Mother-In-Law Asked Family To Pay $21 Per Person For Christmas Lunch

Oct 23, 2021 by apost team

Trying to save money during the holiday season can be stressful and challenging. There are many presents to buy and parties to attend. If you happen to host an event at your house the cost of food can get out of control pretty quickly. 

This is especially true if you decide to have the food catered instead of cooking. One woman turned to the online forum Mumsnet to ask if it was unreasonable to charge your family money for food at Christmas lunch or dinner.

The woman, whose username is Staceyjas, explained in a post from 2018 that her partner’s mother was asking her family to pay $21 per person for a catered meal. She explained that her mother-in-law normally cooks the food from scratch for Christmas lunch but that year she wanted to get the food premade. This would save the mother-in-law time and energy but would also end up costing a lot more money.

The woman’s partner tried to ask his mother if he could bring a dish instead of paying because to him it felt wrong to ask a family member to pay for a meal. This drove the woman to ask users on Mumsnet for their opinions on the situation. More than 500 people left comments sharing their advice.

There were contrasting opinions in the comments section. About half of the users agreed that it was wrong to ask family to pay for food, while the other half thought it was perfectly reasonable to ask guests to contribute financially. Keep reading to find out more about this holiday dilemma. 

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The holidays are supposed to be a time of giving, but does that make it wrong to ask for help financially? User Staceyjas started her post on Mumsnet by writing: “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.”

The mother-in-law asked for help paying for the food, but her son’s partner says she should be able to afford it. The woman wrote: “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. I can see it from both sides and it's hard work and can be expensive but not like she is financially destitute.”

She added, “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.”

In the comments section, Staceyjas cleared up some of the details of the situation. She said, “There are 4 adults (including him) and 1 toddler attending. And if I was hosting I would not dream of askin’ for money, just bring a bottle. My point is she (doesn’t) charge him for a normal Sunday roast and it's just added bits so why can't he bring them?”

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Opinions were mixed amongst the commenters. “Personally, I wouldn't - I would ask people to contribute by bringing specific contributions to the meal instead (‘Uncle Paul is bringing stuffing, Auntie Lucy is doing the sprouts’ type thing) But if someone asked me for cash I'd pay - it's really expensive hosting, particularly at an expensive time of the year. When we have had Christmas meals as a big group of friends, we split the cost,” wrote one Mumsnet user.

Another person posted: “It's really expensive to cater for Christmas dinner for a lot of people. If we do Christmas with my family, we will share the cost of the 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.”

Others disagreed and thought asking for money was rude. A commenter said, “We host Christmas: buy the turkey and pudding, everyone else brings a dish (like) 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.”

A different person agreed and commented: “No - I would never ask people to pay to come to my house for dinner. Take turns each year or ask people to bring a dish if you are short on cash.” 

It seems there is no clear answer to this question. Families will have to look at their own situations and decide for themselves what’s right. However, talking to your family about the problem is usually the right thing to do.

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Would you charge your family for Christmas lunch or dinner? Would it bother you if someone asked you to pay? Let us know your opinions and be sure to pass this on to your friends and family.

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