Author Topic: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything. UPDATE post 81  (Read 12305 times)

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CaptainObvious

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2012, 01:27:59 PM »
Background: It is tradition on my side of the family to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and then the next day, one of my Aunts hosts Christmas.

This year we are having an After Christmas party on the 29th with everyone. I am talking extended family here. All of my older cousins on my mom's side of her generation that I havent seen since... well, since another family member's funeral a few years ago, I think.

At any rate, we are having this After Holiday party because this will be one of my Great-Aunts last Christmases.

I was really okay with that. No etiquette dilemma so far. Until my mom was contacted this evening.

Apparently we (that is the family as a whole, including the extended cousins and what not) are funding this whole thing. We weren't asked, oh no. We were ordered. My Aunt (mom's sister) called her tonight, and was contacted by Cousin J. Cousin J is the daughter of the Great Aunt who is dying.

Cousin J said that everyone in mom's generation must bring a meat and that all of the kids (includes me and my five cousins) must each bring a side dish.

There is no way in ehell. There are a few reasons for that. One, we don't have it. Just plain don't have the money. Two, I don't feel it is our obligation to help them throw a party. I have a feeling mom is just going to go along with it, but this is my hill to die on.

So ehellions, besides 'That won't be possible.' What can I say to these people?

I admit my interpretation of tone is coloring my view.  Our OP doesn't sound like, 'Oh, no!  It's a potluck and everyone's supposed to bring something.  I can't afford it; what can I do?'  It sounds very acrimonious to me, talking about contributions as everything/the whole thing, and that there's 'no way in ehell...it is our obligation to help them throw a party.'  The advice requested is what to say to 'these people' besides that it won't be possible.

If our OP wants to be part of the event but finds finances the primary obstacle, there have been suggestions to offer time, an inexpensive dish, or explain and go empty-handed.  It sounds more like our OP wants nothing to do with the event, and is requesting a stronger response than to simply decline.  I don't believe this would be polite.

Best wishes to our OP and the family.

Agreed!

mrkitty

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2012, 01:37:38 PM »
Background: It is tradition on my side of the family to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and then the next day, one of my Aunts hosts Christmas.

This year we are having an After Christmas party on the 29th with everyone. I am talking extended family here. All of my older cousins on my mom's side of her generation that I havent seen since... well, since another family member's funeral a few years ago, I think.

At any rate, we are having this After Holiday party because this will be one of my Great-Aunts last Christmases.

I was really okay with that. No etiquette dilemma so far. Until my mom was contacted this evening.

Apparently we (that is the family as a whole, including the extended cousins and what not) are funding this whole thing. We weren't asked, oh no. We were ordered. My Aunt (mom's sister) called her tonight, and was contacted by Cousin J. Cousin J is the daughter of the Great Aunt who is dying.

Cousin J said that everyone in mom's generation must bring a meat and that all of the kids (includes me and my five cousins) must each bring a side dish.

There is no way in ehell. There are a few reasons for that. One, we don't have it. Just plain don't have the money. Two, I don't feel it is our obligation to help them throw a party. I have a feeling mom is just going to go along with it, but this is my hill to die on.

So ehellions, besides 'That won't be possible.' What can I say to these people?

I admit my interpretation of tone is coloring my view.  Our OP doesn't sound like, 'Oh, no!  It's a potluck and everyone's supposed to bring something.  I can't afford it; what can I do?'  It sounds very acrimonious to me, talking about contributions as everything/the whole thing, and that there's 'no way in ehell...it is our obligation to help them throw a party.'  The advice requested is what to say to 'these people' besides that it won't be possible.

If our OP wants to be part of the event but finds finances the primary obstacle, there have been suggestions to offer time, an inexpensive dish, or explain and go empty-handed.  It sounds more like our OP wants nothing to do with the event, and is requesting a stronger response than to simply decline.  I don't believe this would be polite.

Best wishes to our OP and the family.

Agreed!

