Preparing for the holidays is a tough job, especially for the host of the family gathering. There is cleaning to do, gifts to purchase, decorations to put on display, etc. But perhaps the most time consuming and, expensive task is preparing for the meal.

Cooking and serving an abundance of food for a large group of people, and all for free, is crazy. What does the host get out of it? Bankruptcy?

This year, however, one matriarch wants to turn that tradition around.

According to a story posted to the UK-based parents forum Mumsnet, a woman is adapting her family's annual holiday meal tradition by charging £17 (the equivalent of $21 in the US) per participant. She cites her decision to have the meal pre-made and catered to her home in lieu of being done herself from scratch as the reason.

The woman's daughter-in-law, the original poster of of the Mumsnet story, and her husband expressed a shocked response to the request.

"I can see it from both sides and it's hard work and can be expensive but not like she is financially destitute," Staceyjas, username of the original poster, said. "This has never happened before and [my husband] has offered to bring the dessert... but he said handing over cash just feels wrong."

Posted with the intention to seek advice and gain additional perspective on the matter, the story quickly garnered more than 500 responses.

"Cannot think of anything less hospitable than setting the menu and demanding your 'guests' pay for it," Mumsnet user PersonaNonGarter responded, disagreeing with Staceyjas' mother-in-law's decision.

However, other Mumsnet users had more favorable words for the non-traditional approach to this tradition, citing money as a justifiable factor in the decision.

"Why should she have to cover the cost every year when it's likely to be £100 plus?" One user said. "And why should she have to cover the cost of not wanting to do so much cooking?"

It has even sparked debates over Twitter, the outcome of which is decidedly neck-and-neck.

While we believe that any homebound holiday tradition should not require a cover charge, it is hard not to disagree that, especially around this time, making money however you can is essential.

What do you think? Does charging your family for a holiday meal sounds like a Christmas fit for a Grinch, or are you mad you haven't thought it before? Let us know in the comments below!

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