine to take your leftovers home. And it doesn’t matter if Buffy had several years that she didn’t do it. You didn’t want to host the gathering either. Why are your reasons more legit than hers (even if it really was ‘just’ I don’t wanna)?

Was this a tradition that everyone sat down and agreed to or has it been passed down from the older generation to yours?It sounds to me like it’s time for the tradition to change. Have you spoken to the other cousins about this family tradition? Buffy may not be the only one who doesn’t want to host anymore. As you yourself said 35 people is a lot of fuss and bother as well as money. With only four cousins hosting this gathering is the cost shouldered solely by the hosts or does everyone pitch in to help? I’d be sick of the sitution after one time hosting if I had to shoulder the cost (and the cleanup) of entertaining 35 people and wouldn’t do it again, tradition or no.


WildIrishRose December 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’ve never understood the concept of expecting people to host a big holiday gathering when they don’t want to. Especially when they SAY they don’t want to! Tradition or not, hosting a large group is stressful and all too often thankless. As for the leftovers, that should have been worked out with Buffy ahead of time. Did anyone else take leftovers home? Surely the prime rib wasn’t the only thing left over.

I am all for family getting together for the holidays, but not at the expense of making each other uncomfortable or requiring that someone have a houseful of people if she’s not up to it. The holidays are supposed to be happy and relaxing. None of this “tradition” sounds that way to me.


Abby December 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I’m curious about the rotation schedule. Why was it Buffy’s turn? OP mentioned that the one cousin had done it several years in a row, which means while OP is adamant it wasn’t her turn, it had been several years since OP (or anyone else in the rotation) had to host as well.

OP writes, finally *we* had decided that she had had enough, and *we* decided to go back the old rotation. Who is the we in this story? If cousins A, B, and C got together and said, hey Cousin D, we decided it’s your turn to host, well, that seems kind of mean, and that was the first etiquette blunder, I think.

Now, maybe Buffy is the type of person who is greedy and never wants to reciprocate, and regardless, the eyeing of the meat and announcing loudly that leftovers were HERS was tacky. (Although I do agree with Shannon that even though OP purchased and prepared the meat, I think leftovers belong to the host, but the way Buffy went about it was not right). But I kind of get the vibe that Buffy was ganged up on based on the factors OP mentioned- no kids in the house, no outside job, a housekeeper- and forced to host when she really didn’t want to, and if none of the other 3 cousins had hosted in a few years I don’t see why everyone was so stringent that it be Buffy this year.


Cobbs December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

This Christmas Eve tradition is over. End it now. It will never again be the happy occasion it once was. Next time try inviting the family to an hors d’oeuvres party from five to seven perhaps. Or, a family “reunion” type thing at a local park in summer might be nice. I appreciate what you write, Margaret, but it serves to make my point. People are upset with Buffy. These remarks would ruin the chances for a happy time. The family will bring hostile attitudes to this gathering.


twik December 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I must agree that if you’re feeding 35 people, 200 dollars isn’t outrageous. The number of people, for a single host, though, is definitely approaching outrageous territory. Unless you’re feeding them PB&J, that’s going to be expensive whatever you serve.

I think that either people will have to start breaking up into smaller parties, or else go out to eat where they can rent their own space for a large group, if they prefer to stay together.


Ergala December 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I am torn on this. First…I would be very irritated if it was announced I was hosting a family get together for 35 people. I have two young children…yes I stay at home but I don’t sit on my butt eating bonbons all day. However, if they ALL decided that it was time to rotate again and if they all drew straws (key word here is IF….) and Buffy got the short straw and she willingly participated, she needed to deal with it with more grace.

Secondly, she was very rude to keep all the left overs. Every single family get together I go to for my husband’s side left overs are divided up among everyone. We usually make sure the host has the largest portion, AND we all help clean up afterwards. That’s just how it works out. This way the burden isn’t on one person. Buffy should have asked if she could keep some, but it was quite ridiculous for her to expect to keep them all. I would ask her if next year she could perhaps buy the roast since you bought it this year. It will be interesting if she’s gung ho about someone else hosting and goes expecting to take food home.

I think an e-mail asking if people still want to do the family get together is in order, and perhaps each family contributes to the cost of the roast.


Ally L December 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

My family always gets together at my grandparents house because they can’t travel, so I might not see where some of you are coming from about the hosting, but when you have that many relations all living close together, the only fair way IS to rotate hosting duties. Buffy cannot defer from hosting year after year, claiming that she’s not up to it, and then expecting the rest of the family to pick up her slack. That’s not fair.

We’ve all been sympathetic to posters who have hordes of in-laws descending on their homes every year, expecting food, drink, and hospitality, and everyone suggests they grow a polite spine and tell the in-laws that next year will be their turn, to make things fair. And as long as this is done with plenty of notice, no advice websites I’ve been to see anything wrong with this. Buffy cannot enjoy the hospitality of each of cousin’s every year and then not host when it’s her turn. That is a fundamental of etiquette called reciprocity. The rule here has always been that if you do not reciprocate, you are not invited to the next event. That might be a little harsh for a big traditional Christmas celebration, so I like OP’s suggestion (the original intent probably being) to split the cost of the food and cook it, or to simply just cook the food once Buffy buys it.

