Family Dinner
Celebrating Holidays

Major holidays are a given, as far as family traditions go, but you can create fun, family-bonding events for smaller celebrations as well. Watching fireworks every Independence Day or having an annual cook-out each Labor Day can be occasions your family looks forward to all year long.

Family sciences experts say that there are different types of traditions. Some are centered around celebrations (such as holidays and birthdays) or special events created within a family (like vacations or game nights). Others, however, hinge on everyday activities [source: Hill]. Family dinner falls into the latter category.

Dinnertime may not have been considered a special event 50 years ago when it was a common part of a family's daily routine; but these days when even 5-year-olds have busy calendars, the evening meal can be a rare occasion. Yet, this simple event can give the entire household a chance to shake off the stresses of the day and bond. Plus, family dinners are more likely to be nutritious than eat-and-go evenings. This is important for many reasons, but one you might not consider is that the right nutrition can be a component of stress management [source: WebMD].

Just don't let this make you think you have to prepare a large meal every night. Putting such pressure on yourself may lead to abandoning this family tradition. So instead, shake things up. Make hardy, home-cooked meals once or twice a week and enjoy leftovers on other evenings. You can even allow a pizza or take-out night once week -- which on its own can become yet another fun family tradition.

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