Charging at Christmas.............

(47 Posts)
KeepCalm Sat 26-Nov-16 21:57:41

We are a family of 5. We have one very good friend who has joined us for years at christmas. He now has a partner who was with us last year but not the year before as he had other prior arrangements. I imagine he'll be joining us again as a plus one with our friend although they haven't confirmed.

We also have another family of 4 who joined us for Christmas day/dinner last year. They are hoping to come again this year as they really enjoyed last year which is lovely as we all get on very well, including the children smile

This makes us a total of 11 on Christmas Day.

The family of 4 have said they can only come if they can contribute to the cost of the meal etc. This is very kind and much appreciated as whilst we are happy to host to jump from 6 to 11 is quite a financial leap.

My query is what to do with the friend and his partner? They area a double income/ no kids household with a trip abroad immediately before Christmas and another trip abroad immediately after Christmas so not particularly strapped for cash. If previous year are anything to go by they'll bring a bottle of fizz arrive in time to sit for the meal.

I had wanted to do bacon butties and selection boxes from the year following my Dad dying but DH and our friend insisted on the full Christmas Day meal so I now make DH cook most of it grin (in my defence I cook every single other day as part of my day job)

I think I'll feel a tad awkward taking money from our friends (family of 4) and not mentioning anything to the couple who are easily the best off financially out of all of us. I also believe they'd feel awkward if they discovered the family were contributing and they weren't.

Should I say something or is there an easier way of doing this that I haven't thought of? Maybe asking everyone to bring something specific to contribute to the meal etc?

A little help will be gratefully received please MNers. These are very lovely friends and as DH is actually off work this year we can enjoy Christmas and would hate there to be an atmosphere or cause anyone to be uncomfortable.

FeelingSmurfy Sat 26-Nov-16 22:04:21

Three sets of people, I would suggest you do the main course and each the others do starter or dessert for everyone

Bobsmum02 Sat 26-Nov-16 22:06:57

Rather than a financial contribution I would ask each group to contribute something to the meal. I.e. Ask the family of 4 to provide starter or deserts and the couple to provide wine/champagne just make it clear that it's enough for the whole group (so they don't just turn up with one bottle).

I've got a big family and they always come to me for Christmas, my sister and her family bring a selection of deserts and my grandparents always give me the money for the turkey lol. My mum cooks a breakfast for everyone at her house first thing too to contribute to the whole day's cost. It's an expensive meal isn't it!

Somerville Sat 26-Nov-16 22:08:11

Charging is awkward, surely? Specify what people should bring so that you don't need to purchase those things.

GooseFriend Sat 26-Nov-16 22:10:04

I really like pp suggestion. Otherwise bite the bullet and say what you've said here: jump from feeding your family of 4 to feeding 11 is expensive so in order to do it can they chip in £x.

Then make sure you spend it on the food! Number of threads on here where ppl pay friends £££ and get two Iceland mini sausages and a party hat!

Bagina Sat 26-Nov-16 22:10:18

Yes just allocate different dishes. We do this to cut out the stress.

nickelbabe Sat 26-Nov-16 22:10:49

I would personally just accept the financial contribution from that family and tell the man that he is in charge of bringing pudding.

fluffiphlox Sat 26-Nov-16 22:15:44

Really? You're happy to take money off people for Christmas lunch?! Ask people to bring something e.g. crackers (cheese or Christmas), wine, mints, a dessert etc. But surely not actual money.

bibbitybobbityyhat Sat 26-Nov-16 22:16:10

If they want to come to yours this year (you've said this isn't confirmed yet) the just say/text/emailwhen they confirm "As there will be 11 of us this year, could you please bring 2 bottles of red, 2 bottles of white, 2 bottles of soft drinks and maybe some peanuts/nibbles/fruit/cheese to share. Thanks a lot. Looking forward to seeing you!" Or whatever you want them to contribute.

That's all you need to do. If they question it you can point out how much it is costing you to cater for 11 for the main meal.

bigredfireengine Sat 26-Nov-16 22:21:11

I honestly wouldnt charge anyone. Ask them to give your children some money if they insist. Having 11 doesn't cost much more than 5 except for alcohol .

Charging makes it no longer a group of friends but seems a commercial arrangement. Feels like selling tickets!

Or you could ask everyone to contribute some of the raw ingredients.

and the couple to provide wine/champagne 2 bottles of a mid range Champagne is more than the full turkey main course in cost.

KeepCalm Sat 26-Nov-16 22:23:25

fluffiphlox I haven't said this is our idea............. please read the thread. I'd feel like I was charging if I accepted their offer of financial contribution hence asking what to do.

With regards to them bringing courses etc I'd be happy with that but I have a a rather particular skill set/occupation so people are often reluctant to cook/bake for me rather than let me do it - I wouldn't mind ONE bit..................

bibbitybobbityyhat that sounds better. If I was more organised this year and could write a list of what we actually need rather than just winging it.............

