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AIBU to feel insulted for having to pay for Christmas dinner at my SIL?

360 replies

Headwir3 · 06/01/2019 21:05

My SIL said she would host Christmas this year as she has a big new house and plenty of room for us all. I asked if I should bring something and she said she would just do a shop and split the cost. She did suggest we bring our own alcohol. I thought it was a little odd, as did my hubby but he reminded me that she was cheap and the food wouldn’t cost that much anyway! Best to just agree with it instead of making a fuss.

Anyway we had Christmas, I took up 5 bottles of wine (only drank one and my hubby didn’t drink any). Left them there when we left. We were given cereal for breakfast and tinned soup for lunch and a basic Christmas dinner. No puddings and just a little cheese for desert.

We just got the bill... it came to £40 each! AIBU to feel angry and insulted by this all? It doesn’t seem right to hand over money. Especially to family. Also I feel really ripped off! I don’t want to upset my husband, but his family are a new level of cheap. If I did that to my brother, he probably wouldn’t speak to me again!

OP posts:
GahWhatever · 07/01/2019 15:12

£40 ph does seem a lot, but were there only a few of you and lots of 'bits' to add one?
A good turkey from the butchers can easily cost £80. Plus all the trimmings (dry cure bacon, butcher's chipolatas etc.
A farmers market Christmas pudding can cost £20, plus brandy to light it, etc etc etc.
My Christmas dinner cost over £25 per head, including some wine and crackers etc. If there had been fewer of us the total cost would not have been significantly smaller but the cost per head would have increased.
The wine you took can't be counted in to the pot because it was, at least in part, a gift for hosting, rather than something to be added to the pot.

justgotofuckingsleep · 07/01/2019 15:19

@ChocolateWombat wise words...

When people are complaining about tightness, how could asking for a break-down if costs or asking to pay less, or doing it with such bad grace, in itself be considered anything other than tight?

mothertruck3r · 07/01/2019 15:19

Just deduct money for the bottles and say if she is charging you for food then you are charging her for the bottles.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 15:25

I bought the most overpriced turkey I could find at £45. It gave us maybe 15 adult meals in total. It was marked to feed 12. Stuffings, pigs in blankets and sauces might have added £5. Herbs and butter a few more pounds because I wanted to go a bit ott!

All the veg were priced at 29 pence a bag think.

Does not compute..

It's usually alcohol that can push up a budget but that's not happened here. Oh I would want to take them up on this.

ShatnersWig · 07/01/2019 15:38

Fuck that shit. I went to my parents for Xmas lunch but otherwise I spent all of the festive period on my own. I always buy myself extras and stuff I don't usually have. My food shop was around £60 and I'm STILL eating half the cheese, got 15 cans of diet Coke left, two bottles of wine, three quarters of a side of salmon in the freezer, two portion of cottage pie in the freezer from what I made on 27th, two large bags of Walkers Sensations, two boxes of After 8s, one box of orange and lemon slices two weeks hence. And I've eaten very well, thank you, and even had breakfast some days when I don't normally. Mince pies only got finished on Saturday. And I don't even shop at Lidl or Aldi.

AnneLovesGilbert · 07/01/2019 16:08

Oi @ShatnersWig have a leftovers party and send me an invitation!

arranbubonicplague · 07/01/2019 16:16

Are you sure that’s not just weddings

Pretty sure - because there's endless thought wrangling about the nature of the Hostess Gifts. Apparently, it shouldn't be fresh because of storage. It shouldn't resemble a dessert in case the host feels obliged to serve it when they've already catered. There seem to be strictures on the wine in case it's expected to be served and it doesn't match the meal etc.

It might be the communities in which they live but I've seen similar discussions happening between those in California, NY, and Minnesota.

And by extension I've seen people go through the same when a business event is hosted at someone's house and employees resent the cost of having to travel there, book a babysitter, and then a Hostess Gift for someone who is senior to them, paid a lot more, and whom they suspect to be reclaiming the cost of the meal as a business expense.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 16:24

I see the ideal of Chocolate womble to be gracious and all.
However even that post did point out it wouldn't be acceptable if the price were beyond a certain point.
And I suppose to me, brought up in a family where the table would be frugal but plentiful and prepared with care and love.. that combo of a cereal a tin of soup and a dinner for £40 FEELS like a pointed insult!

I'd only go out with them in future. No house based events!

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 16:29

Wombat not womble!

TwiceMagic · 07/01/2019 16:30

I suspect it might be very particular circles @arranbubonicplague. Because most people in the US (whichever state) are not hosting events that cost $150 a head (unless it’s a wedding or similar event).

