My favourite part of Christmas Day without hesitation is Christmas dinner.
Each year my mum makes a delicious roast which I enjoy with a glass, or two, of prosecco while wearing a silly Christmas hat or reindeer antlers.
Although there are only four of us with all of my family being vegetarian, the cost of all that food and booze does rack up even without a turkey so I dread to think how much it costs in other households.
To be honest it doesn’t surprise me then when I hear of people charging their family members to attend Christmas dinner to cover the cost.
While I would say bring a bottle of bubbly and we are covered, some people are charging a per head fee to attend dinner.
One woman shared her shock on parenting website Mumsnet when she found out her mother-in-law was charging £17-a-head to attend this year’s Christmas dinner.
Taken aback by her mother-in-law, the woman took to the website to see what others thought of the policy.
Adding that she and her partner were now considering other plans for Christmas dinner, user ‘Staceyjas’ wrote:
Am I being unreasonable to think you should ask family to pay for their Christmas lunch?
My partner has just told me that his mother, who he’s having Christmas lunch with, said she wants £17 per head from him! 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 tt 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. I can see it from both sides and it’s hard work and can be expensive but not like she is financially destitute.
This has never happened before and he has offered to bring the dessert etc but he said handing over cash just feels wrong. As he says it’s about family not money but I wanted to see what other people’s opinions are or if you do this.
It didn’t take long for people to share their opinions on the matter with the post receiving over 400 replies at time of writing (November 26).
While some were shocked by the idea of charging your family for Christmas dinner, others thought it was a reasonable request.
One user couldn’t understand why the mother-in-law was charging writing:
If you can’t afford it, don’t invite people. Or only cook what you can afford. I’d never charge anyone, far less family, for dinner.
Another user was clearly outraged by the idea:
OMG! No! F*ck, that is horrible. We host Christmas. buy the turkey and pudding, everyone else brings a dish e.g. sausages in blankets etc. That shares the cost and the work. Cannot think of anything less hospitable than setting the menu and demanding your ‘guests’ pay for it!
Some users supported the mother-in-law though with one commenting:
I think it’s fair to be honest; why should she have to cover the cost every year when its likely to be £100 plus and why should she have to cover the cost of not wanting to do so much cooking.
We don’t actually give money to whoever hosts but do the equivalent really in bringing champagne/pudding/starter but maybe she doesn’t trust everyone to remember/get the right thing and wants to organise it herself. Also £17 isn’t exactly much; maybe Christmas is breaking her financially and she can’t do it all any more.
Another user added:
It’s really expensive to cater for Christmas dinner for a lot of people. I did it one year it cost me over £400.
If we do Christmas with my family, we will share cost of food or all bring different components of the dinner…
Don’t think of it as her charging you but instead think of it as you all contributing to the cost of the food.
What would your reaction be if your parents or relatives started charging for Christmas dinner? Would you be angered, shocked or think it is a reasonable request?
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.