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Making Family Pay For Christmas Day Dinner

The table is set, the champagne’s on ice and crackers sit by the plates.

All that remains is for the guests to arrive for Christmas lunch, where they will be welcomed with open arms.

As long as they have paid up in advance, that is.

This is the reality of Christmas Day festivities at the home of Leah Wright this year.

She has invited 12 people — all family — to celebrate with her and her partner, Andrew Fuller, at their comfortable home in South London.

Yet she has made it clear that guests can only attend if they pay her £60 per couple for the privilege.

Read the rest if the holiday horror story HERE.

{ 175 comments }
{ 175 comments… add one }
  • LV426 December 19, 2017, 3:33 am

    Honestly for $80.35 american I’d just stay home and use the money to buy myself something nice and go out to dinner. That’s a hefty price for going to someone’s house to eat dinner. I mean sure it can get expensive and asking for contributions of food or money is reasonable but $80 is extremely excessive and rather puts me off. Especially since when I go to see my family it’s already costing me a plane ticket, rental car, and sometimes lodging depending on where I go as well as meals along the way. When I do go I always help my sister or father with groceries and I help cook the food, clean up the house before and after, and do what I can to make it easier. If I was being charged for the pleasure of my company I’d just decline and save myself some money.

    • Dee December 20, 2017, 12:18 pm

      And if it’s $80.35 US then it’s $106.06 Canadian. I don’t think I’ve EVER spent that much on a meal for our whole family, never mind just for one of us. I don’t think any of my friends have ever spent that much on a meal out for their families, either. It’s more than a lot of people make in a full day at work. The numbers are so out-of-line that they can’t be justified. Imagine how much labour goes into making $100+ and how much good it could do if it’s not spent on this losing proposition.

  • Noemie December 19, 2017, 4:42 am

    I experienced this myself a few years ago. The difference was that we didn’t know in advance. The guests were individually cornered by the hostess on their arrival to demand cash. We were so stunned that we all just handed the cash over without making a fuss. Then when I went to the bathroom I overheard the hostess and her husband talking in the corridor; she was disappointed because she had ‘only made 200 euros’ that night. I didn’t realize inviting guests to your house was a money-making opportunity. People brought flowers, wine and various gifts for the children and it was so weird to have to give cash on top of that.
    Thankfully this person is out of my life now.

    I completely understand that not everyone can afford the expense of hosting people, so there’s a simple solution: don’t be a host then. Asking people to pay is so unpleasant and unnecessary. For informal parties you can also have a kind of half potluck where you supply the main course and guests bring dessert, wine, starters and so on.

    Another point about this is that if someone makes guests pay restaurant prices to attend a dinner party then they should provide a restaurant experience. That means guests should have a choice of which dishes they get to eat, be able to send something back to the kitchen if not cooked to their liking, sit in comfortable chairs, not offer to help with cleanup etc…
    When you think about it that way, the idea of making guests pay sounds even more ridiculous.

    • staceyizme December 20, 2017, 4:41 pm

      Guests do always pay in kind- either by returning the hospitality on another occasion or by some other means of gifting and helping where possible. And it’s always possible to host according to your means (both economically and in terms of time, space and personal preference). But this is unappealing to most folks…

  • Marie December 19, 2017, 4:57 am

    That is one invitation I would politely decline…

  • Ange December 19, 2017, 6:10 am

    I really don’t understand this. Wouldn’t it be easier to just do arranged pot luck style with everyone bringing their own drinks? That’s all my family ever did and nobody felt put out or like they were being taken advantage of.

  • Lynette December 19, 2017, 6:46 am

    ” It isn’t personal, it’s a transaction, which means we’ll all enjoy it so much more.”

    I follow this logic with difficulty.

    • Ai December 20, 2017, 12:41 pm

      I can’t swallow that logic. It’s family. That means it’s personal. I can’t stomach the idea of charging family for a holiday meal. I can understand saying ‘Oh I forgot this, do you have any cash to spare so I can go pick up this?” or something, but I can’t imagine charging family a fee to have a meal at my home.

      Also, her one of her excuses being ‘My husband is a chef’ doesn’t fly; I also have a culinary trained chef for a husband and he also couldn’t imagine charging family for a meal at our home. It’s simply money grubbing.

  • Lkb December 19, 2017, 7:13 am

    While it’s not the way I would do it and it seems a bit hard hearted and ham handed, after reading the article, I can actually concur with the hostess.
    Instead of a potluck, in which guests contribute a dish, they bring the money to cover their costs for a gourmet meal. It takes a lot of work to prepare a home and a banquet. Top ingredients cost money, why should the host have to bear the total cost?
    Again, I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not a gourmet either.

    • Kali December 20, 2017, 5:55 am

      Because they’ve chosen to host it? It’s one thing to come to an arrangement where people share the burden and the cost but quite another to demand money for something you’ve decided to do.

      • Melissa Wilcox December 20, 2017, 10:58 am

        Agree. If you can’t afford it, don’t offer to host.

      • Paula December 20, 2017, 12:33 pm

        You’ve also forgotten the part where it states that she will make a profit on this. I hope they don’t also have to bring her gifts.

    • Vic December 20, 2017, 9:58 am

      If I’m going to pay that much for a meal, gourmet or otherwise, then I expect to be able to order what I want, have someone available to refill my drink, and clean up after me. As the article said, it’s not personal, it’s a transaction. Now, if you want me to act like a guest, which would mean offering to bring something, being grateful for whatever’s served, ignoring anything that’s not restaurant quality, getting my own refills, and helping you clean up, then don’t treat me like a customer.

    • Dee December 20, 2017, 12:21 pm

      I’ve never even remotely considered contributing a potluck dish that cost over a hundred dollars. There is absolutely no way to equate this scheme with a potluck, in terms of cost. No way.

    • Melissa December 20, 2017, 2:40 pm

      To me, the biggest issue is that the hosts were profiting off of their family. If they simply took the entire food budget and divided by each person, that would be more reasonable. The hosts should still be covering their own costs (and they are probably keeping all of the leftovers as well!). If they want to be compensated for their time cleaning, cooking, etc, then they aren’t really hosting any longer. They are renting out their home and charging for their efforts. And I seriously don’t understand charging per couple, even when a person doesn’t have a partner.

      I come from a background where it’s very rare for one person or family to completely host a huge meal, so I have no problems sharing the load of hosting. It’s profiting off of it, and being very ungracious towards your own single family members that is horribly rude.

    • Jessica December 20, 2017, 3:13 pm

      I think it’s one thing to ask guests to contribute to the cost of a meal, and another to make a profit off them. You can make a list of all the ingredients and such needed for the meal, estimate the total cost and divide that by the number of guests, and then ask for that amount per person, that’s fine. That’s reasonable. But making a profit off hosting Christmas dinner for your family? That’s terrible.

