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Christmas Day Lunch dilemma - what would you do?

hi there Chowhounds, have got a curved ball situation regarding a Christmas Day Lunch that I've been invited to at a friends house.

This year, I've been unable to spend Christmas with my OH who has had to travel overseas so I am staying at home this year. A good friend of mine who lives nearby had suggested that I join him (and fellow christmas 'orphans/waifs & strays' at his house for Christmas Lunch, which I thought was very kind of him to do.

Last week, I asked if there was anything I could do to contribute to the event (you know in terms of cooking/bringing something etc - apparently he and another friend (who I have met 2 times but do not know so well) were going to be doing the cooking. He did say that if I could bring a few bottles of wine for the meal that would be great. So I've bought 2 bottles of white wine, 2 bottles of red and some nice chocolates. From what I understood from my friend I think there will be around 7 or 8 people in total at the lunch.

I've been out and about today, visiting friends and doing some last minute shopping. When I got back, there was a message from my friend on my answer machine, saying that for some reason, the cost of the christmas dinner food shopping was much higher than expected and that I now need to make a financial contribution towards the lunch, which totally contradicts our previous conversation and to be frank, for an English person a bit of a "nasty surprise".

I'm a bit at a loss to know how to react appropriately to this. I feel rather like I have been tricked, conned or stitched up. I am starting to feel like I do not want to attend, it has upset me that much that I might end up getting bitter and twisted which would ruin the spirit of the shared meal on this special day.

Do I just suck it up and pay up?. He has said he requires a contribution from me of US $50..

I would say this seems quite out of character to me for him to behave like this. He frequently eats at my house, we've eaten dinner at his, he's normally a good host. The subject of money has never got involved in our prevous transactions and it is leaving a bitter taste as it now feels like a "done deal" without any prior consultation. I've not yet returned his call as it is late here in the UK and I'm still at a loss to know what to say!.
There will be time to make a call in the morning. Lunch is due to be served at 3pm.

Should I just put this down to Christmas over-emotion?
Any insight/angles or coping strategies for dealing with this graciously, tactfully yet appropriately assertively would be most appreciated.

It's not a topic that I can really ignore, it is like an elephant in the room!

Seasons greetings and really welcome your diverse advice and wise counsel on this one...

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  1. I would be very annoyed to receive such a message, especially as you already bought the wine.

    I'd just say that you don't have the extra $$ available as you had only budgeted for the wine and therefore will be unable to attend.

    1. This is upsetting on a number of levels. Your host and his pal had no idea how much they'd be spending or if they had a budget? And fifty bucks per? That's $300 from six guests. Wow. I think I'd either point out the cost of my contribution if I still wanted to go, or restock my cellar (!) and hunker down with a book and the television. I can't help with the bitterness, because I'd have it in spades. Merry Christmas, however it plays out!

      1. I would not suck it up. As has already been pointed out, that is a very large food budget for a home-cooked meal. I agree that you could politely apologize that (with the wine) this is more than you'd budgeted, so unfortunately you won't be able to attend. And I would stick to that ... it doesn't sound like these folks are necessarily in the Christmas spirit.

        1. You could put that story in the dictionary under the definition of chutzpah.

          I’d bail. And probably lose a friend over it. But I’d be dying to know what’s on the menu. Caviar, foie gras, and a standing prime rib roast? I think I could bring that in for 7 or 8 at $50/head--including wine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            I was thinking the same thing! What's on the lunch menu that takes a home cooked meal to $3-400?!? I think the caviar, prime rib, king crab etc route can be about the only way to spend that much on lunch that's cooked at home.

          2. I don't think yours is Christmas over-emotion. This would piss me off at any time of the year. If they needed to pool money, that should have been clear at the time of the invitation, not the day before. And the fact that they had already asked you to contribute the wine just adds insult to injury.

            Here in the Eastern US, I am hosting 9 for dinner. The food cost (6 lb roast, 3 lb fish, 1 lb shrimp plus salad, fresh green beans, peas, corn, a couple loaves of good bread, etc) was under $300 (Yeah, I know, 3 times the food needed ;). The wine, beer, champagne, etc and desserts are not included in that amount. But then your friends asked you to bring the wine, so perhaps the other guests are providing the other non-dinner elements? So $50 seems really steep. Then again, I wouldn't dream of asking $1 to share a holiday (or any) meal at my home.

