You are invited for Christmas Dinner but asked to pay in advance

Christmas Dinner


This struck up quite the conversation!!  A friend has been invited to join a co-worker for Christmas dinner, but has been asked by the host to pay $50 up front for the Christmas meal.  I understand that hosting a meal can be very expensive, but have never heard of being invited for a meal and being asked for money to help with expenses.   Is this the new trend??   I think it’s great that the host wants to get everyone together for Christmas, and I understand it’s expensive and a lot of work for the host, but is there another way the invitation could have been extended.   My friend doesn’t know whether to just say he has other commitments, offer to take a dish, or accept the invitation and just pay the money.  What would you do????   Lisa