    • RORY December 20, 2017, 7:45 pm

      The host should bear the cost because the host is the HOST. And yes, it takes time and thought and energy and money to host. That’s why hosting is an admirable role that deserves respect and gratitude.

  • at work December 19, 2017, 7:41 am

    If I hosted, I would not charge. If I were invited to Leah’s house, I would not attend. Christmas + friends + family + celebrating + admittance charge? Just no.

  • Dominic December 19, 2017, 7:48 am

    The family that pays (to eat) together, stays together?

    We host a holiday open house every year in early December to welcome and visit with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. About 50 people attend, and are served a selection of appetizers, both hot and cold, cookies and fancy pastries, punch, wine, beer, etc. I make the majority of the food myself, and I’ve never spent anywhere close to the over $960 this host/entrepreneur is asking for their Christmas day dinner for twelve people. YIKES!

    If someone wants to open their home for the family Christmas (or other holiday) meal, I can certainly understand soliciting help and contributions (of food, drink, and money), but outright charging a fee? I’d be spending the holidays with friends who are looking for fellowship, not a transaction-based meal.

    And the fact that the one couple (where the partner is a professional chef) was nearly gleeful about making money on the event is disgusting. I can only imagine what their wedding invitations would look like: “Dear guests, you are invited to celebrate our marriage. For one price, you get the wedding ceremony, champagne toast, and dinner followed by dancing. Please pay in advance.”

    And the funerals someday! They can have a cash register at the entrance, sitting atop the coffin or on the table next to the urn.

  • NicoleDSK December 19, 2017, 7:50 am

    If I am
    Paying to eat, I want to choose my food

  • Sarah P December 19, 2017, 7:51 am

    I am definitely in two minds about this because each family does it slightly differently. If money is tight but you have the space, time and energy to cook Christmas dinner, saving others work then I see that as very different to making a profit as one woman does, or charging as a couple even if you are single. The first is a grey area, not exactly polite but not really rude either as long as the people involved are happy, having your festive meal paid for or making a profit is indefensible.

    • Arrynne December 20, 2017, 12:42 pm

      I agree with this. Sometimes the person with the best house for gathering doesn’t have the finances to host the traditional meal. When we’ve run into that situation, we’ve either done potluck, or another family member has offered to take care of the food.

  • tessa December 19, 2017, 7:54 am

    My take from that article is that those women all think pretty highly of themselves. I hardly think that anyone gets a “restaurant experience” while crammed in a living room. If everyone brought a dish to help lower the price, would the dishes meet her gourmet expectations? Makes me treasure our family gatherings even more.

    • PJ December 20, 2017, 2:03 pm

      I got the same reaction. The comment that this isn’t the typical roast seemed either like a put-down of the holiday meals prepared by amateurs (because, of course, they can’t possibly be talented). From the few pictures it is clear that these homes are nice enough, but on par with $$$$-restaurant ambience and comforts, and I’m guessing the guests are not waited on. So the ‘restaurant experience’ is likely just ‘restaurant food.’

      It was never that much about the food for me, so that doesn’t increase the value of the celebration in my eyes. I’ve loved my family meals where absolutely every last thing was from scratch and prepared by my old auntie from Italy who was very talented in the kitchen, and I’ve loved my potlucks with contributions from college-age (ie: college-budget) cousins.

      Now if the mother and two grown daughters had an arrangement where the location and cooking responsibilities rotate and everyone helps cover the costs, that’s fine. If it works for the whole family, then that’s their business. The problem is when they try to extend it to people who (like most of us) see this as not-normal. Most of us are used to “host the party you can afford” and “guests are not customers.” In addition to that, they weren’t involved in the formation of the whole idea. They weren’t involved in saying “that’s too steep– let’s aim for a lower cost” or “this is out of hand, how about we just have a simple brunch?” Instead they had no input and are suddenly asked to accept the arrangement and pay (a lot) to participate. Of course they bristled at the idea!

      If I were one of these newer guests or in-laws, I’d likely be suggesting an alternate date to celebrate where there is less concern over the food and wine and dollar amounts and more care put into just hanging out with each other.

  • Kirsten December 19, 2017, 8:00 am

    OH, it’s a Daily Mail story, and therefore almost certainly untrue and slanted to make any women in it look bad, because the Daily Mail is hate-filled rubbish.

    • LenaH December 20, 2017, 11:33 am

      Agreed. I’m hoping that this is a heavily edited version of this story, wherein most of what’s written is a lie to elicit a specific reaction.

      Because frankly, if it *is* true, it’s awful!

  • Rinme December 19, 2017, 8:52 am

    It’s weird, but not that terrible, if you think about it.

    Women’s labor had long been undervalued and taken for granted. Women are expected to do all sorts of jobs for free – cooking, cleaning, hosting, caretaking, child minding…

    So really, I can’t begrudge someone who feels that her very hard work during the holidays deserves some compensation.

    • Vermin8 December 20, 2017, 6:50 am

      I will respectfully disagree – it is that terrible.
      The work is not for exchange on the market – it’s to make her family feel comfortable. She has done the opposite. If she resents the effort so much that she expects a profit then she shouldn’t host.

      And it’s not “women’s labor” (as a matter of fact, the husband, the professional chef, expects a profit from his efforts). It’s the labor of anyone who resides in the dwelling and hosts.
      In my outside-the-home job I am an engineer. I guess that’s women’s labor since I’m a woman and that’s what I do.

    • LadyV December 20, 2017, 7:32 am

      Except that in one woman’s case, her HUSBAND is doing all the cooking.

    • Wild Irish Rose December 20, 2017, 9:25 am

      That being the case, then she should not be hosting anything. This whole “women do it all” thing is ridiculous, for one thing. Charging your “guests” for the privilege of eating at your house is just plain rude. Sorry, I respectfully disagree with you here. If the “hostess” is expecting compensation, then she isn’t a hostess, she’s a businesswoman.

    • InkyPinky December 20, 2017, 9:46 am

      Well, the men can cook too, and I think one of the couples, it’s the man who is the chef.

      But as much as I agree with the issues around women’s unpaid labour, I think it’s a stretch in this particular situation. The reality is cooking and cleaning are part of being alive and there are other ways to deal with it.

    • LenaH December 20, 2017, 11:40 am

      I could *almost* understand this, if in some sort of solidarity with that knowledge, (further etiquette breach incoming alert) the woman in the article both explains this as he reasoning and also lets the women in the family eat for free.

      Except it’s her husband who is cooking, she charges everyone, and her reasoning appears to be make £500+ profit on the meal.

