Christmas dinner: Woman charges family to attend

A grandmother has found a creative way to cope with the cost of living crisis, revealing she charges her family to attend Christmas dinner.

Caroline Duddridge, 63, introduced the fee to help her cover the price of hosting the large gathering after her husband died in 2015 and she was forced to slash her income in half.

“There’s a few out there who think I’m a bit of a scrooge but my friends think it’s quite a good idea,” she told the BBC.

The pensioner charges on a sliding scale, with adults forking out up to £15 (AUD$27) and the youngest grandchild just £2.50 (AUD$4.50), and she believes it’s an important lesson for the children that costs are spread evenly around everyone.

And everyone must cough up the cash in a timely manner, with the teaching assistant joking: “If you don’t pay by 1 December, you’re not coming.

“Obviously there were a few moans and grumbles saying I’ve got a few children, but at the end of the day that’s not my problem really, is it?”

Caroline will prepare sandwiches and a turkey dinner with all trimmings and drinks for Christmas Day, there will also be a nut roast and four desserts. On Boxing Day there will also be a full buffet.

The cost of the festive spread, which lasts over three days, is around $540.

At first, the thrifty gran asked her family to collect coins to contribute, but she soon realised asking for a bank transfer was much smarter.

“I said to my children, ‘right, it costs a lot of money, I’m going to do a little kitty jar so you can put £2 (AUD$3.60) away starting in September’,” she said.

“It sounds good, doesn’t it? But of course it all got a bit shambolic, trying to keep track of them and there were a few stragglers.”

Caroline says she calls her five children, aged between 24 and 37, to make sure they pay up.

“I log into my bank account and check who has made their Christmas dinner payment in November.”

This year, her two sons will be charged £15 (AUD$27), three daughters £10 (AUD$18) – they are charged less due to family duties are working part-time, grandchildren over the age of five £5 (AUD$9), and those younger £2.50 (AUD$4.50).

Partners of immediate family members are asked for similar amount.

She told Fabulous Magazine that her plan “streamlines dinner and ensures everyone has a say and helps out and no one faces post-Christmas money problems”.

It also allows for everyone to have a say in what food and drinks will be served.

She said approximately $160 of her $320 or so levy goes towards meat which she “doesn’t even eat”.

Her fee also includes electricity.

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