Mother of three and Grandmother of four, Hayley Garbutt recently went on the daytime ITV program This Morning to tell astonished presenters Philip Schofield, Rochelle Humes and Vanessa Feltz, her controversial argument for supporting the reason why she decided to charge her family £30 per person for Christmas Dinner this year.
Although this caused controversy and outrage with users voicing their disagreement on Twitter, hosts Vanessa Feltz and Philip Scofield did end up agreeing with her argument and way of thinking, with Scofield even going as far to say: ‘When we heard this story, we all thought 'hold on'. The more we’ve heard, we think this is such a good idea. People do find it tough at Christmas. It is expensive.’
Undoubtedly, Christmas is a costly time of the year with or without hosting Christmas Dinner, as the costs of gifts and travel in addition to any other bills and expenditure you may have in the month of December will also have to be considered. So, whether you have four or fourteen guests for Christmas, have you ever found it a struggle? Have you struggled with both the costs and labour of cooking Christmas dinner? Then maybe you should consider Hayley’s argument.
Hayley’s argument may not be as controversial as you think. However, you may also find that her Christmas differs significantly from the ‘traditional’ model of a family Christmas. Nevertheless, Hayley told This Morning that her family would usually go to a restaurant for Christmas, although, she found it increase challenging to attend restaurants for Christmas dinner with her four grandchildren, (all between the ages of 2 and 12) who struggled to remain happy and content in-between courses. In addition to this, Hayley also found the expense of eating Christmas dinner in a restaurant to be quite a hefty sum at around £70 per person for the 12 members of her family.
As an alternative, she decided to cook a three-course Christmas dinner herself, for her and all the family as an alternative to eating in a restaurant. Now, while a three-course Christmas dinner may not be standard practice for some, Hayley said that she found that she spent over a staggering £500 on food for Christmas. And it was this that what sparked her decision to sit down with her three children to discuss what they would want to eat for Christmas, and work out a reasonable budget for dinner to contribute. Thus, the conclusion of £30 which was a lot cheaper than the £70 they were paying at restaurants.
Hayley did state that her charge per guest would also ensure that all of her adult guests would receive all the alcohol they wanted and would be enough to go around, and it must be said that this isn’t something that restaurants usually include in their price for Christmas lunch or dinner. Although, it was unclear whether the parents of the children were also being charged £30 for the children’s Christmas food, despite the apparent observation that the children would not eat as much as the adults and would not consume any of the alcohol included in the price.
Should You Consider Charging for Your Christmas Dinner?
Despite positive feedback from Feltz and Schofield on This Morning once Hayley had explained her theory, Rochelle Humes and the majority of the general public appeared to need a little bit more convincing to come around to Hayley’s way of thinking. In order to help you come to a conclusion on whether you should consider charging your guests for your delightful Christmas dinner, whether it’s three courses or not, we’ve comprised arguments for both for and against in order to help you decide.
Our Argument For
Now you’ve heard Hayley’s argument for, here’s our argument for why considering charging your guests for Christmas lunch could be a good idea.
The Cost is Fairly Distributed Between the Guests
Do your family and friends always make their way over to yours for Christmas dinner? Year after year, do they expect you to fork out the vast expense of hosting Christmas without contributing anything so much as a bottle of wine? Or are your guests so over-familiar with coming to your place that they even neglect to bring a bottle? Then by considering asking for financial contributions from your Christmas guests would ensure that the costs are spread evenly and fairly this year.
It will Ensure That You are Able to Buy Enough Food and Drink for Everyone
Ever had a tough year moneywise and found you and your guests crowding around your table containing a small turkey crown and a bottle of wine between 6 of you? If you collect financial contributions from your guests (it doesn’t have to be as much as £30), then it will ensure that there are no problems with you providing adequate food and drink for your guests.
Have More Say on What You Want for Christmas Dinner
Prefer a nut roast to a turkey? Alternatively, would you rather have gammon than a piece of beef? If you provide some money towards your Christmas dinner, then it will also allow you to open up and have a discussion on what you would like to have for lunch, seeing as your giving a financial contribution to cover the costs of whatever you would want for Christmas dinner.
No Hard Feelings from The Host
Whether it’s you who’s doing all the cooking for Christmas dinner or someone else near and dear to you, there’s no denying how much thought, hard work and money that goes into a good Christmas day lunch. If you wish to show your thankfulness and appreciation by contributing just a little something, it will show that you don’t take all of the host's efforts for granted, which would mean that there’s no risk of any hard feelings and animosity later on in the day.