      That isn’t to say others who charge family to eat with them don’t have that reasoning, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

    • Jennifer December 20, 2017, 12:29 pm

      Your comment makes me think of the articles proclaiming SAHMs to be worth X dollars a year because of the value of cooking, cleaning, etc. As if working parents and non parents don’t have to do the same things for their own households.

      It’s a false equivalency. Based on that perspective, shouldn’t people pay up any time they attend a dinner/event/party at someone’s home? I thought that was the whole point of reciprocity in etiquette for hosting.

    • staceyizme December 20, 2017, 4:47 pm

      It’s true that women are often undervalued for their contributions in terms of labor in the home (until said labor is missing due to illness or some other interruption). But- it’s equally true that the cooking, cleaning, caretaking, child minding and hosting are for the benefit of the woman herself and the family that she has chosen to have. Not every task comes with a dollar valuation and not every expenditure of labor is paid, irrespective of who is performing said labor…

    • Zhaleh December 20, 2017, 5:00 pm

      I’m pretty sure one of the husbands is doing all the cooking.
      And in England, women have the right to choices. If you don’t chose to exercise that right, it shouldn’t cost your relatives.
      I know it can be hard and we can be labeled female dogs when we take a stand but women have fought and put up with more crap to give us the freedoms we have today.
      Oh dear, do I sound preachy, but if you don’t want to host don’t host anatomy or no anatomy!

  • Leigh December 19, 2017, 9:02 am

    “Happy Christmas, paying customers. I mean family and guests.” Sorry. This sounds like a really good recipe for alienating your family; especially if it’s the first (and potentially the only) time both sides of the family have come together for a meal. I mean, why not just say, “I’d rather my husband’s side of the family not show up,” or “You’ll be seated next to Bill and Katherine. No, they aren’t relatives, but they heard about the menu and had cash.”

  • phdeath December 19, 2017, 9:03 am

    Recognizing that all other factors can be fluid (e.g., family norms and traditions, whether the guests are comfortable with the arrangement, etc.), I can’t think that it’s ever in good form to profit from hosting a (non-charity) event. I just skimmed the article, but it did seem to indicate that the hosts were going to earn some money on the dinner. That seems unequivocally “off” to me.

  • Michelle December 19, 2017, 9:09 am

    After reading the whole article, I’m on the fence with this one. If you want to host and do the inviting, I think you should be prepared to cover the cost of the meal. However, if people want/ask you to host, or if your home is most spacious and the best place to have a family gathering so it’s always at your home, and you are expected to cook all the food (or order it and have it ready), then I can see why some people would ask for payment.

    I think many women work outside the home, some have children and most are expected to do the majority of the cooking, especially at the holidays. You spend at least a day (or more) cleaning every inch of the house, you have to shop for the food and cook it. On the big day, you have to take care of last minute details/disasters and you have to be a gracious, pleasant host/hostess. If you are working, raising children and taking care of the household that can be very stressful. Add in relatives, cooking and hosting duties and it can take it’s toll. Holiday shopping for the family, children and if your family does a gift exchange, that’s another whole layer of stress.

    Plus, you never know what else might be adding to the budget/stress. For example, we have had several things hit us last week and this week- windshield chipped and had to be repaired to keep it from cracking/getting worse, dryer conked out and had to be replaced, both cars need costly repairs- so if I had to host Christmas dinner and pay for the entire meal, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I might be able to swing a turkey/ham, a couple of sides, dressing and a dessert, but that’s all my family of four will be getting this year. There is no way I could afford to do a big meal for the entire family. Unfortunately, besides the small things I had already picked out, my family won’t be getting any additional present this year because I’m just tapped out. If I had to host the big family gathering, I would have to charge/ask for money just to make sure there is enough for everyone.

    • Vermin8 December 20, 2017, 6:54 am

      I work outside the home. If hosting and work is too much, then I don’t host. Asking for a profit for my efforts wouldn’t relieve that, anyway, unless I hired someone to help in the home. But if that’s the case, either buy the food ready made or go to a restaurant.
      If one can’t afford the whole meal, one can ask for pot luck. I’d give a pass to asking for some reimbursement of expenses (eg, pay for a large turkey to feed everyone). But that would be for cost only. Asking for an hourly wage for effort and especially for profit & overhead as if one were a business is not right.

  • Gena December 19, 2017, 9:47 am

    Well, I’m mixed on this.

    If the dinner is very expensive, because that is what the family wants, I see no issue with asking for contributions. But I do feel that I personally, would scale back my expenses before I did that. It’s not necessary to spend that much money to have a good time.

    However, making a profit? That is over the line.

    • Vic December 20, 2017, 10:08 am

      It didn’t sound like an expensive meal,was what the family wanted. It sounded like the hosting couple just wanted to show off the husband’s chef skills. I know many people would jump at the chance for a gourmet meal. But, personally, I don’t really care for most food that comes under that label. So this whole “experience” would be wasted on me.

    • Devin December 20, 2017, 3:58 pm

      I’m with you. If one person is always the ‘host’ of family events due to time, skill in the kitchen, or space, then I think it’s fair to ask everyone to chip in an equal share. Bring a side dish worth a few bucks per family does not compensate for the time to clean, decorated space, and the time and money to prepare the bulk of the meal (a 20 lbs turkey plus a roast can easily be $50). The non-hosts may not realize/appreciate the real cost of hosting a large family event year after year. I don’t see any reason the perennial hosts can’t tell their families that the big family dinner is a costly burden they’d like to share more equitably. On the other hand, If one person likes to martyr themselves into always hosting then I think charging family is just an addition to this guilt trip.

  • LadyV December 19, 2017, 9:55 am

    If you can’t afford to provide a decent Christmas dinner, don’t offer to host it. Have the family come by early in the day for brunch, or later in the day for drinks and snacks. I can’t begin to imagine charging my family for dinner! Even when I was unemployed, I managed to put together a nice, if not especially fancy, dinner for my family.

    It’s funny that my grandmother managed to put together a full Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people every year without ever asking for financial assistance. Seems like people today want to be paid for everything.

    • Aleko December 20, 2017, 3:42 am

      It’s all very well to say ‘don’t host it’. But many people, certainly on this side of the pond, feel that Christmas MUST be marked with a sit-down dinner consisting of a turkey, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and plum pudding – even if nobody at all actually likes any of this. (Millions of Britain’s people hate sprouts – partly because they are traditionally cooked so badly – and whinge about the awfulness of having them at Christmas, but accept as an iron law that they must nevertheless be served and eaten.)

      Take it from me: if I had ever offered my in-laws to come over for “brunch” or “drinks and snacks” on Christmas Day, they would accept – and then go home and either lament bitterly that Christmas had simply not happened, or forlornly cook up a turkey and plum pudding and sit all by themselves pulling crackers and putting on the paper hats, to make up for what their son and DIL had dismally failed to do.