KeepCalm Sat 26-Nov-16 22:25:14

bigredfireengine charging makes it feel like my day job sad which it isn't. I fricking love Christmas and this is beginning to cause worry already.

Upanddownroundandround Sat 26-Nov-16 22:29:28

Definitely just dish out things to bring. Just make it clear that you don't expect homemade extravaganzas. Perhaps ask the couple to bring tub of chocolates to share and red, white and fizz and ask for a specific amount of bottles. Then ask the family to bring soft drink, the pudding and sausage rolls or something for tea. Just split it quite evenly cost wise.

cestlavielife Sat 26-Nov-16 22:31:12

Dies your "very good friend" reciprocate in other ways Thru out the year ? Is he there for you at other times ? If they bring decent fizz that's worth something. .. does the friend know the family of four ?
Just mention there will be four others at the table this year. But the v good friend has for years come to you without being charged so it woukd be v odd to charge him plus partner because you have invited some more people to the day.

cestlavielife Sat 26-Nov-16 22:33:30

Oh I see..yes ask for in kind contributions and specify pudding starter crackers etc

chunkymum1 Sat 26-Nov-16 22:37:51

I entirely understand that being seen to 'charge', especially some but not others, makes you feel uncomfortable. I can also understand why the family of 4 feel uncomfortable coming and not contributing (I think I'd feel the same). I personally would find it very difficult to ask the couple for cash, or to decide how much to ask the family for (not saying this is wrong, just that I would agonise over it).

If you think that they would feel awkward about bringing food to you (it sounds like you are in a profession where they might feel that you would make much better food then them) could you ask them to supply to drink if you supply food? I agree with pp that you would need to specify that it is for 11 so that the couple don't just bring one bottle (sounds like th family are agonising themselves about making sure they are not free-loading so probably no need to worry about them doing this). That way they can bring something in their budget. You can always get some extra in just in case, or maybe ask the family to bring wine for the meal and the couple to bring some nice whiskey for later (or whatever you drink).

I'd be tempted to say something to the couple like 'It's great you're coming for Xmas, the Lovely family are coming too so there will be 11 of us this year! Actually, they've said they want to bring wine for dinner so I thought you might like to bring something nice for us all to drink later on.'

Akire Sat 26-Nov-16 22:39:48

I'd not feel awkward about sharing cost with good friend if they offered. It does add up even just with turkey and trimmings. They would be saving chunk of money themselves.

We share cost in our family one gets turkey, crackers or pudding. It's usually in one family members house as they have space. It shouldn't mean they pay all costs either.

Only1scoop Sat 26-Nov-16 22:43:22

No charging....
You provide main....friends starters and wine, and other family deserts and wine, make it sound like a jolly team effort and I'm sure it will be.

SausageSoda Sat 26-Nov-16 22:43:29

Although I can understand where you're coming from I wouldn't charge him to attend dinner at your house.

Asking him to bring pudding is much better than directly asking for cash if you must.

SheepyFun Sat 26-Nov-16 22:45:17

You could choose a (cash) amount for the family, then ask for enough drink for everyone from the couple. Assuming you drink alcohol, and your friends would bring nice stuff, the two might roughly balance out? And no-one would feel they had to match your cooking!

Only1scoop Sat 26-Nov-16 22:47:24

I'd also be mortified to actually take cash of my guests

usual Sat 26-Nov-16 22:50:22

You can't take cash.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 26-Nov-16 22:50:40

Are you Mary Berry? If so <channels La Berry> you send a handwritten notelet (on some tasteful stationery) saying how much you are looking forward to seeing then this year and if they wouldn't mind could they bring some cheese/wine/the pudding as it will be 11 if you so it's going to be a bring and share affair.

Then you have a quiet word with the other family and say are you still happy to pay a contribution or would you prefer to bring something?

Job done fgrin

fluffiphlox Sat 26-Nov-16 22:51:16

Well OP I had read the thread. It just seems rather tacky taking money off any of your friends if you have extended an invitation. So as I suggested, ask them to bring a contribution in kind.

KeepCalm Sat 26-Nov-16 22:54:50

Yes, we are indeed all fond of a drop or two..................

Yes they know each other. My DH, our friend and the DH of the other couple are all know each other. The friend and I were exceptionally close until the partner arrived on scene - not an issue at all, I'm delighted he's happy but we now only see each other a handful of times a year. His partner seems very nice and is good company also. The wife and I are very good friends and we do things a lot together as families. The kids are similar ages and all very good friends. I love them all very much.

It's normally just easier for me to get/prepare everything due to my profession I have access to lovely ingredients etc I already have a pile of prosecco thanks to a supplier but I was going to give this to my staff.

Last year however due to unforgiving work commitments Christmas dinner was sponsored by M&S and DH had a timetable how to prepare everything. He said 'cook' but I mentioned he was only heating up as I prepared <actually cooked from scratch> all the starters/deserts grin

I'm hoping to be better organised this year and NO I don't want to charge anyone but I also don't want my friends agonising over this (which I know they will be).

There has to be a way to keep it all lovely and light.

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