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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:
ChocolateWombat · 07/01/2019 16:58

I guess that in the end, this isn't a family with great relationships and lots of love and care and desire to create that loving caring atmosphere at Christmas, where it's about people spending time together and the exact meal doesn't matter so much.

OP clearly wasn't pleased with the arrangement suggested in advance about splitting the cost, although she agreed. It sounds like she arrived determined to be dissatisfied and to look out for things that were disappointing about the whole experience, and was just waiting to be cross about the 'bill' as she called it.

A Christmas meal can indeed be frugal and perhaps it might include canned soup.....and still be a happy, joyous family time. Lots of people can't or don't spend much or have much and have a great time with their families and friends. Likewise, lots who spend loads and loads (regardless of whether they are asking for financial contributions or footing a huge bill themselves) have a miserable time. A lot of it depends on your attitude towards the people - and some will feel annoyed about their families before they arrive and regardless of what happens on Christmas itself, but this manifests itself as annoyance over a particular issue, often money. Others are just so pleased to be with each other that they don't mind that they are asked for cash or even asked for large amounts or even more than was spent, because they don't see it all as about the money and 'getting your money's worth' or 'profiteering' or charging people. It's not a thing if one-upmanship or control or power.

Lotsnofnpeople on this thread felt some seemingly righteous indignation on behalf of the Op. Many don't like the idea of being asked to contribute financially, and seem to expect a very lavish Christmas meal. I also think many aren't quite realistic about the costs of hosting and that there is more to it than a turkey and few vegetables, but also are determined that OP shouldn't pay a penny more than was spent, and that if there is any chance that OP has been charged a little more, this is 'profiteering' and greedy. Somehow they think the host should be extremely generous, but it is okay for the Op or guest to be penny pinching and adding everything up and resisting paying what she's been asked for. Perhaps some people just like a bit of conflict rather than harmony.

When people ask me for Christmas, I'm thrilled. I know I can have a year off the big clean, the bed making, the braving the shops or websites, the planning and the time in the kitchen. I will happily eat what I'm given and be glad that someone else has cooked it. I will bring whatever I'm asked to bring or pay whatever I'm asked to pay and I won't be calculating and seeing if I've been ripped off for a fiver. I'll hope to come away having had a lovely time with some great memories and looking forward to next year, when perhaps I will be hosting or we'll be doing it all a bit different, which is fine. I doubt I'll remember the fine details such as what we ate for each meal or if the food was brilliant or very mediocre, but I won't be there to judge. I think the Op was judging from well before Christmas, and this just doesn't bode well for happy family times. I don't really think the issue is about the money or whether an extra £5 or £10 has been charged.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:00

I did a goose once and it was the most expensive meat. The supplier told me it was because it wasn't intensive, relatively low demand etc! And of course loads of the weight drains off as fat! So per portion goose is always going to too the cost of turkey ime.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:01

Homemade Lentil soup is definitely the way to go!

Petalflowers · 07/01/2019 17:01

At you insulted at the cost or paying, because in your op, your did agree to paying?

dinosaurglitterrepublic · 07/01/2019 17:04

It may well be a bit steep and she may have form for being tight, but I suppose you really have two options- pay up without comment and be gracious about it or query the cost. Do you really want to be that person that asks for an itemized bill? I would just pay it, I would be embarrassed to do anything else even if I didn’t agree with it. If you feel aggrieved, don’t go there next year or offer to do the food shop on the basis it was quite expensive last year and you could do better. I wouldn’t be petty just because someone else is.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:04

Chocolate I nod along to your posts and then think " but forty pounds!"

It's seems, given the evidence, a blatant case of profiteering.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:06

I'd pay but never be put in the position again.

Itemised restaurant bill in neutral territory.

ChocolateWombat · 07/01/2019 17:14

Me too - I'd pay.....and send a thank you note or text to thank them for hosting.

And if I hadn't been happy with the experience (which I find difficult to relate to, because I enjoy soending Christmas with our families and although I enjoy the food, it's more about the people) then I'd resolve to do something different next year. That might be offering to host myself, or if going to the same family, asking for a list of items to bring, or if really necessary asking for a cost before agreeing to it, or possibly going to a restuarant instead.....although I think a restuarant can easily be £80+ on Christmas Day and you've still got the tea and breakfast etc etc to cover.

