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05th Dec 2018

Discussing The Horrible New Irish Christmas Dinner Trend That Leaves Families Fighting And Losing Money

Darragh Berry

I look forward to Christmas dinner so much, even more so than the presents and the nights out.


Because I don’t get to see my family feck all. When I lived down west, I saw my parents a good bit but not my sister and now that I live a stone’s throw away from my older sibling in Dublin, I’m lucky if I see my auld pair once a month.

We’re a close-knit family. We have our own inside jokes, craic and language that anyone else joining us for dinner would find difficult enough to understand.

For the foreseeable future, our Christmas dinners will probably be based in our home house in Mayo.

These are for various reasons for this but the two big ones are: We love coming home for Christmas and my parents hate being anywhere else but home for Christmas.

But I’m very happy to imagine the day that I can hand my mother a glass of wine, me auld lad a bottle and say “don’t worry, we’ve got this.”

And when that day comes, mark my words, I would never do something like this…

This was a trend that started in the USA last year but slowly and surely, it’s making its way across the water and as of yesterday, was a talking point on UK show, This Morning.

The concept is simple: Relations are hosting Christmas dinner for their families but then asking their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, whoever, to fork out some cash.

The woman being interviewed on This Morning in England came under serious fire for wanting to charge a whopping €35 (£30) for the dinner.

And I can understand why someone would be inclined to do something like this.

If you didn’t want to have to cook Christmas dinner at home, you might head out to a hotel or restaurant instead.

But these people are asking their families to come over and then saying ‘hey, that’ll be €20, please.’

It’s not like their relations are begging to take them in as an alternative to going out for dinner, in order to save money.

Nobody ever says ‘Oh, I’ll go to yours for dinner this year’, it’s always an invitation.

So if you invite someone to dinner, you should by no means charge them for that said dinner.

I get it. There’s a massive amount of pressure and money pumped into Christmas dinner.

Anyone with a decent bone in their body, will automatically bring something to the party if they are attending a dinner somewhere else.

If you have Christmas dinner somewhere other than your own house, you’ll bring the dessert, or drinks or offer to do the massive clean up afters.

But, if I was asked to pay for my dinner at a relatives, I’d probably gain such a fit of rage that I’d break every set of Christmas delph, one by one.

The originally argument that kickstarted the discussion this year was a post on ‘mumsnet‘ and this alone just shows everything that’s wrong with this trend.

The person posting already admits that the idea alone has begun to tear their family apart.

She said that:

“My partner has just told me that his mother who he’s having Christmas lunch with said she wants £17 per head from him!

“I’m going to my family’s for lunch so invited him also but he has had it there all his life with his grandparents and siblings too.

“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 but he’s gutted and feels like he wants to come to my family now.

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

“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.”

No matter what happens in this situation, someone’s pipe is going to burst. If he opts to go to the other dinner, his mother will be upset but if he goes and pays, he’s going to end up giving his mother some harsh words eventually about the matter.

It’s not a good idea. It’s one that leaves families fighting and more stupidly fighting over money at a time of year that’s supposed to be all about family and love and presents that are defined not by the money you spent on them but what they mean.

I agree with contributing towards the dinner if you are a guest. But that contribution does not have to be a physical exchange of money.

If people want to be reimbursed for their efforts, sure, there’s other ways around it.

Tell one son to “buy the turkey” tell your next door neighbour to “bring the gravy” and ask your daughter-in-law to maybe make some dessert from scratch.

But there’s just something so completely disgusting and not at all family-like about forcing people to give you money so you can feed them at Christmas.

Christmas is commercialised enough, the last place you should have to pay for this year’s festivities is in a relations’ home.

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