            So to answer your question: "<Friend> I am so sorry I did not get your message until late last night. I hate to call on the morning of the lunch, but I really cannot make it today. Like most people, I'm stretched very thin at holiday time. After purchasing the 4 bottles of wine, and even purchasing some nice chocolates for the occasion, I just don't have a spare $50. Had I been aware of the need for a contribution weeks ago, I may have been able to adjust my spending accordingly. Unfortunately, that's just not possible now. I'm sorry I'll miss your company today and hope to see you soon."

            Then relax, have a glass or two of the red with those chocolates and enjoy your holiday. And perhaps contemplate that lunch without wine and chocolate (I say snarkily).

            1. Asking for $50 after you have already agreed to bring wine? That is just unthinkable to me. I would never ask someone to contribute $$ to a holiday meal. I would call him and make sure that the message was in fact intended for you--perhaps one of the other guests agreed to a monetary contribution?

              Gaffk has said it very well... and I agree. At this point I would not go, but stay home with the wine and chocolate.

              Whatever your decision, have a lovely Christmas.

              1. Please, do call your friend. He may not remember that he asked you to contribute wines, and/or may not realize that you will be bringing four bottles. Rather than wondering and becoming more upset, I would address the situation as early in the day as practical. But then, that's just me. YMMV.

                  1. Everyone here has valid points, but to be honest, it's christmas. I have found I would much rather just go with the flow and enjoy my christmas. At the most I would leave 2 bottles of wine at home and/or the chocolate. But truthfully I would probably just take everything and I am certainly far from well off. Maybe the numbers grew and they bought extra food or something.

                    1. I think it depends on what kind of "good friend" this is, and whether you want to continue considering this person as a "good friend."

                      Depending on your answer to the above, your answer as to whether you should "suck it up and pay" will be obvious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        It's situations like this that cause one to call into question exactly how good a friend someone is. I do know people who would do this ... and they are no longer friends.

                        I am just having the hardest time believing that $50 is an even split of the costs (never mind the wine). I strongly suspect that at that level you would be subsidizing the event, not contributing your fair share.

                        Time to remove the 'kick me' sign is what I think ;)

                      2. I would call your friend and ask him how he wants to reimburse you for the wine that he requested you bring. Actually, I wouldn't attend. I'd call and say that something came up that adversely "soured" your stomach. I'd then take the $50 and go out to a restaurant for a meal of my choice.

                        Don't let this spoil your Christmas.

                        1. I am sorry for my language, but what the f#@k?????? I am so angry just reading your post! I am so sorry that you have a "frIend" that would put you in this uncomfortable position. But, you know what? You have no reason to feel uncomfortable. Your friend overextended himself, perhaps, but that is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. I remember reading a similar post on this board around Thanksgiving. For the LIFE OF ME, I cannot imagine inviting people over for a meal, spending more than you can afford, then passing the cost on your so-called guests! In nearly a decade on CH, thsee posts are the MOST mind-boggling. Not because of the posters' questions, but because there are "hosts" in the world who would pull this! Call your friend, tell him what you bought for the event and tell him you are sorry if he invited more people than he ought to have for his budget and let him know you will stay home if he feels your attendance will be a burden on him. Maybe saying that will make him realize how absurd inviting someone to dinner then asking them to foot the bill for their plate is. Oy! Sorry.

                          1. You were planning to bring 4 bottles of wine!? If you want to go to this lunch, I would cut that back to 2 bottles, leave the chocolates home and pony up the $50. Otherwise, if you don't care whether you and this person remain friends, I would send an email saying I couldn't make it and have a nice bottle of wine and some pasta all by myself.

                            1. I definitely think it would be kind and gracious to suck it up at this point because your friend has purchased the food (which is perishable as the wine is not). Since this is out of character I would assume this friend maybe overspent or did not anticipate the costs of the meal, maybe splurged. I would pay the $50, cut back to one bottle of wine and look forward to the meal if it was me. When you return home please update us on what was served while enjoying your nice chocolates and maybe another glass of wine. In the years to come you will at least be able to tell the story of the $50 dinner and possibly enjoy yourself and the meal more so than sitting home with a book. Merry Christmas!

                              1. While I am with the others in the general terms of shock/dismay - it's only because I had hoped this was only a case of bad manners amongst my friends.....

                                However, what I have found that works with those friends (especially when they're good friends) is to truly ask why the amount is needed and openly talk about it. Whether it's orphan Christmas or expat Thanksgiving, I think a lot of times there can be a vibe of "I'm actually doing you a favor, because otherwise you'd be all alone".

