Author Topic: Charging family members for a home cooked meal  (Read 8947 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« on: November 25, 2013, 04:49:03 PM »
This came up on another forum I frequent, and I must say my flabber was ghasted.

If you were hosting Christmas or some other extended family get together in your own home, would you deem it appropriate to ask guests to pay you to contribute to the costs of the meal? Even something smallish such as $30 per person.

Personally, I disagree. If I was in a position to host this many people (I'm not) then I'd ask them to bring food or drink rather than money. I might ask this if we were going out to a restaurant with a set menu or buffet and that $30 got you quite a bit of food and we still covered something like drinks (this was our engagement party). But never in my own home.

What do you think? Quite a few people in the thread agreed with the idea.

Wulfie

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 05:02:17 PM »
I think it goes back to the "if you can't afford to host, don't do it" school of thought.   I am ok with a potluck type set up but charging money is just flat out wrong. Plus, $30 is pretty high for a meal, even a nice one.  We are going to a nice resturant for Thansgiving and it is less than $20 each and that includes wine.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 05:15:53 PM »
This came up on another forum I frequent, and I must say my flabber was ghasted.

If you were hosting Christmas or some other extended family get together in your own home, would you deem it appropriate to ask guests to pay you to contribute to the costs of the meal? Even something smallish such as $30 per person.

Personally, I disagree. If I was in a position to host this many people (I'm not) then I'd ask them to bring food or drink rather than money. I might ask this if we were going out to a restaurant with a set menu or buffet and that $30 got you quite a bit of food and we still covered something like drinks (this was our engagement party). But never in my own home.

What do you think? Quite a few people in the thread agreed with the idea.

I don't think I'd be comfortable with a per head charge. But I guess it depends on your family. Here's some example's that I think it would be fine.

No one in the Jones family enjoys all the work for Thanskgiving but they prefer to eat at home then out. Susan Jones is fine having it at her house but doesn't want the responsibility of cooking. Cindy Jones suggests that have the entire meal catered and they'll split the cost. All are happy.

Kevin is a CIA trained chef and Laura is a master somelier. Their family is happy to have them plan the menu and do all the work as well as appropriate wine pairings. But the family knows a full meal for 20 is expensive so they volunteer to pitch in a per head cost.

Todd and Kelly have been hosting the holidays for 15 years and as the family has expanded more and more are joining their Thanksgiving feast. While previous generations were good about bringing sides and desserts, it seems that more family members are starting to show up empty handed. Todd and Kelly tell the family that they are sorry but they can no longer afford to host a family dinner for 30 and won't be hosting this year. The family cries out "but what will we do" and Todd and Kelly say they'd be happy to host if everyone will chip in on cost.


MommyPenguin

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 05:16:39 PM »
I think it would be okay if, rather than being hosted, it were more of a situation where the family was like, "Okay, where can we get together to have Thanksgiving?  Anybody have a space for 30 people?"  And one person was like, "Well... I have space for 30 people, but there's no way I can buy all that food!  We're having a tough year, with my husband out of work and everything."  And then they were like, "Well, we could rent a space and then bring potluck, but everybody's coming in from so far.  Wait, what about if everybody sends you a check ahead of time for $30, would that be enough to buy all the food ahead of time and help offset the time you'd have to spend cooking everything, and then have it at your place?"  And the woman was like, "Yeah, with Ralph off work, we can both get the cooking done, we just don't have the money for the ingredients."  And then everybody was like YAY and happiness ensued.

But, yeah, in most other circumstances, definitely a no.

Vall

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 05:20:12 PM »
If a host is selling dinners then they aren't hosting the dinner.  What would they be giving to their guests that they aren't charging for?  $30 per person is a very high price in my family.  There would be a lot of people who wouldn't be able to afford to go to the dinner.  They are on fixed incomes, in college, recently unemployed, are pressed tight for medical bills or have several children, etc.  What a shame it would be to exclude all of these people from a "hosted" holiday family gathering.

Would people be expected to tip just like in a restaurant?

I really dislike this idea and would never attend even if I could afford it.

rose red

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 05:25:33 PM »
Is Christmas really a party you (general) want to host, or is your home just the most convenient?  If the entire family want to get together but nobody else want to host or cook or shop or clean, then I don't mind either doing potluck or chipping a reasonable amount for for the food.

I guess it depends on the family and how the request is phased.

shhh its me

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 05:25:48 PM »
   I think it depends on how it evolved.  On the surface its appalling rude but if over the years the family through mutually consent came up with " what works for us is ......" then I think its fine.  I could see " I'm bring the Blank , can I borrow your 22 qt slow cooker?" turning into "rather then come get borrow your slow cooker lug it to and fro. How about I just give you the $50 Blank costs." ,  the  year MOM stops cooking she still wants to buy the turkey , the next year you work out its easier for mom to just pay for the turkey rather then go out buy it and drop it off on Wend.  ect.     