      • Vermin8 December 20, 2017, 6:59 am

        Many people forgo this at the holidays and it has not ripped a hole in the time-space continuum.
        So people may feel they “must” but it comes down to their own wishes.

      • Dee December 20, 2017, 12:26 pm

        Here in Canada turkey and potatoes are about the cheapest food you can buy. Brussels sprouts and cranberries can get expensive, but the rest of the meal is actually cheaper than what a lot of people eat the rest of the year. The cost is really quite minimal, as far as entertaining goes.

        • Anonymous December 20, 2017, 11:20 pm

          I’m in Canada too, and canned cranberry sauce is about a dollar a can, and I’ve never heard of Brussels sprouts being “mandatory” until now.

      • Anon December 20, 2017, 2:45 pm

        Then they can deal with that. If they want to passive-aggressively complain that’s their problem.

      • LadyV December 20, 2017, 4:30 pm

        That IS a good point. However, I suspect that a traditional dinner could be prepared for far less than 60 pounds per couple – even if it was ordered from Fortnum and Mason.

        (Side question: does anyone still practice the old tradition of having each member of the household stir the plum pudding, and putting symbolic tokens in the pudding? I remember my Canadian grandparents doing this.)

        • Kirsten December 24, 2017, 2:04 pm

          My mum puts tokens in her puddings, but we’ve all left home so we’re not there for Stir-up Sunday.

  • Anon December 19, 2017, 10:12 am

    “I volunteered to make the meal even though I didn’t have to, so please give me money for doing so.”

    Yeah… if you need compensation for making it, please don’t volunteer. My mom really doesn’t like hosting that much, but she doesn’t ask her sisters and their families to pay money. Just bring a dish! That’s what I don’t get. I mean, I’m pretty sure most people would be willing to prepare a dish if say, the host just cooked the main one (turkey, ham, what have you). I mean that’s what we do for 95% of our holiday meals.

    • EchoGirl December 21, 2017, 2:11 pm

      I did once ask my parents to chip in (after they asked if there was “anything they could help with” several times) for the cost of ingredients for a family Christmas — I was able (and willing) to cook but I was on a college budget at the time. But I’d never dream of making a profit on Christmas dinner. (I’ve hosted Christmas dinner twice since, both times while I was working, and never asked for money.)

  • Liz December 19, 2017, 10:20 am

    I have to be honest; asking people to pay leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I get its expensive to host a holiday gathering/meal but if that’s the case, then either scale back, or ask people to help out by bringing things. I’m ok with that, but not charging what basically amounts to admission to your home for a holiday meal.

    I’ve never actually hosted a huge gathering, but I used to make Thanksgiving for myself and 2 friends. I bought and cooked all the food; but one friend brought her amazing homemade cranberry sauce (by request) and the other, who really doesn’t cook, brought dessert. I did the rest. They offered to bring more but I had it under control.

  • NostalgicGal December 19, 2017, 10:23 am

    After two long attempts to reply this is the short one. Tacky. Yecch.

    • Just4Kicks December 20, 2017, 2:49 am

      I am having trouble with my submit button as well the past few days…

    • Just4Kicks December 20, 2017, 2:52 am

      I would attend, but bring my 60.00 in pennies.

      • staceyizme December 20, 2017, 4:52 pm

        I like your idea for giving the fee in pennies. Alternately, you could have one of those enormously oversize checks issued for the requested amount, not forgetting to present it with an entourage present and memorializing the event with a photo opp….

        • Just4Kicks December 20, 2017, 5:46 pm

          Ha! I like that better than bags of pennies. 🙂

  • Jelaza December 19, 2017, 10:40 am

    Seriously? Seriously? I wouldn’t attend. And I’d invite any other family members to eat Christmas dinner with me instead. It may not be all fancy like that, but at least I wouldn’t be treating them like customers instead of family.

    That whole thing about not wanting to take a financial hit is ridiculous. If you don’t want to spend the money, then you simply don’t volunteer to host.

  • Victoria December 19, 2017, 10:50 am

    Keep in mind that the Daily Mail is a tabloid and implies and exaggerates heavily.

    Sounds like it’s tradition in many families to help pay for the family Christmas meal. I doubt they sent invoices, just a text that said “The meal is going to cost $$$ this year, so everyone’s contribution is $$”

    And getting the money up front, to buy all the items needed, is not a bad thing. If there’s $10 left after purchasing everything, is she supposed to split that evenly between all 12 people? Calling it a “profit” is probably just D.M. exaggeration.

    • lakey December 20, 2017, 6:32 pm

      I know what you mean about The Daily Mail. They look for provocative stories. I think that what we can keep in mind is that the reason this story is getting attention is because this practice of billing guests a set amount is so unusual. I don’t think any of us should think that this is becoming common practice either in the U.S., the U. K., or any other countries.

  • Barbara Foster December 19, 2017, 10:51 am

    I’m sure there will be people who will argue that it’s unfair to the host to have to feed 10 extra people an extravagant meal, and that splitting the cost is acceptable.

    But providing food is what hosts *do*. If you can’t afford a fancy “restaurant experience,” you cut back. You might even *ask* people if they can contribute a bit, so everyone can share nicer things. But this approach reduces what should be a happy family gathering to a commercial proposition. You’re telling people that they can’t sit at your table if they don’t pay you for the privilege.

    I hope the people who try this don’t get offended if people RSVP no because they can get an even better deal at another establishment. (And won’t charge singles the same cost as couples, because apparently they’re richer, or eat more, or ???)

  • JD December 19, 2017, 10:53 am

    And merry Christmas to you, too, Mrs. Scrooge. What a tacky couple!

  • mark December 19, 2017, 11:15 am

    As long as everything is well communicated, I don’t see an etiquette issue. If you don’t want to pay don’t attend or organize another event the way you want to do it. It sounds like this lady is being very forthright with how the event is organized so for me I don’t see a problem.

  • VickyJoJo December 19, 2017, 11:30 am

    That has got to be one of the tackiest things I have ever read. If you want to host, you don’t charge. If you can’t afford to host, then don’t. Or ask to do a potluck. But asking family to pay upfront and make a profit at it. That is the epitome of rude.

    Now there was a paragraph about the couple who had a job loss. Family chipped in. That is different.

    I hope this practice doesn’t rear its head in my neighborhood. I certainly would decline such an invitation.

    • Kirsten December 24, 2017, 2:05 pm

      Try the rest of the daily mail and you’ll find a million tackier things!

  • L December 19, 2017, 11:40 am

    Seriously?!

