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    • MSE Megan F
    • By MSE Megan F 8th Dec 16, 3:13 PM
    • 154Posts
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    MSE Megan F
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I say it's your turn to pay for Christmas dinner?
    • #1
    • 8th Dec 16, 3:13 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I say it's your turn to pay for Christmas dinner? 8th Dec 16 at 3:13 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    For the past few years we've had the family round to ours for Christmas dinner, and paid for most of the food and drink. We've been invited to my sister's this year, but now they suddenly want a kitty for us all to chip in, should I say something?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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    Last edited by MSE Megan F; 19-12-2016 at 3:17 PM.

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Page 3
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 15th Dec 16, 7:15 PM
    • 9,735 Posts
    • 12,683 Thanks
    BobQ
    I would first ask if your sister can afford to invite you all around? If so then I would ask why she thinks a kitty is appropriate when she has been to yours on so many previous occasions.

    Is it possible that her family has financial difficulties and that having invited you they have just realised the financial costs they have committed to pay? Is it possible that they are not as well off as you think, but are embarrassed to keep taking your generosity so wanted to offer to host?

    If your sister is simply one of life's takers and can well afford to host maybe the thing to do is simply refuse and celebrate Xmas at yours.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • Gilly the Filly
    • By Gilly the Filly 15th Dec 16, 11:20 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Gilly the Filly
    Just pay up!
    I've hosted Christmas dinners for 5 years for my husband's family (sometimes for 14 people!) and have always loved it. I also host the odd dinner throughout the year and would never have dreamt of asking anyone for money. They also do not bring anything with them (they don't drink alcohol, so don't bring me any, although I could do with it after cooking for that many sometimes! and don't think of flowers/chocolates, for some reason!) One of his brothers has now started hosting the odd family occassion during the year and has invited us all over whereupon we've been offered the menu from a Chinese & we order it by phone, he goes & collects it and the price is split 4 ways (4 families. Only my husband and small child eat it as I have coeliac disease, so I have to bring my own food anyway.) When my mother-in-law told us recently about the dad's birthday being held at said house, I asked if we were going to be buying our own food again as I think it's a bit silly to host, but not provide anything but a venue, it has all become frosty and the parents then paid for all the food (from take-away again) and we were treated to a rather unwelcoming home to eat at. I would advise you just pay up, say it's a great idea for future gatherings and keep your opinions to yourself as frostiness is not worth the money. Vent about it in a private, safe place and keep smiling in company. Merry Christmas!
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 16th Dec 16, 8:20 AM
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    Pollycat
    I've hosted Christmas dinners for 5 years for my husband's family (sometimes for 14 people!) and have always loved it. I also host the odd dinner throughout the year and would never have dreamt of asking anyone for money. They also do not bring anything with them (they don't drink alcohol, so don't bring me any, although I could do with it after cooking for that many sometimes! and don't think of flowers/chocolates, for some reason!) One of his brothers has now started hosting the odd family occassion during the year and has invited us all over whereupon we've been offered the menu from a Chinese & we order it by phone, he goes & collects it and the price is split 4 ways (4 families. Only my husband and small child eat it as I have coeliac disease, so I have to bring my own food anyway.) When my mother-in-law told us recently about the dad's birthday being held at said house, I asked if we were going to be buying our own food again as I think it's a bit silly to host, but not provide anything but a venue, it has all become frosty and the parents then paid for all the food (from take-away again) and we were treated to a rather unwelcoming home to eat at. I would advise you just pay up, say it's a great idea for future gatherings and keep your opinions to yourself as frostiness is not worth the money. Vent about it in a private, safe place and keep smiling in company. Merry Christmas!
    Originally posted by Gilly the Filly
    I think it's quite rude to go to someone's house for dinner and not take anything at all, especially when the host (you) is putting such a lot of money and effort into it.

    I also think it's inconsiderate to invite people over and order food for a large number of people when one of those people paying for it is unable to eat it.

    Your OH's family don't sound particularly nice, being 'frosty' and 'unwelcoming'.

    I think in the circumstances you describe I wouldn't be keeping my opinions to myself.
    • mai_taylor
    • By mai_taylor 16th Dec 16, 10:39 AM
    • 184 Posts
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    mai_taylor
    If the host can't afford it then they shouldn't invite people round. Go to another families house and take a few items and offer to help out.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 16th Dec 16, 10:55 AM
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    Pollycat
    If the host can't afford it then they shouldn't invite people round. Go to another families house and take a few items and offer to help out.
    Originally posted by mai_taylor
    The original post doesn't say the hosts can't afford it - just that they want a kitty this year.


    For the past few years we've had the family round to ours for Christmas dinner, and paid for most of the food and drink. We've been invited to my sister's this year, but now they suddenly want a kitty for us all to chip in, should I say something?
    Originally posted by MSE Megan F
    Sometimes, the people with most money are the meanest.

    Or it may be that the person who is hosting has the most room to accommodate people but doesn't have the cash to be able to buy all the food and drink.