                                I've hosted expat Thanksgiving with one friend now 2 years in a row, and both times have had to deal with my friend wondering why it's unfair to ask people for money (even after we've already asked them to contribute wine). This year, I really talked through with her what expenses were overwhelming her and what was going on in her life. I think/hope it made me be both a better friend to her, but also not telling people that being a guest has a price tag.

                                The other more innocent thing that may have happened was that when shopping there was an amazing deal on wine, and so now they don't need the wine you purchased and you can save the chocolates for another host gift. Either way, if it's a good friend - I recommend talking to them honestly about it. It's not standard, and he may honestly be counting on people being too uncomfortable to say anything about it.

                                1. Please let us know what you decided to do and have a Merry Christmas whatever you pick. I like what some of my fellow hounds are saying about just making up an ailment and bailing. Even if you decide to go, you did say it was a good friend, giving yourself permission to simply avoid the situation might help you figure something out.
                                  I'm not sure today, Christmas Day is the best day to talk things out. Surely later you can try to figure out what the heck happened. Perhaps as some have said, there is some unusual development. Your friend can hardly blame you if you are "sick" and you can talk later. This way you stay on speaking terms.
                                  How badly did you want to go and how would you feel about just relaxing at home? I think you should make this about you and your feelings and also not do anything to end your friendship on Christmas Day.
                                  If you don't need immediate closure and you have the money in hand, you could wait until the last minute and see how you feel. After all, people can suddenly get sick.

                                  1. Choice seems to be either paying up (or ringing him to discuss) or spend Christmas Day alone.

                                    Difficult call - as you say, not at all our British understanding of hospitality.

                                    Did you reach a decision overnight?

                                      1. Since this is a good friend and I would guess that you would like to keep him as as a friend, I would call and express surprise at the request for the donation for the party. Explain that you have already purchased other contributions for the party and therefore did not expect the addtional expense and then you will have to decide what you want to do.

                                        If it seems out-of-character for him, maybe it was someone else's suggestion and he is just going along.

                                        1. Personally, I'd just go out and buy $50 bucks more worth of wine, and then tell the host that you've already spent whatever all the wine cost -- once you've shown what you've spent (which would presumably be more than everyone else) no good host would ever as for an additional contribution.

                                          1. <He has said he requires a contribution from me...>

                                            I've never had a 'good friend' require anything of me, let alone money.
                                            I hope you've found some peace of mind with this and have decided your best course.
                                            Hope to hear about what the outcome was/is.

                                            1. I am shocked by how many people would end a relationship with a "good friend" over $50. I guess if you cannot afford to shell out $400 to feed people on Christmas you are not worthy of their friendship.

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: olyolyy

                                                That's a bit too glib.

                                                I think if the scenario was that, initially, the "good friend" asked for a contribution of $50 up front, then the OP would not have a gripe.

                                                But as it is, the good friend already shot his/her wad by asking for a contribution of wine. The good friend cannot then go back to the well and ask for another contribution (of $50) a day before the lunch.

                                                That's what everyone is gripping over.

                                                For all we know, when (or if) the OP shows up at lunch, the "good friend" might charge her for admission. It would certainly fit the MO of the "good friend" ...

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Exactly... OP asked what he could bring, friend said could he bring wine. Wine is bought and ready to bring. Now the friend wants $50??
                                                  Unless another guest agreed to contribute some $$ and the messages got mixed up, then WTF??

                                                2. re: olyolyy

                                                  <I'm shocked by how many people would end a relationship...>

                                                  What's a little shocking is that it's not understood that this situation isn't really about money.

                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                    I'm clear on the situation, thanks.

                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                      Exactly...it wouldn't matter if it was $5 or $50 or $ 500

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        While I agree that the situation has more to do with overall manners (inviting someone, asking for a contribution, returning to ask for a further contribution) - I do think that the money element definitely contributes in a way that a different kind of request wouldn't.

                                                        Had last minute the the host called and said "We've just run out of oil/butter/cinnamon - can you please bring some over" or "more people are coming than expected and we're terrified we won't have enough wine, can you bring another bottle". Those are all additional financial request, but in a different spirit.

                                                        Also - had the message gone "Far more people are coming than planned, so we're getting a larger cut of meat, and we're asking for people to contribute $5" - I doubt this post would have come on CH.

                                                        I think why the dollar amount truly does matter is because it monetizes the experience. If my options are to be alone on a holiday or give a friend $10 to put together an orphans meal - that sounds like a delightful way to spend $10 (and I would probably still offer to bring a bottle of wine too). However, if the request is $50, then I'm asking myself "is a meal at my friend's really worth a $50?" Not to mention the "right" of leftovers.