    My place is too small to host, so I understand that I am getting off easy compared to many individuals. However, I ask what I can bring with respect to side dishes, wine, dessert etc. I feel that everyone should contribute to the experience and that the host has an additional share. But to ask for payment?

    If you wish to compare yourself to a restaurant, then I want to see your health inspection and commercial license. If you are turning a profit, are you reporting the income?

    Why can’t the one woman’s mother and sister attend as one couple? That violates many countries’ Human Rights legislation. Can the sister sue you for discrimination for being single? If you were a legitimate business that could be a viable lawsuit.

    If the burden of hosting is too much there are other, far less tacky options to consider:
    – rent a hall
    – rotate houses/hosting requirements
    – forego giving out presents if you’re hosting. If you really want to be that cheap, your hosting and meal is the gift to the family

  • Daisy December 19, 2017, 11:42 am

    A community meal can be lovely – Maggie makes her famous green bean casserole, Tom always comes with a double batch of his sweet brioche – but CHARGING people??! If you can’t afford to host, either scale down your menu, or don’t make the offer in the first place. These women give new meaning to the word “entitlement”!

    • Anonymous December 20, 2017, 11:33 pm

      I read the article, and the reason why this family isn’t doing a potluck, is because their son has food allergies, but I still don’t think that’s an excuse to charge such an exorbitant amount for a family dinner, and to charge singles the same as couples, at that. Explaining the problem (cross-contamination, et. cetera), and having people chip in (the actual cost, not some inflated amount), AND accepting alternatives (maybe one family can’t afford to pay, but brings paper plates and napkins instead) is fine, but charging family members like customers, while still expecting them to act like guests, is wrong.

  • Semperviren December 19, 2017, 11:58 am

    “It’s not personal, it’s a transaction, which means we’ll all enjoy it so much more.”

    Yep, everyone loves a good old-fashioned Christmas Transaction.

    • Devin December 21, 2017, 10:55 am

      Haha, this gave me a big chuckle!!

  • lakey December 19, 2017, 12:19 pm

    I’m responding to this as someone who hosts almost all of the big holiday meals. It is fairly expensive if you aren’t careful. However, you can cut the cost by shopping carefully. In my area when it gets close to the holidays there are big sales on turkey and ham. If the person doing the preparation truly can’t afford to cover the cost, I think it is better to have other contribute desserts or side dishes to the meal. In my family almost everyone offers to bring something.

    What these people are doing? Yikes. Some of them are actually profiting and demanding payment before the meal. In my experience most of your friends and family are more than willing to help out. If the meal is a bit of a burden, they will find ways to help without your handing them a freaking bill.

  • lakey December 19, 2017, 12:32 pm

    Also, one of the hostesses described in the article charges 60 pounds, profits, and demands payment beforehand. Her partner’s family is unhappy about the situation. I know this is a tough thing to do, but if a member of my family did this, I would seriously consider turning down the invitation. Part of me likes to keep family peace, but part of me feels that when you go along with someone’s poor behavior, you are encouraging it.

    Partner’s family could start their own tradition.

  • TeamBhakta December 19, 2017, 12:50 pm

    “If anything, we’re spoiling them!”
    “My family understand. It isn’t personal, it’s a transaction, which means we’ll all enjoy it so much more.”

    Definitely not people I’d want to spend Christmas dinner with!

    • Vic December 20, 2017, 10:12 am

      Since it’s just a business transaction, I would decline and just go to a restaurant. It’s not personal after all.

  • Zhaleh December 19, 2017, 12:59 pm

    All of this is being covered by other posters, I’m sure, but still…”Leah knew exactly what she wanted”…you’re charging your family for exactly what YOU want?
    “100 £ a person” because someone doesn’t like driving on Christmas?
    And why are they “one of a growing number of women requesting payments”…they are all married to men, and the men are participating, so why lay all the blame on the women?

    If my In-Law suggested my SO and I pay anything for the pleasure of Christmas dinner at her home, I’d say no thank you, I’m perfectly capable and happy to cook for myself and my family. I mean, we do the, I’ll bring the vegetables, sis will do the potatoes, bro will do the turkey and Dad will reap the benefits (but has to drive). And the kids job is to sit through the boring @&$ dinner at the table before going off to play. We all contribute. We’re all stressed out and awkward. It am so not paying anyone for the pleasure of that.

    Also, I don’t want to be waited in by family members! Some of the relief is doing the dishes and taking out the garbage. Some of the pleasure pleasure is providing the plum/pork baked Brie that some think is great and others won’t touch.

    I don’t know. The whole idea makes me ill. (With the exception of the thread discussed elsewhere on this site.

    • Kelly December 20, 2017, 6:54 am

      Because the Daily Mail is a trash heap tabloid that hates women. This article might as well be about aliens with three heads, because that is the credibility level of the DM.

  • pennywit December 19, 2017, 1:14 pm

    This holiday season, my extended family’s hosting arrangements are still up in the air. When I offered, my parents offered to bring the roast beast. I’m not sure if they’re politely offering to reduce my work, or if they are afraid of what will happen if I try to roast the beast myself.

  • Dee December 19, 2017, 1:16 pm

    Several points here:
    1. These people aren’t hosting the dinner. Hosts don’t require payment. The “guests” aren’t being invited to anything; if you are being solicited to pay to attend an event then it’s not an invitation. There’s a very big difference between what these people are doing and others who host a dinner and invite their guests to join them.

    2. Family members who participate in this rip-off are as much a problem as the instigators of the scam.

    3. What happens when some family refuses or cannot pay? Is there not any family Christmas celebration in that case? Or is there still a low-key get-together for the family outside of this scheme?

    4. If family members who do not buy into the extortion are excluded then is it an estrangement of sorts? How else do these people see each other if not through paid festivities? Is it now a fee for seeing relatives, with a sliding scale as to how much you want to see certain ones? Like, Aunt Edith will cost you a $10 to have an afternoon of cookies and eggnog with, but no one wants to pay more than $2 to visit with Uncle Willie, and there’d better be rum in the nog, too? And if you are “hosting” one of these things and nobody wants to visit with Cousin Bertrude then does he get charged more to attend? Or are others demanding a discount if he’s there? So maybe it’s more cost-effective if only the financially lucrative people are in attendance?

    5. Making a profit off of family celebrations … I just can’t comment on that. I’m speechless.

    6. If you sell tickets for a dinner at your home, don’t you have to have some certification and inspection of the premises? Aren’t you now acting as a restaurant? What does the law have to say about it?

    7. If someone gets ill after the meal, if the appies were disappointing, if sister-in-law lets the baby scream the whole time, can a “guest” sue for mismanagement of the event?

