Author Topic: Charging family members for a home cooked meal  (Read 9946 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2013, 10:18:38 AM »
OP, you mentioned an extended holiday.  What does that mean?  I think since we are coming up on Thanksgiving people are thinking a single traditional turkey dinner which would be unlikely to cost $30 a person.  However,  the OP didn't say Thanksgiving and mentioned an extended holiday which could mean more than one meal. That's why I would say it depends. If the family is used to prime rib or lobster for Christmas dinner and the expectation is that the host provides it, I don't see defraying costs as unreasonable.

If the family of 5 are guests for three days and consume multiple meals and snacks,  some money for groceries does not seem unthinkable.

bloo

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2013, 10:35:15 AM »
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...)

Totally agree with this!

I recently hosted / organized a party for 200+ persons and was wondering about something that could entertain the kids. I asked my BFF if she had any idea on the cost of renting a bouncy house. She told me what she thought they ran, price-wise, and I said okay (price sounded reasonable but out of my league). Maybe she could tell from my reaction that I would probably not consider it, so she suggested renting one and asking parents to chip in. I shook my head vigorously 'no' and said I could not do that. I'd rather forgo than 'rent and ask others to contribute'. I already had too much on my plate to try to organize renting/begging, anyway. She seemed hurt that I blanched at her idea.

At my party, we provided an expensive main dish and asked others to contribute potluck style. It could be a side, dessert, drinks, paper plates, etc. Everyone was asked what category they'd prefer if they could contribute.

Food? Yes!

Money? No!

However...

I have also experienced the one exception where friends asked if we wanted to chip into a lobster boil. It went great and we only had to pay for our lobsters. Our friend provided everything else and cooked the lobsters we paid for. Hating to arrive anywhere empty-handed, we brought booze.


rose red

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2013, 12:08:15 PM »
Please keep in mind the OP is talking about Australian dollars and she said that amount is reasonable where she's from. 

Of course that has nothing to do with the opinions of charging at all, even $3.  But there are posters saying they are willing to pay, and if we don't focus on $30, it can open up interesting discussions on cost. 

lowspark

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2013, 12:37:41 PM »
OP, you mentioned an extended holiday.  What does that mean?  I think since we are coming up on Thanksgiving people are thinking a single traditional turkey dinner which would be unlikely to cost $30 a person.  However,  the OP didn't say Thanksgiving and mentioned an extended holiday which could mean more than one meal. That's why I would say it depends. If the family is used to prime rib or lobster for Christmas dinner and the expectation is that the host provides it, I don't see defraying costs as unreasonable.

If the family of 5 are guests for three days and consume multiple meals and snacks,  some money for groceries does not seem unthinkable.

I think you're referring to this sentence:
Quote
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?

And I think it's the family that is "extended", not the holiday. In other words you are hosting a  meal for extended family.

I understood it to mean one meal.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2013, 12:52:44 PM »
We are going to a buffet place for TG dinner this year - it will be about $12 per person for all you can eat.  We will not have to pitch in for clean up but we won't have any leftovers either.

After lunch we will watch football then join the other lunatics for some shopping.  It's well worth the $50 I will spend to feed my kids & grandkids and not have the wee ones running amok too long in my house or have to be stressed over cooking/arranging the meal.

I used to host our entire family, sometimes around 25 people.  I cooked the turkey, dressing, couple of pies, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs and iced tea - everyone else contributed other side dishes and pies.  No joke one year we had more pies/cakes then attendees. It's overachieving at it's finest and it's expensive, it also required a deep cleaning of my house and then a major mess afterwards (even if other's helped with the dishes).  Dividing & storing leftovers, cleanup of spillage and trash, it's just more work.   

Nah, I'm good with the buffet! There's no way I would throw down $30 a head for a meal I could buy across town for half that.  I don't mind pitching in $30 to a general fund but $30 each - not happening.   


Twik

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2013, 01:14:13 PM »
I think every family dynamic is different.

My brother has generously hosted our family for Thanksgiving now for about 10 years. He takes my sister shopping and buys everything and then she cooks it at his house. This year he has moved out of state and is not coming home for the holidays. I live a couple hours away from everyone plus I will be working til 3 that day. I asked my sister if she would be willing to have the meal at her house. She agreed but I know she isn't able to afford the whole meal and I don't have time to cook. So I sent her a check to cover some of the cost.
I didn't have a problem with this and I sure hope I didn't insult her.
I'm sure you didn't insult her by stepping up and doing what your brother had previously done to assist her.

