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Author Topic: Charging family members for a home cooked meal  (Read 28276 times)

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2014, 03:08:10 PM »
Recently in another forum I frequent one of the other posters was invited to a wedding where the bride and groom invited a poster and her DH to a wedding and asked guests to pay $60 each. And contribute to a wishing well.

This is in addition to paying for petrol accommodation and someone to look after her kids.

Apparently the bride won't think much of the guests who don't pay the price of admission to her wedding, saying they obviously don't mean much to her.

I imagine, if they asked for cash in lieu of gifts (and didn't specify an amount) people would be generous anyway.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2014, 04:04:59 PM »
Well, see, I think that's what people are saying.  Obviously that's NOT OKAY, big time.  And the OP seems to be saying that the principle applies across the board, in all situations: hosts pay, guests don't.

But what is rude for a wedding or even a dinner party is not rude for a family meal -- not necessarily, anyway.  I mean, as in the Miss Manners letter I referenced, I wouldn't tell the wedding guests to head into the hotel kitchen and do the dishes.  But if my adult kids and their spouses are in town for a holiday, do they do the dishes after the big meal?  Of course.  I don't even think that there is anything wrong with asking the whole family to pitch in.  If it's okay to suggest a potluck family dinner, it's okay to suggest cost-sharing with the same group, especially if a potluck is untenable for some reason.  Remember, there's another difference between a family holiday meal and a dinner party: you don't have the same freedom of arranging the guest list.  It's not "your party" -- it's the family holiday meal, even when you are the host.

It certainly wouldn't be okay to spring it even on family by handing everyone a bill at the end of dinner without warning.  But if the family in the story OP read customarily divides the expense of holiday meals, then an outsider, a new in-law, or even a disagreeing member of the original group was, in my opinion, probably just trying to make trouble by calling it "charging family members for a home cooked meal." 

I'll bet you anything that the rest of the family doesn't say they are being "charged."  "What are we doing for Thanksgiving?  Well, our family really likes to be together, but we can't take turns because only my sister Daisy has a big enough place for all of 24 of us, and we can't really do potluck because half the people live out of town or don't cook, so we all chip in for the groceries and wine so Daisy doesn't have to foot the bill for that big group a few times a year.  It's enough she does all the cooking!"

Not quite so shocking that way, eh?  Even if Daisy had been the one to suggest it to begin with.

Why couldn't the person in the original story simply say they don't want to do it this way anymore and suggest an alternative such as taking turns hosting or giving the alternative to do some of the cooking or bring beverages instead?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 04:24:19 PM by gellchom »


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #62 on: January 14, 2014, 11:09:54 AM »
After Mom died, Dad loved having the big holiday/family meals at their place.  Before she died, we had moved around from our place, my sisters place and their place.  Dad didn't cook, so all of that work was on my sister and I.

So, Dad would pay for the meat and give my sister and me twenty bucks each to cover the rest of the costs.  We never asked, he just offered because he said it wasn't fair to make us pay for everything and have the hassle of transporting it to his place with him doing nothing but the vacuuming before we showed up.  :)

I agree with the posters who have said that family meals are often different.  They can be potlucks or done by one or two family members like the way my sister and I would split out the meals.  And the guest list isn't our guest list, but the family guest list.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #63 on: January 14, 2014, 04:58:06 PM »
It occurs to me that another difference between a traditional big family meal and a hosted meal is the menu.  When you host a dinner, you choose the menu that makes the most sense for you, including the most sense for your budget.  But often a traditional family meal involves very specific food.  If those particular items are beyond the budget of the family member who is providing the space, then (IMHO) it behooves the rest of the family to contribute in some way.  And it may be simplest to simply give the hosting family member some money to purchase the supplies.

FWIW, I found out over Christmas that my family has changed how they handle the costs of the big family meal.  It's no longer split up each year.  Instead, each of my siblings (who for years have taken turns providing space in an established order) picks up all the costs in the year that he/she hosts.  I'm sure the costs vary somewhat from year to year, but clearly not enough that anyone is worried about it.  Works for them so who am I to argue? :)


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »
My sister's husband is terribly allergic to dogs and cats, and the other four sisters (including me) all have pets in our house. For that reason, my sister will usually host holiday dinners at her house. Normally it's done potluck, and we just figure out among ourselves who is bringing what.
But, if for some reason something is going to be well above the average expense (say, the year we all wanted a honeybaked ham), I really wouldn't have a problem with Sis asking us to chip in. As long as it was an asking, and we had the option to decline. IE, if she said "Hey, I thought we could all make sides, and then chip in to buy a honeybaked ham.. would that work?" OTOH, I'd be miffed at, "OK, I decided on honeybaked ham.. your share is $20."