Gransnet forums


Charging family for Christmas lunch

(262 Posts)
Mapleleaf Sat 04-Dec-21 19:14:27

Now, is it just me, and this is the way things are done nowadays so I’m behind the times? Had invitation for Christmas lunch at a family members home, along with other family members, but the person doing the lunch requests all who would like to attend pay them x amount for the privilege, to cover the costs of the food and drink (this includes their parents having to pay, too).

Now, whenever I’ve hosted Christmas lunch, or other events, I’ve never asked the ones I invite to pay for the privilege of eating with me. Some have offered to bring something along - perhaps a dessert, some cheese, a bottle of wine, etc, which was welcome and kind- but this was never an expectation on my part, and I certainly wouldn’t have it as a condition of them being able to come, my view being that I was offering an invitation to join us for lunch or tea, not expecting them to pay or bring something as a condition for coming to it.

I will also add that the people asking for this donation have had, and continue to have, many things given to them without expectation of recompense, over the year, (every year) from many members of the family they are inviting. I think it’s especially poor that they are charging their parents, who always see them “alright” over the year.

Those invited also help with the preparation of the meal and the tidying up afterwards, plus they bring along “extras”.

The ones doing the inviting earn a high income between them - considerably more than those they are inviting to lunch (indeed, the majority are now on a low pension).

They also like to host a buffet and boozy get together on Boxing Day night for their friends and neighbours, using what’s left of the food and drink their family have paid for for their Christmas lunch, which I think is an incredible cheek (or is that just me?) - surely, if there were left overs, those invited for Christmas lunch should be having goody bags to take home left overs for which they have paid, not leaving it as a freebie for these friends and neighbours of the host.

Now, maybe I am being “bah, humbug”, but this charging doesn’t sit easily with me, although many family members have accepted the invitation with this charge (though not everyone).

So, am I being unreasonable to think this is not right, or am I completely old fashioned and behind the times? It’s just I thought such invitations to go to family for lunch were just that - invitations, with no provisos. Therefore, if you can’t afford to host a meal for extended family members, then you don’t offer to host one?

janeainsworth Sat 04-Dec-21 19:18:28

I have no further comment!

Grandmabatty Sat 04-Dec-21 19:19:10

I have read a very similar post on Mumsnet. I would be saying, no thanks. I'll not bother coming.

janeainsworth Sat 04-Dec-21 19:19:35

Oh yes I’ve thought of a comment.
I’d politely decline the invitation.

janeainsworth Sat 04-Dec-21 19:20:21

Great minds Grandmabatty.

Mapleleaf Sat 04-Dec-21 19:21:41

Oh, I’ve declined. I just think it’s a blooming’ cheek, and wondered if that’s what other GN’s thought.

Doodledog Sat 04-Dec-21 19:24:43

I agree that YANBU, and that it's a bloody cheek!

I see no harm in asking people to bring a bottle, but paying for an invitation is not on - you may as well go to a restaurant and order what you want to eat.

EthelJ Sat 04-Dec-21 19:29:18

I can't imagine ever inviting anyone over for a meal and charging them. If I couldn't afford to invite them I wouldn't
If I had to do anything at all I might ask them by to contribute a dish but only if they wanted to. I would never ask for cash!

Chewbacca Sat 04-Dec-21 19:30:09

This has got to be a wind up surely? No one would seriously have the brass neck to charge people, that they've invited, to a Christmas lunch would they? If they have, I'd have to consider that, as the event is now a financial/business arrangement, and not simply a host/guest invitation, that all the formal Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 protocols are being followed, complete with a 5 star food hygiene award by the Food Standards agency. If they wanted me to pay, they'd have to earn it.

lemongrove Sat 04-Dec-21 19:30:32

I would have turned down the invitation the minute I had found out it was a cash transaction.Not the money but the principle!

LauraNorderr Sat 04-Dec-21 19:34:18

Never heard anything like it before. YANBU

Bridgeit Sat 04-Dec-21 19:34:52

If it is a specific & direct invitation with the proviso that everyone chips in , then that would seem to be reasonable, however if it is an unexpected invitation then a token bottle of wine or something of that ilk should be acceptable & mannerly. Best wishes .

