Inviting Strangers To Holiday Dinner Is Good For the Kids

Your kids will be better people for it.

Thanksgiving feast
Table is laid with a feast for the autumn and winter holiday season in the kitchen of the George Wythe house in living history museum Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia on January 3, 1985. (Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images)

During the holidays we come together to celebrate the season with family and friends. Often we overlook those who might not have the means or family nearby to join in the celebrations.

This holiday season, Fatherly suggests expanding your festive guest list to include those less fortunate or someone without dinner plans. Your guest won’t be the only one to recognize and appreciate the kindness- the kids will take notice of your actions.

Sarah Epstein, family therapist and author of Love in the Time of Medical School says, “Kids will start to learn the values of community, kindness, and thinking of others during the holidays when they see their parents model those traits. Those kinds of gestures can reverberate down the generations.”

Having an outsider at a family meal can change the dynamic of your family’s relationships and behavior. Due to your guest’s presence you might avoid an argument or remain gracious when a family member presses your buttons.

Getting the ball rolling with an invitation might be the most difficult part. Remember to be respectful and try to normalize the idea of not having holiday plans. Alternatively, suggest meal share options like ThanksSharing, Share Your Meal or Feastly. You can also host a holiday potluck which means less cooking for you and less pressure for your guests to feel like they’re intruding on a family affair.

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