But yes, pay up now and don't go throug it again if you don't like it. But also, think about if it really is a money issue or part of a bigger relationship issue that's at the root of all this angst.

UncleFailBOOT · 07/01/2019 17:27

Well, I'd pay her something, although 40 per head would stick in my craw somewhat. But I wouldn't accept hospitality from her again, if she thinks Christmas Day breakfast should be a bowl of cereal and lunch should be a bowl of soup. Hmm It's hardly an extravaganza, is it? (You might choose to have that if you were at home, but then it would be your choice wouldn't it) And worst of all, let's be fair - NO PUDDING? At Christmas dinner?

I'd probably faint at the table, to be honest. Waiting for pudding to come out and all you're offered is some cheese... Shock

Last2Know · 07/01/2019 17:30

Oh my god, do these people actually exist?

If I was asked to host christmas dinner for a ton of people then I may consider saying "ok but I will need a couple of quid off everyone to put towards it".

I would never charge £40 a head, I would be so embarassed! I certainly wouldn't invite someone then charge them

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:30

I wouldn't spend Christmas with little kids in a restaurant. I meant any future family meals such as birthdays, or meeting for a llunch. Or a fast food place with kids. I'd just avoid their house tbh.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:31

Even for a cup of tea.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 17:35

I don't know what culture op is from but that's my cultural baggage!

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 17:39

Chocolate I do understand the point your making but from personal experience I have hosted v large Xmas on little money and very small Xmas and lots in between.

I've never asked for money I have a very real understanding of the cost, and also how to do it cheap... And how to do it normally.

I think the point I was trying to make which fay also made is families with very little putting on a thoughtful spread... Which I have done... And not asked for a penny..

Our Xmas Dinner this year would not have cost more than than 100 with booze. That's a free range duck, posh sainsburys gravy as base, pots, m and s red cabbage, waitrose essentials pigs in blankets, waitrose luxury stuffing, John Ross smoked salmon, asparagus, lemon, and pudding!!

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 17:44

Going to a restaurant on Xmas day is going to be expensive.

But, at least you can see the menu before you choose where to go.

You can see the places ratings, and decide if it's worth spending your money on and see if puddings included Grin

Delatron · 07/01/2019 17:51

The thing is she can’t have it both ways. She can’t charge you and then ‘accept’ the 4 bottles of wine of a gift. You can’t have everything. If you are going to be cheeky and charge your guests like it’s a flipping bnb then provide decent food (no pudding! Soup?) and don’t accept the wine.

I think I would say ‘please can you return or deduct the cost of the wine we provided’.

Quite often booze is the most expensive part about hosting and she didn’t provide that!

I’m firmly in the camp of ‘if you can’t affford to host then don’t offer’.

ICantFindAFreeNickName2 · 07/01/2019 18:03

I'm going to ask you lot to do my Christmas shop next year. You all seem to be able to do Christmas dinner a lot cheaper than I can. Although the cereal & tinned soup don't sound great, I don't think £40 for each adult is too outrageous.
We host two other families for a weekend several times a year, and the costs do add up very quickly. We don't charge because we all take it in turns to host but I don't think there is anything wrong with all contributing to the cost if its the same people hosting each time.

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 07/01/2019 18:04

I 🤔 that's the point chocolate, it's clearly more about the cost to ops sil.

Storybarn · 07/01/2019 18:11

I'll be asking to see her food hygiene certificate from the council. As she's charging for meals then she needs to have a kitchen inspection & a hygiene certificate.

Storybarn · 07/01/2019 18:12

Oh also I'm sure that HMRC will be interested in her little business on the side.

joanmcc · 07/01/2019 18:13

"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."

No charge for accommodation was mentioned. And OP did agree to split the cost, not cover all the cost and give a profit, as is likely the case here.

Hezz · 07/01/2019 18:16

Just reply "Oh hahaha you nearly had me there for a minute. Good one! "


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FayFortune · 07/01/2019 18:18

Basic Christmas dinner (starter not mentioned, gold dusted smoked salmon perhaps?!) plus cereal plus soup ( even a tin of Baxter's Lobster Bisque can be had for £1.90) to me can't get you to £80.

FayFortune · 07/01/2019 18:19

Or in the ballpark.

Lellikelly26 · 07/01/2019 18:23

I’m shocked that people ask for money from their families if they have invited them for Christmas. If you can’t afford to host then don’t
I would question £40 each OP sounds like you are paying for their Christmas

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