Should Christmas guests share the cost of family meals?

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Family Christmas dinner

Christmas is the season for enjoying quality time with family and friends and catching up with relatives you may not have seen all year.

One of the highlights for most people is the Christmas dinner.

As great as the dinner may be, it can be expensive especially if the house is filled with members of your extended family.

Family Christmas dinner

With this in mind, would it be so wrong for the host to ask guests to chip in to help keep the cost down.

A primary school teacher has revealed that she did exactly that when both her and her partners family came for Christmas.

Leah Wright asked guests for €55 per person to help with the cost, instead of bringing bottles of wine or food as presents. In return she and her husband – who is a fine dining chef – put on a quality meal including duck breast, turkey, gammon and pork and all the trimmings.

The 29-year-old said: “It wasn’t initially great news for everybody and didn’t go down well with some.

“My partner’s family made comments like, ‘What’s the point of inviting people if you’re going to charge them?’

“But the reason behind it was the fact that we’d just had a baby, I was on maternity leave, and the only reason we chose to host Christmas was because we felt we had the biggest amount of space and it was important to us to have both his and my family in the same space.

“We felt obliged to be the hosts but we didn’t want to take on the financial cost.

“It was a massive amount of people, we had to completely change the house around to have that many in it, it took a look of work. But it was nice to not be really skint after Christmas.”

Leah admitted that she would raise an eyebrow if the tables were turned and somebody had asked her to pay for a meal in their home.

However, she understands that with many guests the cost can begin to skyrocket, and is grateful to her family for seeing her point of view.

She said; “I think because my family were so good about it, it didn’t make me feel bad.

“For me, Christmas is expensive anyway with the children, and the extra cost of then having to pay for dinner just because you’re hosting doesn’t seem fair.

“I think a lot more people would offer to host Christmas if they didn’t have to take on the cost of having 14-odd people to feed.

“I don’t think it’s embarrassing to ask to split it so that you are able to host – I think you just need the guts to ask!”

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling