Christmas meals: how to better distribute the costs as a family?


The Christmas meal is a great moment of conviviality and gathering for many families. This is the perfect opportunity to gather around an excellent feast and talk about the year that has just passed. However, this dinner is also a great source of stress and expense.

This year, with the rise in prices and the decline in purchasing power, the expenses related to the holidays are likely to be increased tenfold and therefore difficult to assume for some households. However, sometimes solutions could be found to make them less cumbersome. It would be enough to better distribute them among the guests at the meal.

In some families this happens quite naturally. For others, it is a more sensitive and even taboo subject and some people sometimes take measures that may seem drastic. This is for example the case of Caroline Duddridge, a British retiree interviewed by the English-language daily The Sun.

Since 2016, this head of the family has adopted a new Christmas tradition: charging the festive meal to her children. Every year, before December 1, she waits in her bank account for transfers from her five children. Prices are fixed, 15 pounds for adults (about 17.50 euros), and for children, aged 3 to 12, the bill varies between 5 and 2.50 pounds.

“Like many mums and grandparents who are always preparing Christmas dinner, I could not bear the cost of buying all the gifts and paying for the whole meal”, she justifies herself with our colleagues.

And at Caroline Duddridge, excuses and delays are not tolerated. “I know some will grumble and I’ll have excuses like ‘my salary hasn’t been paid’ or ‘my bank account is frozen’ and ‘can I still have another week?’ money from them for the meal,” she explains.

But in France, in families like that of Inès or Julie, the budget is distributed differently.

In many families, it is often the hosts or the deans who take care of the payment. For example, Inès says that she does not celebrate Christmas in the same place every year. Depending on the host, the expenses are not the same.

“When we celebrate Christmas with my parents, they are the ones who take care of everything and we don’t need to pay a single penny,” she says. Still, it’s not for lack of trying. “When I propose to participate, my mother cuts me off right away and refuses my money. I have even tried to make a transfer to her without asking her opinion and she immediately reimbursed me”, she testifies.

On Julie’s side, the situation is similar. “When we do it at my mother’s house, she always pays for everything, even when I bring the dessert, she reimburses me. This year we do it at our house, but my mother will pay for the meat and bring the dessert. “, she explains.

On the other hand, for these two women, the situation can sometimes vary depending on who the party is with.

If with her mother everything always goes wonderfully, Julie says that this is not always the case, especially when she celebrates Christmas with her in-laws. “Last year we did it with my in-laws, we didn’t ask for financial participation because we’re not too comfortable with it. If people don’t offer us, we don’t ask of ourselves, it’s not our style,” she explains.

“So we paid for everything for 6 at the table. We got close to 400 euros, not including Christmas gifts”, a sum that remains substantial for this young mother.