My friends in the US (various states) would be much more likely to host s pot luck. 😆

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 16:34

Chocolate I disagree about struggling to do a Xmas dinner for 80!!

What nonsense! Not for loads of people but I'm sure op and her dh and a toddler or two could have easily done Xmas Dinner for 80 quid!!

Even our lovely duck this year was 28 £.
20 is a contribution to get some costs back, it's a token but 20 off each guest would be a nice amount.

40 each is excessive. Esp with loads of wine left.

Being generous and open invites the same back. Being greedy and charging to much incites the same back it sets a different tone.

My family was fairly poor growing up, not many gifts at all we did fc but small few gifts... But my goodness!!

Xmas how my in laws do it has ruined Xmas for me altogether!
Tit for tat, matching prices... I genuinely used to gift when I could afford it, never ever expected any thing in return.

I can't stand this type of doing things.

I don't blame sil for asking however.

Heatherjayne1972 · 07/01/2019 16:35

Wow. Who charges family?? That’s so so cheeky.
I hosted Boxing Day. Just told everyone to bring a plate of something
Much more sensible than charging family

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 16:36


I've just seen your your post you said what I was trying to say but far more succinctly 😁.

Poor table but care and love yes.

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 16:38

Fay maybe host factored in waiting service charge as well as electrics, wear and tear to house and so on Grin

TwiceMagic · 07/01/2019 16:41

Full economic coating of Christmas hosting then? 😆

Jaxhog · 07/01/2019 16:43

Oh for goodness sake! That sounds pretty reasonable for 2 nights accomodation and a christmas dinner. And you did agree to split the cost. If you don't like it, don't do it again. But pay up.

TwiceMagic · 07/01/2019 16:45

£40 a head would be reasonable for 2 nights of accommodation an a dinner if it were a hotel. But it was her SIL’s house. Do we charge family for accommodation now?

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 16:46

Op maybe you could register on the the guest speakers circuit then off set up your fee to turn up to parties from the the cost of this one.

Singlenotsingle · 07/01/2019 16:47

Hotel MIL charges £20 per night b&b? She ought to do Airbnb.

ChrisjenAvasarala · 07/01/2019 16:49

My dinner probably worked out around £50ish pounds each, but I served homemade pate with oatcakes, haggis in filo pastry and homemade lentil soup for starters. The pate had chutneys along with it and the haggis parcels had redcurrent jelly along with it.

Then we had goose, a ham, chipolatas and chipolatas wrapped in bacon, homemade black pudding and applesauce stuffing, mashed and roast potatoes, the usual veg, gravy and cranberry sauce.

Pudding was homemade chocolate mousse and raspberry terrine, homemade lemon meringue pie, a toffee pavlova and then a cheese board.

If I had people staying over and added breakfasts and lunches then I can see it being more. So £40 per person doesn't sound bad to me.

5foot5 · 07/01/2019 16:50

I would never charge guests, but then I can afford not to. Maybe your SIL is a bit strapped for cash if they have just moved house. Yes I can follow the argument that she shouldn't offer to host if she can't afford it, but you did all agree.

From your description it doesn't sound like you got a great deal for your money but I wonder a few things:

  • You stayed two nights - were you the only ones arriving late on Christmas Eve ad leaving early on Boxing Day? Was she actually providing meals on three days for everone else and you just happened to miss them because of your arrival and departure times?

  • Could there be other costs apart from the meal that you have overlooked? E.g. was there a Christmas cake, crackers, chocolates and snacks.

I hosted Christmas for PILs (though would never dream of charging!!!) so with them, DH, DD and I that was five adults. At £40 a head my food bill for Christmas should have been £200. I am sure it was more than that - even excluding drinks.

For a start the turkey cost over £50. I had made a cake and a pudding a few weeks before and the ingredients for that were expensive.

However, we were hosting from Sat 22nd to Boxing Day and did a nice dinner every day plus other meals.

Mind you, we get the leftovers of course which provides several more meals for our family post Christmas.
Alpacanorange · 07/01/2019 16:50

Pay up and consider the money a therapist fee, you have learnt what to do when she visits you.


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Storybarn · 07/01/2019 16:51

@ShatnersWig I'll bring lemon cheese cake, chocolate brownies and a big pack of samosas to your party Wink

Palaver1 · 07/01/2019 16:54

Takes all the joy our off the celebrations
Let your husband pay and dont get involved.
Its left to you to decide on the plan for next year

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 16:57

If you stay in a Premier Inn you get a better breakfast though!

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