                                                        So I do think the monetary element matters, but overall I think that taking this situation as a nuclear moment to end a friendship is bizarrely extreme.

                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                          The problem with the whole situation, that the OP is was/is in, is that he/she will never know what the host's true intentions ever were. In my opinion, the gesture by the host was both insulting and boorish.
                                                          Suppose the host always, from the very beginning before the OP was ever asked, intended to ask for the money?...in other words, always knew the price of the food but knew the OP, because he/she is such a wonderful person, would come through with no question? Suppose the host never asked anyone else for the money, only the OP? We don't know the financial situation of the OP...lots of people with LOTS of money are asked to subsidize things, or attend things, where other people attending are not asked. It's never clear in the person's mind, with the money, if they were asked to attend because they have money to burn or they were asked because their company was truly appreciated.
                                                          There are other variables, certainly, but once in awhile, yes, a person begins to question the reality of the friendship and, in this case I really don't think this is as simple as it appears. I don't think a 'true friend' all of a sudden, out of the blue, pulls a stint like this without some prior 'red flags'.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            I come to this situation from having friends who have done this - both in a more tacky ways (after the meal had already happened a few days ago, bringing up asking people to reimburse her) and in a less tacky ways (asking ahead of time, but at an amount level that felt a bit unreasaonable). And because of the friendship I have with these people, I feel confident in saying that all these times it initally came from a place where the money to host the meal was a real stretch for them (always to be judged in retrospect as reasonable and not someone experimenting with a 7 course foie gras tasting) - particularly with the number of guests they wanted to invite.

                                                            I also can say confidently, that I have not always reponded to this graciously. But having encountered this a number of times, I have learned that if it's a good friend then talking over the situation has worked best for me and our friendship.

                                                          2. re: cresyd

                                                            I don't think anyone was suggesting ending the friendship over this ... it was suggested that the other party might end it based on the OP's response to the situation, and that that might be OK.

                                                            It does sound like those liters of alcohol is where a lot of the money went (so you would have been subsidizing the stocking of a non-existent liquor cabinet?). People typically don't visit me for the purpose of drinking, but if I knew someone didn't drink wine, I'd explain what I have on hand, and that they're welcome to bring something else if the choices don't appeal.

                                                        2. re: olyolyy

                                                          If you can't afford to shell out $400 to feed people on Christmas then you shell out $100 or $200 and do it on a budget, do a pot luck, or don't do it at all. You don't invite someone, tell them to bring wine, and then the day before impose a $50 door charge.

                                                          The op said "I feel rather like I have been tricked, conned or stitched up." Sounds to me like this has little to nothing to do with money if you ask me!

                                                          1. re: joe777cool

                                                            Exactly. In lean years I've frequently hosted parties for friends serving pasta with red sauce and ham because it was what I could afford. I'd rather eat cheap and laugh much.

                                                          2. re: olyolyy

                                                            If he couldn't afford it then he should have got the group together and have them all decide if they wanted to do a pot luck or pitch in and they all decide on a menu. Last minute voice mails saying you are now charging 50 dollars per guest is not the way to handle it. Especially not when the OP likely already spent at least 50 on 4 bottles of wine and chocolates to bring.

                                                            1. re: olyolyy

                                                              I truly feel sorry for you if you base your friendship on what your "friends" can or can't afford. I have had dear friends that could not afford to spend $400 to throw a dinner party, not everybody has those kind of finances, but they would NEVER invite people to a dinner party and then ask for money.

                                                            2. hi there, thank you for your inputs chowhounders, here is my update on the christmas day situation.

                                                              After a somewhat sleepless night I decided I would attend the lunch despite my reservations.

                                                              I turned up with the 4 bottles of wine and chocolates, as I had previously planned for. I decided I would not raise the issue of the "charge" unless the host did proactively, which they did not. I really tried to ensure that the spirit of the day was kept without hostile feelings surfacing. The host was "too busy" to discuss the proposed charge with me on the day. I shall wait for him to raise it with me another day.

                                                              When I got there, there were more people invited than I had previously been aware of. Instead of the 8-9 I thought had been invited at the time of my invitation, the table had been arranged for 12 named people (3 did not turn up for the lunch itself but turned up later on in the evening for a drink)

                                                              Another 6 people turned up after dinner for drinks.

                                                              Dinner was the UK standard christmas fare, consisting of a smoked salmon starter, roast turkey (and roast lamb) with all the trimmings (sausage, bacon, cranberry sauce, roast potato, mashed potato, parsnips, carrots, peas and gravy).