POD on this one. OP, I think you're looking for a confrontation with your family where there's none to be had. This is about your dying aunt, not the food. By your tone, you sound angry about the plans for the event. If you feel that strongly about it, don't go. I think your cousin is trying to do something kind for her mother - not trying to create a hardship for you.
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briarrose

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2012, 01:53:36 PM »
I think your other option is to see if you can make/bring something around your house instead. Do you have enough ingredients on hand to whip up a batch of cookies? (I think there are even recipes out there now using Bisquick instead of having to find all the dry ingredients yourself if you have that on hand.) Or, do you have a pack of paper plates and plastic silverware laying around that you could donate to the cause instead so you don't really show up empty-handed? (I'm just trying to think of things you might have sitting around that you won't have to spend money on.)

I know it's a pain to get asked to bring something last minute, but there are two things about this:

(1) You need to go see your aunt. You'll always regret it if you don't.

(2) Were you planning on bringing something to the party before you found out it was a potluck? I always show up with something for the hostess at a party -- candles, candy, wine, whatever.

amylouky

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2012, 02:18:04 PM »
Thinking about this from the other side (I also have a huge family), if I had organized a potluck, and a family member couldn't afford to contribute, I'd be mortified if they either didn't come, or scraped together a way to contribute and put themselves in a hardship. If that relative called me and just said, "Things are really tight, can we contribute in another way? Maybe helping prepare or clean up?" I would not think that odd at all.
I definitely don't think your ability (or lack thereof)  to provide a side dish should prevent you from spending time with your aunt.
Good luck!

TootsNYC

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2012, 02:47:59 PM »
Thinking about this from the other side (I also have a huge family), if I had organized a potluck, and a family member couldn't afford to contribute, I'd be mortified if they either didn't come, or scraped together a way to contribute and put themselves in a hardship. If that relative called me and just said, "Things are really tight, can we contribute in another way? Maybe helping prepare or clean up?" I would not think that odd at all.
I definitely don't think your ability (or lack thereof)  to provide a side dish should prevent you from spending time with your aunt.
Good luck!

This would be my reaction as well.

And I guess I don't quite get the anger level--if the whole family is gathering, and it's going to be a big group, in principal I think that everyone should pitch in. Just because it's their mom/grandma doesn't mean they should bear all the burdens of a family gathering.

Especially a family gathering, and especially one that is put together in order to benefit the extended family members by giving them an opportunity to see Great Aunt.

So if one unit of the family truly does not have anything to spare, I think the rest of us can cope with that.

rose red

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2012, 02:55:59 PM »
I was surprised at the anger and words used too, but maybe you are just frustrated with your financial situation and the potluck was the final straw. 

If you get along with the family, can you explain or at least ask to help in another way?  If you are not close and really don't care if you spend time with "these people," perhaps declining would be best, even if you have to make a little white lie to get out of the party.  Or you can just say you'll stop by for a bit to visit aunt, but can't stay long.

LadyL

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2012, 03:04:20 PM »
Background: It is tradition on my side of the family to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and then the next day, one of my Aunts hosts Christmas.

This year we are having an After Christmas party on the 29th with everyone. I am talking extended family here. All of my older cousins on my mom's side of her generation that I havent seen since... well, since another family member's funeral a few years ago, I think.

At any rate, we are having this After Holiday party because this will be one of my Great-Aunts last Christmases.

I was really okay with that. No etiquette dilemma so far. Until my mom was contacted this evening.

Apparently we (that is the family as a whole, including the extended cousins and what not) are funding this whole thing. We weren't asked, oh no. We were ordered. My Aunt (mom's sister) called her tonight, and was contacted by Cousin J. Cousin J is the daughter of the Great Aunt who is dying.

Cousin J said that everyone in mom's generation must bring a meat and that all of the kids (includes me and my five cousins) must each bring a side dish.

There is no way in ehell. There are a few reasons for that. One, we don't have it. Just plain don't have the money. Two, I don't feel it is our obligation to help them throw a party. I have a feeling mom is just going to go along with it, but this is my hill to die on.

So ehellions, besides 'That won't be possible.' What can I say to these people?

A note that is admittedly more about relationships than etiquette - it sounds like your other relatives are still hosting the Feast on Christmas Eve, and it's not clear to me, but it sounds like your Aunt is hosting Christmas as well? Or is the after Christmas party replacing her hosting Christmas? Either way, your relatives are extending their hospitality to you on at least one occasion. I wouldn't say you are obligated to help them throw an additional party, but it does seem like a reasonable thing to ask in this situation especially given Great Aunt's medical situation. I realize that the party being potluck presents a hardship for you and the communication failure is unfortunate. However, I'm not clear why this is a "hill to die on" issue for you. Usually those issues are severe, cut direct level problems - not minor miscommunications about party formats. If you treat this as a hill to die on it might have relationship repercussions.