Grandmabatty Sat 04-Dec-21 19:36:46

The more I think about this, the more it annoys me! I have hosted Christmas dinners for decades. The last 20 years I regularly had eight or nine or more for a meal and then a buffet supper. I was a single parent and sometimes I was skint but I would never have asked for money from guests who I had invited. I think it's the height of cheek and bad manners.

Septimia Sat 04-Dec-21 19:37:08

Good point about Food Hygiene, Chewbacca !

I'd be inclined to decline and to add "But I'll give the money to charity instead" !

Grammaretto Sat 04-Dec-21 19:38:39

What a shame though that people think like this?
I used to host up to 25 family for the Christmas lunch and people brought treats and booze. MiL, especially, brought the pudding and brandy butter, BiL brought crackers.

They also brought fun and laughter, songs and stories.

I miss it and am finding this year, the second without DH and DFiL particularly strange. I have been invited to DS and DiL's.
They haven't asked for cash! grin

Mapleleaf Sat 04-Dec-21 19:40:04

No * chewbacca*, I can assure you this is no wind up - I don’t do windups. It’s very real, and I think, pretty bad form on their part.

Didn’t realise there was a similar thread on mumsnet as I don’t do mumsnet. Seems like it’s quite a thing with some, then?

freedomfromthepast Sat 04-Dec-21 19:40:20

I am usually the one who hosts family for holiday meals. I do not ask for payment, but this year I thought I might have to due to the costs involved. If prices go up like this again next year, everyone will need to pitch in. We make a good salary, but when I am looking at Christmas looming and the cost of the gifts for my kids also going up, I have to decide where the best use of my money is. I may have to decide between hosting and seeing family and ensuring my kids have gifts.

For our Thanksgiving this year, my out of pocket was nearly $300. That includes a FREE turkey my sister got from her work. On a typical year, my cost was around $100, including paying for the turkey.

I do not think asking to help with the cost of the meal is unreasonable. If I were a guest, I would ask how I could help contribute to the cost of the meal I am eating.

I do, however, think that planning to use the leftovers for a completely different party is unreasonable. They should be bagged and sent home with the people who helped pay for the meal.

Just a different viewpoint for consideration.

Visgir1 Sat 04-Dec-21 19:41:28


eazybee Sat 04-Dec-21 19:47:53

I heard of something similar: a couple inviting guests to their wedding and charging them for the meal, as though it was a dinner dance. 'We are providing the venue and the disco' was their reasoning. Never heard if anyone went.
You are quite right to decline the invitation.

Septimia Sat 04-Dec-21 19:49:35

I can see your point of view freedomfromthepast, but there are other ways of doing it if costs are becoming prohibitive. A shared meal is one, with everyone bringing a contribution. Or simply inviting fewer people.

SachaMac Sat 04-Dec-21 19:49:45

It’s outrageous, I wonder what the other family members they’ve invited are thinking!! They sound very mean spirited, I really don’t think I could stand being in their company.

singingnutty Sat 04-Dec-21 19:54:31

It's difficult to believe that this situation is happening. I would hope that few would agree to take part in the meal but maybe several might decide to drop in on the 'hosts' with a sarcastic food parcel. (Cheap Christmas pudding, turkey twizzlers, oven chips?)

TerriBull Sat 04-Dec-21 19:54:47

YANBU I have heard of this before, but from a personal perspective, when I invite people to my house for lunch/dinner Christmas whatever, when they ask me "what shall I bring?" my reply is" just yourself/ves". Although most often they always bring something such as a bottle or even two, and that is what we do when going to others for a meal. I know when I was in Australia it seemed pretty common place for everyone to bring a dish. A good idea, that worked well when so often the entertaining was out of doors. Having said that I'd never ask for a contribution, I'd rather not host than do that.

FarNorth Sat 04-Dec-21 19:56:41

I think there's no harm in it if the hosts are upfront that they need contributions to the cost because they can't afford it all themselves.
If the hosts can afford it but choose not to, that's different.

Maggiemaybe Sat 04-Dec-21 19:58:33

Goodness no, YANBU, and I certainly wouldn’t be going.

On the other hand, I’d always offer to take something towards the day - the pudding perhaps, or some nice Christmas crackers. As well as the usual bottle.