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Christmas Day, DH's family dilemma

(27 Posts)
McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 18:39:58

I’m hoping that the wise Christmas mavens of MN can help settle a difference of opinion between DH and I.

We have recently moved closer to DH’s family. They have visited us a lot more since and vice versa which has been great and wonderful for DD as she gets to see family more often.

To the dilemma: since moving, there has been talk of Christmas and we, somehow, arrived at the decision that we would host his family plus my DF (12 people!). I was absolutely fine with this but have had some concerns about money (I’m currently a ft student) and the practicalities of where everyone will sit etc etc.

Today, I mentioned my hope that people might offer to contribute (bring a course, prepare one of the meats or something) and DH said that he doesn’t feel comfortable asking his family for anything. He thinks it will be easier for us and DD to have the day together and then have his family around on Christmas evening for a few drinks, party food rather than the stress of Christmas dinner.

I don’t know what to do! A less stressful Christmas does sound good but it would be nice to have a proper family Christmas.

Can anyone with any similar experience give me their view? blush at the essay this turned out to be!

MrsMotherHen Mon 23-Oct-17 18:59:31

I am hosting this year although only for 8. Am on Mat leave so we have a low income.

Start buying now! few weeks ago i got the chocolates got 4 boxes then a few treat size bags of chocs.

Week after I got the mince pies (didnt think to check the date will do that later) turkish delight and nibbly cracker bite things.

This week i got 6 bottles of wine from aldi online for £23 really highly rated ones aswell. Free delivery too they came today.

Next week am getting pringles, nuts crackers and chutneys. Week after plan to get rest of the drinks 2 bottles of fizzy wine to go with the dinner. A crate of beer and soft drinks.

Then all i will have left to get is stuff for the dinner. Its the meat thats the expensive part although maybe speak to local butcher maybe pay weekly for a turkey or whatever meat you are having. All the supermarkets have crazy prices christmas week for the veggies. I remeber last year asda most of it including potatoes were 29p a pack!

Then pudding keep simple trifles doesnt cost much to make and christmas pud.

MrsMotherHen Mon 23-Oct-17 19:01:10

Forgot to add I would definatly ask people to bring something. My MIL is bringing all the cheese. When she hosts I bring the puds.

Santawontbelong Mon 23-Oct-17 19:04:00

Imo have your own little Christmas morning and lunch and ask relatives to bring nibbles for the evening. Maybe make invitations with the details on if dh feels rude asking face to face for contributions!!
Or future Xmases will be spent keeping all family members happy and fed. . While you get skinter and skinter and eventually resentful.

Crumbs1 Mon 23-Oct-17 19:07:26

Don’t do a big formal request just ask when you see them. “ Would you be able to bring the mince pies and brandy butter, SIL”
People like being included and helping out. It feels more inclusive if you all peel potatoes together.

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 19:14:25

Thank you for the replies.

I’ve got my ‘Christmas cupboard’ pretty well stocked already, Mrs, but it’s the main meal that I’m worried about. I’m currently doing my PGCE so not as much time to shop around as I’d usually like. With my previous jobs, I could always take annual leave in the run up confused.

I think that’s how DH sees it, Santa. I just don’t know!

Crumbs, that’s the kind of relaxed Christmas I was after but I think DH can see us doing all the work while everyone has a piss up waiting for lunch to be served. There’s not a chance MIL will leave me alone in the kitchen so can’t see it happening myself.

Good views from both sides there which doesn’t make the decision feel any easier grin

Glamorousglitter Mon 23-Oct-17 19:22:44

It s usual with my family and most people I know for the big family Christmas that people bring a plate or course - most often the host does the turkey and then someone does the potatoes, someone else be other veg, someone else the starter, and a few deserts..... I would have no qualms about it. Actually if it were me I would feel relieved to have a role ! Plus they re your family they know you re busy and they know you re not flush if you re studying ! It s about getting together not getting a free meal!

So in early anticipation start a Christmas dinner what’s app group- opening message say what you re providing, the put a list together of what s left and ask people to put their names to two or three dishes (that way you won’t have people just saying - I ll bring a tin of mushy peas!). You could also say here s the list if anyone wants to do a particular dish on it let me know or add in something otherwise I ll put names to it next Friday so everyone can plan and prepare.

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 19:29:41

That sounds like an amazing way to approach a large family Christmas, Glamorous, but it’s DH’s family and they usually just let the host do everything bar actual help in the kitchen on the day.

Ideally, I’d like DH to bring it up but he really doesn’t want to. MIL has already offered to get the meat but I just feel guilty and feel as if we should be providing the meat for definite. Not fussed on the other bits and pieces grin.

My family never did the big family Christmas and I only really see my dad, but he’s the same and wouldn’t even think of asking if there’s anything he can bring.

If I was invited to someone’s Christmas lunch, I’d be falling over myself to see what I could buy/bring/do but I don’t think our requests for help will go down well confused

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 19:31:03

In fact, I told DF about our plans for Christmas lunch the other day and he just added things on that he’d like me to serve. He was also over the moon about the thought of three different meats and said he’d have all three hmm

N0tfinished Mon 23-Oct-17 19:37:29

I don’t think it’s at all unusual to ask people to take on a course or a specific item. People often have specialities that they like to make - I do mince meat & mince pies from scratch. Maybe they have a favorite stuffing recipe that they like. I’d ask whoever you find most approachable!

