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Newsletter: December 2016

Celebrating the Season with Family Dinner

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Shopping. Wrapping. Decorating. School performances. Parties.

December is full of seasonal obligations for families, and even if you’ve vowed to “stress less” and “simplify,” it’s likely that at some point in the next month, you’ll be wishing you could just slow down and focus on the things that matter to you. For many families we know, making and eating dinner together is one of the first things to fall by the wayside in favor of cramming in as much fun and togetherness as possible during the holiday season. But isn’t family dinner itself supposed to be about keeping fun and togetherness in our daily routines?

Rather than always feeling we must do more in December, what if we could use family dinner as a way to combine our urges to celebrate and make the season special with the daily routines that we know are best for our families? We’ve compiled a list of Top 10 ways to focus on fun and family at your dinner table this season, so you can keep your mealtimes on track AND enjoy some extra special moments together.

  1. Make dinner a pajama party, complete with favorite snacks!
  2. Bring old photos or a family tree to the table and share family stories and holiday memories.
  3. Teach someone how to make a special family recipe. Tell them why it’s special to you.
  4. Turn dinnertime into a holiday singalong. Bonus points for making up silly new words!
  5. Take turns reading from a favorite holiday storybook during dinner.
  6. Make a screen time exception and enjoy dinner and a movie in front of a favorite holiday film.
  7. Enjoy a wintertime walking dessert together (holiday cookies or hot cocoa in thermal cups are good choices) and take in the night sky and holiday lights in your neighborhood.
  8. Brainstorm random acts of kindness and challenge one another to complete them the next day.
  9. Talk about favorite holiday traditions and make up a new one to try this year!
  10. Leave love notes at everyone’s plates and share them during dinner.

Try these ideas at your dinner table, and share your own ways to make family dinner special during the holiday season on our Facebook page!

While we believe that technology can have a place in your family dinner routine (see #6 above!), sometimes it can be a struggle to figure out how much, when and whether to allow screens and devices to share your table. Our friends at Common Sense Media are inviting families to take the #DeviceFreeDinner challenge to help prioritize face-to-face communication, and we’re sharing their efforts along with additional tips and resources in our Technology at the Table section.

Technology at the Table »

How do you feed a family of seven? With patience, humor and a lot of smart tips! Meet the Swanson family, our December Family of the Month.

Real Family Dinner Projects: The Swanson Family »



Team member Bri shares a family holiday recipe: A Swedish dessert “soup” that’s good on ice cream, yogurt or just on its own!

Swedish Fruit Soup »



‘Tis the season for gift-giving!

Make Presents »



This month, brainstorm ways to give to others by asking “What’s one thing that could make _____ happier today?”

Giving at Home »