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Server Balks After Being Booked To Serve In-Laws’ Christmas Dinner At Restaurant As Their ‘Gift’

Person in santa outfit holding a serving tray.
AndyL/Getty Images

If there’s one thing many people dread about the holidays, it’s spending it with their in-laws.

Even if they get along most of the time, oftentimes they might have very different ideas of how to spend their given holiday, arguing about what food should be served, what time everyone should eat, and what games and activities everyone should participate in.

Then there are those who find themselves angry that they are not spending the holidays with their in-laws, as they discover they weren’t invited to join in the family celebrations.

Redditor TravelnPookie and her husband were looking forward to hosting their first Christmas as a married couple, with the original poster (OP)’s in-laws coming to stay with them.

While the OP had an idea about Christmas dinner, her in-laws had other plans.

Plans in which the OP was involved, but in a less-than-ideal manner.

Wondering if she was in the wrong for shutting down this idea, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for expressing to my in-laws that I don’t want to be their server for their family’s Christmas dinner?”

The OP explained why she was unwilling to agree to their in-laws’ proposal of how to spend Christmas.

“So, I’m a newlywed, and my in-laws are rolling into town for Christmas and staying my husband’s and my new house.”

“They mentioned wanting to dine out for Christmas dinner, but I offered to whip up a home-cooked feast instead.”

“Unfortunately, they turned down the offer.”

“Now, here’s where it gets interesting.”

“I am currently working as a server in our town after recently being laid off from my corporate job.”

“Lucky for me, the restaurant is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.”

“Well, turns out my mother-in-law had other plans.”

“She called up my workplace without speaking to me beforehand and asked for me to be their server for their entire Christmas dinner.”

“I found out through my husband that I’d be playing the role of their server for their festive family celebration, and my Christmas ‘gift’ would be a sweet tip and takeout from my restaurant.”

“Seems a bit odd, especially since our restaurant isn’t even open on Christmas Eve or Christmas and I’d be available to spend time with them on those days.”

“They’re scheduling this dinner the day before we close and making it their designated family celebration.”

“I politely declined because, let’s be real, being excluded from Christmas dinner while working as their server?”

“That’s a hard pass from me.”

“Unfortunately, I was told that I was being dramatic and there’s nothing weird about me being their server for their family’s Christmas dinner.”

“Thoughts, anyone?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to serve her in-laws at their restaurant on Christmas.

Everyone agreed that the behavior of the OP’s in-laws was strange and condescending, agreeing that she did the absolutely right thing in firmly turning their idea down, with many concerned that the OP’s husband would so willingly go along with this idea.


“Damn, that’s insulting and spiteful AF.”

“‘We don’t want you to cook or be a participant in our Christmas celebration, but we’d love to come to your workplace and have you serve us, so technically, you’re there with us, but you can’t contribute to the conversation and are required to be polite because it’s your job’.’

“And to say your gift is the tip and takeout?! “

“What the ever-loving f*ck kind of bullsh*t is that?!”

“I’d tell your boss that you request not to serve them, or switch with a co-worker, or call out last minute or something.”

“How in hell does your husband not see the offense in their actions and isn’t supporting you?”-fallingintopolkadots


“And unless your husband is insisting that the family dinner actually include you as an actual sit-down participant, you have more than just an in-law problem.”- MagratCatFurniture

“Oh, honey.”

“They have shown their true feelings about you.”

“You are the help.”

“You are not good enough to share a meal with.”

“They want to humiliate you and put you in your place.”

“If your husband did not immediately express outrage and distress at their suggestion, then you also have a huge husband problem.”

“Do not serve these people in the restaurant, in your home, anywhere.”

“You say they are staying with you?”

“If they want a glass of water, they need to get it for themselves.”

“Do literally nothing for these people.”

“Include your husband in this.”

“He is just as bad.”

“This is not just a power flex on their part.”

“This is outright disrespect and hostility.”

“You should consider asking them to leave your home also.”

“I am so sorry.”

“NTA.”- PurpleStar1965



“Is there anything you’re not telling us that makes this even worse, by any chance?”

“Are you a different race from your in-laws, or something?”- StAlvis

“Red flag.”

‘The fact that you aren’t furious.”

“This is a very obvious slight.”

“You’re a grown adult who’s using this as your side hustle until you get a main gig again.”

“’Oh, nevermind your feelings!'”

“‘Nevermind it’s your workplace and we’ve rejected your food!'”

“‘Nevermind that it’s your first Christmas with my son – oops, I mean your husband!'”

“‘You, little servant girl, I’m going to show you who holds power in this family’.”

“‘You’re going to serve me food and then I’m going to tip you!'”

“‘And we’ll pretend that’s your Christmas present. Instead it being a part of your pay, as it actually is.'”

“‘You should feel honored that we allow you to do that as a new member of our family’.”

“‘You got to earn your place at our table!’”

“What, your food isn’t good enough, but you serving them in uniform is their idea of holiday ambiance?”

“F*ck the in-laws AND your husband for demeaning and belittling you.”

“NTA.”- Pretty_Little_Mind

“NTA, your in-laws are, though.”- Proflake1


“They’re doing Christmas dinner on 12/23 in order for you to serve them (as well as whoever else is on your shift) their dinner?”

“And that is the whole Christmas dinner.”

“You get leftovers.”

“There’s nothing weird about YOU being THEIR server for THEIR Christmas dinner but that better not be YOUR Christmas dinner, kwim?”

“What’s wrong here is that they don’t care to celebrate Christmas with you.”


“I predict you’ll be sick that day and won’t be able to make it in to work.”

“With plenty of rest, you should be able to recover for your Christmas dinner at home.”-Particular_Title42

“This is weird that they’ve chosen to celebrate on an alternate day just so you can wait on them.”

“I’ve worked holidays as both a manager and as a server, and it was nice if family or friends came in, but this feels like a very different situation.”

“If they did this, PLUS a celebration with you on Christmas,”

“I’d think nothing of this, but excluding you and making you be their server for their only celebration is just cruel.”

“NTA.”- Affectionate_Big8239


“Tell them that if you can’t sit at the table as a family member at the Christmas dinner, you’ll call off sick and go make yourself a nice Christmas dinner for one at home while they eat wherever they like.”- mifflewhat

The OP later returned with an update, thanking everyone who took the time to comment, sharing some insight on their family dynamic, and also how they ended up handling the situation:


“I’m truly amazed by the overwhelming support I’ve received.”

“I never expected this post to gain so much attention.”

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to read and respond.”

“I took the opportunity to establish clear boundaries during a FaceTime session, emphasizing that such behavior is not acceptable, particularly considering the racial and economic differences between us.”

“As a biracial woman from a lower-class family, it was crucial for me to assert myself and not dismiss their behavior.”

“MIL was upset that I had taken a stand against their Christmas plans.”

“My husband stood by my side through it all, supporting the decision to un-invite everyone who supported this decision.”

“We’re now focusing on creating a Christmas atmosphere that’s positive and stress-free, sans the drama.”

“Your words truly gave me the strength to navigate this challenging situation.”

“If anyone has similar stories or more advice to share, I’m all ears.”

It’s hard to imagine any scenario in which the OP’s in-laws thought she wouldn’t be confused or offended by them wanting her to serve them at her place of work on Christmas.

This makes it seem that they view her more as the hired help and not a part of the family.

It will be interesting to see if the OP’s in-laws are so offended they stay home or spend Christmas with their family and treat the OP as such.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.