Baker Gets Support for Refusing to Make Expensive Thanksgiving Dessert


A Reddit user has been backed by the Internet after sharing their frustrations with a family member expecting them to bring Thanksgiving dessert.

With inflation at 3.2 percent, many Americans are going to struggle to afford everything from Christmas gifts to Thanksgiving dinner this holiday season. One Redditor shared their struggle after a family member demanded a certain dessert even though they don’t have the means to afford it.

The anonymous user wrote on Reddit that their relative went to graduation and gave them a small gift card as a gift. They had been to their house for Christmas but see them only during the holidays.

“Whenever I went over to their house, I used to bring a small gift such as cookies,” the Redditor said in the post. “This year, however, they want me to bring a whole dessert for 10 people. My ‘mother’ has also mandated that I bring a box of expensive boutique chocolates as a side gift. I was told that I was expected to bring these things and was not asked beforehand if I was okay with bringing any of the main items eaten. No one else invited was told to bring something.”

View of place settings and tequila during a Friendsgiving dinner on November 5, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. A Reddit user has been backed by the internet after sharing their frustrations with a family member expecting them to bring Thanksgiving dessert.
Sara Jaye/Getty Images for 21Seeds Tequila

The Redditor went on to say they aren’t doing well financially, and even spending money on the ingredients, baking dish and other gift will kill their grocery budget for November.

“I don’t make a lot of money in my current job,” the Redditor shared. “I complained that I didn’t really want to buy everything and make a whole dessert. My ‘mother’ told me I was being ungrateful and that my relative has done ‘so much’ for me, and that, ‘it’s not too much work or money so figure it out.'”

Therapists anticipate this sort of situation to pop up more and more as families brace for economic uncertainty and pressures surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Families often have a number of unwritten and often even unspoken rules that remain unchallenged until someone brings attention to them,” Jared Dalton, a social worker and psychotherapist at Blueprint Counseling, told Newsweek. “This situation makes me wonder if there are unspoken rules in AITA’s family around reciprocity, money and demonstrations of wealth.”

Many families have a rule about not talking about money, but that can lead to situations with mismatched expectations.

In this situation, the poster has warranted plenty of sympathy from others on the Internet, but there are still many options they can undertake if they still want to be part of the holiday.

“I would suggest AITA consider whether they can feasibly bring something to offer as dessert, even if it isn’t up to mom’s artisanal standards, and address mom’s expectations around gift giving,” Dalton said. “AITA will likely be told ‘it’s about being polite’ and there might be an opportunity to discuss what rules dictate what is polite in this situation. Why is an expensive gift, that is out of reach for AITA, considered the only way to be polite? Is it offensive to be struggling financially?”

The mother in this case might be experiencing her own feelings of shame about money in the presence of the relative in question. But it’s best to address the expectations with the host themselves in order to achieve greater communication.

“If preparing dessert is totally out of reach as well, addressing that directly with the host, rather than through mom, may lead to some increased clarity around the expectation,” Dalton said. “It’s likely if they know it’s a financial barrier, they’d be happy to have someone else bring dessert.”

Internet Response

Other internet strangers were strongly on the side of the original Reddit poster.

“I think it would be acceptable to decline the invitation in these circumstances,” one user wrote. “Many people have times when they are financially stressed and unable to figure it out.”

Yet another said: “Don’t go. Have a lovely day at home or with friends, enjoy your favorite foods, stay in bed all day if you want. Rest and replenish.”

Others suggested that it was unfair that only one person was being asked to bring something.

“The most salient sentence here is ‘no one else invited was told to bring something,'” another user wrote. “It’s not unreasonable to do a potluck Thanksgiving where each guest is asked to bring a dish, but to ask ONLY one guest to bring a dish is absolutely wild and incredibly rude.”

For those experiencing a similar situation with their own family, where you’re expected to financially contribute without really being able to do so, there are options.

“It is always OK to ask for people to pitch in by making it a potluck,” Christine Scott-Hudson, a licensed psychotherapist in Santa Barbara, California, told Newsweek. “However, it is not OK to expect people to pitch in financially. You can make the request and ask for people to pitch in to the grocery fund, or to bring a side dish. You can always make a request, just make sure you can live with the answer. The answer might be ‘no.'”

For families who are adopting a potluck-style Thanksgiving this year, you can still keep costs low by using store promotions, coupons and rebate apps, according to Melissa Cid, a consumer savings expert for

“Choose a dish with ingredients that are on sale,” Cid told Newsweek. “From now until Christmas, grocery stores are running money-saving promotions on many popular food products for get-togethers.”