Photo: seb_ra (iStock)

You don’t have to tell me how much Christmas dinner costs: I have a husband who opted for purchasing live lobsters last year so that we could spend our Christmas Eve murdering crustaceans to make the bisque for our 20-plus guests the next day. This year he’s eyeballing some pricy ($16/pound) beans for a French cassoulet. No, they are not magic beans. That I know of.

So while I can certainly commiserate with the mother-in law of Mumsnet user Staceyjas, as reported by Fox News, I have to admit that she’s going a bit far. Staceyjas tells the message board that her partner’s mother is asking everyone to chip in £17 per Christmas dinner guest (about $21):

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.

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Oh, I can commiserate, Staceyjas’ partner’s mum. Years ago, I was dumb enough to have twins in mid-November, which meant that everybody had to come to our house at Christmas, since we weren’t ready to travel yet. That was 12 years ago, and in all that time, no one has offered to take Christmas back from us. Why would they? It’s a big job. And while my generous father-in-law may slip my husband a few twenties on the side for the roast beast, we would still never actually charge anyone.

May we suggest a few other options, Staceyjas’ partner’s mum? Make everyone bring a dish, to lighten your own Christmas dinner burden. Maybe forego presents to save cash or keep gifts to a cheap White Elephant game (I am of the opinion that no one needs any more crap anyway). Or just say that you can’t host this year—the relatives will figure something else out. And they would probably prefer that option to forking over cash on Christmas Day.