    8. Are people really so eager to NOT host anyone that they are not only willing but pleased to pay someone else to have the family get-together, that they are now off the hook to reciprocate? What does that say about Christmas spirit and generosity?

    9. Why don’t opposing family members simply host a real dinner, for free, and let people decide if they want to keep paying to go to one dinner when a subsequent one is free? Would this lead to the demise of the scammers’ plans altogether? Or would the scammers boycott the free event, leading to a permanent schism in the family?

    10. Would a permanent schism be a bad thing if it meant not having to associate with these people ever again?

    Sometimes one cannot imagine the ways in which selfish people manipulate others to satisfy their own greed. I’ll admit I didn’t see this one coming. But I also can’t imagine most families allowing this idea to run much past first base before killing it. That the families in this schmoz think it’s a good idea indicates the dysfunction probably started a long time ago, and the “hosts” were probably raised with this greedy mentality. There’s still hope that healthy families won’t get dragged as low as this and society will not be too adversely affected by the rare outliers. Otherwise, what’s the point in Christmas?

    • LenaH December 20, 2017, 11:30 am

      6. “If you sell tickets for a dinner at your home, don’t you have to have some certification and inspection of the premises? Aren’t you now acting as a restaurant? What does the law have to say about it?”

      If the husband is indeed preparing and cooking all of the food at the Christmas dinner, and is a chef by profession, he would already have food hygiene certification. This does mean, on the… up-side, if anyone happened to come down with food poisoning as a result of his food, the poor family could sue.

      Although, I suspect even that wouldn’t stop future etiquette breaches like this at Christmas.

      • Dee December 20, 2017, 6:07 pm

        But the house is not certified. It doesn’t matter that he’s a chef, anybody can prepare food for sale without any kind of certification at all. In fact, most in the food prep industry have no certification beyond Foodsafe. But you cannot sell food that is prepared in a facility that has not been certified. Here, that means a kitchen that is not used for family purposes, since family members will walk through that kitchen and contaminate it. You cannot run a food business from your home unless you have a designated space that is used for no other purpose. Obviously, that’s not the case in this story. So, I believe they could be shut down for selling tickets to their dinner.

    • lakey December 20, 2017, 6:46 pm

      11. Are they really asking Gramma to fork over 80 pounds if she wants to come to Christmas dinner?

    • Anonymous December 21, 2017, 7:14 am

      Dee, I think you have the makings of a hilarious comedy sketch there, especially #4. You should send that to Saturday Night Live.

  • Justme December 19, 2017, 1:55 pm

    When you have to pay for dinner you are considered a customer not a guest. I would decline this solicitation and probably ask her to forget my email address.

  • jokergirl129 December 19, 2017, 2:06 pm

    Honestly it all just feels so greedy to me. Apparently the tradition was started with the mother and Leah and her sisters have continued it since. Pretty much stating that if they are going to host Christmas dinner they should be given the money for it. But if they can’t afford to host the dinner (even though in Leah’s case they could most likely afford it themselves) they shouldn’t have it. It’s not right to make other family members shill out 60+ pounds for a home cook meal. Doesn’t matter they’re trying to make it a restaurant experience and serving fancy foods and wine.

    If they want to go all out fine but they should pay for everything. Or buy food that is still good but cheaper to buy to serve everyone with. Or maybe even ask family members if they would like to contribute a dish to serve during the meal. There are plenty of options to choose from that doesn’t involved asking family to pay so much money. There might not be too much complaints now but I’m not sure how long that will last for.

    • Cheryl December 20, 2017, 3:59 am

      Isn’t Leah’s dinner the one where the paying customers, I mean guests, are to bring a bottle of wine each? Not much of a fancy restaurant experience in that. I’m a bit surprised she didn’t instruct them on which wines to bring.

      And on some level, I understand chipping in to help with the cost (although I think a potluck is the way to go in that case) but making a profit? Seriously? If you are sick that day or in an accident on the way to the house, do you get a refund? If you don’t like all the relatives, do they allow carry out? If you can’t eat all your food, are doggie/people bags allowed? For 60 pounds/80 dollars, I want a real restaurant experience.

      • jokergirl129 December 20, 2017, 9:11 pm

        I’ll probably have to re-read the article to double check but if that is the case then you’re right in that it isn’t much like a “restaurant experience”. Seriously if you’re going to make the excuse of making your family members pay a lot of money because you want to give them a “restaurant experience” then you should be the one to provide the wine.

        I agree. If I want a restaurant experience then I want to go to an actual restaurant. At least then paying that much money would make sense. And I also agree that it’s one thing for family members to help to chip in (though like you said helping by providing different dishes would be best). But paying 60 pounds/80 dollars for a home cook meal is ridiculous. Plus why should they be making a profit off of it? Both Leah and her husband have well paying jobs being professional chefs. They don’t need the money.

      • NicoleK December 21, 2017, 9:09 am

        To be fair BYO alcohol restaurants exist.

      • LadyV December 26, 2017, 10:09 am

        Wow – I somehow missed the part about bringing a bottle of wine. So I would be expected to shell out $80, AND bring my own wine – which the “hostess” might or might not serve at the lunch? Not just “no”, but “HELL, no!”

  • Dippy December 19, 2017, 2:06 pm

    I always bring whatever is requested of me for Holiday dinners, food, liquor, plates, extra chairs, anything, but I’m sure not paying. I hope her family is skipping it this year!

    • Cheryl December 20, 2017, 4:01 am

      If you read the whole article, Leah’s mother started the “tradition/Christmas transaction”, so I would guess her family is used to being bilked.

  • Roslyn December 19, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Just wow.
    I can see the character, played by Catherine Tate, enacting the scene where beloved family guests (who have all paid upfront) come pouring into the home with their requested bottles of wine when Catherine looks at the bottles in horror…exclaiming…”STOP! Everyone STOP!! This wine is not ORGANIC!!”

    Age old solution. If you can’t afford it, if you think you need to BE PAID to clean and decorate your home for your guests, then maybe you shouldn’t be hosting anything.

    Loads of families do it…the host provides the main meat type item and the guests all bring sides and salads and desserts etc. Everyone shares expenses etc, cause that’s what families should be doing. These entitled ladies feel that they should have the posh magazine cover experience but somehow should not be made to foot the bill. If that were my “family” I would be taking that 60pounds cash and enjoying a lovely meal at home.

  • Pat December 19, 2017, 2:43 pm

    I don’t think I’d offer to help with the set-up, dishes, and clean up. For 60 pounds, I think the clean-up would be included in the price.

    • LadyV December 26, 2017, 10:11 am

      After all, if they’re claiming it’s a “restaurant experience”, shouldn’t it be a full experience? Meaning the “owners” of the restaurant get to do ALL of the work, and the “customers” only have to eat.

