Charlie O'Brien Blog: Would you pay £30 for Christmas dinner at your mum's house?

by Charlie O'Brien

A woman who charges her 16 guests £30 a head for a Christmas Day meal has appeared on daytime TV defending her actions.

Mother of four, Gemma Andrews, has been hosting for 10 years and explained that the meal has become increasingly expensive as more people drink alcohol and the family grows.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter had a field day calling her ‘greedy’, and a ‘disgrace’.

Would you ask for money from your guests for Christmas dinner?
Would you ask for money from your guests for Christmas dinner?

But before we send this woman to the gallows, let me play Devil’s Advocate and say that maybe she has a point? Sort of.

Every single year my parents host a wonderful Christmas Day. In fact, I’ve never been anywhere else for the festivities. But situations change. The family is growing, food has become a lot more expensive and my parents are now partly retired.

They have never and would never dream of charging us anything. In fact they’d be offended if we even offered. So that is why I always contribute to the food.

With my husband Jay getting in the swing of things last Christmas Day
With my husband Jay getting in the swing of things last Christmas Day

This year I’m making a couple of nut roasts for the vegetarians. We will also take a range of alcoholic and soft drinks, and some snacks to eat before dinner.

And that is what I think the etiquette should be. I’m always a bit shocked when I see people turn up empty handed to meals or gatherings. Even just a bottle of wine shows appreciation towards the people who have spent hours preparing and slaving over a hot oven.

Even laying a Christmas dinner table can take a lot of time and effort.

I asked my Facebook page what they thought of the idea of charging for dinner...

Liz: You could say that if each person contributed to the food then won't be too much, if you can't afford the food don't invite so many people

Becca: Never would I charge for dinner!! .. I have family coming to mine this year and have asked them to bring bits like crackers for table ..cheeses and some drink but main bits we will do .. it's the season of goodwill!! Plus why does she have to have 16 people round if she can't afford to.

The festive chutney I make every year
The festive chutney I make every year

Tom: This is just stingy! Just ask your guests to bring some plonk and a bit of cheese …

Danielle: We as a family always go halves on the meat. Were not big alcohol drinkers and a lot of the bits my mother in law does home made and starts in December so not just a big cost all in one go.

It seems most of us share the same opinion – charging guests for a meal during the season of goodwill is a step too far. But guests – be generous and never turn up empty handed!

I had better get practicing those nut roasts ….

Charlie X

You can follow Charlie's You Tube channel here

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