MrsMotherHen Mon 23-Oct-17 19:46:49

take your MIL up on the meat get her to cook it aswell.

Tilapia Mon 23-Oct-17 19:49:56

We had my family last Christmas and DH’s the year before - 13/14 each time. I love a big family Christmas! We’re lucky to have a big table. Definitely ask people to bring things - we delegated things like wine and dessert.

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 19:52:24

It’s definitely not unusual but I can see why DH isn’t keen on asking!

I might just have to have the conversation with them all. One of his sisters is always keen to get involved so I’m hoping that keenness extends to bringing a side dish grin.

Now just to convince DH that it’s a good idea. There’s still two months to go...I’m sure he’ll come round.

dreamingofsun Mon 23-Oct-17 20:46:31

couldnt you do the main meal fairly cheaply - ie frozen turkey, roast pots, frozen veg, christmas pudding and custard and ask people to bring drink - thats whats expensive. The rest of it....if you dont go mad on trimmings is really just a roast....packet stuffing isnt that expensive, you could do your own pigs in blankets the day before.

then cold sliced turkey for tea with salad, bread rolls and pickle?

a big trifle if you are keen which again looks like you've made a bit of effort but its pretty easy and cheap

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 20:49:03

Just came off the phone to DH and he’s text his family tonight to cancel angry

I’ve text them offering them to come round for Christmas tea to ease my guilt blush

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 20:49:31

Just came off the phone to DH and he’s text his family tonight to cancel angry

I’ve text them offering them to come round for Christmas tea to ease my guilt blush

McDougal Mon 23-Oct-17 20:49:47

Whoops, sorry about the double post!

ladymariner Tue 24-Oct-17 00:50:49

Well, that was a bit off, what happened to discussing it with you first. And what about your family....if they still come, isn't that going to upset his family, especially as his mum offered to bring the meat which I think was really kind of her! You sound lovely, by the way!
I think he has made this up to be much harder than it needed to be. You could have pre-made things like the cauliflower cheese, sprouts in pancetta and pigs in blankets and frozen them, ready to reheat on the day. Dh's family could have brought the desserts, (I agree with you about providing the meat, but she obviously wants to help) and I'd ask your dad to bring some cheese and crackers, or a couple of bottles of wine. Shop bought nibbles as starters (last year we had the miniature dressed crabs from aldi and they were delicious) and you're sorted.
I'd be on the phone to his mum reinviting them if it were me, and sitting down with dh and writing a plan if action for the day, if he's that concerned.

wobblywonderwoman Tue 24-Oct-17 02:18:16

Why did he cancel? You are a student - mil would bring the meat ? Bit hasty of him

McDougal Tue 24-Oct-17 09:10:36

Definitely hasty of him angry

We’re going to MIL’s tomorrow so I think I’ll reopen the conversation!

Thank you, Lady smile

I doubt they’ll have made plans so hopefully can get it all back on. MIL is great so I’ll make suggestions on what people can bring and she’ll make sure it happens grin

The stupid thing is that DH won’t even be involved in the cooking, more crowd control and keeping me sane, so no idea why he’s had a flap about it!

FenellaMaxwellsPony Tue 24-Oct-17 09:13:43

Can I suggest doing gammon instead of turkey? It's much cheaper and so much nicer!

ladymariner Tue 24-Oct-17 09:26:20

Aww, hope you get it all sorted out. Definitely talk to mil, she sounds great so between you I'm sure you'll work something out.
Early prep is the key, I did this last year and it really helped, I took the things I mentioned in my last post out of the freezer on Christmas Eve to defrost, then whacked them in the oven while the meat was resting, with the roasties. Other veg in a steamer, and gravy (Jamie's, made ahead and frozen) and bread sauce (out of a packet!) in pans on the hob. And a list that I ticked off....i do like a list can't function without one
Have no qualms about asking guests to bring starters, desserts, wine, whatever....everyone knows how expensive things are these days, and most people are only too happy to contribute. I hope you have a lovely day xx

ladymariner Tue 24-Oct-17 09:28:07

And you definitely don't need three meats!! Xx

McDougal Tue 24-Oct-17 10:41:41

The three meats were mainly for our leftovers and one was going to be gammon grin.

Thank you for all the replies. MIL and I will be an unstoppable Christmas team while DH plies everyone with alcohol!

Dairymilkmuncher Tue 24-Oct-17 10:54:35

Think what you can afford and then work from there, Christmas dinner can be as cheap/expensive as you like and we can help you find everything you need for £x budget smile

I got a HUGE turkey from Aldi last year for £14 and it was delicious because I cooked it well, also just picked up a reduced gammon joint from Tesco for £7 (meant to be £15) and chucked it in my freezer for this year.

Can prep most things before Christmas Day and then just write a wee timeline or reminders on your phone to just chuck things in the oven, doesn't have to be a huge amount of work on the day. I've always managed to watch the kids open their presents and mess about with batteries and building toys while cooking and usually only one thing ends up burnt grin

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