It's one thing for people to offer to help, but for a host to say, "If you want to come and break bread with me, it's $X," is antithetical to hosting.

At most, one can mention that the big ticket items may not show up as expected due to cost, and hope that the rest of the family goes, "Oh, it's not fair that *you* pay for everything! We'll chip in!" Chipping in is accepted by etiquette - demanding that people chip in is not.

The idea that you can charge your guests is a sad development. What it will lead to is people feeling that they must pay exorbitant amounts, so that some hosts can have bragging rights about how luxurious their spread was. Yes, anyone can feed people in style if other people pay for it. But to be polite, if you can't afford to host, don't host, or find a way to do it less expensively.
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Sharnita

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2013, 01:19:27 PM »
I think if they are saying "we want/need x" you can say "I am happy to prepare that but the cost is prohibitive unless everyone helps".

mlogica

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2013, 01:30:29 PM »
Chipping in is accepted by etiquette - demanding that people chip in is not.

I think this is a great way to express it, and it goes along with what I am picturing as an evolving process.  Not a situation where someone who is hosting just unilaterally decides one day that he/she will start charging everyone.  Rather, a gradual move from contributing actual food to contributing the $$ that would pay for that food.  It wouldn't work in every group or family.  But it's not inherently rude if the group involved are all in agreement that it's the sensible thing for them to do.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2013, 04:07:48 PM »
If you are travelling, it's not hard to bring drinks or snacks from the supermarket.

I went back to find the $30 menu where we had engagement party and it's no longer there, I think there's new management.

Paying might be better for something you offer, such as to grandparents who host Christmas but need help with the grocery bill. In the end, it us about spending time with people.

gramma dishes

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2013, 04:48:43 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.


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Twik

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2013, 04:57:49 PM »
Chipping in is accepted by etiquette - demanding that people chip in is not.

I think this is a great way to express it, and it goes along with what I am picturing as an evolving process.  Not a situation where someone who is hosting just unilaterally decides one day that he/she will start charging everyone.  Rather, a gradual move from contributing actual food to contributing the $$ that would pay for that food.  It wouldn't work in every group or family.  But it's not inherently rude if the group involved are all in agreement that it's the sensible thing for them to do.

Well, also if they can avoid the implication of "You have three kids? Great, give us $150, or don't come."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Oh Joy

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2013, 05:15:39 PM »
I think that there are a ton of factors to be taken into context.

It's one thing to commandeer hosting and planning, then send a 'ticket price' to everyone.  Not OK in my book.  It's another thing entirely if someone was discretely saying 'Grandma and Grandpa spend around $XXX on groceries every Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas to feed us all.  It would be nice to help offset the cost.'  There can be a place for that.

Again, countless variables and 'what ifs' come into play.  But I think specific background and family dynamics make a blanket answer difficult.

mlogica

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2013, 07:58:57 PM »
Chipping in is accepted by etiquette - demanding that people chip in is not.

I think this is a great way to express it, and it goes along with what I am picturing as an evolving process.  Not a situation where someone who is hosting just unilaterally decides one day that he/she will start charging everyone.  Rather, a gradual move from contributing actual food to contributing the $$ that would pay for that food.  It wouldn't work in every group or family.  But it's not inherently rude if the group involved are all in agreement that it's the sensible thing for them to do.

Well, also if they can avoid the implication of "You have three kids? Great, give us $150, or don't come."

True.  I admit that I'm seeing this through some rather rose-coloured glasses, given that my family dynamics around this kind of thing are so simple and non-stressful.  No doubt there are lots of families where this isn't true.

Also, FTR, this would never fly in my husband's family.  It's smaller, the various siblings are more spread out geographically and not as close, my MIL is still very much in charge of big holiday dinners, and so on.  Heck, I feel awkward bringing wine, and can not begin to imagine offering to help provide anything else, never mind offer $$.

Miss Tickle

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2013, 10:48:29 PM »
Hosting is sacred. That's why people bring you presents when you do.

Gathering is not.

I'd rather feed as many as I can on my budget than as many as I want on yours.

turnip

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2013, 03:20:40 PM »
I would never charge for a event in my home.

However some extended family gathering are upwards of 30 people, and the family 'home' often belongs to a couple on a fixed income.  This is usually handled by a potluck/food sharing sort arrangement but - I'll tell you the truth.  I hate cooking.  I particularly hate cooking 'on the road' trying to find something that can be pre-prepped, or bringing a pile of ingredients and then fighting for burner space.

If someone suggested I just cut them a check, I'd do so with a smile and spend a happy holiday drinking wine on the couch!