Visiting Crazy Town

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2012, 03:07:35 PM »
Background: It is tradition on my side of the family to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and then the next day, one of my Aunts hosts Christmas. This year we are having an After Christmas party on the 29th with everyone. I am talking extended family here. All of my older cousins on my mom's side of her generation that I havent seen since... well, since another family member's funeral a few years ago, I think.


 I bolded this because things like this aren't cheap to host and you do seem seriously angry that they asked you to bring something even though its a small item.  Do you and you mom contribute to any of the events that you attend for Christmas. Also if you are talking about a huge amount of people is it really wrong to ask your FAMILY to chip in.  Its starts to sound like you are happy to attend events where you can eat and drink but its a huge offense to ask you to help out.

yokozbornak

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #53 on: December 20, 2012, 03:21:05 PM »

I admit my interpretation of tone is coloring my view.  Our OP doesn't sound like, 'Oh, no!  It's a potluck and everyone's supposed to bring something.  I can't afford it; what can I do?'  It sounds very acrimonious to me, talking about contributions as everything/the whole thing, and that there's 'no way in ehell...it is our obligation to help them throw a party.'  The advice requested is what to say to 'these people' besides that it won't be possible.

If our OP wants to be part of the event but finds finances the primary obstacle, there have been suggestions to offer time, an inexpensive dish, or explain and go empty-handed.  It sounds more like our OP wants nothing to do with the event, and is requesting a stronger response than to simply decline.  I don't believe this would be polite.

Best wishes to our OP and the family.

Thank you for posting this because this is what confused me about the thread.  The OP seems to have a lot of unwarranted anger and it's hard to understand why based on the situation she described.

OP, I think you have been given great advice.  It sounds like you don't want to go so it's okay to decline.  I also think that you should let your mother make the decision about how to proceed.  It sounds like she wants to be there, and she can speak up for herself if she can't contribute.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #54 on: December 20, 2012, 03:26:59 PM »
I think the OP may be feeling more frustrated because it's coming up to Christmas and many people find their finances stretched thin to breaking point at such a time - and not by having huge celebrations but just by trying to have things be a little bit nicer at this time of year.

OP, I hope you can find a way to attend that doesn't break the bank.

SoCalVal

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #55 on: December 20, 2012, 03:34:56 PM »
Background: It is tradition on my side of the family to have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, and then the next day, one of my Aunts hosts Christmas.

This year we are having an After Christmas party on the 29th with everyone. I am talking extended family here. All of my older cousins on my mom's side of her generation that I havent seen since... well, since another family member's funeral a few years ago, I think.

At any rate, we are having this After Holiday party because this will be one of my Great-Aunts last Christmases.

I was really okay with that. No etiquette dilemma so far. Until my mom was contacted this evening.

Apparently we (that is the family as a whole, including the extended cousins and what not) are funding this whole thing. We weren't asked, oh no. We were ordered. My Aunt (mom's sister) called her tonight, and was contacted by Cousin J. Cousin J is the daughter of the Great Aunt who is dying.

Cousin J said that everyone in mom's generation must bring a meat and that all of the kids (includes me and my five cousins) must each bring a side dish.

There is no way in ehell. There are a few reasons for that. One, we don't have it. Just plain don't have the money. Two, I don't feel it is our obligation to help them throw a party. I have a feeling mom is just going to go along with it, but this is my hill to die on.

So ehellions, besides 'That won't be possible.' What can I say to these people?

Going back to the OP's question, these are the options I see:

1)  "We can't afford to bring anything.  If you are okay with us helping out instead, we'd be happy to come"

2)  "We can't afford to bring anything.  I'm sorry, but we won't be attending and will come see Great Aunt on a different date."

3)  "We can't afford to bring anything.  We still want to see Great Aunt but since we won't be bringing anything, we'll make sure to eat at home first."