    It may be more comfortable to be sat round a large dining room table than perched on plastic garden furniture eating at a card table.
    Last edited by Pollycat; 16-12-2016 at 11:04 AM.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 16th Dec 16, 11:14 AM
    • 28,380 Posts
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    Mojisola
    If the host can't afford it then they shouldn't invite people round.
    Originally posted by mai_taylor
    Why should one family member carry all the cost of a big family celebration?

    Big events were usually held at our house because we had the space but everyone coming contributed to the meal - one family would bring the turkey and trimmings, another the puddings, etc.

    We did the veggies and other things that needed last minute attention.

    Everyone sat down to a meal that was a real family effort.
    • gaving7095
    • By gaving7095 16th Dec 16, 11:47 AM
    • 135 Posts
    • 109 Thanks
    gaving7095
    No. Presumably they've asked because they can't afford it & just want to be with family. Help them out.

    Also, remember it for next time when it's your turn again - they've set a precedent so whether or not you can afford it, if you want to ask people to chip in then do :-)

    The scenario seems strange to me, in those circumstances regardless of who is hosting I would expect ALL guests to offer or even insist on bringing something, from booze to snacks to a desert or side.
    • ButterflyLC
    • By ButterflyLC 17th Dec 16, 8:39 AM
    • 43 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    ButterflyLC
    Similar situation with my sister this year. She has been at ours for Christmas dinner, Hogmanay and New Years Day for the last few years and I have provided everything no question. In fairness she does ask if she should bring something, so I always suggest something to drink with dinner (fancy soft drinks, nothing alcoholic) or a small dessert, but I am always happy to provide. She then tends to buy something only she likes. Now we are going to hers this year, we are expected to bring everything for dinner. She is just tight though. We did calmly say you can't invite people for dinner and then a week or 2 before tell them that they have to provide their own dinner.

    Personally I would mention that is not how you have done things every other Christmas so this one should be no different. I wouldn't contribute to a kitty but I would bring a dessert or something.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 17th Dec 16, 9:02 AM
    • 18,051 Posts
    • 46,020 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Similar situation with my sister this year. She has been at ours for Christmas dinner, Hogmanay and New Years Day for the last few years and I have provided everything no question. In fairness she does ask if she should bring something, so I always suggest something to drink with dinner (fancy soft drinks, nothing alcoholic) or a small dessert, but I am always happy to provide. She then tends to buy something only she likes. Now we are going to hers this year, we are expected to bring everything for dinner. She is just tight though. We did calmly say you can't invite people for dinner and then a week or 2 before tell them that they have to provide their own dinner.
    Originally posted by ButterflyLC
    So how did she take this?
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 17th Dec 16, 9:58 PM
    • 19,581 Posts
    • 31,623 Thanks
    Spendless
    Personally I would ignore the request and only if directly asked would I reply 'Oh, didn't think you were including us since we've hosted and paid for everything every other year'

    The exception would be if you are far more financially secure and they are struggling.
    • Murphybear
    • By Murphybear 22nd Dec 16, 4:23 AM
    • 3,191 Posts
    • 6,629 Thanks
    Murphybear
    I had a similar situation...ish.

    I was invited by a newish friend to join her and her friends for Christmas dinner on Christmas day. I already had plans for a big family lunch so said I'd join for a drink in the evening.

    When I arrived they were just sitting down and insisted I eat something as there was so much food.so I picked at a few bits. The next day my "friend" asked me for £25 contribution. I coughed it up and now we are ex friends (well that's not the only reason... her demanding and unreasonable behaviour was getting more and more out of hand)
    Originally posted by Ladyhawk
    That is appalling.
    • Murphybear
    • By Murphybear 22nd Dec 16, 4:34 AM
    • 3,191 Posts
    • 6,629 Thanks
    Murphybear
    I actually think this is sad, asking for money. I don't have a family to invite or be invited to. Just me, him indoors and the cat.

    About 30 years ago I went to my brother's for Christmas and took loads of food, I wouldn't dreamt of going without a massive contribution, but I was there for 3/4 days. We were not turkey eaters so one year I took the biggest piece of beef I could find which they really appreciated as with 2 small children and one salary things were a bit tight.

    If I were the OP I would offer to bring something special, homemade or one of the posh desserts from M & S. I wouldn't turn the whole thing into a commercial transaction
    • cherydee
    • By cherydee 2nd Jan 17, 12:06 AM
    • 750 Posts
    • 538 Thanks
    cherydee
    We always seem to manage lunch quite well. Usually about 16 of us. My daughter has a large open plan kitchen/dining room so we have lunch at hers. Every year my sister in law and I split the costs, keeping a note of who buys what. Every year I wrap a xmas theme scratch card around each cracker. Yes, it is expensive but it's the one day of the year where we all get together and all pitch in. This year everything added in totalled £200, well more really, but because I wouldn't add the scratch cards into the total my sister in law refused to add in the cost of the wines she had bought.
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