                                                              For some reason we did not get around to the proposed dessert (which I understand would be christmas pudding and trifle) and I decided to leave at 9.30pm.

                                                              It was a good thing that I had provided the 4 bottles of wine as planned since only 2 bottles of white wine had been provided by the host for the dinner itself. I noticed that the other guests did not bring anything along to the event, which is quite unusual if people have been invited to dinner at a friends place.

                                                              It appeared that they had purchased litre bottle each of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum and brandy for the event which was untouched when I left the evening. This is probably one of the highest costs of the event consumables!

                                                              Hopefully the "host" will let me know what the score is once the dust has settled. So it looks like there were more people at this event, than originally anticipated when I had my original invite, that some things were bought for the event that may not have been consumed by the guests and that some guests did not turn up.

                                                              So I managed to have a good christmas day celebration without too much negative feeling on the day itself. I may have to have the delicate discussionof the "financial damages" later on this week but on the whole, I managed to put my bitter-sweet feelings aside and it was a reasonably pleasant night for everyone.

                                                              Thank you to all the Chowhounders who contributed their views and insights. You really helped me to tackle this in a constructive manner in a way that was authentic to my values but respectful of others point of view.

                                                              I wish you all peaceful and tasty seasons greetings.

                                                              13 Replies
                                                              1. re: cavemanu

                                                                Happy Christmas and thank you so much for getting back to us. Loved your update!

                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                  Bless you GivemeCarbs, Happy Christmas to you also!

                                                                2. re: cavemanu

                                                                  They probably drank the five liters of liquor after you left and got down to the serious debauchery. : )

                                                                  1. re: cavemanu

                                                                    I do have a question...you say others did not bring any thing, but did you witness anyone making a "payment"

                                                                    1. re: LaLa

                                                                      No I didn't see any payment taking place. Having said that, I was person #7 of the dining party of 9 people to arrive. There appeared to be 4 "guests" (including me) and the remainder of the dining party were the 2 "host/cooks" and their family members.

                                                                      There were some other people (also family) who for some reason did not attend the meal (placecards had been set and a couple of empty seats at the table) but they turned up later after the meal for some drinks.

                                                                      1. re: cavemanu

                                                                        here is the million dollar question - did those guests not show up for dinner, or arrive later, due to the last minute $50 request?

                                                                    2. re: cavemanu

                                                                      Despite your Nom de Chow, you are a true gentleman.
                                                                      Happy Holidays.

                                                                      --psb

                                                                      p.s. Let us know if the price of admission to NYE is Champagne and Krugerrands

                                                                      1. re: psb

                                                                        PPS to PSB. As for New Years Eve, me and OH (to be reunited this evening yay!) are going to an 18th Century Lace Merchants House that has been converted into a Boutique Hotel/ restaurant for cocktails & dinner with 4 chow loving friends

                                                                        (BTW All prepaid several months ago and surprisingly reasonable coming in at around $100 inc.tax&service for what I recall is a six course tasting menu).

                                                                      2. re: cavemanu

                                                                        For none of the other guests to bring wine is so bizarre I can only think that they were told to bring money and they thought that would pay for the booze. Maybe the host had a rethink after asking you to bring wine? But that wouldn't explain why he only supplied 2 bottles himself...

                                                                        1. re: cavemanu

                                                                          Main thing here is that you were able to have a good Christmas Day amongst friends. And I doubt if anyone could ask for more than that.

                                                                          Hopefully your OH will be back fairly soon and you can have another celebration.

                                                                          1. re: cavemanu

                                                                            Thank you for providing the update. I would be curious to know what comes of a conversation with a friend who has done this (from any CH, actually).

                                                                            One of the knock-on effects I did observe (apart from bad feeling for the host) is one in which each guest suddenly starts assessing the contribution of all other guests-- whether they gave, or whether their contribution was reasonable or fair. How sad.

                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                              Guess what? yup I received a call from the host earlier today. Apparently he wants to come to see me and have a cup of tea. He's due over here in about 15 minutes or so...

                                                                              I guess we will be having that conversation shortly. I'll let you Chowhounders know how it finally panned out. I am just glad we have managed to move beyond Christmas before having what I am guessing will be an awkward discussion. Hopefully now there have been a few days for the dust to settle, it might be a bit more considered and civilised one than the "fait accompli" presented on christmas eve.

