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...