Meal Times Together

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is here and 2021 is just around the corner. The Thanksgiving turkey has been served and the holiday celebrations and festivities will soon be in full swing.  Preparing for the holidays can be hectic, as plans are being made and hours are spent shopping for the perfect gifts, but quality time with family and friends makes it all worthwhile.  Most families today are in constant motion of work, school, extracurricular activities, and endless responsibilities that limit spending quality time together.  Add to that, having to compete with social media, iphones, and the x-box for one another’s attention, and quality time becomes a rarity.

The holiday season gives us the perfect opportunity to spend undistracted time with the people we care most about.   Time off from work and school allows us to put our schedules on hold and enjoy family gatherings, reunions with friends, vacations (or staycations), and most importantly to reconnect around the dinner table.  Sitting down for a family meal on a regular basis can be challenging, but the holidays are a great time to reap the benefits of sharing a meal.  Studies show that having a family dinner, even a few nights a week, can help kids improve eating habits, academic performance, and lower rates of depression and anxiety.  Holidays meals allow us to sit together face-to-face, reconnect, build memories, and feel a sense of belonging.  And we can all use a sense of belonging now more than ever before.  Our plugged-in world often has us tuned out, leaving us feeling disconnected from the people that are right there in front of us.  It’s amazing what can happen when we gather together for a meal.  We engage with one another, share stories, and reconnect.

Camp kids know the power of meal time together better than anyone.  Camp provides kids with three opportunities every day to refuel, refresh, and reconnect.  Family style camp meals help kids learn healthy eating habits, communication skills, patience, greater empathy, independence and teamwork. Campers look forward to this consistent part of the camp day to gather around the table with friends and counselors and feel a sense of belonging.  Meal time at camp is not only about the food, it’s about the sense of community being fostered throughout the day. It’s a time to eat, laugh, share, and of course show camp spirit through songs and cheers that bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Although it’s close to impossible to create the same camp meal time experience at home, focus on what’s possible.  Make this holiday season one to reclaim the family meal with the people you love the most.  Gather your friends and family and embrace this time together.  It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal, or take hours to prepare, just the willingness for everyone to unplug, be present, share stories, memories and a lot of laughter.  You may not remember what you ate in years to come, but you will remember the undistracted time you shared around the dinner table.