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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:
delboysskinandblister · 08/01/2019 20:55


how many were there in total? (I don't believe she wasn't charging kids, i think she has added these to your bill). Even in our lean household and Jan sales napkins/crackers it still came to just under £40 per person but that's with a large turkey to keep us 3 going for days.

I think you got a poor deal for your £40. I think you're subsidising their alcohol and paying for her heating bill.

EllenMP · 08/01/2019 21:01

It sounds like I'm alone here, but I really don't think it's worth causing a family row over £80. I know it's a lot of money for one day of meals, but I think the wine you brought sounds about right as a hostess gift for staying two nights, and a good quality turkey or goose or joint could have cost £100 or more. I say pay her the money and chalk it up to experience. Next time you can offer to host it at yours and show her how a good hostess behaves. If I were you that would give me more satisfaction than making a fuss about the bill.

Willbeatjanuaryblues · 08/01/2019 21:19

By the way some of best xmasses have been in smaller houses

TriciaH87 · 08/01/2019 21:24

Ask her for receipts and deduct any items you did not consume. I would also ask for your bottles of wine back and if she says they have drank them knock them off the bill or tell her to consider them as payment.

Kate0902900908 · 08/01/2019 21:58

charging family for Christmas dinner, honestly what on earth .... £40 EACH?!?!
I did Christmas 2 years ago 17 people went all out food drinks table dressings the lot, family kindly brought meats drinks and snacks also desserts and gifts but I would never ever of charged them and even if before hand it was said we will split the cost .. £40 each ?!?!? £40 I can’t get over it! £80 is more than enough for you to have stayed at home not purchased wine no driving and plenty of change after a big dinner

If you ask me she is using this to fund her Christmas ! In total

I understand you don’t want to cause a rift but I would text back and say

Hi just checking £40 each ? Each person ?

I would wait for a response.... tinned soup?! No dessert 😮 sweet Jesus

Number3wife · 08/01/2019 22:12

you stayed in their house, she has to launder linen, clean rooms, buy food, we had 8 for lunch this year and paid £200 for the meat, food and drinks, I don't think that is unfair, its hard work entertaining and I wish I had thought of sharing the costs with our lot!

BlackPrism · 08/01/2019 22:19

How many were there?
I did a dinner for 10 and trying to keep it cheap it was still £20 pp.
I don't understand how anyone pays for the whole thing.

BlackPrism · 08/01/2019 22:24

Well, I say cheap but that's for 3 courses (including 3 dessert options) both turkey and pork, alcohol, crackers etc
I charge because that's what me and my 10 friends decided. I take a half day off of work in mid-Dec and slave away for utter hours for everyone to enjoy and in return they pay their share and club together for mine (they call it my service charge).

If I asked everyone to bring a dish instead we'd end up with vile dinner as none of them can cook.

happymum12345 · 08/01/2019 22:35

Just say you bought the wine & didn’t think you would have to pay for the food too. It’s not worth falling out over, but learn a lesson to not go there for Christmas lunch again unless you arrange clearly before hand what the arrangements are.

delboysskinandblister · 08/01/2019 22:49


Flowers Cake Wine

Lisabel · 08/01/2019 23:03

Hi OP,

Without alcohol our Christmas food cost £25 per head for

  • Turkey
  • Gammon
  • Posh veg
  • Various puddings

We didn't charge people because it's a bit of a weird thing to do! Perhaps offer £25 each and remind her that you paid for five bottles of wine each costing £X.
Lisabel · 08/01/2019 23:06

On the other hand I guess there would have been laundry costs, lots of work with hosting etc. so maybe it's best to just pay the £40 and then not go to theirs next year!

Thebelleofstmarys · 08/01/2019 23:08

Quite frank!y - if I had to charge our family members x amount of £'s to join us in a mutual celebration of Christmas, I don't think I'd bother and would invite them over for a lovely lunch or suchlike later on in the holidays. Gratis, obvs .

manicmij · 08/01/2019 23:42

Pay but just mention it may be a good idea to have Christmas dinner out next year given the cost of food and the 5 bottles of wine and of course all the hassle of shopping and cooking. Should give her something to think about other than skimming money from family.

