Everyone has their own holiday family traditions, but one mother is taking things to the extreme.
The mother of five and grandmother of six is asking up to $18 for the dinner for adults, $6 for her 12-year-old and three 9-year-old grandkids, and $3 for her two 3-year-old grandchildren. Because the adult women have children and work part-time, she charges them less.
“In November, I check my bank account to see who has paid for Christmas dinner,” she told The Sun about her annual custom. “Once my ‘naughty and pleasant’ tally is complete, I quickly call my ‘delinquent depositors’ to remind them of their December 1 payment deadline,”
The widower and retiree reported that her five adult children, ages 37, 34, 32, 29, and 24, are accustomed to receiving the phone call reminder.
Duddridge added, “I know some will complain and I will receive excuses such as’my pay hasn’t arrived’ or’my bank account is frozen’ and ‘can I wait another week?’ but I will finally obtain payment for the lunch.”
Duddridge began charging for Christmas dinner in 2016, and it has since become a family tradition; immediate family members are accustomed to it.
The imposition of a tax on children’s meals may seem cruel to some, but it is a crucial life lesson. “I admire that my older grandchildren attempt to volunteer to help me earn some of their money back,” she stated.
Duddridge states that she spends “dozens of hours” scouring grocery stores for the finest and cheapest discounts, particularly given this year’s increasing food prices.
Duddrige, who receives roughly $1,200 per month in widower’s pensions, stated, “Every week my meal budget buys less and less, so I have to be strategic when purchasing food for supper for my 12 guests.”
In 2015, her husband went away, halving her discretionary income.
“Like many grandmothers and mothers who always prepare Christmas dinner, I could not afford to purchase all the gifts and pay for the full feast. I feared I would spend the New Year paying it all off again, as Dudridge said.
In order to assist pay for a Christmas dinner, she informed her children she was beginning a “Christmas kitty jar” and asked her two sons and two daughters to contribute approximately $2 and $1 per week, respectively. However, it was difficult to get her children to comply.
“Some weeks everyone paid, while other weeks some children forgot or lacked change. It resulted in some of my adult children paying more and others paying less. “There was constant conflict,” she stated.
In the end, Duddridge eliminated the jar and adopted a fixed fee to make it equitable. However, the pricing includes personalized dishes, as everyone gets input on the menu. Typical dinner fare includes wine, soft drinks, dessert, Christmas crackers, almonds, and cheese, as well as customary table decorations.
When it comes to serving the food, all of the children and grandchildren participate.
“My method at least streamlines the dinner, ensures everyone has a voice and contributes, and eliminates any post-Christmas financial issues,” she added.
If dinner guests fail to pay on time, they are simply disinvited.
She acknowledges, “I know that many people will criticize charging for the Christmas feast, but that doesn’t worry me.” “It’s not a money grab; it’s just budgetary common sense and a fair distribution of costs among everyone at the table.”
The fee covers both the family’s feast and the electricity.
“It is unreasonable to expect one person to pay for the entire meal, cook it, clean it, and have their heating and energy used. The cost of dinner includes the cost of power. It’s a no-brainer for me… it’s the only option,” explains Duddridge.
While the grandmother loves Christmas, she finds the expense and “drama” of the holiday “exhausting” and wishes it occurred only every ten years.
“No one wants to be buried in debt, and it is unreasonable to ask one person to pay for and prepare the entire meal,” she stated. “I understand that some mothers feel bad if they don’t do everything and serve a great supper for free, but I am pragmatic,” Duddridge added.
“I adore the spirit of Christmas and spending time with family, but it has become so commercialized. People become overwhelmed and it is excessive. “All I need is a great family supper and a gift crafted with love,” she continued.
Duddridge is not the only one to charge her family for a holiday meal prepared at home.
According to a survey conducted by The Sun, 58% of respondents agreed with charging for the dinner. Those on the fence and those opposed to the proposal split the gap at 21% each.