Christmas is a time for giving – we all know that. And giving is a beautiful thing to do, but
not when you’re the one doing all the giving while everyone else takes and takes and takes.
That’s why I really don’t understand why the internet is losing its collective mind about a UK
mum of four (with another one on the way!) who charges her family and friends £30 (about
$40 here in Australia) for Christmas lunch.
In my family, everyone contributes something to the lunch. My brother brings the prawns,
my mum supplies the ham, aunts do the salads and Christmas pudding, and I make a pretty
Everyone knows their job, and everyone contributes their share.
But each year Gemma Andrews makes Christmas dinner for her extended family and friends
because her son suffers from extreme food allergies, and it’s just easier for her if she can
ensure everything is safe for him to eat.
Gemma has been hosting Christmas for the past 10 years and, understandably, the cost of
feeding 16 people a festive meal adds up. It’s the kind of expense that could be crippling to
a young family at a time of year you really need to save your cash for other things.
“The alcohol has gone up as more children become adults,” Gemma explained on UK talk
show This Morning.
And hold on, so that $40 price tag includes booze too? I think I might head over to Gemma’s
this year. That’s an offer too good to refuse!
But not everyone thinks Gemma is in the right. Viewers of the TV show jumped on Twitter
to share their disapproval, with one calling her request for money “ridiculous” and another
saying, “This lady has lost the true meaning of Christmas.”
One angry viewer even exclaimed, “What a disgrace! Charging for Xmas dinner! This woman
is obviously making a profit. I’d rather go out and pay £100.”
Which makes no sense whatsoever, but that’s clearly just how angry this person was.
But let’s do the math here. Gemma is hosting Christmas for 16 people at $40 a head. That
means she’s putting on a decent meal and drinks for $640. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.
I’ve no doubt if you put together all the meals and drinks my family will be contributing on
Christmas Day, we’ll come pretty close to that, and there aren’t 16 of us.
Surely the true meaning of Christmas is everyone being able to get together and enjoy
themselves, and expecting a young family to go into debt just so everyone can eat, drink
and be merry isn’t what it’s all about.
Also important to note is that Gemma said her family had no problem with the arrangement
– or at least, nobody has said anything to her about it.
“No one has ever had an issue,” said Gemma.
In fact, it was her partner’s grandparents who first offered to contribute money to help
Australian writer Kathy Lette was part of the panel discussing the issue on the show. She
was not a fan.
“My goose would be well and truly cooked,” she said. “No one would turn up to my
Christmas dinner because they would be so insulted that I could be so mercenary and mean
Which is nice when you’re as well off as Kathy Lette, of course.
But Gemma stood her ground and said it was “literally open house” at her place, with
friends and family coming at 10am and staying until 10pm.
So Gemma not only plans the meals, buys the drinks and cooks all day, she’s also hosting
people for 12 hours straight. That’s worth every penny if you ask me. I’d be charging double.