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Is this an English thing?

(46 Posts)
comfortandjoy Sun 17-Dec-17 09:44:53

We don't have a big extended family , mine are all back in the UK so we just have MIL for dinner. My DP has just told me he's invited the receptionist from work for Christmas dinner as she was going to be alone. I was really pleased he did this and know when his mum used to host she'd say " if you know anyone that's alone please invite them along" I invited a woman from work a couple of times as all her family were back in Japan and MIL made her so welcome.
I was thinking how my own family back in England never did this and how even on Sundays we weren't allowed any ' non family' to come to the house. When my brother was living with his partner he didn't even want to bring her for Xmas day ' because it wouldn't feel like Christmas' Is this an English culture thing or just a certain type of families thing?

Notevilstepmother Sun 17-Dec-17 10:03:36

Different type of families I think.

glenthebattleostrich Sun 17-Dec-17 10:06:10

I'm English and we often had people over for lunch on Sunday or at Christmas.

We always had an open house, something I've carried on although it does annoy my husband a bit.

PanPanPanPing Sun 17-Dec-17 10:06:16

Different types of families.

numbereightyone Sun 17-Dec-17 10:07:14

I would be worried if the receptionist was an attractive twentysomething!

Seriously though, Christmas is strictly for family in my experience. Saying that, it's a lovely gesture to invite people who would otherwise be alone to join you.

LolaTheDarkdestroyer Sun 17-Dec-17 10:08:47

Same as number..if she's slim and pretty I wouldn't want her outshining my Xmas outfit grin

junebirthdaygirl Sun 17-Dec-17 10:10:02

If you have teenagers they might react to this. When ours were young we often invited extra eg a newly separated dm with small dc who couldn't face Christmas alone. But as dc got older they began to say ..you haven't invited anyone have you?
I'm in lreland .
We had two different neighbours growing up who due to extreme oddness/ shyness wouldnt join us for dinner but my dm would plate up a massive Christmas dinner and we would deliver. Back later with pudding.
Think it's really up to the family.

Scribblegirl Sun 17-Dec-17 10:12:02

Different families. My parents were always very 'just us' which TBH is fine, they're not one for random additions to the table and don't feel like they can totally relax except with immediate family. MIL on the other hand is super gregarious and welcoming and every waif and stray is welcome at her table! Hopefully OH and I are somewhere in the middle smile I don't think it's necessarily culture, just more different people.

comfortandjoy Sun 17-Dec-17 10:12:07

Ha . No worry about the receptionist - he's worked with her for ages , I've met her she's very nice . We need to find some lonely males though.

LoniceraJaponica Sun 17-Dec-17 10:12:57

As there are only three of us I would happily extend an invitation to someone on their own for Christmas dinner. I have a friend who I thought might be on her own, but she is going to her sister's, otherwise I would have invited her.

It isn't an English thing just some people only want family, and some people want to make lonely people welcome.

Be3Al2SiO36 Sun 17-Dec-17 10:16:07

I think it depends on the family.

However, we don't tend to just have MIL for dinner for two reasons. Firstly, cannibalism as a routine practice died out in this country several thousand years ago. Secondly, we are not so much into nouveau cuisine as the continent, therefore generally dinners come with a healthy serving of at least two types of vegetables.

TonTonMacoute Sun 17-Dec-17 10:16:20

I think it has become more normal now to say ‘family only’. When I was a kid it was unthinkable to not invite someone you knew would be alone on Christmas Day, although sometimes it was done through gritted teeth!

MsAwesomeDragon Sun 17-Dec-17 10:17:02

Different families. As a teenager, we always seemed to have extras at ours for Christmas. Whether that was elderly relatives or friends from work/school.
Dh's family never invited anyone extra, ever.

We tend not to invite anyone to our house now, but I don't really know anyone who doesn't spend Xmas with their own family.

fourpawswhite Sun 17-Dec-17 10:17:07

Different family's I think.

We are quite rural so it's fairly normal. My mum has an elderly lady every year and has done since we were babies. This year she's to frail to leave her house so mum will take her meal round. Christmas won't be the same without her.

PIL are farming and we always have someone extra. Last year it was a young girl from Australia who was travelling and her friends had let her down. She was a friend of a friend of a friend in Australia and they had done a Facebook appeal for anyone in uk who could help. Dh drove two hours to airport to get her.
Year before it was lady from farm further up who was going to be alone. We didn't know her but that doesn't matter.

Every year dh single friend rocks up Xmas Eve and leaves at some point before new year. He hates Xmas but brings booze and present for the kids and is good company. He's never invited so to speak, he just joins in.

The kids don't mind, it's a family joke, who are we having for Christmas this year, eh let's have turkey.....

comfortandjoy Sun 17-Dec-17 10:18:13

Yes Scribble. I think that's it with my family - they don't really relax with other people there . Whilst my MIL doesn't really ever relax anyway.
I'm often not sure if family differences are because of countries or class thing or different types of families.

gigi556 Sun 17-Dec-17 10:19:08

I'm American living in England so couldn't really say if it's an English thing.... But many Americans would invite someone that would otherwise be alone over for holidays. My mother was working away out of state over thanksgiving last year and had an invite for thanksgiving dinner from a complete stranger when her car broke down! She ended up with some work colleagues rather than the stranger but it was a really nice gesture. Not as weird as it sounds btw as she was broke down in a parking lot got chatting etc and the lady took my moms number to make sure she got home ok later.

TheWitchAndTrevor Sun 17-Dec-17 10:19:19

Different families.

The more the merrier in this house, if someone mentions they are on their own or just them and dc (can be a couple, couple with dc or single with dc)then I invite them over, it's very causal they can except or decline whenever they like. We always have way more food then is needed so late take ups on the invitations are not a problem.

Whatslovegottodo Sun 17-Dec-17 10:19:31

We have had a lady who sells the big issue and her son join us for xmas dinner!
Anything goes in our house. This year will be strange with just a small number of us, 3 family and 2 single friends (unless anyone else wants an invite in the mean time grin).

Wingbing Sun 17-Dec-17 10:20:37

B3 grin

IJustGotHitByADeer Sun 17-Dec-17 10:21:34

A few years ago my family voted unanimously to invite my boyfriend to share our Christmas. I’d only been going out with him 6 days on Christmas Day, but what little family he has were all abroad so he would’ve had to spend it alone, and my mum couldn’t stand the thought of someone being forced by circumstance to be alone at Christmas (different if it’s by choice obviously)

This year he’s my DH and he’ll be hosting my family and his in the house we bought together in April smile

comfortandjoy Sun 17-Dec-17 10:22:08

Be3e... I like it grin

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Sun 17-Dec-17 10:24:57

I wouldn't want strangers in my house at Christmas tbh. I would happily have ds's girlfriend here though - she feels like family now.
I don't know, maybe we are an insular bunch - I don't know anyone who doesn't just have a family Christmas.

Argeles Sun 17-Dec-17 10:25:11

A good friend of mine from up North regularly invites people with nowhere else to go, or the lonely for Christmas.

I also have a friend from Africa who does the same, so I guess it depends on the family rather than where they’re from.

Playmobilpeacock Sun 17-Dec-17 10:25:38

We often host people who would otherwise be alone.

There is always a little gift for them under the tree too.

It's the in the spirit of Christmas to offer company to those who need it.

xmasgrinch Sun 17-Dec-17 10:29:31

I would have said it was a British thing to invite anyone with no where too enjoy the day over - we have always done it as have other family and friends.

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