Anyone who has ever prepared a traditional Christmas dinner for their family knows that it can be an expensive meal. Between the main course and dessert and beverages and alcohol, it can end of amounting to a large sum of money. While most people are happy to host their family in their home and don't blink at the cost, one woman in the UK is asking her family members to pitch in to cover the costs, and many have mixed feelings about it.
One woman recently posted on UK parenting forum Mumsnet about her mother in-law who is asking for the equivalent of $21 USD per person to make Christmas dinner. "My partner has just told me me that his mother who he's having Christmas lunch with said she wants £17 per head from him," Mumsnet user Staceyjas wrote.
"I'm going to my family's for lunch so invited him also but he has had it there all his life with his grandparents and siblings too. she said she doesn't want to do It all from scratch and wants to Get it all pre done so it's more money, which I understand but he's gutted and feels like he wants to come to my family now," she added. "I can see it from both sides and it's hard work and can be expensive but not like she is financially destitute."
She wrote that her partner had offered to bring a dessert and feels wrong simply handing over cash and asked the other users on the forum for their opinions in the matter.
Not surprisingly, the reactions were mixed. Many couldn't understand why the mother in-law didn't simply ask people to bring a dish each and have a 'pot luck' style Christmas lunch, while others completely understood and sympathized with how expensive it can be to cook for a large number of people.
"Don't think of it as her charging you but instead think of it as you all contributing to the cost of the food," wrote one commenter. "Personally I wouldn't - I would ask people to contribute by bringing specific contributions to the meal instead", wrote another who couldn't help but point out Christmas is expensive enough, "But if someone asked me for cash I'd pay - it's really expensive hosting, particularly at an expensive time of the year."
Another commenter said they'd be completely offended if asked to give money to cover the cost of their meal. "Cannot think of anything less hospitable than setting the menu and demanding your ‘guests’ pay for it."
This isn't the first time people have been split on whether to ask for money for Christmas dinner. Last year Gemma Andrews made headlines when she asked her family to pay $40 a head for the dinner she prepares. With four children, one of whom has severe food allergies, Andrews has said she prefers to cook so she knows the meal is safe for her son. With the rising costs of preparing a meal for her growing family that involved alcohol and a full meal for her children, grandparents and even her ex-husbands family, Andrews said the cost covers everything, and no one really has an issue with it.
I think we can agree that the cost of a Christmas meal can be quite high, so is it really unreasonable to ask others to chip in? Is it more appropriate to simply ask your guests to bring a dish or bottle of wine and avoid the exchange of money? There doesn't seem to be any right or wrong way to go about it as long as you're not offending anyone on your guest list by asking them to pay for their dinner.