                                                                              Thanks for all your support and wise advice Chowhounders....I shall put my ego in check and be prepared to listen with both ears and an open heart...

                                                                              PS I have my Cheque book at the ready, if needs be....

                                                                              1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                Wow, you should make this the Season Cliffhanger .... "See you suckers back in 2013 ... Or go to the Apple Store and or 99cents, find out what happens ..."

                                                                                I most want to know if you are going to charge him for the Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

                                                                            1. Quality food is not overly expensive here in the States.My daughter just moved to New Zealand in June 2012.She said that just out of curiousity she peeked at a frozen 15 pound turkey during Thanksgiving season...it was $75.00 NZ.dollars. I have no idea of the expense of food products wine and liquor in the U K... BUT unless the person is a very dear friend I would politely decline the lunch invitation and dine @home only because the message left on the answering machine is rude and evasive.Hope you can work things out.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                Our 6.5kg free- range turkey cost us £57 (around 90 US dollars)

                                                                              2. We are waiting with bated breath to hear the outcome.

                                                                                1. This is a little after the fact.

                                                                                  You could pay the $50 then charge him for the wine. Or deduct the cost of the wine from the $50. And if as you spent more that $50 on wine let him know and tell him you 'll cover the difference.

                                                                                  If anything sounds like your friend might be a little frazzled and disorganized. The party, form your description, sounded close to a shambles.

                                                                                  He asked you to do something which you did. He then invites more people over and you have to cover the cost for his party. Clearly there were numerous better ways to handle the situation.

                                                                                  Like many others waiting to here how the 'meeting' went.

                                                                                  1. cavemanu, I regret to inform you that I'm going to have to start charging you each time I visit this thread and there is no update. The good news is, it will be less than $50. Let's have tea and discuss the exact amount.

                                                                                    1. Good afternoon Chowhounders and please accept my apologies for the delay in replying (I have been on the losing end of a battle with a cold/lurgy thang so had taken to my bed for the past day)

                                                                                      Update: Host called me, asking if he could pop round for a cup of tea (this was on the 27th)....

                                                                                      He turned up at mine, we had some tea (just everyday PG Tips not anything posh like Orange Pekoe, I'm afraid!) ;-) and trad British mince pies. Conversation going along fine as per usual, no tense or snarky moments. Absolutely no mention of the "donation" so far. <We are so British as this small talk continued for over an hour> More tea was drunk, another mince pie....some chocolate, a glass of wine...Not a dicky bird (word!) about the Christmas Eve 'request'. He then says I'm looking a bit tired so he's going to go back home.

                                                                                      So I decided to bite the bullet, thanked him again for inviting me to share the Christmas lunch and reached for my purse to give him my contribution towards my 'share' of the meal, acknowledging the fact that I did not want to put him out of pocket.

                                                                                      He declines to take the money and says that it won't be necessary!

                                                                                      So I am none the wiser at this point, if I ever get to the bottom of this I will let you know but it appears we are both back on an even keel for now and he has "saved face".

                                                                                      In hindsight I suspect his cooking partner (effectively a third party) might have been the one keen to instigate 'donations' in the style of a supper club for catering for and cooking what might appeared to be to them to be extra people/additional guests he had invited and not considered part of their original scope?.

                                                                                      Or, as has been suggested on this thread that communications were simply at poor/ crossed purposes or buyers remorse from a splurge.

                                                                                      It still feels out of character for him which is why it was so puzzling to me in the first place and hence initiating this thread...

                                                                                      So not a very conclusive outcome Chowhounders, but no major lasting friendship emotional damage, I'm pleased to report.

                                                                                      thanks for reading!

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                        Sounds as though you handled it all perfectly. And a good lesson to those of us (me!) who would have been ready to blow off a friendship over it.

                                                                                        1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                          Pleased for you, cavemanu. I find these things that we start to worry about often turn out to be a storm in a teacup. Good job you didnt follow some of the advice on this thread about breaking off friendships,etc.

                                                                                          Keep the fluids topped up and stay warm and the lurgy will soon pass. It's so wet and miserable, you're not mssing anything "outside"

                                                                                          1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                            Thanks for the update. It almost sounds as though he felt a bit embarrassed by the whole donation thing and coming round for tea was an apology of sorts. Glad it all worked out without a dramatic scene.

                                                                                            1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                              Well, this seems to have worked out better than I could have imagined! You were wise to keep your cool (something I admittedly would have a hard time with). Glad you have resolved this to a good conclusion and kept the friendship intact.
                                                                                              Feel better and enjoy your plans for New Years!