“Big family meals? Bah, humbug! I’d rather spend my holidays alone, eating canned food in the dark!” If this sounds like you, don’t feel alone—the holidays are one of the times of year when people report feeling most lonely, depressed, and disconnected. What a sad fact! Unsurprisingly, one of the things that tends to make people feel less lonely, less depressed, and more connected is to engage in positive social activities, but that can be a challenge in some families! That’s one of the reasons why people have traditionally taken meals together—it’s an activity with shared goals, that everyone can agree with, that is usually cordial. Read on to find out why you should make time to dine with your loved ones this holiday season.
- Build connections. When we dine with others, we are engaging in some primal activities—we are meeting some of our most basic needs for food and drink, as well as higher-level needs of comfort and companionship. Simply sharing an activity with others (yes, eating counts as activity) makes people report that they feel closer to that person.
- Easy conversation starter. Not all families adhere to “easy” topics at dinner, but when you have an assortment of homemade goods, an amazing catered meal from a great diner in NJ, or even if you are visiting a great local restaurant in Denville, you have a built-in topic of conversation.
- Create traditions. This is especially important for new couples or young children. By building traditions, you prepare for the next holiday season in advance… and build wonderful memories to come! Traditions create positive memories, provide structure and routine, and make sure you have something to talk about for many years.
- Practice social skills. For those with young children, holiday meals and family meals can be a great way to practice social skills and etiquette. While the normal dinner might be a hot mess of tossed food and paper plates, a special, formal meal can open doors to new experiences.
No matter where you enjoy your holiday meals, do so with those you love. If you have plenty of love, but not many culinary skills, don’t worry—Alexis Diner in NJ is open throughout most of the holiday season for dining and also offers catering for large and small events!