Our Argument for Against
If you’re still not convinced, or maybe you are but want to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, then you want to continue reading some of our following points.
Guests May Not Want to Turn Up to Your Christmas
Many people take the opinion that hosts should want to make Christmas dinner for their friends and family out of the pure goodness of their hearts, instead of asking for a contribution per head. Some of your guests may not have enough money to contribute towards Christmas dinner, especially if they have a large family, or some may just even believe that if they’re paying for Christmas dinner then maybe they should get reservations for a restaurant instead. This could potentially leave you with a few empty seats around your dinner table if your guests don’t take the suggestion of providing a contribution to the host too kindly.
It Can Cause Bad Feelings and Animosity if Others Don’t Wish to Pay
This follows on from our previous point, but it could spark bad feelings and feelings of animosity between guests and hosts if there is a disagreement on who, why and how much they should be contributing to Christmas dinner. Guests may feel as if they shouldn’t have to pay for their host’s hospitality and hosts may feel as if it is unfair for guests not to contribute anything in the way of money, food, drink or labour to help out their host and hosting family.
During Christmas, the Telegraph suggests that the average UK family will have five arguments on Christmas day, with the most common arguments getting the wrong present, drinking too much and food preparation. So, don’t let bad feelings with your guest or host lead to any bad feelings or arguments on Christmas day, as it’s not what Christmas is all about.
There Could be More Food Waste and Labour
With a bigger budget, more say and variations in what people wish to have for their dinner on Christmas, comes more work and the possibility of more food waste. Every year the UK alone throws around £64 million worth of food waste each year on Christmas day alone. So, by having a bit more of a larger budget for Christmas dinner, this could double the likelihood of there being more leftovers that go to waste this Christmas, not to mention the amount of hard work and time away from enjoying Christmas with your family that it will take to produce a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
People May Neglect to Show up With Gifts or Contributions to the Host
If guests have to pay to attend your Christmas day lunch or dinner, then they may stop making gifts and offerings of bottles of wine or alcohol. Which can be a help when you are hosting for Christmas, as alcohol can be a considerable expense. Because of this, guests may not feel obliged to provide you with a gift if you are charging for Christmas dinner.
Still Can’t Make Your Mind Up?
If you’ve read both the for and against arguments but you still can’t make up your mind as to whether or not you should consider implicating a Christmas food budget to your guests; then don’t worry! We’ve also comprised the following section to show you what the alternatives are if you don’t fancy charging your guests for Christmas dinner this year but still want to share the budget or the workload.
Save Up All Year
If you are worried that you won’t be able to afford the budget for your Christmas dinner and don’t fancy asking your guests to make a financial contribution, then you may want to consider saving up for your Christmas food budget throughout the run-up months to Christmas. Many people save up throughout the year to ensure that when Christmas rolls around that they have a big enough budget to cover things such as gifts and decorations, so why not make sure that you account for your food bill in your budget.
Revolve the Hosting Duties
If you’re fed up of always hosting and having to take the brunt of all of the expensive costs of hosting, then why not suggest to your nearest and dearest that you revolve the hosting duties each year. This will ensure that all of your friends and family also take a turn of the hosting duties and having to fork out for the costs of Christmas dinner.
Go to a Restaurant Instead
Instead of charging everyone for Christmas dinner and staying indoors, why not pay your dues and go out to eat at a restaurant for Christmas instead. Not only will this ensure that no one has to cook, you pay for what you ask for, but it will also ensure that there’s no washing up to deal with at the end of the meal!
Suggest Each Guest Brings a Dish
However, if you still enjoy your home comforts and a homely family Christmas, then why not suggest to your guests that instead of making a financial contribution, they make a food contribution the meal instead. Depending on how many guests you have, you all choose a dish, dessert or drink to bring to the meal as your contribution which ensures that the costs and labour are shared out evenly between you all.
Although Hayley and her family’s idea of a traditional Christmas may differ from yours, she makes a valid point that Christmas dinner is a large expense to have to pay out for, and proves that there’s no problem in asking for financial contributions if you all agree on a budget and what you want it to include.
Whether you decide to charge your friends and family for lunch with you on Christmas day is up to you, but there are many other ways to share the cost and workload of Christmas dinner this year that you and your nearest and dearest will all be able to agree on.
If you're here you might be interested in The Best Ways to Spend and Save at Christmas.