I charge my guests for Christmas dinner – even my 7-year-old has to pay, with the profit I buy manicures & clothes

I charge my guests for Christmas dinner – even my 7-year-old has to pay, with the profit I buy manicures & clothes

MOST people are happy to have their friends and family over for Christmas dinner for free – and expect nothing more than a thanks and perhaps a bottle of festive sherry in return. 

Not so checkout assistant and mum-of-four Deb Hodge, 47, who charges an astonishing £40 for Christmas dinner. 

She’s done it for two years and feels no shame about it, despite being deemed greedy by some mates who no longer come to her house. 

“It’s a critical life lesson in money management,” she exclusively told Fabulous, revealing how any extra profit she made she spent on treats like manicures, clothes and perfume for herself. 

She even makes her daughter, seven, pay £10 for her meal – which she saves up out of her 50 pence pocket money. 

Now divorced Deb, mum to students Frankie*, 24, Elizabeth 18, Bella, 13 and Amelia, seven, from Sidcup, Kent, shares her story: 

I start preparing for my Christmas meal in early December. It’ll feature the usual turkey and ham but I also make sure I cater for vegan and gluten-free guests.  

I’ll make sure there’s a selection of starters, mains and deserts plus crackers and alcohol . 

I’ll be having five guests over – my four kids, two neighbours and three friends. They’re all part of my support bubble. 

Then I do the most important job – I’ll email an invoice demanding full payment.  

While most people would be shocked to receive a bill demanding cash before you even eat, my friends and family know the score.  

Because this is the third year I’ve charged for Christmas dinner. 

I believe it is the key to having a happy, stress-free December 25. 

All the adults including my two eldest kids are charged £40 for their meal.  

My two youngest are charged a tenner.  

Some relatives told me it was outrageous and I should be showering people with love not invoices.  

I was like ‘Talk to the hand, pur-lease’. 

Everyone has to give me the money 10 days before Christmas or they can't come. I have to plan budgets and ensure there is food for everyone. 

They all get to choose their meals from my menu plan and they don’t have to lift a finger.  

It’s not me being selfish despite a couple of friends telling me I had lost the true meaing of Christmas. In fact it’s something I am proud of.  

I’m a single mum and three years ago in 2017 I’d had enough. 

I was sick to death of buying food for Christmas. 

I was fed up with catering for everyone’s needs, hosting, cooking and buying gifts, then spending the rest of the year paying it off before starting all over again.  

Christmas Day was no fun. Slaving over a hot stove for no reward while everyone else had a good time wasn’t fair. So I decided to get tough. 

So, in October 2018 after friends and family announced they’d all be coming to her house again for Christmas, I decided to adopt my new policy. 

I rang around friends and told them I’d decided to charge for Christmas dinner. Everyone was shocked and gobsmacked.  

A couple of ‘mates’ refused to pay so I disinvited them. But, hilariously, some then backtracked and asked if they could come. 

The kids naturally kicked off declaring I was a tyrant and it was my duty to feed them. It took a bit of tough love.

I told them if they put aside fifty pence very couple of weeks they’d save it up quickly.

When they realised they got to select whatever they wanted ice-cream and pudding wise they soon paid up.  

My youngest, Amelia, was only four at the time but even she had to pay. People said it was a bit harsh but I stuck to my guns telling them it was a lesson in saving and budgeting. 

That year was great. There were no arguments. Everyone had their menus to review a couple of weeks beforehand andI felt rewarded. 

Of course I shopped around to get the bargain buys as well. I wasn’t going to splurge if I could save on costs.   

I still got stuck with the washing up because my guests all announced they paid to eat, not paid to clean. 

I managed to make a £12 profit that year and got a manicure.  

Last year I upped the price to £30 and charged the kids a tenner.  

People were a bit more fussy with what they requested and I had to chase some for cash – plus the kids moaned but eventually handed over their notes.   

I absolutely believe it’s teaching them to be business focussed, to save and also to be aware of the cost of living.  

I don’t care if people call me hard or selfish.  

It stopped the fights, the moaning and arguments over who was hosting the next year. As an added bonus I made a profit of nearly £25 in 2019 and that’s my gift to me. 

I treated myself to a new top and some fancy kitchen utensils. 

This year I am making a roast turkey crown, roast chicken and sliced roast ham, vegan nut roast, stuffing, puddings including ice creams, choccie cake and custards.  

As for booze the adults get three glasses of prosecco or beer and then they have to bring their own and the kids get squash.  

I start my prep work a few days before and get up at 4am on the day.  

I admit, doing it this was, has helped my bank balance, but I don’t care. I work really hard.  

And now she’s seven Amelia is even earning extra cash waitressing and if she does it she'll get a fiver from me.  

She has inherited my business acumen. 

I love my family and friends but I love earning money more – this works for me, why knock it! 

We shared how a Christmas-mad couple spent £20k transforming their home into festive DISNEYLAND with fake turrets & thousands of lights.

We shared how a mum-of-four spends £1.2k on her kids’ Christmas gifts defends HUGE present pile.

And Britain’s biggest family the Radfords share their savvy Christmas tips & how long it takes to wrap presents for 22 kids.

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