As far as the potluck aspect, is this something your family has not done previously?  I know on my mom's side of the family, family parties are ALWAYS potluck.  There are about 50+ of us (mostly blood-related), and no one is wealthy.  It has to be potluck.  If that is your family practice, I see nothing wrong with it being mentioned last-minute (it would've been a fair conclusion that it was going to be potluck).  Even one side of DF's family always does potluck, and there aren't more than about 15 attending.  The amount of food sounds odd (a dish per person) because that's a ton of food.



MamaMootz

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #56 on: December 20, 2012, 04:15:26 PM »
I think I get why the OP sounds resentful in her post. She wasn't asked to bring something. It was mandated that she WILL bring something with no opportunity to decline, question, or have any input.

I'm wondering if the family does things like this all the time and this is the straw that broke the camel's back for the OP. . I understand there are cheap meal options out there, but it sounds like quite an extensive gathering so to bring one side dish also means she has to ensure there is enough of the side dish to feed however many people attending, which sounds like a large-ish number. If she says she cannot afford it, I believe her.

And I like SoCalVal's advice.
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2012, 04:29:49 PM »
I think I get why the OP sounds resentful in her post. She wasn't asked to bring something. It was mandated that she WILL bring something with no opportunity to decline, question, or have any input.

I'm wondering if the family does things like this all the time and this is the straw that broke the camel's back for the OP. . I understand there are cheap meal options out there, but it sounds like quite an extensive gathering so to bring one side dish also means she has to ensure there is enough of the side dish to feed however many people attending, which sounds like a large-ish number. If she says she cannot afford it, I believe her.

And I like SoCalVal's advice.

POD to this.  It'd be pretty easy and inexpensive to whip up a side dish for my family - at the most, there's like 10 of us, so a dish that would feed 5-6 people would be plenty in a potluck.  At my IL's though, there can be over 40 people attending.  Even something that's inexpensive to put together in small quantities can get really expensive when you need to put it together for 40+ people!  I see no reason to doubt the OP when she says she can't afford it. 

Also, no matter the circumstances, I would be really, really irritated to be told of the fact that I have to bring a dish, with no chance to explain or compromise. 

onyonryngs

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2012, 04:32:18 PM »
I think I get why the OP sounds resentful in her post. She wasn't asked to bring something. It was mandated that she WILL bring something with no opportunity to decline, question, or have any input.

I'm wondering if the family does things like this all the time and this is the straw that broke the camel's back for the OP. . I understand there are cheap meal options out there, but it sounds like quite an extensive gathering so to bring one side dish also means she has to ensure there is enough of the side dish to feed however many people attending, which sounds like a large-ish number. If she says she cannot afford it, I believe her.

And I like SoCalVal's advice.

POD to this.  It'd be pretty easy and inexpensive to whip up a side dish for my family - at the most, there's like 10 of us, so a dish that would feed 5-6 people would be plenty in a potluck.  At my IL's though, there can be over 40 people attending.  Even something that's inexpensive to put together in small quantities can get really expensive when you need to put it together for 40+ people!  I see no reason to doubt the OP when she says she can't afford it. 

Also, no matter the circumstances, I would be really, really irritated to be told of the fact that I have to bring a dish, with no chance to explain or compromise.


I don't know any potluck where you have to bring enough to feed the entire event.  You bring a regular family sized portion.  If 40 people brought enough to feed 40 people, the amount of food left over would be huge!

Danika

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #59 on: December 20, 2012, 04:33:07 PM »
Also, no matter the circumstances, I would be really, really irritated to be told of the fact that I have to bring a dish, with no chance to explain or compromise.

And OP heard that through the grapevine, right? No organizer called OP. It was a relative called mom and mom told OP. I can't stand gatekeepers. If you want me to bring something, give me plenty of notice and tell me directly. That way, if I have a problem, I can respond directly.

ETA: I went back and read the original post.
Dying great aunt's daughter, Cousin J, called Mom's sister, who called Mom. And Mom told OP (I don't know if OP lives with Mom or not).

I think it's like a game of "telephone." By the time the info got to Mom and OP, who knows if it was originally a request, a suggestion, an order, etc.

If I were OP, I'd either call Cousin J directly and clarify, or just feign ignorance/misunderstanding/uncertainty and show up with something (food or gift) that I had planned to bring originally before all of this game of telephone started.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 04:38:53 PM by Danika »