  • Wild Irish Rose December 19, 2017, 2:51 pm

    Why should they take the financial hit for feeding so many people? Because they are HOSTING the dinner! If you aren’t prepared to pay for the meal you are serving, then by all means make it pot luck. I have no objection to that at all–just so long as people are asked to bring FOOD and not MONEY. These women are vampires. No patience with this at all. >:-(

  • Jazzgirl205 December 19, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Something told us that 2016 would probably be my 93 yo mother’s last Christmas. Family drove and flew in from all over. It was to be at my house and the people count was 17. I roasted the 25 lb turkey, made the stuffing from scratch, cranberry sauce from scratch, and made sweet potato casserole with pecans, brown sugar, and Cointreau. I also provided the rolls and made a wonderful rum cake. Some family members brought side dishes and wine. The table was set with fine china, sterling, and vintage crystal on a tablecloth of Russian cutwork. The children’s table was set with brightly colored paper tableware. No one was asked to wash dishes or do any chores. I charged nothing and would be embarrassed at the mere thought.
    I’ve done several of these type dinners over the years. Preparing a meal should be a gift of love. 2016 was Mama’s last Christmas. She died this November. I am so happy that these family memories are not sullied by charging admission.

    • Kelly December 20, 2017, 6:59 am

      This is like a parody of a snob wanting you to know how much they spent on things.

      • Kate 2 December 20, 2017, 7:46 pm

        This comment? I thought it was lovely.

        • staceyizme December 22, 2017, 10:46 am

          I agree, I quite enjoyed reading this comment.

  • RORY December 19, 2017, 3:50 pm

    Armageddon has come. What is so astonishing is that the solution to this etiquette catastrophe (and the full answer to the justifications of “But it costs so much to host my family!”) is so simple: everyone has a turn hosting Christmas dinner and when they do, they bear the cost. Simple: no money changes hands and everyone retains their dignity.

  • Rose December 19, 2017, 4:33 pm

    And if the meal is subpar? If the goose is overcooked or the turkey dry do they get their money back? Can they get a replacement meal if they don’t like what’s on offer? Do they have to serve themselves family style or are helpers hired? Can you charge the “hosts” per glass if they drink your wine? Tacky, tacky, tacky.

    I’d rather have dinner at a restaurant, thank you very much.

  • Agania December 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    WTF??? Has no one heard of dividing the menu? To be fair, living in Australia we don’t do the whole cooked turkey and veges etc. Christmas lunch at my in laws is prawns, cold ham, salads and fresh rolls. The evening at my brother’s place is finger food (as we’ve already eaten far too much at lunch!). To be fair, the host of each event directs what to bring (ie salad, bread, etc) so as to have a good spread, but it is never out of anyone’s budget. Given what the exchange rate is with the Aussie dollar, what they are charging for one meal is more than my weekly grocery budget. If any of my family pulled this, I would be staying at home with hubby and kids, enjoying our budget Christmas. So would the rest of the relatives.

    • Aleko December 20, 2017, 3:49 am

      But that’s the crunch: if your traditional Christmas meal is finger food, prawns, salads etc, asking people to bring something is easy. This side of the world it is turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, sprouts, and bread sauce. Who wants to eat any of that if it has been pre-cooked, transported for hours, and re-heated?

      • Dippy December 20, 2017, 9:59 am

        We’re lucky in the US as we have so many other nation’s Christmas traditions that our meals can be whatever we want!

        We’ve done turkey, ham, roast pork, roast beef, chicken, duck, lasagna just to name a few. My BIL grills for Christmas dinner no matter the weather, so there’s steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers.

        It’s more the coming together than the fanciness of the food. At least in my opinion.

      • Ai December 20, 2017, 12:53 pm

        I’m not in the UK, but for thanksgiving we have a very similar spread (Turkey, sweet potatos, green bean casserole, pies, bread rolls, etc). In my family, my husband makes the turkey and my MIL brings the sides uncooked and utilizes our kitchen to finish up the preparations. So it still can be done potluck style and still be delicious.

        Also; even if my husband and I had to prepare the full meal, we wouldn’t charge a fee per family member. Maybe ask for some help to cover the grocery shopping (or ask ‘Hey can you get some wine/beer/etc?) but not operate like restaurant.

      • staceyizme December 20, 2017, 5:04 pm

        Any of those foods can be cooked and placed in an insulated bag. It won’t keep hot forever but it should make a 90 minute trip in decent form and be ready for a quick reheat prior to the meal (with the exception of bread sauce, that probably does have to be made on site). Commutes over two hours that also involve bringing food are trickier, but you can always opt to go early (assuming your host doesn’t mind) and plug in your roaster/ slow cooker or other ancillary food prep gizmo on site…

        • Aleko December 20, 2017, 5:52 pm

          It’s true that sprouts and roast potatoes *can* be cooked, transported in an insulated bag and given a quick reheat, and still be safe to eat; they just won’t be worth eating. If anybody brought those as a potluck to my house, I would strategically forget all to serve them and sling them into the compost bin later. Life is to short to eat cr*p vegetables.

          Oddly enough, bread sauce is actually better made the day before, and so is the only item that could perfectly well be transported! But honestly, the extra hassle and stress of having to wait till people turn up with the oddments and patch them in to the arrangements at the last minute is so great, and the financial difference so little, that I would far rather do these things myself.

          • Dee December 20, 2017, 6:11 pm

            If you can’t reheat something as simple as sprouts and potatoes so that they’re edible then why don’t you give them to someone else who can instead of throwing them away? If you’re so fussy about the food you eat and/or cannot handle multiple dish prep well then it’s not the dinner or other diners that’s the problem.

      • Tanya December 20, 2017, 7:08 pm

        Hours? Surely you’d only be inviting people who live in your city and if they live further away, wouldn’t they be staying in town for a night or two?

        I also live in the Southern Hemisphere but we’ve done the hot Christmas meal before, and it’s simple: we prep the dishes and bring them and then whoever is hosting only has to bung them in the oven until they’re done. Or hot food can be par baked. There are a lot of different ways to re-heat food so it tastes good.

        What she is charging would be the cost at a mid-range restaurant for two on a holiday where I live. But even so… I can’t help but feel this is tacky. If you can’t afford to host, or don’t want to, then drop the rope or ask everyone to bring a dish. Just because something is ‘expected’ or has always been done a certain way, that doesn’t mean you have to continue.

  • Iris December 19, 2017, 9:22 pm

    I genuinely have no problem with chipping in some cash for the dinner if that’s how your family does it. Hosting Christmas is expensive and time consuming and it’s traditional for people to help out with a dish or something, so I see it as an updated version of that tradition.

