Christmas isn’t cheap, but would you ever feel the need to charge your family and friends if you were hosting Christmas dinner?
That’s exactly what Gemma Andrews does every year at Christmas, asking her family to pay £30 (or roughly $40) a head to sit at her table. Earlier this week, she appeared on the UK talk show This Morning to explain why.
The mom of four (and soon-to-be five!) admitted she’s been hosting Christmas day for 10 years straight because her son has severe food allergies, so she likes to be extra sure of what he’s eating. Understandably though, the cost of cooking for up to 16 people has gotten pretty pricey, and over the years she’s raised the fee of dinner for friends and relatives from £10 ($13) to £30 ($40).
“The alcohol content has gone up as more children become adults,” Gemma explained, “and there are more people who have had children.”
Still, not everyone’s in agreement. Viewers immediately took to Twitter to criticize anyone who would charge their family for a holiday dinner, with one calling it “ridiculous!” and another adding, “This lady has lost the true meaning of Christmas.”
One angry viewer even declared, “What a disgrace! Charging for Xmas dinner!! This woman is obviously making a profit. I’d rather go out and pay £100.”
However, Andrews was quick to point out that her family actually had no problem at all with her fee — or at least, no one’s said anything about it.
“No one has ever had an issue,” Andrews shared. In fact, it was in fact her partner’s grandparents who first offered to put money towards the feast, which gave her the idea to divvy up the cost.
Writer and co-anchor Kathy Lette also took part in the TV debate, and was totally against the whole idea.
“My goose would be well and truly cooked!” said Lette. “No one would turn up to my Christmas dinner because they would be so insulted that I could be so mercenary and mean spirited!”
But Andrews stood her ground, noting that everyone always receives a gift and “it’s literally open house,” with friends and family coming at 10 AM and leaving at 10 PM. The arrangement actually works so well that Andrews, who lives with her four children and partner, even shares her Christmas with her ex-husband and his family — who are all more than happy to pay the costs.
While Lette accused Andrews on-air of being a “Scrooge,” I have to say that I totally understand why the mom has taken such a stance after all these years. Christmas to me (and pretty much every mom I know) is like taking on another job every December. Each year, I have to lay out for teacher’s gifts, presents for all the family, a tree, Christmas dinner, work drinks, work dinners, Secret Santa exchanges, donations at the school fair, and something to wear.
The list of expenses can feel endless, coupled with the fact Christmas dinner costs a heck of a lot of money — especially when you’re talking 16+ people. All things considered, asking people to contribute feels like a clever solution to me. Honestly, if you’re the one hosting Christmas year after year, then at some point, isn’t it someone else’s turn to host or pay?
Also, let’s remember here that Andrews is doing ALL the cooking. It’s an enormous amount of labor shelling Brussels sprouts, (which no one even eats), peeling potatoes, and making sure the ham gets cooked to everyone’s liking. Not to mention all the pre-prep and the clean-up!
I’ve found that it costs way more to cook a holiday feast than it does to go out. And while I appreciate that hosting a meal is all about welcoming those to your table and sharing (you know, the whole point of Christmas) I also feel there’s pressure to actually be able to afford to host a holiday.
The idea that everyone “brings a dish” never works out evenly; there will always be someone who brings a bag of carrots while someone else foots the bill for the turkey. So hey, maybe having everyone chip in even amounts for the meal isn’t so crazy after all!
I stand with everyone on Twitter who’s praising Andrews this week, including the lady who tweeted,”I think £30 is cheap for Christmas dinner!! Well done girl.”
And also this person, who wisely noted:
“If her family are willing to pay then it is a joint agreement in my eyes. It’s very expensive and not everyone can afford to be so extravagant. They spend Christmas together which is the important thing. Good luck to them and Merry Christmas!!”
EXACTLY. I’m on your side, Gemma. Here’s to you and your family having a lovely Christmas dinner again this year — that doesn’t break the bank.