BUT it has to evolve naturally and everyone needs to agree , really agree not just agree to keep the peace.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 05:46:04 PM »
Is Christmas really a party you (general) want to host, or is your home just the most convenient?  If the entire family want to get together but nobody else want to host or cook or shop or clean, then I don't mind either doing potluck or chipping a reasonable amount for for the food.

I guess it depends on the family and how the request is phased.
It's neither, it's just something I saw on the Internet.

As for $30 per person, that's a rather reasonable price in Australia for a set menu when your hosts are covering drinks. But, everyone we invited was in a position to pay this and there were no children in the party. We also made sure the food was good and plentiful. But this is my family and it's about enjoying company.

But I wouldn't feel comfortable with charging in my own home. I'd much rather ask them to bring something like snacks, drinks or dessert which would help me with costs in a way. Not today in planning on doing this as we live in a rather small apartment.

mime

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 05:49:18 PM »
I don't like the idea of charging. It sounds like an admission price for an event rather than a family gathering hosted by relatives. I can't really think of a good way to introduce the subject, either.

Thanksgiving can be financially overwhelming and time&talent-consuming, though, so I think sharing the work and the cost is great. I have no problem with the pot-luck invitation: "We'd love to have you for Thanksgiving; we do pot-luck style. I heard you make great almond-asparagus; can you bring that, or is there something else you'd like to share?"


Deetee

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 06:08:21 PM »
I have a visceral antipathy to  the idea of charging guests for anything. Potluck is fine. Bringing Wine or Appies or Dessert is fine. Charging Money is not fine.

I have twice been offered money for hosting and both times I backed away like someone was offering me a poison snake. I was wondering about it because I would no problem if someone stopped a the liquor store 3 minutes from my house and changed the money into wine. But cash? Ugh!

(I have an exception if a  group of friends get together and decide together that they want to try an especially expensive food or set of wines and they all agree to chip in $20 and buy the lobster/cavier/prime cuts of meat etc...)

peaches

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 06:16:48 PM »

I have twice been offered money for hosting and both times I backed away like someone was offering me a poison snake.

This made me laugh  ;D

I'm firmly in the "if you issue the invite, you are the host and you pay for the event" camp.

Of course, if someone OFFERS help, it's fine to accept that help. I'm not in favor of drafting people to help with your party.

(When a group plans an event together, that's different, it's okay to share the expense or the bringing of food.)

Deetee

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2013, 06:27:43 PM »

I have twice been offered money for hosting and both times I backed away like someone was offering me a poison snake.

This made me laugh  ;D


It was pretty ridiculous. I spent some time thinking about it afterwards as it wasn't the most graceful rejection "No, NO. NOOOO, Of course NOT! NO!" and why I was so distraught and almost insulted when 3 minutes spent laundering that filthy money into a nice bottle of wine would have had me cheery with thank-yous.
 

*inviteseller

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2013, 09:11:19 PM »
I would be so offended if anyone offered me money for a meal and there is no way in a very hot place I would think to charge anyone.  If I can't afford to host, I wouldn't.

mlogica

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 09:16:24 PM »
I'm firmly in the "this is okay if this is how it has evolved in the family" camp.

Also, in my mind it's really not about "charging family members for a home cooked meal"; it's about a family sharing the cost of a holiday dinner.  Particularly in a situation where only one person has a big enough house to host everyone, so the dinners always take place there, it doesn't seem fair for that person to have to shoulder the entire cost.

And while it is possible to spread that cost over a group by having the meal be potluck style, with everyone contributing a dish, it's not always practical.  When counter, fridge, stove top and oven space are all at a premium, the hosts can juggle pot sizes and serving bowls as required; that is not so easy to do when the person bringing the potatoes shows up with a giant roaster that won't fit anywhere.  Even if it's emptied into smaller dishes, the empty pan still has to go somewhere.

To be honest, I think my family does do something to spread out the cost of the big Christmas meal.  My siblings rotate hosting for Christmas, and my parents (who live out of town) always insist on buying the turkey(s), but I think there is a quiet exchange of $$ to cover at least some of the other costs.  Since DH and I live several thousand miles away, and are only there every other Christmas, any time we try to contribute we are told that it cost us enough just to be there, and not to worry about it.

Also, I think we are very fortunate, in that while none of us are "rich", none of us are "poor", either, and we all get along.  No big simmering family drama, thank heavens.  My siblings have families of various sizes, but I don't think anyone counts family members and calculates a per person charge.  It's more a matter of "the whole thing cost $x, so let's all put in $y each".  And of course there would never - ever - be any mention of charging actual non-family guests!  As I say, it's just a quiet thing that I'm pretty sure takes place and that works for my family.

magiccat26

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2013, 10:55:32 PM »
I understand the temptation, but I would never do it.  DH and I just finished buying all the groceries for Thanksgiving. (That was all we purchased).  We spent $350 on the food for one meal to feed 10 people (9 adults, 1 child age 11.  Of course my brother probably counts as two adults...)

We love hosting the dinner for both sides and we are the only ones with a dining room and double oven.  Since this has become a tradition over the past 6 years (since we purchased this house), DH and I just budget for it, knowing it will be expensive since we do it all from scratch.
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