    Making a profit, though? Ew. That’s just nasty.

  • iwadasn December 19, 2017, 11:28 pm

    That woman sounds absolutely dreadful. If she’s planning to charge her family and in-laws to eat a catered meal at her house, they might as well just go to a restaurant instead of bothering with her. I imagine they’d have much better company.

  • Rebecca December 19, 2017, 11:57 pm

    We split costs in our family. If it’s at someone’s house, and everyone else is bringing something, we estimate what each person spent and then work it out so it’s even. No one person should have to shoulder the whole cost of Christmas dinner, IMO. I feel it’s not quite the same as a dinner party where you might host one time, and then your friend reciprocates either by holding another dinner party or doing something else for you.

    • Jelaza December 20, 2017, 3:22 pm

      Why not? When I was a kid, holidays rotated: One year, my parents would host Thanksgiving, my grandparents Christmas and my aunt & uncle had Easter, and then the next year, grandparents did Thanksgiving, aunt & uncle Christmas, and parents got Easter, and so on.

  • Aleko December 20, 2017, 3:25 am

    The first most important thing to know about this story is that the Daily Mail, also known over here as the ‘Daily Wail’, is a red-top rag whose main raison d’être is to provide conservative (with a large and small C) Britain with a daily fix of ‘don’t-know-what-the-world’s-coming-to’ righteous indignation. You can see that they have concentrated on one couple who do seem to have confused commercial and private hospitality, no doubt on account of the husband’s being a chef, and plumped out the outrage with quotes from others who don’t seem to have done anything more heinous than ask their families to chip in. So don’t let’s even call this a ‘holiday horror story’: we can be 100% certain that the Wail has edited and trimmed these people’s words to make them sound worse than they were in context.

    There are a couple of cultural points to make here:

    1: Potluck is simply not the thing in Britain that (as I gather from this community) it is in the USA. We might do it for workplace celebrations and such, but I’ve never been invited to a potluck in someone’s home, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that from anyone else. It just isn’t part of our cultural landscape. When we talk of going to Mum’s or Gran’s for Christmas, or any other family reunion, the assumption is that Mum or Gran is cooking the meal.

    2: And the traditional British Christmas dinner simply doesn’t lend itself to potluck contributions, anyway. It consists of:
    – a starter, a relatively recent addition to the canon, maybe something smoked-salmon-y
    – a turkey or goose, accompanied by gravy, bread sauce, pigs in blankets (little sausages wrapped in bacon), roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, maybe other vegetables such as roast parsnips
    – Christmas pudding, with cream/custard/brandy butter.
    Apart from a cold starter, and drinks of course, there’s really very little here that guests can bring. None of the vegetables or the pigs in blankets would be fit to eat if pre-cooked and transported; and having to wait till family members turned up bearing the raw articles and then having to assess what they had brought and start to cook it would be a massive additional stress and barely make a dent in the overall cost. Similarly, having to assume that Cousin James will remember that he was tasked with bringing a jar of cranberry sauce, and waiting till he turns up with it, is ‘help’ that most of us could well do without. Sure, you could ask an individual relative to bring the starter, and anyone who bakes might volunteer to bring a Christmas cake or mince pies. But there really is no practical alternative to the host(ess) buying and cooking all the essential elements of the meal, which in a large family means not only a massive load of work but a significant cost for her/him/them. Some people can afford it; others can’t, however much they would like to treat their nearest and dearest. And if they can’t, really the only fair thing to do is to ask everyone to kick in. (Bear in mind also that in many families it isn’t even practical to spread the cost and effort by people taking it in turns to host; there likely is only one person who has a house big enough or in a location that it’s practical for everyone to get to.)

    Many families have an unofficial arrangement for spreading the load. When I convinced my MIL to let me do Christmas dinner at my house so she wouldn’t have to do all that work (which I admit I did largely because I couldn’t stand being corralled into her overheated living room all day and fed cardboard turkey and soggy veg – in my house you get breathable air, decent food and an afternoon walk if you like one), she insisted on reimbursing me the cost of the bird, so she could feel she was stil contributing. And my widowed father brings the wine, because he also likes to contribute and is a wine buff who only needs to go into his cellar and pick something out – in fact, now he lives alone he’s very glad of an opportunity to share bottles he’s proud of. I didn’t ask either of them to do this but I must say that I’m grateful that they do, and I would certainly never cast any nasturtiums at anyone who says to their family ‘Can you all kick in £X each for Christmas dinner? Because I can’t afford to do this all myself, and it’s the fairest way ‘.

    • Shoegal December 20, 2017, 9:12 am

      You know, I agree with the poster who said if this is all communicated to everybody and everybody agrees – this isn’t such a horrible thing. What if – as a family/ friends we all want a lovely holiday lunch but only Leah has the space – and then everybody says – why should Leah have to pay for everything and do all the work??? Everybody agrees to chip in for the meal or to bring something – to help with the set up, clean up, etc. At all gatherings it is already known that you bring your drink of choice so nobody has the pay for all the beverages including the pricier libations. I don’t see a problem with any of it.

      The part I don’t like is that Leah thought all this up herself including the meal, the price and thinks it a dandy idea. These aren’t guests – they are paying customers. I would definitely turn this “invitation” down – it is one thing if I offered – it is another thing to be told.

    • Dee December 20, 2017, 12:47 pm

      In Canada, it’s fairly standard to have the roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and cheese sauce and/or another vegetable with sauce, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, and whatever is tradition with your particular ethnicity or culture. That was our standard dinner when I was growing up, except for the first few years when the ‘turkey’ was roast chicken and bubbat. Either way, the meal was served promptly at noon, so that meant cooking started before breakfast. It wasn’t considered a hardship of work or cost, simply something you did (if you were hosting) or something someone else provided if they were hosting.

      Every home had its own baking, so while I don’t remember pigs in blankets served at the meal it was made at the holidays to serve at the other events. Cookies, nanaimo bars, tingalings, butter tarts, fruitcake, carrot pudding with rum sauce, popcorn balls, and so on. If it wasn’t served on Christmas Day it was still made for Christmas, so the work needed to be done whether hosting a meal or not.

      Hosting someone at a special event can’t be measured in terms of labour and money. You’re doing it because you want to treat others, just as they have treated you. If the Christmas hosting is always too much to take on then the problem may not be with the hosting itself, but priorities. This is what families and friends can and should do for each other, not a burden to be hated and dodged. Hosting is what keeps societies going and looking out for one another.

      • LadyV December 26, 2017, 10:25 am

        I’m fascinated by the repeated mention of Brussels sprouts as a traditional part of Christmas dinner. In most US households, that would be something the majority of people wouldn’t eat!

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