JamesBlonde1 · 09/01/2019 00:00

I’m amazed OP. The cheeky cow.

The SIL invited and hosted the OP. She shouldn’t be trying to cover her costs or MAKE A PROFIT.

The SIL is not a B&B she’s family!

Who quibbles about laundering the bed sheets on the 1 rare occasion a family member stays. Jeeez some tight sids on here. If you can’t afford it don’t offer to host and DON’T charge £40 pp like it’s some kind of business. Was she thinking overheads of gas, lekky too?! Shock

Sweetieepea · 09/01/2019 00:48

I had my family, 8 adults and 3 children for Christmas. We provided brunch for those that wanted it as we don’t have Christmas dinner until after 4pm. We had four courses with choice of starters and desserts, fresh turkey and all the trimmings. Son brought a half chocolate, half carrot cake dessert, but apart from that I bought everything including alcohol. Everything was good quality and other desserts were home made. I even offered to pay for the cake son brought, but he said that was his contribution. Having roughly costed it I would say that I spent between £200 - £250, including alcohol (fair bit still left). We had 4 staying over but certainly no tinned soup for lunch, as 8kg turkey left overs, fed dh and myself and any family members who wanted for another 2 days with turkey curry, salad, sweet and sour and turkey and mushroom.
When inviting guests there is no way I would expect them to pay for their dinner and would probably be offended if any tried to pay!
She is being very greedy but, on the other hand, you certainly wouldn’t get 2 days b&b plus Christmas dinner for £80.

dollydee · 09/01/2019 07:04

...and it’s in the Daily Mirror!

Appleholic · 09/01/2019 08:14

Maybe your SIL factored in her labour charge for cooking the actual meal into the £40. She sounds awful £15 at the most pp would of been OK. Personally think she shouldn't charge, just take turns so its fair.

Dillydallyalltheway · 09/01/2019 09:33

It sounds like she is charging you for B&B as well either that or you have 6 children with healthy appetites that are included in the charge. Hubby and I are not well off at all, but I would never even consider charging anyone for Christmas lunch.

Aveeno2017 · 09/01/2019 09:41

Ask her to knock off the 4 bottles of wine you didn't drink!!

PregnantSea · 09/01/2019 11:20

She's being tight and it's really embarrassing. However you did agree to it so you should just pay it. I definitely wouldn't be going there next year though!! How unfestive of her lol

Delatron · 09/01/2019 12:57

Some weird people on this thread who have no idea of the concept of ‘hosting’ and ‘guests’.

Making up beds etc is all part of hosting, you can’t charge for it? If you don’t want to do it, are resentful and want to charge people for the labour of making up beds and washing linen, then don’t invite people to stay.

Guests should feel welcome. Talk about bad hosting. It’s often reciprocated, that is how it works, especially with FAMILY.
If you want to charge, open a bloody bnb.

FloatingthroughSpace · 09/01/2019 13:15

Some weird people on here mixing up hosting guests with pragmatically being the person the family comes to as your space is larger.

If I invited friends for dinner or a party, no way would I ask for contributions.

If my family sort-of invite themselves to stay virtually every year - whilst also being of course welcome because I'd love to see them- and there's no way we can all squeeze into my sister's 1 bed flat or my mum's tiny 3 bed, and they all live 200 plus miles away so stay for a few days, should I really be expected to wait on them in a formal 'guest/ host' way for 3/4 days every year and all on my family's buck every year? We are much more informal than that. My hosting is a pragmatic decision rather than a gracious desire on my part to do all the bloody work and pay for everything. I am glad some of you aren't in my family. Imagine expecting to be proper "guests" not lifting a finger or paying your way every Christmas in someone else's home.

FayFortune · 09/01/2019 13:20

In that situation Floating we all provide something. Pay for the meat, pay for a takeaway evening, take the drink. That sort of sharing.

The idea of costing it like a B and B seems odd.

Hellolittlesunshinexxx · 09/01/2019 13:24

It's the daily record too....

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