It's one of the only times of the year when the whole family can get together around the table and have a great meal while feeling truly thankful for what we have. Of course, the other time we do this is thanksgiving. They don't have thanksgiving in the UK, but what they do make a big deal of Christmas dinner, and millions of turkeys are bought for the special day every year.
Now, one British woman has caused a raft of controversy by offering to host Christmas dinner this year, but saying she will only do so if her guests are willing to pay for it. To be precise, she wants her guests to pay £17 a head - that's about $22 each.
Of course, putting on a Christmas dinner isn't cheap - you have to buy a big ol' bird or two, along with roast potatoes, carrots, pigs in blankets and whatever else you're into. I ain't cheap, that's for sure! But charging your guests is certainly controversial.
The story came to light when one woman shared her shock on parenting website Mumsnet when she found out her mother-in-law was proposing the £17-a-head charge 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, the 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 respond - in fact, the thread was flooded with hundreds of commenters, all sticking their oar in about whether or not they thought it was acceptable.
One user simply 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.
I agree with this user, to be honest. 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 organize it herself. Also £17 isn’t exactly much; maybe Christmas is breaking her financially and she can’t do it all any more."
Others came to her defense in the thread, with one user commenting that it had once cost her a whopping £400 (around $500) to put Christmas Dinner on for her large family.
If you ask Aunty Acid, I think this is really poor form. As one of the users said, if you can't afford to put on a Christmas dinner, then don't.
People will not judge you for that, but they certainly will judge you for expecting to pay for it.
It's not that they're entitled, it just feels a little vulgar for money to change hands over what is supposed to be an intimate family moment.
It's also a bizarrely specific sum on money at £17 - why not round it up to £20?
What do you think, folks? Is she way out of line, or do people have the right to charge whatever they like for Christmas dinner - or for that matter, Thanksgiving dinner? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!