A woman sparked a heated debate online when she asked was it okay for her mother-in-law to ask family members to pay for Christmas dinner this year.

Between gifts, travel, holiday parties, and decorations, Christmas is expensive for most families.

The average cost of Christmas for Americans is around $1,000 and those hosting a large gathering for the holiday can expect an even greater financial hit for feeding so many people.

So, when a woman said her mother-in-law is asking everyone to pay about $20 for their Christmas meal, it warranted a strong reaction online.

Writing on a U.K. discussion board called Mumsnet a woman whose username is Staceyjas, said she was surprised to learn that her partner’s mother offered to host family dinner but wants to charge her family to eat Christmas lunch at her place.

The user asked for advice, writing:

Would you charge family for Xmas dinner?

Wanting to know how others felt about her mother-in-law’s request, she continued:

She said she doesn’t want to do it all from scratch and wants to get it all pre-done so it’s more money, which I understand.”


I can see it from both sides and it’s hard work and can be expensive but not like she is financially destitute.

The woman explained that the change didn’t go over well with her partner and he feels “gutted” after his mom decided to charge guests for the holiday gathering that’s typically held at her house.

The user added:

This has never happened before and he has offered to bring the dessert etc but he said handing over cash just feels wrong.

As he says it’s about family not money but I wanted to see what other people’s opinions are? Or if you do this?

Some people expressed shock at the family member asking for money when they offered to host the meal. Some wrote:

OMG! No! F**k, that is horrible. We host Christmas: buy the turkey and pudding, everyone else brings a dish eg sausages in blankets etc. That shares the cost and the work. Cannot think of anything less hospitable than setting the menu and demanding your ‘guests’ pay for it.

While others said they would feel more comfortable asking their guests to bring a dish rather than fork over cash:

It’s really expensive to cater for Christmas dinner for a lot of people. I did it one year for my better off than me in-laws. It cost me over £400. If we do Christmas with my family, we will share the cost of food or all bring different components of the dinner…Don’t think of it as her charging you but instead think of it as you all contributing to the cost of the food.

Personally, I wouldn’t – I would ask people to contribute by bringing specific contributions to the meal instead.

What do you think of mom’s request? Should the family have to pay to partake in their Christmas meal?

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

Leave a comment

5 Replies to “Mother-in-Law Wants Guests to Pay $20 for Christmas Dinner — Her Family Is Appalled by Her Request”

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Decide on who will bring what dish instead. Asking for money just seems so cold hearted. We usually pick up the check for our three sons and their families to a restaurant. So I would never ask my family to pay for their meal. It is rude!!!

  • Margo 2 years ago

    I agree. Things could get expensive.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    When we all get together on my Dad’s side, there are more than 50 of us. We are the only ones with a big enough house to hold everyone so when we get together for Easter, it is at my house. We end up catering the meal. I make the antipasto and everyone brings a dessert. (Parents with young kids bring eggs for the hunt as well.) We take the cost of the catering, ingredients for the antipasto, drinks and paper goods and come up with a per head price. Kids are half the adult price. Everyone pays for the “number of heads” in their family. It works perfectly because we all get to see each other, everyone participates in the holiday and everyone is comfortable with the arrangement. It might not work for every family (in fact, it is only with my Dad’s side and only for Easter that we do this like this) but if talked about and agreed upon ahead of time, it can let people get together without putting all the stress on one person.

  • Leo Guerra 2 years ago

    Hosting a family holiday dinner can be expensive. It you can not bear the expense, discuss it amongst the family members and all get together to cover the expense. Asking for pay will only cause animosity amongst other family members.

  • […] Christmas can put a lot of financial stress on families, as previously reported by Dearly. […]

We are excited to announce Dearly has joined forces with Mama’s Uncut. Helping Mom’s across the United States answer questions on life’s big challenges.