Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Make Dinner a Special Event

So you cooked dinner together, now what? Well, enjoying it together can be just as special as cooking it.

Unfortunately today, many kids miss out on that experience of eating together as a family.  Its proven fact that families who eat together have better family bonds.  

I have many memories of the dinner table growing up. My dad sat in the seat closest to the phone hanging on the wall. If it rang during dinner time, he didn't care who was calling, he would pick it up and tell them we were eating dinner. We knew that dinner time was off limits for anything else but coming to dinner and eating.

Those were simpler days, even thirty or so years ago.  So more than ever the simple things like a family dinner together need to be intentional and special.
Dinner together can be takeout on paper plates if need be. The point is to make it a time of togetherness. Sharing a meal is always special. Food is a central part of most social gatherings, no matter how simple.

But every once in a while its nice to make it even more memorable.

Growing up, whenever we had a special occasion dinner, the china came out, the best silverware, and fine glasses. There were always too many people for the table size, but instead of having a separate kids table, my dad would insist that the kids ate first at the nice table and then the table was set again for the adults.

I remember how special it was to sit at the table dressed in its finest and drink out of the beautiful delicate glasses. Now that I'm an adult I often think back and see the beauty in what my dad did. He treated us as special as the adults would be treated, even putting us first.

In my own house, my kids also value a special dinnertime experience. They love it to the point that they want it to happen frequently and not just for the holidays.

Pulling out the special glasses, plates and utensils can be a pain, not to mention a lot of dishes, but it makes for fond memories.

My older kids, even while they were really young, loved to surprise us with a beautifully set table. I remember one year they woke up early and set the table and made breakfast. They made it special! While enjoying our beautiful surprise I noticed that the table protector wasn't on and the candle was dripping on the tablecloth and seeping through onto my wood table (a lesson in buying cheap candles learned)!  At first I panicked silently and then as I started to react, I noticed how joyful and proud the kids felt about the special breakfast they had put together. I discreetly put out the candle and kept enjoying my meal with them.

I ended up throwing away the tablecloth because red wax on a cream tablecloth proved difficult to get out (and it was before blogs and Pinterest).
Looking back I wouldn't change a thing. Since then, I've had broken glasses on other occasions as well but I've come to not care as much.  Material things are replaceable (don't buy expensive ones). 

So enjoy that meal you made together with the finest of what you have.  
Special dinners say, "we don't need a holiday, or company, to use our best things, you are enough reason to celebrate". 

How do you make family dinners special?

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