I agree a potluck style might be easier on everyone, food prep and cost wise, but there still needs to be a house in which to have everyone together. So to everyone saying Buffy was “bullied” into hosting, would you have supported her not being invited to anymore Christmases? Sometimes one has to make concessions when it comes to family, and hosting a Christmas party once every 4 years (longer since one cousin did it a few years in a row!) isn’t that big of a deal in the long run.


Cashie December 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I have a medical condition that only one person in my family knows about. I also have a housekeeper come in once a week to help with cleaning that would be easy for most people. Coupling that with medical expenses and prescription costs puts me on a very strict budget. The cost of a 200 dollar roast would put me well over my budget. If I were also expected to host 35 people I do not think I could handle it. My point being that the fact Buffy has a maid and a large house means nothing. You have no idea what her actual finances are and the fact that she relented and hosted when she clearly did not want to shows more generosity on her part than the rest of the family


Sarah Peart December 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

The reason that it was her turn was that Buffy´s turn had been put on hold. Her turn was 1 to 2 years earlier and each year it got postponed – but not cancelled! She has benefited from this arrangement for between 5 and 6 years! You have to suck it up when your luck runs out, she is an adult and should have known this was going to happen sometime. Had she not wanted to participate she could have said so and opted out of the arrangement at any time. Instead she stayed on the gravy train and wriggled out of a large financial burden! She is like a child who goes to bed without doing her homework, wakes up to a snow day and spends that day sledging and skating. The next day the homework is still undone. Would we allow our children to behave like that? No and adults should have even less sympathy.
The OP should however grow a spine!


Enna December 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

OP, the housekeeper might have had that day off. Chalk it down to experince, next time take the leftovers with you and tell Buffley politely that since you bought and cooked the meat then you will be taking the leftovers home with you.


Raven December 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm

If taking part in family dinner meant shelling out $200 for a dead cow I’d be finding other arrangements, first of all. If having specific food is more important than having time with family, then what’s the point? Just because Buffy has a big house and a housekeeper doesn’t mean she can afford it. Many people are in credit card debt and live far beyond their means.

Forcing someone to host a party against their will is rude.

Holding onto a tradition “because” is a terrible idea. People change, situations change, and sometimes our traditions must as well.

However, I do agree that it was rude of Buffy to hog all the leftovers without so much as asking OP (or anyone else, for that matter).


Stacey Frith-Smith December 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

From the tone of the letter, it appears that hosting by turn for such a large group has come to an end. If the main object of the gathering is to avoid having to host, avoid having one’s food purloined, avoid the work of preparing for and cleaning up after a large group, avoid having one’s sensibilities about what is “fair”trifled with- it just seems that an awful lot of avoidance is going on. Perhaps it’s time for those who don’t mind hosting to shorten the rotation or shorten the list of guests to those they truly desire to have near and dear to them at the holiday time. Hosting is done in a spirit of goodwill and volunteerism. This system went off of the rails the first time one of the more gracious cousins was allowed to host two or three times in a row because it was inconvenient for the others to do so. Said cousin appears to be the more inclined to hold up her end of the implied agreement in hosting. Whatever the past has wrought, it seems the future must take a different course in order to avoid unpleasantness. Only those who are inclined to host should volunteer, and the menu, guest list and other details are at their sole discretion.


i_love_penguins December 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I agree with some of the other posters that trouble started as soon as Buffy said she didn’t want to host. Probably the best thing would have been to skip her turn, and continue to do so in the future if sharing the hosting duties was too much for her. And who says, if the order had already been messed up anyways, that the next cousin in line had to be up next? Couldn’t someone just volunteer and/or reestablish a new order? The other cousins (and you) have excuses why you couldn’t host that year or the previous couple of years, but Buffy wasn’t allowed to? Even if she is the most “well-off” of the family members, if she’s already making it known that the family’s presence isn’t really welcome, why not just move on to a smaller household, but one that is looking forward to the family get-together?

Also, you had plenty of warning that Buffy wanted the meat, even if she hadn’t told you directly. Either you should have passed on buying the prime rib, tell her in advance that if you buy you take, or just roll your eyes in private as she claims total control over the meat she had no time or money invested in. You and your husband should have made a decision in advance and stick to it.

But since she didn’t want to host, think of it as $200 spent to not have to prepare and clean for your guests, like eating out at a buffet.

But hypothetically speaking, what it OP got pregnant and had a new baby the next year? Or the next cousin the following year? Would she still be on the line since the others decided to go back to the old rotation schedule? Or would then it be convenient to skip/swap turns? I say ask for volunteers, and if multiple households want to do it, then rotate. Otherwise, the rest of the family members should remember to be extremely grateful, and perhaps offer to pitch in more in advance to make up for the fact if one or two households take primary responsibility for hosting.


AMC December 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I disagree with those who say Buffy was bullied into hosting. My friends and I have a similar arrangement where we each take turns hosting for different holidays. It’s much more fair than expecting the same person to play hostess every year or at every holiday, or for everyone but Buffy to host, especially when she has plenty of room in her house. Despite Buffy’s large house, grown kids, and housekeeper, it’s true we don’t know Buffy’s financial situation. Maybe she couldn’t afford the prime rib. If that’s the case, then she did exactly what she should have, which is ask for help. And the OP was nice enough to offer to pick up the cost of the meat. It was presumptuous though for Buffy to call dibs on the meat that someone else had bought and cooked.


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